There’s lots to love about big city living. If you live in or around Toronto, you are likely fiercely dedicated to the city’s charms. From the gorgeous waterfront to the neighbourhoods that celebrate cultures from around the world, there are plenty of sights, sounds, tastes and adventures to keep you busy. But summer brings long weekends, and long weekends call for mini-vacations! Many lists of weekend getaways from Toronto will have the big hitters. This list includes a few that though familiar may have gotten lost in your vacation planning shuffle. Don’t pass up the chance to re-discover them! They may surprise you and are definitely worthy of weekend exploration.
Weekend Getaway Toronto Edition
Head west out of downtown Toronto and around Lake Ontario, towards the US border, to find beautiful Ontario wine country. The vineyards overflow with the bounty of this nutrient rich growing spot, where you can sample delicious wine around the charming city of Niagara-on-the-Lake and its surrounding fields. Be sure to work in time to visit the Shaw Festival Theatre, Canada’s second largest theatre company featuring plays by George Bernard Shaw, his contemporaries and more. You can walk the quaint streets of the village, picking up tasty souvenirs of your travels.
Location: 132km from Toronto, head West on the QEW.
Tourism Information: https://www.niagaraonthelake.com/
Ancaster is a community within the city of Hamilton, and located about 78km from Toronto. It is one of the oldest cities in Ontario and still offers glimpses into its past – with museums, like Griffin House, and architecture to explore. Located along the Niagara Escarpment, there are also plenty of parks and outdoor spaces to explore (including a hike around Hermitage Falls). When you have worked up an appetite, head to The Ancaster Mill for a delicious meal in a popular, and stunning, spot. Another stop worth your time: The Spa at Ancaster. It’s time to relax!
Location: 78km from Toronto, head West on the 403.
Tourism Information: http://tourismhamilton.com/
Travel to Kingston by train and skip the stress of driving in weekend traffic. Instead of watching the road you can watch the beautiful countryside that stretches east from Toronto toward Montreal from the comfort of your seat. Kingston is a city steeped in history and culture, and offers so much more than just a stop along the Toronto – Montreal corridor. Home to Queen’s University, the collegiate spirit permeates with affordable eats and an exciting nightlife. You’ll enjoy the shopping along Princess Street and can indulge in a few ghost stories as you walk the “haunted” alleyway behind Chez Piggy on your way to this delightful restaurant. The atmosphere in Kingston is alluring, and you can spend an afternoon just walking in any direction from the downtown core to look at stunning architecture.
Location: 264km from Toronto, East along the 401, or Via-Rail service out of Union Station
Tourism Information: http://www.visitkingston.ca/
This culturally vibrant city is located east of Toronto in southwest Ontario. A town perched on top of the Avon River, it’s best known for the popular theatres which plays host to the Stratford Festival, showcasing Shakespeare’s classics and more. Come for a play but fall in love with the quaint charm of this small town, home to a Chef school that clearly inspires a high level of culinary talent at local restaurants. Find yourself a small bed and breakfast to lay your head, and add a walk along the river to see the swans for the perfect experience.
Location: 150km from Toronto, first along 401W, then ON-7/ON-8 W
Tourism Information: http://www.visitstratford.ca/