Ontario’s Highlands

Sometimes the best way to reconnect is to disconnect, slow the pace, and just wander, letting every new discovery along the way become its own opportunity to stimulate the senses and nourish the soul. Ontario’s Highlands is only 2.5 hours east of Toronto and a half an hour west of Ottawa, but a world away from it all. Deep inside all of us is a wanderer. It’s the little voice that tells us to follow our own path, trust in ourselves and embrace the unknown. Follow that voice to Ontario’s Highlands, a place where your imagination and authentic sense of discovery are the only compass you need. Discover experiences to excite your curiosity and indulge your creative passions. Uncover the quiet comfort of charming towns and back roads, and experience authentic moments. Grab hold of opportunities to make fresh tracks, blaze new trails, and reach new heights. Embrace a slower pace and feel your worries drift away during moments of tranquility. Create lasting memories and celebrate traditions.

Ontario’s Highlands features Canada’s most diverse underlying geology and scenic vistas of land, water and rockscapes that uniquely defines the region’s rural tourism character, charm & heritage. Distinguished by UNESCO’s World Heritage Rideau Canal, Ontario’s Capital for Maple Syrup, world renowned whitewater rivers, unrivalled collecting for gems and minerals in the Mineral Capital of Canada, and a cave whose story is a billion years in the making.

Haliburton Highlands not only connects visitors from Toronto to Algonquin Park but offers a vibrant mix of artisan’s studios, galleries and heritage attractions such as the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower. Just two hours from Toronto, Haliburton’s Highlands four seasons offer guided or self-directed recreation with an extensive scenic hiking trail system, cycling routes, mountain bike trails, gem and mineral collecting, geocaching sites, snowshoe, cross country trails and the world’s best dog sledding! Savour local flavours, sample craft brewed beer, ale or novel maple wine, indulge in culinary creations indoors or patio-style and be sure to take-out the best ice cream in the region!

Lanark County is the celebrated Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, inviting visitors to meet producers on the sugar maple trail, taste the harvest at farmer’s markets, visit The Original Maple Bat Corporation of famous makers Sam Bats and experience the cultural vibrancy of town and country life. Visitors can engage in traditional arts of syrup production, wool grading, cheese making, visit a textile mill, heritage buildings and museums in Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and the Rideau at Smiths Falls. Tour Matheson House, visit Silver Queen Mine at Murphys Point Provincial Park for an underground mica mine tour and re-enactment of a miner’s life. Not to be missed are Lanark’s diverse biospheres, visit Purdon’s display of thousands of orchids mid-June to July and wildlife on the Tay River.

Cradled between the Ottawa River and Algonquin Provincial Park, visitors to the Ottawa Valley can easily immerse themselves in our cultural blend of heritage and outdoor recreation. Experience signature world-class whitewater rafting and paddling opportunities in the Whitewater Capital of Canada! The freshwater rivers, the mighty Ottawa, Madawaska and Petawawa, flow March to November, offering the longest paddling season in Canada. Explore the story of our Earth. Learn about the Ordovician period by touring Ontario’s most extensive underground cavern and Geology Fossil Trail to observe ancient prevertebrate marine life embedded in limestone. Become a Rockhound and collect gems and crystals near Quadeville and Bancroft.

From breathtaking landscapes, waterways, biodiversity of wildlife to historical artifacts, Ontario’s parks protect these features to provide education, recreation and scientific research. Within Ontario’s Highlands, these parks are easily accessible for a fly drive with use of a seasonal or day permit for multi-park visits. Each park offers interpretative programs, guided activities, canoe and kayak rentals.

  • Bon Echo: Mazinaw Lake cliffs, over 260 Aboriginal rock face pictographs, hiking trails.
  • Bonnechere: Canoe the Bonnechere River, visit historic depot for early rangers.
  • Lake St. Peter: Beaches, trails, abundant local gem collecting sites.
  • Murphys Point: Silver Queen Mine tours, cross-country skiing.
  • Petroglyphs: Largest collection of Aboriginal rock carvings.
  • Silent Lake: Fishing, wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing.

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