The Great Lakes, fantastic bodies of fresh water surrounded by abundant wilderness, are the first image that springs to mind when one thinks of Ontario, followed by the vast fertile fields at the end of which stand farmhouses charmingly adorned with balconies, shutters and flowers. Then there are the hamlets, which however tiny, are made up of splendid homes, some of which date back more than 150 years. Finally, there are the cities with priceless architectural heritages, silent witnesses to the prosperity of this province, the richest in Canada. Although rural Ontario definitely has plenty to delight romantic souls in search of tranquility and a bygone era, this province also has an eminently modern, urban aspect, as evidenced by the cities of Toronto, Canada's metropolis, and Ottawa, the federal capital.
Over the years, Toronto has acquired the envious title of Canada's most important city. This prosperous metropolis encompasses several districts worth visiting, including the pleasantly laid-out Waterfront, from which you can reach the famous CN Tower, as well as the Toronto Islands, a great spot to kick back and relax. Some of the city's other districts lend themselves well to walking, notably the financial district, Chinatown and Yorkville, which are as disparate as they are fascinating. The city also lays claim to some wonderful museums, particularly the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.
In 1857, a burg by the name of Bytown was chosen as the nation's capital and then renamed Ottawa, which it remains to this day. Nowadays, Ottawa prides itself on its magnificent Parliament Buildings as well as its wide avenues lined with splendid Victorian mansions. The city is also home to outstanding museums such as the National Gallery of Canada, which offers a fabulous overview of both domestic and international art.
A lush plain bounded by the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the Canadian Shield, Southern Ontario has always been favourable to settlement. It still encompasses some of the most pleasant cities in the country, including London, Kingston, which retains magnificent Victorian-style buildings, Stratford, known for its Shakespeare festival, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, recognized for its appealing town centre and Shaw Festival. Ontario's countryside also offers glorious panoramas and magnificent natural treasures, notably Niagara Falls.
Northern Ontario is made up of a huge swath of still-untamed wilderness where woodlands, lakes and rivers reign supreme. The roads that crisscross this vast territory run through a few lovely hamlets, but what is most delightful about this region is its stunning panoramas. Several parks have been created in order to preserve and highlight these unparalleled landscapes. Take the time to explore these parks and let yourself be intoxicated by their unspoilt natural beauty.
Where on earthThe second-largest province in Canada in terms of size, Ontario is bounded by Quebec, Manitoba and the United States. But its most remarkable border is that which is delimited by the St. Lawrence River and bodies of water as huge as they are magnificent, namely Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior.