Put away the phones, laptops, and iPads – explore nature; challenge yourself and appreciate your full potential, break up boredom or give in to your wild side. Your experience is just a click away… Here are 10 weekend secrets to having a completely awesome fall season in Southern Ontario.
1. Experience A New Altitude on a Submarine Tour – HMCS Ojibwa. Mounted on a specially designed floating dry dock in Port Burwell, this showcase is hard to miss; standing 5 stories high, tours inside this decommissioned sub illustrate life under the ocean waves. While you’re here treat yourself to all the other spendors this locale has to offer as well – sandy beaches, provincial park, historic lighthouse and lakeshore wind farm.
2. Treat the Family at a Fall Fair. According to the Ontario Agricultural Society, there are more than 230 agricultural fairs and exhibitions throughout Ontario and one of the oldest is The 171st Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show — October 2nd to the 8th. Musical grandstand entertainment and demolition derbies are the crowd favourites but there are many agricultural displays, craft exhibits, food vendors, art demonstrations, unique attractions, and talent shows. A few tips: bring a sweater or light jacket as a day at the fair can run late into the evening, dogs and other pets are not allowed, bring cash – debit is usually not accepted at the gate or games. Check websites for advanced tickets at reduced rates.
3. Get off the Beaten Track. Get in touch with your inner green spirit at one of the 38 conservation areas in Southern Ontario which boasts 55 historical landmarks and heritage sites. One of the furtive sites is at the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area. It is a historic agricultural land adjacent to Backus Heritage Conservation Area is the site of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority’s Carolinian Forest Regeneration Project initiated in 1991. Experience an arboretum of tree species include Red Oak, Silver Maple, Sycamore, White Birch and Green Ash it is also a control area for scientific and educational study of natural regeneration and succession of natural habitat as it relates to the Carolinian Forest and Backus Woods in particular.
4. Discover Hidden Treasures in St. Jacobs Country – One of Southern Ontario’s favourite rural cultural experience which features unique crafts, antiques, horse-drawn trolley tours, and regional cuisine that bring to light a Mennonite history that is rich and lively especially at the local farmers market.
5. Get your Wild West Spirit Kickin’ – See the spectacular colours of the countryside on horseback. Shine up your boots, saddle up a stallion, and head out onto the open range. Imagine picturesque landscapes surrounded by hills and forests, or trotting through a babbling brook while out on the trail. Experience an overnight adventure or camping snuggled up to a cozy campfire. There are many treks available in duration and extent – what are you waiting for?
6. Climb to New Heights – Outdoor Rock Climbing. Challenge yourself on real cliffs 80 ft high. Visualize soaring vultures and breathtaking views while you ascend and rappel jagged rocks – equalize anchors, belay, and learn essential climbing knots under the careful coaching of skilled mentors. This vertical escapade is an adrenaline rush; guaranteed.
7. Breathe in the Exhilaration: Fly a Plane. Take control in the pilots seat manoeuvring an aircraft high above the earth. Vary your altitude, turn and bank as you soar with exhilarating speed snapping impressive photos for your collection. Acquaint yourself with an extensive pre-flight safety check including ailerons function, flaps and rudders, suspension, fuselage conditions, and fuel level gauges. Once ground checks are done you will taxi into position, wait for the tower all clear, and head into the wild blue yonder.
8. Cycle the Golden Coast. The sun peeking over the horizon with divine hues of orange, scarlet, crimson, and yellow ginger. Heading down a picturesque road lined with tall cornstalks on either side on the Water Front Trail in Ontario’s Southern Coastline; the Shores of Lake Erie in Norfolk County. Long known as the Gold Coast, glancing right, can catch a glimpse of the lake from time to time as the sun leisurely elevates transcending shimmering rays over the surface of the sparkling water. Marvel at the modern and historical architectural delights of the homes and farms along the way.
9. Get Carried Away with a Hot Air Balloon Ride. Slowly drift over beautiful countryside landscapes as you revel in peace and tranquillity while skimming tree tops and corn fields. Gently drift along as there will be many opportunities to seize incredible “Birds eye” photos and share in one of the oldest of ballooning traditions – a champagne toast after your excursion.
10. Destroy Self-doubt as you Zip through a Catalina Forest. This jaw dropping experience will leave a lasting memory for sure. The splendour overlooking a World Biosphere will leave you breathless but nothing compares to a moonlight glow in the forest for an unforgettable venture. Listen for the howl of a coyote or a hoot from an owl as you careen 8 zip lines, cross 2 suspended sky-bridges, 14 platforms and a 40-foot rappel. Let the excitement begin.