10 must-see stops in Ontario on your trip across Canada

With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting international travel, this may be the perfect time to try a road trip across Canada.

We live in a huge and beautiful country, and crossing it is rightly high on the list of priorities for many people.

Travelers typically want to visit Alberta’s beautiful Rocky Mountains and Vancouver beaches, but Ontario also has a few stops that are worth your attention.

Between Toronto and Manitoba

Since Toronto is the largest city in Canada, many people start here and head west.

Sudbury’s big nickel

Nash Brogden / Shutterstock

If you’ve started in Toronto, Sudbury is at the six-hour mark when you’re desperate to stretch your legs. It’s a mining town that delves into its history with the Big Nickel, a giant replica of a 1951 coin weighing 13,000 kilograms.

Nickel is found outside Dynamic earth, a center of geology and mining sciences. Check out their underground guided tour if you have some free time.

Killarney Provincial Park is also nearby, offering beautiful sapphire lakes, camping and backcountry opportunities, and gorgeous fall foliage if you visit at the right time of year.

Manitoulin Island

wedding veil falls mantouline

Bridal Veil Falls on Manitoulin Island (Jen Eden / Shutterstock)

This picturesque island is the largest landmass located in a freshwater lake in the world. You can catch a ferry there from Tobermory, but road travelers can also use the vehicle bridge on the island from the north side.

On the island you will find lovely guest houses, hiking trails and even a swimmable waterfall.

Manitoulin is home to several First Nations communities, and the largest of them, Wiikwemkoong, offers tourist packages.

Lake Superior Provincial Park pictograms

Agawa pictograms

Agawa Rock at sunset. (Guoqiang Xue / Shutterstock)

This beautiful provincial park has great nature and hiking trails with rugged landscapes and turquoise waters.

But its highlight is the Agawa Rock pictograms. These are Ojibwa drawings on a steep rock face next to water estimated to be hundreds of years old. One image is of a lynx and another is of a canoe.

Wawa Goose

wawa goose

The famous Canada Goose in Wawa, Ontario (Darlene Munro / Shutterstock)

It’s a bit silly, but we guess that’s part of its charm.

The giant steel goose stands at the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 17 and was placed there to attract tourists to the city after the main road bypassed it.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

sleeping giant provincial park

Elevator Rock Formations to the Top of the Sleeping Giant in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (Wei Seah / Shutterstock)

Just outside Thunder Bay, the Giants Trail is an iconic northern Ontario hike that offers beautiful views of Lake Superior and the surrounding terrain.

Terry Fox Memorial Gazebo

terry fox memorial

Daily Beehive Toronto

We all grew up hearing about the man behind the Marathon of Hope who raised money for cancer research by running across Canada after losing his leg to illness.

This Terry Fox statue commemorates where the runner was forced to stop due to the progression of his disease. It is located in a flower garden with a panoramic view of Thunder Bay and its surroundings.

Between Toronto and Quebec

Are you departing from Toronto and heading for the East Coast? Or cross the all country? We have what you need.

Prince Edward County

PEC wine

Wine glasses in a Prince Edward County vineyard. (Brandon Koykka / Shutterstock)

This idyllic neighborhood just east of Toronto has beaches, beautiful views of Lake Ontario and dozens of wineries. There is even a application to help you plan a wine route.

There are also tons of places to stay, trendy neighborhood Drake Devonshire Inn at the June Motel documented by Netflix at several lakeside resorts and Airbnbs.

It is also the home of Sandbanks Provincial Park, where visitors can find extensive sandy beaches.

1000 islands tour

Located where Lake Ontario empties into the St.Lawrence River, this tower with three observation decks allows guests a panoramic view of the lush waterfront landscape.

Algonquin Park

free parks

Theotivity / Shutterstock

Stopping here only makes sense if you bypass Toronto and stay on the Trans-Canada Highway, but it’s arguably Ontario’s most iconic provincial park, popular with hikers, campers and canoeists.

There are clear lakes, vast forests, and tons of wildlife including loons, moose and wolves.

Parliament Buildings in Ottawa

Parliament buildings

Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock

These elegant buildings are the seat of Canada’s federal government and are surrounded by pretty parks and waterfront fountains.

While in Ottawa, discover the cute Byward Market neighborhood or grab a Montreal-style bagel from 24 hours Kettleman Bagels.

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