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Ontario's Highlands

  • 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.

    Provincial Parks:

    • 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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  • Ontario Explorer

    Begins in and ends in Toronto

    15 Days / 14 Nights

    Departures: May to October

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodation as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Thousand Islands

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    • Toronto Skyline at Night

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    • Parliament Hill, Ottawa

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    • EdgeWalk Lakeside, Toronto

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    • Cultural Ottawa

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Toronto

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Toronto. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel.

    Hotel: Fairmont Royal York

    Day
    02

    Toronto

    We have allowed a full day to explore Toronto, as this cosmopolitan city has a wide array of attractions to keep you busy day and night. Don’t miss taking a trip up the CN Tower, for a bird's eye view of the city, or a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum. If you love shopping then Eaton Centre, showcasing more than 200 retailers and restaurants.

    Hotel: Fairmont Royal York

    81Mi/130Km

    Day
    03
    Day
    04

    Niagara Falls

    No visit to Ontario would be complete without seeing the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls. En route, you pass the beautiful orchards and vineyards of the Niagara Peninsula. Perhaps take the short drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a historic village a few miles away.

    Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton Fallsview Resort & Spa

    70Mi/110Km

    Day
    05
    Day
    06

    Cambridge

    Today you leave Niagara behind and make the short journey to Cambridge. Located in Grand River Country, Cambridge boasts over 80 parks and its Farmers Market is rated one of the best in Canada. Your hotel, Langdon Hall, exudes the air of an old Ontario estate with majestic gardens.

    Hotel: Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

    95Mi/152Km

    Day
    07
    Day
    08

    Georgian Bay & Collingwood

    Journeying west, you continue to enjoy the scenery of Grand River Country. Perhaps make a stop at the village of Saint Jacobs, which is known for its quaint shops filled with local crafts. Your hotel sits close to the shores of the majestic Georgian Bay, where a myriad of water activities can be enjoyed. There are also hiking and biking trails surrounding the resort.

    Hotel: The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain

    95Mi/152Km

    Day
    09
    Day
    10

    Muskoka Lakes

    It’s only a short drive, but a wonderfully scenic one, to your next destination of Muskoka Lakes. Magnificent Muskoka Country is home to sparkling lakes shimmering under pale blue skies and glorious white pines swaying in the breezes. Kayak across the lake, follow the nature trails by bike or on foot, or simply relax in the spa.

    Hotel: JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa

    254Mi/408Km

    Day
    11
    Day
    12

    Algonquin Provincial Park & Ottawa

    Although the longest driving day, the splendid scenery en route makes it an enjoyable journey. Heading east, you pass the base of Algonquin Provincial Park, a must stop on any itinerary if you enjoy spectacular scenery and a little wildlife spotting. Your destination is Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, steeped in history and boasting a wide array of museums and galleries. Take time to visit the Parliament Buildings, take a cruise along the Rideau Canal and explore the training centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    Hotel: Fairmont Chateau Laurier

    122Mi/196Km

    Day
    13

    Kingston & Thousand Islands

    It’s a short journey into the southern plains of Ontario today. Be sure to stop at Upper Canada Village, sitting on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, where a living history museum depicts the early life of Canadian inhabitants. Kingston is the gateway to Thousand Islands, a myriad of tiny islands dotted through the water. You may choose to take a boat trip, meandering between the isles, or perhaps take to the skies on a helicopter flight for the ultimate birds eye view. This evening, select one of the waterfront restaurants which specialise in locally sourced seafood.

    Hotel: Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel

    165Mi/266Km

    Day
    14

    Toronto

    Today make the short journey back to Toronto. Hugging the coast along Lake Ontario, there are plenty of small villages where you can stop and explore. Back in Toronto you have the opportunity of visiting the attractions you missed on your first visit.

    Hotel: Fairmont Royal York

    Day
    15

    Journey home

    Today, return your rental car to Toronto International Airport and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2415 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request. 

    Ottawa & Algonquin Explorer

    Begins in and ends in Ottawa, Ontario

    7 Days / 6 Nights

    Departures: year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodation as stated
    • Algonquin Provincial Park in Autumn

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    • Rideu Canal, Ottawa

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    • Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada

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    • Lake Views at Algonquin

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    • Ottawa, Cycling Parliament Hill

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Ottawa

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Ottawa and take a transfer to your boutique hotel.

    Hotel: The ARC Hotel

    Day
    02
    Day
    03

    Ottawa

    Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is a spirited, cosmopolitan destination that celebrates Canada’s achievements and culture with historical sites, national museums, a non-stop roster of festivals, plus a myriad of shopping and dining. We suggest exploring the city on either an informative walking tour or by taking the narrated Amphibian Lady Dive and City Tour, which showcases the best of the city from land and water. Be sure to include a visit to Parliament Hill during your stay.

    Hotel: The ARC Hotel

    153Mi/246Km

    Day
    4

    Algonquin Provincial Park

    Today, collect your rental car and journey toward Algonquin Provincial Park. Your home for the next three nights is at Killarney Lodge, a secluded log cabin resort which holds an enviable position in the heart of the wilderness.

    Hotel: Killarney Lodge

    Day
    05
    Day
    06

    Algonquin Provincial Park

    Algonquin’s dramatic scenery consists of endless stretches of trees, rocky ridges, spruce bogs and crystal clear lakes and rivers. We suggest visiting the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre’s viewing deck, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the wild Algonquin landscape. There’s a myriad of guided and independent hikes to keep you entertained as well as a plethora of wildlife to discover from moose and white-tailed deer to black bear and wolves.

    Hotel: Killarney Lodge

    153Mi/246Km

    Day
    07

    Journey Home

    Make the journey back to Ottawa Airport, return your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £1855 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

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  • The Deakins Maple Experience

    Killaloe

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    • Grading syrup

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    • Morning forest walk

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    • Old style sugar shack

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    • Hanging a bucket

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    • Sap tasting

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    • The Deakins

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    • Watching the pot

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    • The Deakins Maple breakfast

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    • The Eastview guestroom

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    • Foyer

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    • Patio

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    • South porch

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    • Vegetable and flower garden

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    This incredible activity is a truly memorable experience, which is highly recommended for anyone visiting Ontario's Highland's. Not only is it a fun and interactive experience, but Don and Mary Helen Deakin are wonderfully welcoming hosts who offer a fully-personalised tour. 

    Learn the story of Maples in a turn-of-the-century hardwood forest. Hear the stories of a forest with a glorious past and a challenging present as it contends with fickle nature and intractable man. Make your own maple syrup in the original, traditional way it was done before technology took over, and take not only memories but your own maple syrup home with you.

    There are two options available: visit and take the half day experience, or choose to stay ay the Deakins B&B overnight which offers the same activities but over a twenty four period whilst enjoying Don and Mary Helens wonderful hospitality.

    The Deakins Maple Experience
    The setting for your half-day workshop will be the Deakins maple forest and a rebuilt 1910 style sugar shack where you’ll immerse yourself in the life of a Canadian maple syrup farmer and engage in hands-on activities ending with the production of your own maple syrup.

    Taste the crystal clear sweet sap. Savour the buttery maple aroma of boiling sap and watch with fascination as a myriad of tiny, hot, golden bubbles suddenly gush to the top of the pot signalling the end of the evaporation process. 

    Then it is back to the Deakins B&B where freshly baked scones accompany a tasting session of the various types of Maples Syrup produced.

    Duration: half day (starts at 1pm)

    The Deakins Maple Experience with overnight accommodation
    The full experience includes a welcome activity featuring an interpretive maple products tasting; discount coupons for dinner at The Wilno Tavern restaurant; accommodations at the acclaimed Deakins on Mountainview Bed and Breakfast; a fabulous breakfast featuring local food and maple syrup and the half-day guided forest tour and maple syrup making workshop.

    Duration: 1 night

    Prices

    The Deakins Maple Experience
    Prices start from £131 per person

    The Deakins Maple Experience with overnight accommodation
    Prices start from £198 per person

    Owl Whitewater Rafting

    Forresters Falls

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    • Owl Whitewater Rafting

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    • Owl Rafting

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    • Owl Rafting

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    Northwest of the nation’s capital, the Ottawa River surges across Canadian Shield country. This is a path forged by First Nations, traversed by fur traders since the 1600s and fostered by foresters at the turn of the last century. Today you can visit for a whitewater adventure, enjoying a day-long rafting experience through the dynamic Rocher Fendu Rapids. With options available to suit everyone, choose a gentle family friendly float which meanders calmly down the river, or pick an adrenaline ride on the high-adventure whitewater tour which can see up to Class IV rapids.

    Ottawa River High Adventure

    Duration: 6 Hours

    Six hours of natural roller-coaster thrills, paddling as a team, getting totally wet, laughing and making new friends in the middle of ‘no-where’! You  descend the legendary 12 km Rocher Fendu rapids in a whitewater raft. Enjoy body surfing and cliff jumping in the warm waters of the Ottawa River. Includes a barbeque meal aboard the pontoon boat as you return.

    Ottawa River Soft Adventure

    Duration: 4 Hours

    Family Raft Trips on the Ottawa River combines six kms of beautiful whitewater interspersed with quiet pools and sandy beaches. This four-hour trip is a perfect Canadian experience! Guide-powered for you to enjoy the scenery and fun river ride. Includes a barbeque meal aboard the pontoon boat as you return.

    Madawaska River Soft Adventure

    Duration: 2 Hours

    The two-hour Family Raft Trip on the Madawaska River winds its way through five-fun-filled kilometers of beautiful scenery and tumbling whitewater in the Algonquin Park area.

    Prices

    Ottawa River High Adventure

    From £89 per person.

    Ottawa River Soft Adventure

    From £57 per person.

    Madawaska River Soft Adventure

    From £32 per person.