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Toronto to Tobermory: Exploring Canada's 8th Wonder

Shipwrecks, grottos, caves, and cliffs!

  • 10
  • 05:33
  • 228 mi
  • $43

Created by Chevrolet Equinox Road Trips - May 23rd 2018

Toronto is within road trip distance of a lot of awesome places, but none are quite as worthy of a visit as Tobermory. Its prime location at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, right between Bruce Peninsula National Park and the Fathom Five National Marine Park, on the Niagara Escarpment (massive cliffs mean killer views) is obviously a major factor here. Whether you want to hike and camp, or just rent a cabin at the turquoise water's edge and soak it all in from your porch, Tobermory is a natural paradise where you can relax and recharge. At the end of a long day of hiking, swimming, or exploring the town's shops, enjoy a pint and some local seafood in a pub and settle into the vacation vibe that makes Tobermory so special.

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Toronto, The Six, T.O., The Big Smoke, Hogtown; what can be said about Toronto, home of the Maple Leafs, that hasn’t been said a million times? Do you need to film a movie set in Boston or Chicago but can’t afford to film on location? Toronto is also called Hollywood North! Your journey begins in the megacity and you could just call it quits and stick around. There is literally no end to the sights and activities you could experience, but here are some highlights: the iconic CN tower, the YYZ area via ‘hop-off-hop-on’ bus tour, ethnic food in Koreatown, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greek Town or the Kensington Market, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Toronto. But you’re not here to visit only the biggest city in all of Canada; we’ve got to hit the road.

1
Terra Nova Public House Restaurant and Pub

Need some time to relax? Then head to Terra Nova Public House Restaurant and Pub. Support local farmers by dining at this barely out-of-the-way spot just oozing country charm. Malcolm Muth, its award-winning chef, only uses the freshest ingredients and all of it is local-- from the vegetables to the beef and fish. Don’t forget to hit the shop on the way out to pick up some jam or pickles.

Keep heading north from Mulmur and you’ll spend a few lovely hours in the Ontario countryside until you come to the crumbling remains of a once-stately manor house that will remind you of Daphne Du Maurier’s Manderley. The estate was called Corran, and it was home to Alexander McNeill, a prominent member of parliament at the turn of the century. Sadly the 17-room manor was destroyed in a fire (just like Manderley…) but the outer walls and grounds are still standing. The area is 87 hectares of gardens and paths and ghostly apparitions of former splendour to explore.

3
Greig's Caves

Not to be confused with Edvard Grieg, the famous Norwegian composer, Greig Caves do however have something in common with Edvard: they will remind you of the “Hall of the Mountain King” song from Peer Gynt Suite, with their evocative network of crevasses and cavities. Whether you’re into light spelunking or picnicking, climbing or hiking, the caves are a great place to breathe in the aromas of Georgian Bay. There are a total of ten caves to explore. Flashlights are required to get into parts of the network.

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Rachel's Bakery & Fifties Diner

As the name implies, Rachel’s is a blast from the past. From the checkered floors to the vinyl seat covers and poodle skirts, the diner does not fail to live up to expectations. Located smack dab in the center of Lion’s Head, Rachel’s offers a very affordable meal of home-cooked goodness. The bakery is also a local favourite; try the famous homemade jam crafted from local produce!

Do you like shipwrecks? Snorkelling? Kayaking? Fathom Five National Marine Park on Lake Huron is the place for you. The park has everything from picnic areas to glass bottom boat tours of wrecks of Great Lake Freighters (sadly though, not the Edmund Fitzgerald). There are towering dolomite columns jutting out from the water, and dozens of islands dotting the area for exploring. Be sure to visit Flowerpot Island for the best hiking and camping in the park.

6
Leeside Restaurant & Patio Bar

The Leeside is the best place in Tobermory for fish and chips or a hot breakfast. Eat on the patio for a great view of the harbour and surrounding islands. The place is deceptively large, so it rarely feels crowded. It caters to the morning ferry crowd, so if you have any lakeside excursions planned, it’s a great place to start your trip. Try the peameal bacon breakfast!

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Shipwreck Lee's of Tobermory

Arrrr you in the mood for a pirate-themed restaurant? Shipwreck Lee’s offers all the charm of a pirate ship without any of the scurvy! The waitstaff even dress as pirates! The coup-de-grace has got to be the All You Can Eat Fish and Chips, and unlike the pirate who has both a hook and a peg leg, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg!

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A grotto is a pool inside a cave. The Grotto of Bruce Peninsula is known for its startlingly blue waters and romantic seclusion. The water is famously frigid but that adds more lustre to the experience of diving in. The grotto opens right onto the picturesque Georgian Bay, and can be accessed by a brisk hike. Bears love to visit the grotto too, so stay alert!

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Whether you are a novice at hiking or an expert, the enormous 156-square-kilometre Bruce Peninsula National Park has the trails you’re seeking. The enormity of the park cannot be overstated; there are lush forests and fields to walk around or picnic in, and towering escarpments, cliffs, and caves (like the aforementioned grotto) on the Great Niagara Escarpment side. Because of the proximity to the air currents of the Great Lakes, the climate is balmy most of the year with famously mild winters, so visiting Bruce at any time is a treat. There are even rocky beaches to sunbathe on by the water. If the grotto isn’t enough for you, be sure to check out Indian Head Cove.

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When you're in Toronto, your opportunities are endless. It's the biggest city in all of Canada and it shows! (In a really, really good way). From Toronto, you can road trip to some of the most beautiful places in the country, prime example: Bruce Peninsula National Park. You'll also get the chance to go snorkelling, kayaking, hiking, dig into history, explore caves, eat really good food... Like we said, the opportunities are endless. Experience some of the best places Canada has to offer, right in the heart of Toronto.

Chevrolet Equinox Road Trips

In the Canadian Dream, it's our experiences that make us richer. That's why we're encouraging all Canadians to get out and experience everything that Canada has to offer. You don't have to go far. Incredible, engaging experiences are all around us, all you have to do is start exploring.