You're Not A True Ontarian Unless You've Been Caught In 7 Out Of These 14 Tourist Traps
These are family vacation staples!
Ontario tourist traps can be a real problem. You see something amazing online and impulsively decide to visit, only to find yourself elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of people who follow the same influencer on Instagram.
No one likes to get got. But just because loads of people enjoy them and they're incredibly well-promoted doesn't make these places inherently bad.
Many are essential experiences that, as a resident of the province, you feel like you're missing out on if you've never been.
It's a rare breed of person who's seen them all, but true Ontarians have likely visited at least 7 of these 14 hot spots.
When: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Address: 290 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: The CN Tower offers breathtaking views of the city of Toronto, Lake Ontario, and the surrounding area. The tower has several observation levels, including a glass floor and an outdoor Sky Terrace, which allows you to see the city from a new perspective.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Since the tower is advertised as an essential attraction for tourists visiting Toronto, it is frequently crowded. Moreover, the cost of visiting the tower is not exactly affordable, particularly for families, as admission fees can quickly add up.
Address: 5485 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls
Why You Need To Go: Not only is Niagara Falls a natural wonder, but it's also surrounded by some of the best wine regions and top-rated restaurants in North America. So, it's dinner and a show!
Why It's A Tourist Trap: While the falls are undoubtedly beautiful, they're often seen as a tourist trap due to the attraction's high levels of commercialization and crowds.
When: Anytime, although summer is when things really pop
Address; 7400 Wellington County Road 21, Elora
Why You Need To Go: Elora Gorge is another stunning natural wonder that offers breathtaking views of the Grand River and its surrounding forests. Visitors can take in the gorge's spectacular rock and cliff formations as well as partake in the area's swimming and tubing opportunities.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: The gorge's natural beauty makes it a popular tourist destination, especially during summer, which can lead to packed swimming areas and less serene kayaking experiences.
- 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday
- 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday
Address: 220 Yonge Street, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: The Eaton Centre homes over 235 stores, ranging from high-end fashion boutiques to popular fast fashion retailers, making it a shopper's dream. The mall is beloved by tourists and locals alike for its wide range of outlets, dining, and entertainment.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: The Eaton Centre's convenient location, pricey stores, and restaurants make it an easy tourist trap for families and visitors to fall into while visiting Toronto.
When: Anytime, although guided tours are on a schedule
Address: 111 Wellington Street, Ottawa
Why You Need To Go: Those interested can receive free guided tours of Parliament Hill, which allow visitors to learn about the history, art, and architecture of the buildings.
People interested in the political realm can even watch parliamentary proceedings from the public galleries.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Although inexpensive, Parliament Hill can be considered a trap because of its crowds and long tour lines during peak tourist season.
Yonge and Dundas Square
Address: 1 Dundas Street East, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the square hosts' various events and performances throughout the year, such as concerts, festivals, and cultural celebrations.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: The square is heavily commercialized, with many of its restaurants and shops catering specifically to tourists. So, anyone wanting an authentic Toronto experience should avoid it.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Not just a historical marvel. Casa Loma hosts various events yearly, from outdoor concerts to seasonal celebrations. The castle, used as a military hospital during World War I, has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. You can learn about the mansion's history through self-guided audio tours or guided tours led by knowledgeable staff.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: The presence of gift shops and restaurants inside the castle that target tourists may make Casa Loma seem excessively commercialized to some. Especially, given its rich history.
When: May to October
Address: 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan
Why You Need To Go: Thrill seekers will be right at home in Canada's Wonderland, which features several exciting roller coasters and rides, including Leviathan, one of the world's tallest and fastest coasters.
The amusement park also offers a variety of shows and entertainment, including live music, dance performances, and stunt shows.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Although, loads of fun, Canada's Wonderland can be pretty expensive. On top of the park's hefty admission prices, visitors also have to fork over money for parking, food, and souvenirs, which adds up quickly.
St. Lawerence Market
- Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m
- 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday
- 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday
Address: 93 Front Street East, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Foodies rejoice! This market is known for its wide variety of high-quality food options, including fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, and international cuisine.
You can find everything from local specialties to exotic delicacies from around the world.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: St. Lawrence Market can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Long lines for popular vendors, limited seating, and difficulty navigating the crowded aisles can make the experience less enjoyable.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Price: $21 per day, per vehicle
When: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Address: Highway 60, Whitney
Why You Need To Go: The park is a stunning natural beauty that se over 2,400 lakes and numerous hiking trails. Visitors are treated to breathtaking views of the park's rolling hills, dense forests, and crystal-clear waters.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Algonquin Provincial Park is a popular destination, especially during peak season. This can result in crowded trails, campsites, and facilities, which can be frustrating and take away from the natural experience of the park.
Price: $71 to $142
When: December 15, 2022 to approximately March 19, 2023, for ski season.
Address: 190 Gord Canning Drive, The Blue Mountains
Why You Need To Go: If you live to hit the slopes, you'll love Blue Mountain. One of Ontario's largest and most popular ski resorts, it features 43 trails for skiing and snowboarding and offers terrain for all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced. But in the summer, this is a great spot to explore the outdoors and go on a warm hike.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Blue Mountain's hotels and restaurants come with a premium price tag. Ski lift tickets, equipment rentals, and other activities are also expensive at the resort, making it a money pit for families.
Hockey Hall Of Fame
When: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Sunday
Address: 30 Yonge Street, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Hockey lovers will love the museum's interactive exhibits and displays, which include famous NHL trophies, such as the Stanley Cup, and a collection of gear and memorabilia.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: The hall is a popular destination, which can result in long lines and crowds that make it difficult to fully enjoy the exhibits and displays during peak visiting hours.
Address: 4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls
Why You Need To Go: Clifton Hill offers a wide variety of fun attractions for people of all ages. Some of the popular attractions include the Niagara SkyWheel, the Great Canadian Midway, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, and the Niagara Speedway.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Clifton Hill is a highly commercialized district that caters directly to tourists, with many attractions geared towards families and children. This can create an atmosphere that some visitors may find kitschy.
Price: $42.67 per person to tour
When: May to October, dates vary depending on the trail and landing
Address: 716 Highway 137 Hill Island, Lansdowne
Why You Need To Go: Visitors can explore historic sites, such as Boldt Castle, Singer Castle, and the Thousand Islands Bridge, and over 1,800 gorgeous islands.
Why It's A Tourist Trap: Crowded boat tours, difficulty finding parking, and long lines at popular attractions are all factors that contribute to Thousand Islands being a tourist trap during the summer.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
- You're Not A True Ontarian Unless You've Visited At Least 7 Of These 16 Attractions ›
- You're Not A True Ontarian Unless You've Done At Least 8 Of These 14 Iconic Activities ›
- You're Not A True Ontarian Unless You've Seen At Least 6 Out Of These 11 Natural Wonders ›
- We Asked ChatGPT What Tourist Traps To Avoid In Ontario & It Had Some Controversial Hot Takes - Narcity ›
- 4 Ontario Tourist Traps That Locals Say Are The Worst In The Province (VIDEO) - Narcity ›
- These Are The Biggest 'Tourist Traps' In The World & 9 Canadian Spots Made The List - Narcity ›