Travel Ontario Without Car

Are you planning to travel around Ontario without a car, specifically near Toronto, but don’t have a driver’s license yet? Fear not! There are plenty of exciting destinations to explore within reach of public transportation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into various cities and attractions near Toronto that you can visit without a car, along with step-by-step instructions on how to get there and what to do once you arrive.

Things to do near Toronto:

1. Hamilton:

Things to Do in Hamilton
Things to Do in Hamilton
  • Driving Directions to Hamilton: Take the GO Train to Hamilton, which offers a scenic journey through picturesque landscapes. Once you arrive, you can explore the city’s vibrant arts scene, stunning waterfalls, and historic neighborhoods.
  • Things to Do in Hamilton:
    • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens for a tranquil retreat amidst nature.
    • Explore the Hamilton Waterfront Trail for breathtaking views of Lake Ontario.
    • Discover the local art scene at the James Street North Arts District.
    • Hike to cascading waterfalls like Webster’s Falls and Tews Falls for a memorable outdoor experience.

2. Niagara-on-the-Lake:

  • Driving Directions to Niagara-on-the-Lake: Take the GO Train to Niagara Falls, then hop on a connecting bus to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This charming town is known for its historic architecture, wineries, and scenic beauty.
  • Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake:
    • Explore the historic streets lined with heritage buildings and boutique shops.
    • Indulge in wine tasting at award-winning wineries like Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin.
    • Attend a performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre for world-class theater productions.
    • Take a leisurely stroll along the Niagara River Parkway and enjoy panoramic views of the Niagara River.

3. Kingston:

Things to Do in Kingston
Things to Do in Kingston
  • Driving Directions to Kingston: Board the VIA Rail train from Toronto to Kingston for a comfortable journey. Kingston is renowned for its rich history, waterfront location, and vibrant cultural scene.
  • Things to Do in Kingston:
    • Explore the historic Fort Henry National Historic Site and experience life in a 19th-century military fortress.
    • Visit Kingston’s waterfront parks, such as Confederation Park and Lake Ontario Park, for outdoor recreation and scenic views.
    • Take a guided walking tour of the city’s historic downtown and learn about its fascinating heritage.
    • Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Thousand Islands and marvel at the natural beauty of this archipelago.

4. Ottawa:

Things to Do in Ottawa
Things to Do in Ottawa
  • Driving Directions to Ottawa: Opt for a VIA Rail train or a bus service to reach Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. With its iconic landmarks, cultural institutions, and green spaces, Ottawa offers a diverse range of attractions.
  • Things to Do in Ottawa:
    • Explore Parliament Hill and take a guided tour of the historic Parliament Buildings.
    • Visit the National Gallery of Canada to admire its impressive collection of Canadian and international art.
    • Wander through the vibrant ByWard Market and sample local delicacies at its bustling eateries and food stalls.
    • Spend a relaxing afternoon exploring the scenic pathways of Gatineau Park and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

5. Barrie:

Things to Do in Barrie
Things to Do in Barrie
  • Driving Directions to Barrie: Take the GO Train to Barrie for a convenient way to reach this waterfront city on the shores of Lake Simcoe. Barrie offers a mix of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and culinary delights.
  • Things to Do in Barrie:
    • Enjoy water sports and beach activities at Centennial Park and Minet’s Point Park.
    • Explore the historic downtown area and browse through its eclectic shops, galleries, and cafes.
    • Visit the MacLaren Art Centre to view contemporary Canadian art exhibitions and collections.
    • Take a scenic hike or bike ride along the Barrie Waterfront Trail and soak in the stunning views of Kempenfelt Bay.

6. Guelph:

Things to Do in Guelph
Things to Do in Guelph
  • Driving Directions to Guelph: Board the GO Train to Guelph for a hassle-free journey to this charming city known for its rich heritage, vibrant culture, and thriving arts scene.
  • Things to Do in Guelph:
    • Explore the historic downtown area and admire its well-preserved Victorian architecture.
    • Visit the University of Guelph Arboretum and explore its expansive gardens, trails, and natural habitats.
    • Discover the Guelph Civic Museum and learn about the city’s fascinating history and cultural heritage.
    • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Speed River Trail and take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside.

Navigating Ontario’s Public Transportation:

Navigating Ontario’s public transportation system is relatively straightforward, thanks to services like GO Transit, VIA Rail, and local bus networks. Here’s a brief overview of how to get around:

  1. GO Transit: GO trains and buses connect various cities and towns in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and beyond. You can purchase tickets or use a PRESTO card for seamless travel across the network.
  2. VIA Rail: VIA Rail offers intercity train services, allowing travelers to reach destinations like Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal comfortably and efficiently.
  3. Local Bus Networks: Many cities have their own local bus networks, providing convenient access to attractions, shopping districts, and neighborhoods within each municipality.

Things to Do in Ontario Cities:

In addition to the specific attractions mentioned above, each city offers a wealth of experiences and activities to suit every traveler’s interests:

  • Hamilton: Explore the vibrant arts scene, hike along scenic trails, and sample delicious cuisine at local restaurants and breweries.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake: Indulge in wine tasting, stroll through historic streets, attend theater performances, and enjoy scenic views of the Niagara River.
  • Kingston: Immerse yourself in history, enjoy outdoor recreation, discover cultural landmarks, and savor local flavors at restaurants and cafes.
  • Ottawa: Visit iconic landmarks, explore world-class museums and galleries, shop at bustling markets, and relax in picturesque parks and gardens.
  • Barrie: Engage in water sports, discover downtown attractions, appreciate local art and culture, and unwind in scenic natural settings.
  • Guelph: Wander through historic neighborhoods, explore botanical gardens, delve into local history and culture, and savor farm-to-table cuisine at cozy eateries.

Exploring Ontario without a car is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. From vibrant cities to charming towns, scenic parks to cultural attractions, there’s no shortage of experiences to enjoy. By leveraging public transportation options like GO Transit and VIA Rail, travelers can embark on memorable adventures across the province. So pack your bags, hop on a train or bus, and get ready to discover the beauty and diversity of Ontario, one destination at a time!