From time to time, a famous celebrity or other well-known public official stops in and stays with us at the inn. It’s usually during a vacation, since there aren’t many businesses in the area. This past Tuesday, the owner of Perfect Pave stopped by! Now, if you don’t know Perfect Pave, you really need to check them out. Their asphalt paving franchise is national, but their main office is located in Albany, New York.
The owner has his team drove all the way up to the hotel to resurface our blacktop parking lot. He’s a family-friend, so we got a huge discount and were able to redo the entire parking lot area on the north and east sides of the inn. That’s a big deal for us because it’s a lot of money to lay new asphalt usually. And, we end up doing it every couple years because of the heavy traffic and weather we normally get. Perfect Pave is one of the best upstate paving and sealcoating companies in the northeast, so it’s wonderful to have them stay with us. I also can’t thank them enough for their great paving work. It’s not an attractant for our inn, but it is a necessary upkeep that we typically need every 2-3 years. In return, we offered a free 2-night stay for the entire staff any time they want, holiday or otherwise.
Some of the employees from Perfect Pave split their time between upstate New York and Florida. During the summer, they work in Albany handling paving and sealcoating work. Then, around October, they fly down to Florida to work for a Jacksonville concrete company repairing pool decks and installing decorative concrete. As far as I know, it’s a very lucrative gig that keeps you busy for the winter months. Between working with asphalt and concrete regularly, you’ll notice the quality of work is great. We’re very appreciative of that.
Traveling is a unique and exciting experience, but it can be costly. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up in your hotel during your stay. Ontario offers a wide range of attractions for those on a budget. Here are some favorites to explore, no matter what part you’re visiting.
The Niagara Falls
Seeing the Niagra Falls is an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. When visiting Ontario, you can’t miss the opportunity to see the 8th New Wonder of the World.
If you’re interested in seeing this attraction, there are many ways to see the Falls whatever your budget may be.
The Niagra Falls Sky Wheel starts at $11 and gives you a fantastic view of the Falls and the surrounding area. The Wheel takes visitors 175 feet in the air, giving you complete access to the breathtaking scenery.
St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market gives visitors an up close and personal look at Toronto and Canadian culture as a whole. It has a vast selection of vendors and food for any taste.
Besides the fantastic food you could find at the market, you can see the beautiful and historical buildings surrounding the market.
It costs nothing to enter, and you can visit the many parks located around the market for some extra sight-seeing.
The Distillery District
This Toronto attraction is the best way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience it in a new life.
This pedestrian-only part of downtown is an easy way to spend hours sightseeing the historic architecture that has remained preserved since the Victorian era.
The Distillery District has tons of locally owned boutiques and shops. You won’t find a chain store in sight in this area, which is a breath of fresh air for those craving something away from other mainstream attractions.
The Waterfront at Downtown Burlington
The Waterfront has events year-round for visitors coming to Burlington for a relaxing getaway.
You can walk on the pier or visit the beach in the summer, or practice your ice skating skills at the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond.
If your budget allows, this area is home to several museums, art galleries, and restaurants for an additional day of sightseeing.
Brockville Railway Tunnel
Ontario’s first railway tunnel is a fun way to experience a piece of the province’s history.
This free attraction was renovated recently with new floors and lighting that highlights the architecture and geology of the tunnel.
However, plan ahead if you are planning on seeing the railway, as it is a seasonal attraction and may close during inclement weather.
Stones ‘n Bones Museum
Located in Sarnia, the Stones ‘n Bones Museum is a reasonably priced attraction and great for adults and children alike.
It’s easy to spend several hours looking at the exhibits, and may even require a return trip to catch things you missed before.
It is rated consistently as one of the best things to see when visiting Ontario. Consider stopping in next time you’re in the region.
Located in downtown Toronto, the tower is 533 meters high and holds the spot as the fifth tallest free-standing building in the world, and the tallest in the Western hemisphere.
Algonquin Provincial Park
This scenic park is a breath of fresh air and a great way to appreciate Ontario’s natural beauty. Situated in southeastern Ontario, the Algonquin Provincial Park is the best place to plan a day hike or a weekend camping trip.
The largest of the three waterfalls that make up the Niagra Falls, Horseshoe Falls is a breathtaking sight. Visitors have a variety of options for sightseeing. This attraction is one of the most popular places to visit in Ontario, so if you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it.
The Royal Ontario Museum
This museum is a home for art, world culture, and natural history. Located in Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum is one of the largest in North America. It is the most-visited museum in Canada. Visitors can easily spend hours looking at the exhibits.
For a chance to have dinner and a view, the Skylon Tower is an observation tower that offers the best views of the Niagra Falls. It’s a rotating restaurant and an arcade for additional fun.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
This attraction is great for families visiting Toronto who want to experience a mixture of education and entertainment for both children and adults. It is home to over 20,000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species.
This trendy neighborhood is full of fun shops and bars. This spot has a wide range of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants for a day of shopping and good food. Even for those on a budget, the neighborhood is perfect just for an afternoon stroll and window shopping.
After an afternoon spent visiting the Niagra Falls, adults who are feeling lucky can enjoy an evening at Casino Niagra. It’s a great way to get out of the hotel and get a taste of Vegas while staying in Ontario.
The Niagra Parks Butterfly Conservatory houses 60 species of butterfly. Located in Niagra Falls, Ontario, the conservatory sits on the same land as the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, which is 40 hectares.
This attraction is a chance to learn about the importance of butterflies to the ecosystem while experiencing the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The National Gallery of Canada
Founded in 1880 and located in Ottawa, this attraction is Canada’s premier art gallery. Contained within a glass and granite building, visitors to the gallery also have views of the nearby Canadian Parliament buildings.
This Toronto neighborhood is a bohemian haven for art lovers. Not only is it home to vintage shops and independent stores, but it also has a unique selection of restaurants, cafes, and grocers for visitors craving a taste of something different. There are many fine dining and casual options to fit any budget. Victorian houses line the streets and add to the neighborhood’s eclectic atmosphere.
Are you the kind of person who seeks out the more unusual side of sightseeing? Do you have a strong aversion to typical tourist destinations? Or, maybe you’ve visited Ontario multiple times and want to experience something new.
For those with a taste for the unusual, here’s a list of some of the more unique attractions to check out when visiting Ontario.
Sewers of Toronto
A walk-through of Toronto’s elaborate sewer system is a chance to see a different side of the city, literally.
Toronto’s sewer system is architecturally beautiful, and a testament to the city’s planning and maintenance of its water systems. Walking through the sewers is like a wetter version of the city’s subway system.
Toronto’s sewers aren’t your typical attraction, and entering the system requires crawling into a manhole or other entrance. If you want to tour the sewers, you need the permission and guidance by a public works employee.
The Cheltenham Badlands are a prime example of how poor farming practices and resource management can render fertile land utterly useless. The badlands are barren and unable to produce anything other than sparse shrubbery.
Visiting the Cheltenham Badlands is eerily beautiful. However, if you visit after it rains, or if the ground appears soft, visitors are advised to stay off of the hills as the land is extremely fragile and could result in a nasty red stain for the rest of your stay in Ontario.
Bobo Island Abandoned Amusement Park
Once called the “Coney Island of Michigan,” this theme park was constructed in 1898 and was only accessible by steamboat. It contained numerous rides and was a popular destination for nearly 100 years.
However, as other amusement parks like Cedar Point opened, attendance at Bobo Island’s park dropped until its doors closed in 1993. The small island may not be forgotten, but it is a far cry from its hay day as an entertainment destination for people in Canada and the US.
The best way to view the park without risking breaking trespassing laws is by seeing it from a kayak or other boat.
Camp 30 POW Camp
Located in Bowmanville, this WWII-era POW camp for German soldiers became a National Historic Site of Canada in 2013.
The site was previously a reform school of sorts for boys, but during WWII the government converted it to a POW camp.
The buildings have since fallen into disrepair, and graffiti covers many of the walls. But if you’re a lover of history, visiting the camp is definitely worth the visit.
Ark Two Shelter
You can find this nuclear fallout shelter in Horning Mills. A single man, Bruce Beach, began constructed in the 1980s, convinced that nuclear war will inevitably occur.
The tunnels descend 14 feet below the ground, and from there, visitors can explore the tunnels made from converted 42 school buses. The series of tunnels can house up to 500 people.
Beach welcomes visitors interested in viewing his work, but in return, he asks for a bit of manual labor to help maintain the tunnels.