When people think of backpacking Ontario, two places probably come to mind: Toronto, and Ottawa. The CN Tower, and Parliament Hill.
Not exactly off-the-beaten-path now is it?
But Ontario is so much more than its famous cities. Like much of Canada, this central province has much to offer in the form of nature, history, and gorgeous views. And while any ‘landmark’ is going to be well-known by adventurous locals, this is for those who don’t call Ontario home, or for locals who want to get as much out of their province as possible.
Here are 5 lesser-known sites to see while backpacking Ontario:
Bridal Veil Falls
Where: Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron
At a height of approximately 35 feet, Bridal Veil Falls isn’t exactly off the grid. In fact, there are two parking lots that will get you within a short walking distance to the falls, just off Highway 540. Spend some time soaking in the ambiance at the falls by having a picnic, or take a swim underneath the falls.
However, while Bridal Veil Falls truly is a beautiful site to behold, it is best to plan some additional activities in with your visit, such as a day spent out on the nearby lake or on one of the areas many hiking trails.
Ballycroy Ghost Town
Where: Ballycroy, near Orangeville
Founded in the 1820’s by Irish settlers, Ballycroy was once a bustling little town that boasted churches, stores, a veterinary clinic, a doctor’s office, and everything else that makes up small town life.
However, after only 55 years of life, Ballycroy was done with its glory days. Due to factors such as religion, battles among the residents, and a few devastating fires, in April 1875 the town was spiritually wiped, and although some businesses stayed and prospered (the post office, for example, was open until 1951), many others decided to set up shop elsewhere.
In time however, the town was altogether abandoned, and today it makes for a most interesting visit.
Temagami Fire Tower
Not for the faint of heart, the Temagami Fire Tower is worth a visit for the view, and the view alone. Standing at 100 feet high, the tower grants a 360 degree view of the surrounding area with a 40 kilometre range. For hikers and adventure seekers alike.
Where: Georgian Bay
Six and a half kilometres off the coast of Tobermory lies Flowerpot Island, a scenic spot of land boasting unique hoodoo-like structures, fabulous hiking, cave adventures, and a historic light station.
Get your Instagram-lovin’ friends ready!
Abandoned Veterans Village
Where: Westminster Ponds Conservation Area
In the spirit of abandoned villages, here is another one. This quaint village was built as a rehabilitation centre for WWII veterans. It was both a physiotherapy centre to help injured soldiers, as well as a training facility to help get them adjust back into civilian life.
In its heyday, the grounds boasted a car shop, a bowling alley, a photography darkroom, a swimming pool, a radio lab, a print shop, two baseball diamonds, and a golf course.
Over time, however, the patient population at the facility decreased, and by 2000, was nonexistent.
In its current state, there are four buildings left standing for you to explore, most notably the Administrative Building, which, although desolate, is beautiful with its exterior covered in ivy.