Located conveniently at the mid-way point between Niagara Falls and Toronto, Hamilton is an excellent location to "hub and spoke" from. Known as the "Festive Region", Hamilton hosts a number of special events throughout the year. Thrill to the pipes and drums of the Greater Hamilton Tattoo, voted by the American Bus Association as a Top 100 Event. View spectacular floral displays at the spring Lilac Festival, also an ABA Top 100 Event. Or watch as actors from all over North America re-create battles from the American Civil War at Westfield Heritage Centre.
Hamilton also offers a number of major attractions, including historic homes, unique museums and spectacular gardens. Local Conservation Authorities provide the nature lover with hundreds of trails and hiking opportunities along the world-famous Niagara Escarpment.
Nearby Halton Region provides a relaxing change of pace. Enjoy native dance, food and interpretation at Crawford Lake Indian Village. Nearby, see over 20 hawks and owls at the Mountsberg Centre for Birds of Prey. Ontario's newest summer event takes place each weekend from mid-July to mid-August just east of Milton. The Ontario Renaissance Festival recreates a 16th century Tudor village where authentic jousting and chivalry are re-enacted and charming shops and savoury food tempt your senses.
Only a half hour west of Hamilton is Brantford, winner of the Communities in Bloom Class of Excellence award, and location of the Alexander Graham Bell Homestead. Brantford also offers a number of sites relating to the Six Nations Tribe of the Grand River. Nearby communities such as Paris (home of Mary Maxim, a comprehensive woollen goods store) and Simcoe (noted for its annual Christmas Panorama of Lights) offer motorcoach groups many interesting stops and friendly smiles.
Don't miss this beautiful yet still undiscovered corner of Ontario!
Day 1: Upon arrival in Hamilton, visit Dundurn Castle, the home of one of Canada's former Prime Ministers, and enjoy lunch at the Coach House Restaurant. Pick up a local guide and take an orientation tour of this interesting city. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy dinner at an elegantly restored mill nestled along the Niagara Escarpment or enjoy the view across Lake Ontario from a restored schoolhouse. Take in an evening performance at one of Hamilton's world class cultural facilities, such as Hamilton Place (for orchestral, operatic or top-name performances) or the Copps Coliseum (for large- scale shows and sporting events).
Day 2: This morning, tour the Royal Botanical Gardens, with its 120,000 spring flowering bulbs, the world's largest collection of lilacs, two acres of roses and a spectacular indoor Mediterranean Garden. Enjoy lunch overlooking one of the beautiful garden areas. After lunch, visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, housed in a spectacular new hangar-like building and featuring aircraft from World War II, most of which are in flying condition. Take an afternoon break at a local fruit winery. Return to your hotel for dinner and then attend a performance at Theatre Aquarius.
Day 3: Today, your group will explore Halton Region, just a short drive northeast of Hamilton. Visit Crawford Lake Indian Village, a reconstructed prehistoric Iroquoian settlement on the shores of a rare, meromictic lake. Enjoy a scenic drive over the Niagara Escarpment to a nearby orchard for a lovely farm lunch and shopping in the barn. After lunch, visit Mountsberg Centre for Birds of Prey and come beak-to-beak with hawks, owls and eagles. Continue on to the Halton County Radial Railway Museum for a look at historic streetcars operating on two kilometres of scenic track. After a visit to The Olde Hide House in Acton, Canada's "Leathertown", complete a busy day with some antique shopping in the quaint village of Campbellville and a sumptuous buffet dinner and harness racing at Mohawk Raceway.
Day 4: Today, head west to the city of Brantford, honoured as the "Best Bloomin' City in Canada". Along with its beautiful floral displays, Brantford is also the location of the Alexander Graham Bell Homestead, the home in which Bell lived while he conceived and worked on the telephone. Visit the Woodland Cultural Centre, a museum featuring artifacts, history, science and art all relating to First Nations native people. A native step-on guide will point out significant local sites relating to the Six Nations tribe. After lunch on the reserve, enjoy a guided tour of the Rainey Ginseng Farm and learn about the growing techiques and healing properties of this mysterious root. The Haldimand-Norfolk Region offers many other agricultural visits, from apple orchards featuring fruit wines to peanut farms and mink ranches. For a relaxing finale to the day, enjoy a dinner cruise on the meandering Grand River at the Big Creek Boat Farm.
- Lilac Festival: Royal Botanical Gardens (end of May)
- Hamilton International Tattoo: Hamilton (early June)
- Ontario Renaissance Festival: Milton - Each weekend from mid-July to mid-August, witness jousting matches and enjoy musicians, jugglers and artisans in Ontario's only outdoor display of this kind.
- Festival of Friends: Hamilton (mid-August)
- American Civil War Re-enactment: Westfield Heritage Centre, Rockton (mid-August)
- Waterford Pumpkinfest: Over 1,500 intricately carved pumpkins are displayed throughout the village of Waterford (third weekend in October)
- Southern Ontario Tourism Organization: Phone (519) 756-3230, Fax (519) 756-3231, Toll Free 1-800-267-3399 (U.S./Canada), Website: http://www.soto.on.ca
- Tourism Brantford: Phone (519) 751-9900, Fax (519) 759-5975, Toll Free 1-800-265-6299, Website: www.city.brantford.on.ca
- Tourism Hamilton: Phone (905) 540-5585, Fax (905) 546-2667, Toll Free 1-800-263-8590, Website: www.tourismhamilton.info
- Tourism Haldimand: Phone (905) 318-5932, Fax (905) 772-3542, Toll Free 1-800-863-9607, Website www.tourismhaldimand.com
- Ontario's South Coast: Phone (519) 426-1695, Fax (519) 428-0074, Toll Free 1-800-699-9038 (U.S./Canada), Website http://www.ontariossouthcoast.com/
- Travelodge Hotel Burlington-on-the-Lake: 2020 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7S 1Y2. Phone (905) 681-0762, Fax (905) 634-4398
- Holiday Inn Express: 51 Keefer Court (QEW and Centennial Parkway), Hamilton, Ontario, L8E 4V4. Phone (905) 578-1212, Fax (905) 578-6468
- Comfort Inn - Burlington: 3290 South Service Road, Burlington, Ontario L7N 3M6. Phone (905) 639-1700, Fax (905) 639-8968
- Comfort Inn - Brantford: 58 King George Road, Brantford, Ontario N3R 5K4. Phone (519) 753-3100, Fax (519) 753-8138
- Comfort Inn - Simcoe: 85 The Queensway East, Simcoe, Ontario N3Y 4M5. Phone (519) 426-2611, Fax (519) 426-0053
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