Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area

The highlights of Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area are two waterfalls: Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls.

Webster's Falls

Webster's Falls

Webster’s Falls (access off Fallsview Road) is an absolutely beautiful waterfall. It is best viewed from below, via a 120-stair climb down to the base of the waterfall, but this trek is not for the faint of heart.

Webster's Falls Bridge

Webster's Falls Bridge

Also worth checking out is a beautiful cobblestone bridge near the falls, built in 1936 and designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The area around the top of Webster’s Falls is a great place to have a picnic, so if you’re coming, be sure to pack a lunch.

Tew’s Falls (access off Harvest Road) is one of the tallest in Hamilton and only slightly less tall than Niagara Falls; however, the supply of water running over it is quite small. It is best viewed in spring for that reason. You can walk between the two waterfalls, although the path, which winds along the top of the Niagara Escarpment, is somewhat treacherous; if you suffer from vertigo or lack of balance, definitely drive between the two waterfalls.

This conservation area is particularly busy in the summer; if you’re looking to get photographs of the falls without tons of people in front, you may find it easiest to come on a school day.

Admission is $8 per car, or $3 per person walk-in.

Also nearby is neighbouring Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area.

Ajax waterfront

The waterfront in Ajax is the longest undeveloped stretch of waterfront in the GTA. The paved Waterfront Trail runs for seven kilometres along the lake, offering great opportunities for bicycling, walking, jogging, and in-line skating; there are also many amenities nearby.

There are several parks along the waterfront as well. Rotary Park, located on the west side of town, features a pavilion, playgrounds, benches, and natural areas. At the foot of Harwood Avenue South is Vetrans’ Point Gardens, dedicated to HMS Ajax, the ship after which the town was named.

Scugog Shores Museum Village

The Scugog Shores Museum is on Scugog Island, just across the lake from Port Perry. Found on the grounds is a historic village containing 12 restored buildings, heritage vegetable and flower gardens, and the Ojibway Heritage Interpretive Lands.

The museum village is open daily from Victoria Day to Labour Day, 10:00 am–4:00 pm for guided tours. Admission is $4 (adult), $3 (seniors/students), $2 (children 5–12), and free for children under 5.

The museum preserves, researches, interprets and exhibits artifacts illustrating the area’s cultural and natural history. The grounds of the museum feature 12 restored buildings in the heritage village, heritage flower and vegetable gardens and the Ojibway Heritage Interperetive Lands.

There is also an Ontario historical plaque honouring cartoonist James Llewellyn Frise in front of the museum.

World’s Largest Muskoka Chair

I am extra extra small today!
The World’s Largest Muskoka Chair.  Photo by Flickr user comicpie.

This 12-foot-tall muskoka chair is located at the side of the Muskoka Road at the south entrance to the town of Gravenhurst.  If coming from the south, exit Highway 11 at Highway 169, then make a quick left at Muskoka Road.  Makes for a nice photo opportunity.

Blue Mountain

south base

Blue Mountain Resort is the third-busiest ski resort in Canada, attracting 720,000 downhill skiers a year. It features Ontario’s highest vertical drop (720 feet). The resort, situated along a four-kilometre portion of the Niagara Escarpment about 11 km west of Collingwood, features 36 ski and snowboard trails for all skill levels and is served by a high-speed quad lift, 3 triple chairs, 4 double chairs, and 3 rope tows. The resort at the base of Blue Mountain has grown up and features a lot of activity year-long, with an 18-hole golf course and a village with shops and restaurants. Rooms are available at the Blue Mountain Inn.

The Clay and Glass

[The Clay and Glass]The Clay and Glass, formerly known as the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, opened in 1993.  The gallery contains award-winning exhibits of contemporary clay, glass, and enamel artwork; the collection emphasises Canadian artists.  Its exhibits change quarterly.  There is also a cute gift shop where you can find a unique gift.

Currently, admission is free (note that the gallery has had financial struggles of late, so if you want to take advantage of the free admission, you may not want to delay). Open Tuesday–Friday 11:00 am–6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am–5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm–5:00 pm.  Free parking is available across the railway tracks at the Station lot, and in the Waterloo Towne Square lot (kitty-corner from the gallery).

The collection is not large (giving yourself an hour to view it should suffice) so it should leave you lots of time to check out other attractions right next door, including the Waterloo Central Railway, Waterloo Park, the Perimeter Institute, and Uptown Waterloo.

Ruthven Park

Ruthven Park is the location of the Thompson Mansion, a striking 1840s Greek Revival mansion. The site also features beautiful natural and rural landscapes. The mansion is located in a beautifully-manicured setting, and elsewhere can be found Carolinian forests, grand views of the Grand River, and more.

The mansion is filled with original furnishings and is open for guided tours and special events. Guided mansion tours cost $10, with various discounts for seniors, students, and children. Tours are scheduled hourly from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays (and Holiday Mondays) between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving.

The grounds are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily; admission is by donation.

Ruthven Park is located about a kilometre south of the ghost town of Indiana. It has been designated a National Historic Site.

Magnotta Vaughan

Magnotta is the third-largest winery in Ontario and Canada’s most award-winning winery.  It has a network of seven retail stores in the GTA.
A bottle of Magnotta wine. Magnotta’s 75,000 square foot Vaughan location provides a unique experience.  It features a state-of-the-art winery, microbrewery, and distillery, and there are free, 20-minute long tours every day at 2:00 pm.  A retail store is on site to purchase their products, including a wide variety of VQA and International Series wines at very reasonable prices.  There is also an original art gallery that includes a few works by Group of Seven artists. Open weekdays 9:00 am–9:00 pm, Saturday 8:30 am–6:00 pm, and Sunday 11:00 am–5:00 pm.

High Park

High Park is High Parkperhaps one of the most beautiful parks in Canada. It was originally the estate of John George Howard, who was Toronto’s first city architect.

The house that Howard built in 1837, Colborne Lodge, is now a museum and is open year-round. Found at the south end of the park, it contains much of the original furniture and also exhibits many of Howard’s watercolours.

Grenadier Pond

Grenadier Pond, High Park.

In the south-west corner of High Park is Grenadier Pond, which is named after British soldiers who went onto the pond’s thin ice and fell in during the Sack of York during the War of 1812. The pond is well-stocked with fish. East of Grenadier Pond and north of Colborne Lodge is the High Park Zoo, which contains deer, emu, bison, peacocks, sheep, and other animals.

The park hosts a lot of special events in the summer, including professionally staged Shakespearean productions with admission by donation.

High Park also contains many of the amenities found in many city parks and many that aren’t. There is ample space for picnicing, two children’s playgrounds, an off-leash area for dogs, a restaurant (The Grenadier), a pool, sports fields, gardens, trails and more. Definitely worth exploring.

High Park is easily accessible by car (from Lake Shore Boulevard West, Bloor Street West, or Keele Street), subway (High Park station), streetcar (501 or 506) or various bus routes.