State Detail - Ontario

Ontario

Description

Not even a lifetime of vacations in Ontario would enable you to see the entirety of this sprawling and diverse province. From north to south it stretches 1,770 km from Hudson Bay to the Great Lakes (of which it borders four). From east to west it fills a gap of nearly 2,100 km between the borders of Quebec and Manitoba.

Much of the province is sheer wilderness. So wild and remote is the northern two-thirds of Ontario that on most maps it is indicated as a nearly roadless expanse of green, broken only by splotches of blue to indicate the lakes. Much of this vast area (about 518,000 sq. km) is accessible only by canoe or float plane, but it's possible to penetrate a portion of it by car. At Ignace there's a road you can take north for about 200 miles to beyond Pickle Lake.

The real wilderness begins just across the border at Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake. In Lake of the Woods, there are some 15,000 islands to explore. Rainy Lake is the remnant of a great prehistoric inland sea that was once larger than all of the Great Lakes combined. Canoeists will find some incredible waterways in Quetico Provincial Park. Eco-tourists and adventurers can journey to the southern shores of Hudson Bay and explore Polar Bear Provincial Park.

Travelers seeking more civilized pleasures will find an abundance of them in the cosmopolitan centers of Toronto and Ottawa. The futuristic Ontario Place and Harbourfront is a unique recreational complex and a good place to start experiencing the many splendors of Toronto. This cosmopolitan city retains a real old-world charm, and features cultural attractions such as the National Ballet of Canada, considered to be one of the best in the world. The company makes its home at O'Keefe Centre, but it also plays to enormous summer crowds in the open-air theater at Ontario Place. The exciting theater scene in Toronto is on a par with those of London and New York. Be sure to take in the view of Toronto from the top of CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It's pretty amazing.

In Ottawa you'll want to visit Parliament Hill, where you can attend sessions of the Senate and House of Commons, and watch the colorful Changing of the Guard. The National Gallery of Canada has an impressive collection of Canadian and Inuit art as well as the old standbys. Excellent geological and anthropological displays can be found at the Museum of Nature and the Museum of Civilization.

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