DRIVING TOURS IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
3 to 6 hours of delightful sightseeing!

Tour 1 - St. Thomas/Elgin Circle Tour
Tour 2 - Fergus/Elora Studio Tour
Tour 3 - Cambridge Touring Ideas
Tour 4 - St. Jacob's Country Mennonite & Market Tour
Tour 5 - Images of the Mennonites: Past and Present
Tour 6 - Sauble River Adventure Tour
Tour 7 - Hamilton and Area Nature Tour
Tour 8 - Waterfall Getaway Tour
Tour 9 - Blazing Autumn Colours in the Beaver Valley
Tour 10 - The Charming Fishing Village of Port Stanley



Tour 1 - St. Thomas/Elgin Circle Tour - TOP

Elgin County has a perfect day or overnight market. Visitors can leave the 401 at Highway 73 (from the east) and travel through the Town of Aylmer, stopping to visit the old Town Hall and totally redesigned Main Street, then on to Rush Creek Wines for a stop, then a quick visit to the very unique Dairy Museum. Following along (now you are touring a cycle wine route) into the village of Sparta (like a smaller version of St. Jacobs), great tearoom for lunch or supper, and on to a second winery Quai du Vin Estate Winery, and even visit a Rhea Farm. Leaving the winery travel back towards the main road and on route to the 401 make one more visit to the Meadow Lane winery. There is a Comfort Inn on Highway 3 should one decide to stay overnight.


Tour 2 - Fergus/Elora Studio Tour - TOP

The 17th annual Fergus/Elora Studio Tour to be held October 4th and 5th will feature many local artists and their studios. Several studios from previous years include Blow Away Glass Studio and Gallery featuring local artists. Blown Away Glass located at 41 Guelph Road in Elora can be contacted by phone ay 1-519-846-8286 or at www.blownawayglassstudio.com. Night and Day Studio located at 5841 Wellington Road 29 is a rural studio where you can see the artists mixing their own clay to the finished fired pot. Night and Day Studio also has a store in Elora where their items may be purchased. Crafts and Such by Lou located at 160 Forfar St. East in Fergus specializes in unique stained Glass creations with a twist. Crafts and Such by Lou may be contacted by phone at 1-519-843-2074. For a wonderful weekend of art and countryside tours visit Centre Wellington in the fall for our upcoming 2003 Fergus/Elora Studio Tour.


Tour 3 - Cambridge Touring Ideas - TOP
Choose two or more of the following for a pleasant day of touring

Cambridge Trails:
Hike & explore some of Cambridge's many trails. Have a picnic, hike or canoe the Grand River. Spot & photograph some of the Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons who make their home along the Grand River, the first urban waterway to be named a Canadian Heritage River.

Apple Picking (seasonal):
Pick your own fruit at Orchard Home Farm near Cambridge and enjoy a meal at one of the excellent restaurants in the Downtown Cambridge area.

Visit the Market & Downtown Cambridge:
Visit the Cambridge Farmers' Market, have lunch at one of the unique restaurants in the Downtown Area. Shop at Southworks Outlet Mall. Take a ride on the Downtown Cambridge Tourist Trolley. Enjoy the small town charm of this historical & picturesque area.

Shopping:
Shop at Southworks Outlet Mall, have fun and find bargains! Outlet stores and 30,000 square feet of antiques & collectables. Enjoy the atmosphere of this unique outlet mall created from a 150-year-old foundry. Have lunch or supper at one of the unique restaurants in the downtown area.

Shop for Furniture & Visit the Market:
Shop for hand crafted and custom finished furniture. Visit the Cambridge Farmers' Market for fresh meats & produce (open Saturday's year round and Wednesdays in summer). Dine at one of the many unique restaurants in the Downtown Area.


Tour 4 - St. Jacob's Country Mennonite & Market Tour - TOP

Visit St. Jacob's Farmer's Market for fresh meats, produce and baking, with over 600 vendors indoors & out. The market is located at 878 Weber St. North, Waterloo. Have lunch at the market then take a Horse Drawn Tour that will carry you to a typical Waterloo County Mennonite mixed farming operation. Visit the picturesque village of St. Jacob's and shop in the numerous unique shops. Have supper at the Stone Crock, famous for home-style cooking and country hospitality.


Tour 5 - Images of the Mennonites: Past and Present - TOP

Travelling from either Toronto or Windsor, on Highway 401, exit at #278 and follow King Street in the direction of downtown Kitchener. Discover the Pioneer Tower, built in 1925 to commemorate 125 years since the arrival of the first Mennonite settlers in the spring of 1800.

A climb to the top of the tower provides a spectacular view over the Grand River Valley, which was declared a Canadian Heritage River in 1994.

Just past Ottawa St. in Kitchener, be on the lookout for First Mennonite Church and Cemetery. Discover the provincial plaque dedicated to Bishop Benjamin Eby, the religious leader of the Mennonites in the early 1800s, at a time when the community was called Eby Town. Take a stroll through the historic cemetery looking at the graves of many of the first inhabitants of the community. Some of the sandstone and limestone grave markers will be in German.

In the 1830s the name of the community was changed to Berlin because of the large number of German immigrants who had resettled in the community.

Visit the Joseph Schneider Haus Museum - this wonderful museum features the Georgian style home of settler Joseph Schneider, which was built about 1816 and has been restored to the period of 1856. Schneider along with his brother-in-law Benjamin Eby are credited as being the founders of Kitchener (Berlin).

Berlin was renamed Kitchener in 1916 during the latter years of World War I.

Follow King Street west towards Uptown Waterloo. In Waterloo, follow Bridgeport Road to the 1816 Abraham Erb Grist Mill. Follow the self-guided History Trail around Silver Lake and through Waterloo Park where you will find a provincial plaque to Abraham Erb, the founder of Waterloo. Erb was a Mennonite from Pennsylvania who purchased 900 acres of land in 1809.

Present-day Old Order Mennonites in the past 100 years have moved out of Kitchener and Waterloo to farm in Woolwich and Wellesley Townships to the north and west.

On Martin's Creek Road you will be able to see a number of Mennonite farms operating without hydroelectric power. One farmer has a modern wind turbine in operation.

Another stop along this road stop is the East Heidelberg School. This two-room school is one of a number of parochial schools operated by the Old Order Mennonite community where their children only attend school until the age of 14 and where the teachers only have grade 8 education. Learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, the students leave school to work with their parents on the farm.

Continuing along Three Bridges Road you will come to the Conestoga Meeting House where photographs of the building and adjoining cemetery are allowed only if Mennonites are not present.

In Hawkesville, discover Len's Mill Store. This is a favourite store where Mennonite ladies purchase bolts of cloth to make their dresses and quilts.

Stop in for a visit at various farms where homemade goods such as maple syrup products, fresh flowers, quilts and furniture are for sale. "No Sunday Sales" signs indicate an Old Order Mennonite farm.

The Visitor Centre in St. Jacobs features museum artifacts and visual displays, and can serve as a first stop to discover the fascinating history of the Mennonites in the Waterloo Region.


Tour 6 - Sauble River Adventure Tour - TOP

For unique specialty shopping tour Southampton where Agatha's Attic and Sauble Cedar Rose are just the tip of the curiosity shops in the area. Travel to the Sauble River Marina where a friendly guide will show you the best places to stroll along the boardwalk at the Fishing Islands. The Sauble River Clipper is the best way to view Sauble River homes, many of which predictably create an "awe" from the passengers. The original captain of the Clipper was Captain Maurice Doran, who is in his 90's and still amazes the small children with river stories, when he visits his old stomping grounds.

Small groups of 8-15 can really enjoy the river's true beauty by paddling a Voyageur Canoe. No experience necessary, just a fun attitude!

Once the river tour is over, take a bike ride or a walk on the beautiful tree protected streets of Sauble Beach. Dig you toes into the golden sand of Sauble Beach. Fish from the docks or just enjoy the wildlife (and beachlife). End a perfect day with a magnificent sunset over Lake Huron.


Tour 7 - Hamilton and Area Nature Tour - TOP

Highlights: A day trip with easy access from Highway 401. Visit three breathtaking waterfalls and three historical sites. Then cap off your day with a hike, swim and picnic at Christie Lake, a 336 ha conservation area nestled in the Niagara Escarpment.

From Highway 401, take Highway 6 South to Highway 403 West towards Hamilton. Take the Main Street West exit to Dundas. Turn left on Governors Road and follow the signs to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.

Dundas Valley Conservation Area
The Dundas Valley is one of the most spectacular and diverse spots along the Niagara Escarpment. The valley's 1,200 hectares of Carolinian forests, fields, cold-water streams and stunning geological formations are home to an array of rare plants, birds and wildlife. It is part of the Niagara Escarpment which has been designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Dundas Valley's 40-kilometre trail system is open to hikers, dog-walkers, cyclists and equestrians. The Dundas Valley Trail Centre, a replica of a Victorian train station, is the hub of the valley's trail network. The centre, which is open on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., has a food concession, interpretive displays, and brochures and maps detailing the Dundas Valley.

The Dundas Valley also contains two very unique historical sites: the Griffin House, a Canadian Black History site and the Hermitage Ruins, an excellent example of Ancaster's early history. Both sites can be accessed by trails within the Dundas Valley, the Griffin House from the Homestead Trail and the Hermitage from the Main Loop Trail.


Griffin House - Dundas Valley
An important Canadian Black History site is preserved in a simple 1.5-storey house just west of the Hermitage Ruins, located in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Enerals Griffin and his wife, Priscilla moved to the area in 1829 to escape slavery in the United States, possibly making use of the Underground Railroad. In 1834, they purchased this house with 50 acres of land and for the next 150 years their descendents farmed here. To book a tour of the building, or for more information, please call (905) 648-8144.

The Hermitage - Dundas Valley
As a second son of a Scottish baronet, George Gordon Browne Leith could not inherit either his father's fortune or his title, so he moved to Canada to start a new life, purchasing Dundas Valley property in 1855. Only ruins exist today, but it takes little imagination to consider what they must have looked like in their heyday. The stone for these beautiful buildings was quarried locally. Red bricks were brought up from Dundas. The limestone sills came from the nearby Credit River Valley. The ground floor of the main house had a drawing room, library, dining room and a huge entrance hall; all furnished in stately opulence with oil paintings, fine carpets and polished fixtures. For more information on the Hermitage, please call (905) 627-1233.

From the Dundas Valley, exit and turn right onto Governor's Road. This will turn into Dundas Street. Make a right onto Cootes Drive and then left on Olympic Drive. Follow Olympic Drive and continue onto Valley Road. Turn left onto Rock Chapel Road. Parking for Borer's Falls Conservation Area is on your right.


Borer's Falls Conservation Area
This escarpment conservation area contains forested land and informal trails. It features Borer's Falls, a classical waterfall that at 52 feet high is worth the trip to see. The area also adjoins the tablelands owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Rock Chapel.

From Borer's Falls Conservation Area, turn left out onto Rockchapel Road. This will become Harvest Road. Turn left onto Short Road and left again onto Fallsview for the parking lot at Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area

Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area
The Spencer Gorge, a small part of the Niagara Escarpment, one of Ontario's most spectacular geological formations, features two beautiful waterfalls: Webster's and Tews Falls. Webster's is a magnificent tiered waterfall and Tews, which towers at 41 metres, is only a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls. With the changing of the seasons, this area presents the visitor with vistas ranging from the sparkle of ice on the frozen waterfalls, to the vivid fall colours, a favourite of photographers.

Follow Fallsview Road to Short Road. Turn left onto Harvest Road. Stay on Harvest Road, it will turn into Crooks' Hollow Road and the Crooks' Hollow Conservation Area is located to your left.


Crooks' Hollow - Crooks' Hollow Conservation Area
Nestled in a small valley, through which the Spencer Creek flows on its journey to the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, north of Dundas and Hamilton, lies the pioneer community known as Crooks' Hollow, site of the first operational paper mill in Upper Canada. Only the ruins of the mill and a portion of the sluiceway remain today. A 1.5-kilometre self-guiding trail past early homes, and the ruins of barns, sawmills and water-control devices can be found at Crooks' Hollow Conservation Area parking lot, just off Crooks' Hollow Road. Crooks' Hollow is open to the public, but please respect the private property in the area.

Turn right on Crooks' Hollow Road. Turn left at Brock Road and left again on Highway 5. Christie Lake Conservation Area is located on your left on Highway 5.


Christie Lake Conservation Area
Christie Lake Conservation Area is one of the most beautiful lake settings on the Niagara Escarpment. Explore the trails that wind for 10 kilometres through peaceful meadows and towering pine forests - you'll be sure to see a wide range of wildlife that make their home in this 336-hectare conservation area. Trails are accessible by foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis, weather permitting. Swim along a 360-metre sandy beach within a chlorinated swimming area. Fish at one of nine ponds stocked with rainbow trout from the last Saturday in April to well into September. Pond 8 is designed to be wheelchair accessible.

To return to the highway, exit Christie and turn right on Highway 5. Follow Highway 5 until you reach Highway 6. Exit onto Highway 6 South. Take the Highway 403 exit and merge onto Highway 403 Toronto.



Tour 8 - Waterfall Getaway Tour - TOP

Come experience Grey County's Waterfall Getaway - on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, along the Niagara Escarpment. Visit the 7 waterfalls of Grey County. Feel the rush as the river flows over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Breathtaking scenery will embrace you traveling alongside Georgian Bay, over mountains, and through valleys.

Each waterfall is located in a unique setting. Visit the horseshoe shaped Indian Falls named by local Nawash Indians or Eugenia Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Ontario discovered in during the gold rush in 1852. Most falls are located a short distance from a parking location. Picnic pavilions and rest areas are available at several locations.

An overnight stay at a quaint Bed & Breakfast (starting from $60/night) and dinner in a local restaurant will complete your getaway!

Tour starts in Owen Sound, located at the north end of Highway 6 and 10 on the Southern shore of Georgian Bay. Accommodations can be booked with the Grey-Bruce Bed and Breakfast Association at 1-888-749-6604. The tour is a self guided driving tour along the Niagara Escarpment stretching approximately 250 km.
March, April, May provide best waterfall vistas.


Tour 9 - Blazing Autumn Colours in the Beaver Valley - TOP

Discover the amazing fall colours along the Niagara Escarpment with vistas over looking Georgian Bay. A visit to the scenic Beaver Valley will delight from heights such as Old Baldy Mountain to the valley bottom beside the rushing waters of the Beaver River. You'll see vistas of orchards and fields, rocky outcroppings and tiny glens decorated in fall colours. What better way to spend an autumn weekend or sunny afternoon?

Let us map out a driving route for you experience a blaze of fall colours. Starting in Flesherton, follow County Road 4 east to the scenic route on County Road 13. This is the beginning of a recreational haven nestled in the natural wonders of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of the Niagara Escarpment.

Heading north, visit Eugenia, a spectacular stop with the peaceful waters of Lake Eugenia or the dramatic Eugenia Falls cascading 30 metres over the Niagara Escarpment. Continue north to Kimberley, a village that will entice you with unique shopping opportunities and quaint bed and breakfasts for an overnight stay. Keep your eyes open for antique shops and the studios of many professional craftspeople on the annual Autumn Leaves Studio Tour.

Continue north on 7 and watch for a "lookout" in the hamlet of Epping, which provides a stunning view of the valley. This is also an access point to hike the Bruce Trail. Drink in the fall colour along this route as you drive toward the town of Meaford. In Meaford, visit one of the many apple orchards and pick up a pie, bushel of apples or take the "Fall Harvest Apple Tour".

Return to the starting point by following Highway 26 to Thornbury. Drive south on County Road #13 back to Flesherton via Kimberley. In Flesherton, several restaurants are prepared to fill your belly with eats and treats!

Tour starts in Flesherton, located north on Provincial Highway 10. Accommodations can be booked with Beaver Valley Accommodations at 1-888-439-2659. The tour is a self guided driving tour along the Niagara Escarpment stretching approximately 150 km. Plan your trip in September or October.


Tour 10 - The charming fishing village of Port Stanley. - TOP

One of the highlights of a visit to southern Ontario is a day trip or overnight visit to the charming fishing village of Port Stanley, nestled on the north shore of Lake Erie. From Toronto on the #401, exit south on highway #4; from Windsor exit on #20; from Niagara region on highway #3 exit on #73 to Port Bruce and along Lake Erie to Port Stanley.

Guests to the village can bask in the sunshine on our long sandy beaches, take a refreshing dip in Lake Erie, fish for perch or pickerel. Why not enjoy a guided boat cruise with Waterways Tours along the creek and inner harbour during the day or sunset?

The Port Stanley Terminal Railway with its open- air cars snakes through the country side to St. Thomas and back. Shopping is a treat in the quaint boutiques and galleries of the local artists. Don’t forget the excellent offerings of the Port Stanley Festival Theatre from May 22nd. to August 30th. Stay for lunch or dinner! Maybe your preference is fine dining under the quaint gazebo of the Kettle Creek Inn or enjoying the panoramic view from The Wharf Restaurant or partaking of a snack from the vantage point of one of the restaurants along the beach.

With so much to explore remain another day. You can choose from the local B&B’s to the luxury accommodation of the Kettle Creek Inn or Inn on the Harbour. Discover why people keep returning to our quaint and friendly village.

Southern Ontario… It’s the place to Play!
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