The central portion of southern Ontario, located just east of Toronto and running north from Lake Ontario to the Algonquin Park boundary, abounds with beautiful waterways and lakes and offers many unique touring opportunities. To many city dwellers in Toronto, this is the "cottage country" that they escape to on hot summer weekends.
The city of Peterborough offers many summertime activities, including live theatre, band concerts and a folk festival. Crary Park contains a fountain with a water jet shooting 250 feet in the air, making it Canada's highest jet spray. During the summer months, the Festival of Lights features a musically choreographed and illuminated boat show on Little Lake with internationally-renowned entertainers and a precision-timed fireworks finale every Wednesday and Saturday evening from June through August.
The Trent-Severn Waterway, a 240-mile canal system of 45 locks, allows pleasure boaters access from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. Visit the world's highest fully operational hydraulic liftlock and learn how this engineering marvel actually works.
North of Peterborough, one enters the Haliburton Highlands, named by the original settlers because of the area's geographic resemblance to certain areas in the Highlands of Scotland. Ontario's most scenic route, Highway 35, runs north from Coboconk to the picturesque town of Dorset, near the entrance to Algonquin Park. In the autumn, the fall colours along this route are spectacular.
There's so much to see and do in this area – why not plan a tour today?
Day 1: En route to Peterborough, visit the Canadian Fire Fighter's Museum in Port Hope, just east of the Greater Toronto Area. See both horse-drawn and motorized fire trucks, alarm systems, helmets and photo displays. Arrive in Peterborough and check-in at your hotel. After dinner at a local restaurant, attend a performance at Showplace Peterborough, the city's newly renovated performing arts centre..
Day 2: This morning, meet your local guide who will share interesting information about this area. Visit the Peterborough Lift Locks, the world's highest fully operational hydraulic lift locks, or the group can take a cruise on the canal system and experience the "lift" firsthand - in a cruise boat. Then it's on to Whetung Ojibwa Crafts and Art Gallery, located on the Curve Lake Indian Reserve. This spectacular gallery contains beautiful native crafts, including an amazing assortment of authentic ritual masks, pottery, baskets and carvings. After lunch at a lakeside resort, visit Petroglyphs Provincial Park and view over 900 mythical images carved on a huge crystalline limestone rock by aborigines between 500 and 1,000 years ago and now preserved in a spectacular glass enclosure. First Nations guides help interpret the carvings' mysterious messages. Stop at the Lockside Trading Company or in the picturesque town of Lakefield for shopping and ice cream, or visit the Hutchison House Museum for afternoon tea in the Scottish tradition. After dinner, attend the Festival of Lights in Crary Park, an evening of live entertainment, crowned with a dazzling sound and light show on Little Lake..
Day 3: Today, visit the largest collection of canoes and kayaks in the world at the new Canadian Canoe Museum. Featuring over 500 watercraft from around the world, this museum promises to become one of Canada's most significant attractions. Before leaving this area, enjoy a scenic two-hour cruise with Fenelon Falls/Bobcaygeon Boat Cruises. Travel north on Highway 35, one of Ontario's prettiest highways, to your beautiful resort hotel in the lovely Haliburton Highlands. Dinner this evening is in the resort.
Day 4: Today we put on our walking shoes and experience the Canadian wilderness. At the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre, learn about wolves and view a captive wolf pack from inside a 4,000 square foot interpretive facility. Then it's off to Robinson's, one of Canada's best country stores, for some souvenir shopping. Climb the Dorset Fire Tower for a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. Lunch today is at a lakeside family resort. We return to the resort for free time before dinner. Enjoy an evening horse-drawn wagon ride.
Day 5: After a hearty Canadian breakfast, it's farewell to this part of Ontario as we head for home.
- Rockhound Gemboree: Bancroft, (last weekend in July)
- Getaway Country-Central Ontario Travel Association: Phone (613) 332-1513, Fax (613) 384-6189, Toll Free 1-800-461-1912 (Ontario), Website: www.getawaycountry.com
- Kawartha Lakes Tourism: Phone (705) 742-2201, Fax (705) 742-2494, Toll Free 1-800-461-6424, Website: www.thekawarthas.net
- Northumberland Tourism: Phone (905) 372-3329 Ext. 257, Fax (905) 372-1696, Toll Free 1-866-401-3278, Website www.northumberlandtourism.com
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