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Things to Do in Ontario - page 3

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Canadian Museum of Nature
2 Tours and Activities
Explore the Great White North’s many wonders at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Set in a historic castle in Ottawa, this five-story museum focuses on the country’s natural history with a fossil gallery, a water gallery (where you can see a blue whale skeleton), mineral displays, and an array of other exhibits.
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Queen's Quay Terminal
3 Tours and Activities

What used to be Toronto’s largest storage facility is now a condominium apartment, office, entertainment and shopping mall complex in named Queen's Quay Terminal. Built in 1926, it was used as both a docking area and a storage facility, thanks to over 100 docks and 1 million square feet of storage for packaged and dry goods, specialized cold storage, international imports, bonded goods, such as tea and tobacco. Interior train tracks eliminated the need for transport to other storage facilities, making the Terminal Warehouse a one-stop shop for imports and exports. It was converted into a large multi-function development in 1983, and is now often cited as one of the most successful and clever revitalization works in the world, receiving several awards to that effect. It has masterfully preserved the area’s history while adapting to new commercial and residential realities, all while maintaining the building’s iconic Art Deco architecture.

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Sugar Beach
2 Tours and Activities

Sugar Beach is an urban beach that was opened in 2010 in an attempt to make the shoreline more accessible to the public and to revitalize the space. The name Sugar Beach is a reference to the Redbath Sugar Refinery, which can be seen just opposite the beach and the park was clearly designed with that sugar theme in mind. The fine, white sand looks almost a bit like sugar, the large granite rocks are painted in red and white stripes similar to a bonbon and then there are the patio umbrellas in that perfect shade of pink candy floss. Contrary to what the name “beach” might actually suggest, the area does not allow for swimming or bathing in the Lake Ontario water and instead is a recreational and relaxation space. Beneath the pink umbrellas, white beach chairs dot the sand and invite for a relaxing afternoon with a book or some good company.

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Humber Bay Park
1 Tour and Activity

Humber Bay Park consists of two man-made peninsulas, that jut out at the mouth of Mimico Creek just before it joins Lake Ontario. Humber Bay Park East is a great place to go animal watching, as a large number of cormorants, geese, herons, swans and ducks congregate here. Also frequently seen are Great Egrets and Red-Tailed Hawks, and you might even spot a turtle basking in the sun on a nice day. Most people combine this with a walk on the many trails that either lead along the shore of the lake or through the greenery of the park. Along the shore, you will find two sandy beaches and if you are a photographer, Humber Bay Park is also a great spot to see the spectacular Toronto Skyline with the CN Tower rising up in the midst of the skyscrapers. The two peninsulas are connected by a small pedestrian bridge and on the other side at Humber Bay Park East, visitors can find a parking lot and the big marina.

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Toronto High Park
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High Park, with its numerous cultural institutions, sports facilities, playgrounds and even a zoo, is the largest park in the Canadian metropolis Toronto and serves as a recreational area for locals and visitors alike. About a third of the park is left in its natural state and is home to both large groups of trees, shrubs, grasses and Canadian flowering plants as well as the many species of birds that are native to the area. High Park is especially beautiful late April and early May, when the Sakura cherry trees around Hillside Garden are in full bloom and spread their wonderful fragrance. The first of these trees that now make up a huge big pink canopy were given to High Park as a present from the citizens of Tokyo, while later on more and more Sakuras got donated by various sources.

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Ontario Place
1 Tour and Activity

A futuristic amusement park, Ontario Place offers something for everybody inside its five steel-and-glass pods, suspended on columns 105 feet (32 meters) above Lake Ontario. Kids and adults can go from pod to pod and see a multimedia theater, a children's theater, a high-tech exhibit, multimedia displays, and the Cinesphere - an IMAX theater. Parents watch a movie while kids go berserk at soft-play areas like the H2O Generation Station, with its twisting slides, towers, and walkways, and the Atom Blaster, a huge foam-ball free-for-all.

Additional attractions include the human-sized MegaMaze and MicroKids, which is a play area for little ones. At First Flight, you can a ride up in the air in a replica hot-air balloon. If you need a break from the attractions and rides, spend a little downtime browsing the gift shops. In the evening, the Molson Amphitheatre host a variety of concerts.

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Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory
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One of the most delightful non-Falls attractions, Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory features over 2,000 colorful tropical butterflies, made up from more than 50 different species. The butterflies float freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery, even occasionally landing on the peaceful procession of visitors passing through.

An abundance of natural light illuminates the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, which is carefully climate controlled. Multi-leveled paths wind through the rainforest setting, past a pond and a waterfall. The butterflies, amazingly, sit still most of the time, inviting plenty of photo opportunities as you wander. There is also a butterfly nursery, where you can watch butterflies emerge from their cocoons; the window is opened several times daily to release the young butterflies.

The Niagara Butterfly Conservatory also doubles as a greenhouse for the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.

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Toronto Little Italy
1 Tour and Activity

The name Little Italy might actually be a little bit deceiving as this Toronto neighborhood is not the exclusively Italian quarter one might expect. While the area around College Street became the commercial and residential center of Toronto’s Italian community in the 1920s, many families actually began to move away in the ‘60s and were replaced by other immigrant families mainly from China, Vietnam, Portugal, Spain and Latin America. Today, Little Italy is a very international and multicultural neighborhood that is popular with the young crowd. Although there is still that Italian atmosphere including lots of soccer fans, old Italian Nonnas and some shady Mafioso hangout spots, the name is more a nod to the role the neighborhood has played as the starting point for many Italian immigrant families in Toronto.

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More Things to Do in Ontario

The Grange

The Grange

1 Tour and Activity
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Greektown

Greektown

1 Tour and Activity

Greektown, also known as The Danforth, has a European sensibility, with its sprawling restaurant and cafe patios, cluster of markets and heavy street traffic. However, over the years, you’ll find it’s just as easy to get Sushi or Indian food among the Greek tavernas.

The Danforth has two identities - north of the Danforth is the concentration of traditional Greek and Italian families; south of the Danforth are more modern Canadian families and a hippie demographic. This is also reflected in the geography of the street: from Chester to the east end of the Danforth there is more of a concentration of Greek Restaurants; the centre of the Danforth, at Chester, is known as The Carrot Common, home to one of the oldest Vegetarian markets, The Big Carrot; west on the Danforth are a plethora of cafes, yoga studios and a mix of restaurants and classic pubs like the Auld Spot, Allens and Dora Keoghs.

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Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre is home to interactive experiences with science and technology to educate and inspire visitors to create a better future for our planet.

Built into the slope of the Don Valley --and a great way to commute if you like to bike--the Science Centre contains a variety of inspiring space. The West Family Innovation Centre has 50 open ended experiences to discover new trends and innovations in science and technology. The Living Earth exhibit is one of the most exciting exhibits because you can experience a life-like rainforest and other natural wonders like a simulated tornado. The Science Arcade is a fan favorite with a complete hands-on science experience that includes the famous electricity demo. If you don’t want to walk around, you can watch an inspiring or educational film in Ontario’s only IMAX Dome theatre. There are also a number of new exhibits such as The Human Edge.

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Louis Tussaud's Waxworks

Louis Tussaud's Waxworks

Niagara Falls’ Louis Tussaud's Waxworks brings you up-close to over 100 life-sized figures of the rich, the famous, the royal and the notorious. On a trip around its 16 themed galleries, you can jump on Oprah’s couch, go into bed with Yoko Ono and John Lennon or get your picture taken with Prince William and Kate. Kids will get to see characters like Harry Potter, Batman, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow and the cast of Twilight. The brave can also head to the Hall of Horrors and have their photo taken with Frankenstein.

Louis Tussaud was the great-grandson of the famous Madame, and in this mock Tudor building on Niagara Falls’ Victoria Avenue there’s no rush or time limit as you make your way around the wax works. For an extra surprise, try asking the lady at the front desk for directions to the bathroom.

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Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Ottawa is blessed with a number of great museums, but one of them really stands out: the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. From the moment you walk in and see the old Snowbird plane dramatically suspended in midair, you realize why this place is called one of the most interesting museums in the world. Over 130 aircrafts present a comprehensive history of Canada’s aeronautical achievements, ranging from an old Silver Dart, the first airplane to fly in Canada, to the Canadarm, a robotic arm that made Canada a partner in the International Space Shuttle Program. Basically, the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum is a gigantic hangar filled to the brim with planes hanging from the ceiling and parked on the ground, but there are some interactive elements as well. A full-motion Redbird flight simulator normally used to train pilots lets you control an aircraft first hand and makes you realize that flying isn’t as easy as it looks.

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Toronto Little India

Toronto Little India

Little India is home to the Gerrard India Bazaar, North America’s largest South Asian ethnic market. This is the place to get a sari - you can buy an array of silks, embroideries and ornately sequined pieces ready-to-wear or materials to sew yourself. Add to your jewelry collection: The Bazaar brings gold from places like India, Pakistan, Singapore and Dubai. Plenty of grocers sell Halal meat and an array of Indian foods and spices.

The restaurants are the real draw here - with the buffets and large restaurants here, you can feast for an affordable price. While Indian buffets still dot the heavily Sikh and Hindu eastern edge of the bazaar, halal restaurants are taking over the west. Vegetarians will be delighted at the options and popular restaurants include Udupi Palace, Bombay Chowpatty and Motimahal. Every July, the TD Festival of South Asia celebrates South Asian culture. Tastes cost $1-5 and participants can be entertained by live Indian and Banghra music.

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Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

1 Tour and Activity

Ottawa’s Roman Catholic Notre Dame Basilica is the largest and oldest church in the city, dating back to 1839.

The building has a somewhat austere exterior, but the interior is rich in color and detail. Built in Gothic style, the building is topped with a pair of slender spires and features large stained-glass windows. Inside, the long central nave is lined with pointed Gothic arches topped with terraced galleries. The nave runs to the semi-circular sanctuary with its blue painted ceiling, ribbed vaults and carved altars. Pop in to admire the sculptures and painted detail, or take a guided tour. Church services are held in both French and English.

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Ripley's Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls

At Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Niagara Falls, you’ll see oddities from around the world, from genuine Amazonian shrunken heads and the world’s rarest egg to a two-headed pig and decorated Tibetan skulls. Established in Clifton Hill in 1964, Ripley’s has 13 themed galleries that are home to over 800 exhibits, curiosities and illusions. In Ripley’s Wacky Explorative Room, there are videos and interactive displays, and if you download Ripley’s phone app you can scan posters around the museum for more information and special surprises. You can take photos throughout the museum, and the world’s tallest man’s Chippendale chair practically begs you to climb in for a picture. The museum is also home to the Niagara Theater, where you’ll get to see and hear tales of the daredevils who have faced the wrath of Niagara Falls throughout history. But the most popular curiosity of all at Ripley’s is the disorienting Kaleidoscope Tunnel.

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