Escape the City Bustle in Rainbow Country
Many Canadians call Ontario home but most of live in or around the Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa. But it’s a vast province with so much more to offer than crowded cities, brimming with tourist traps and souvenir shops. Head just a few hours north and you will find some of the country’s most untouched beauty, complete with the truly kind Canadian spirit of small towns. If this sounds like the type of vacation you’re looking for, head north of Toronto to Rainbow Country.
Rainbow Country is the area around the coast of Georgian Bay, a northern inlet of Lake Huron. It stretches about 25,000 square kilometres and houses ten different provincial parks. Rainbow Country is primarily composed of six regions: Parry Sound, Pointe au Baril, French River, Pickerel River, Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin and North Channel. Rainbow Country is often known for the variety of eco-adventures it offers. In the summer, sailing is the major activity.
Georgian Bay is home to over 30,000 small, rock islands, the majority untouched. In Manitoulin, the self-proclaimed “boating paradise,” have lunch on your own private island or discover a secluded cove. The region is littered with small towns, most equipped with functional marinas that rent boats to tourists. And when you’ve exhausted yourself on the water head to Sheguiandah and Manitowaning, some of the areas earliest settlements. Immerse yourself in history from the 1800s or check out the archaeological dig with artefacts from over 10,000 years ago. Whatever you fancy, fall into the history, leaving behind the cluttered, busy present.
Boating isn’t your thing but still want an adventure? Try Pointe au Baril and experience some of Canada’s most breathtaking winter scenery. The area has thousands for snowmobile trails where you can motor through untouched wilderness. If you can’t afford a snowmobile, try cross-country skiing or snow shoeing. The region also offers numerous trails for adventures on foot. Be sure to pack a lunch and your camera. When the day is done and you’re cold, settle down in the small town of Britt for the night on the shore of the Magnetawan River.
Finally, if you’re looking for a more sedate holiday, autumn is Rainbow Country’s best kept secret. Try the French River region, home to some of Canada’s best sport fishing. Here you will find walleye, muskie, northern pike, large and small mouth bass as well as sturgeon, large channel fish and whitefish. In the cool autumn weather, admire the leaves exploding into red, orange and yellow from your boat in the middle of a silent lake or from the front of your private cottage. Just outside of the more metropolitan Sudbury, you have access to all the amenities of the city but can still fully escape into nature.
Perhaps the best thing about Rainbow Country is it’s proximity to the rest of Ontario: it is an entirely different atmosphere mere hours away. If you have access to a car, follow Hwy 400 North for about two and half hours and you will find yourself in Parry Sound. It is a beautiful, scenic route, guaranteed to provide relaxation. Many Southern Ontario residents regularly make the northward trek during the summer to camp with their families or escape the busy GTA.
However, if you don’t have access to the car, Rainbow country is still within your grasp. Both Greyhound and VIA rail offer roundtrips from Toronto to Parry Sound fo