Expats · Toronto

Road trips from Toronto: Collingwood and beyond

Thanksgiving weekend consisted of another weekend outside the city. This time we followed the trail of pumpkins to Collingwood, through Apple country and beyond to Tobermory.

Fall did seem to be at its most beautiful stage, and even the drive from Toronto offered some wonderful sights of orange, red and gold.

Driving through Ontario, Fall 2016

We arrived in Collingwood around lunchtime Saturday, and after quickly collecting our keys we headed to the attraction ‘Collingwood Scenic Caves’.

This is quite a family orientated attraction, and we found it was super busy most likely due to the long weekend. Unfortunately the zip wire over the tree’s canopy had already sold out for the day by the time we arrived, but we still enjoyed the rather wobbly suspension bridge and the caves themselves.

For day two, we had planned to venture north of Collingwood, to see some of Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory. I woke in the morning to find I’d come down with a rotten cold, and after shopping for, and dosing up on cold and flu tablets, we left our accommodation slightly later than planned.

Our first stop was a village only about 15 minutes from our base: Thornbury. As we arrived, we could see we were visiting in the midst of harvest celebrations- with stands selling apples pies, apple pie eating contests and, of course, pumpkins everywhere.

Thornbury was on our radar as a place to stop as we had been told about a famous ‘Fish ladder’. Here you can watch salmon jumping up the steps of the ladder, as they migrate up the river for mating.

It had been raining the night before and consequently the river current was strong. The poor salmon were working tirelessly to try and hurl their bodies in the opposite direction to the river’s flow, to climb up the steps. We had to wait a while, but did eventually see a couple of salmon leap. It was pretty surreal to see such a thing that I would only usually see on wildlife documentaries.

Fish ladder at Thornbury, Ontario

Back in the car, with bellies full of delicious cinnamon buns bought from Thornbury bakery, we drive through remote countryside (which felt a little like the scene from a movie – think isolated farm houses with acres and acres of land) until we reached Lion’s Head.

Below are some of the pumpkins we found on the way!

Lion’s head is known for its rugged, unusual cliff line, and we took the chance to get out of the car and stretch our legs as we walked along the shore. This peaceful spot made up feel like we had truly escaped from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Back in the car, and on route for our final stop – Tobermory.

I visited Tobermory, Scotland, when I was much younger – so in my mind I was expecting it to look somewhat similar. And surprisingly, there were similarities. Tobermory is a small town with a fishing village feel, colourful buildings and independent, crafty shops. My favourite was the sweet shop where we were able to stock up on maple treats.


On our final morning before returning to Toronto, back in Collingwood, we decided to visit the Blue Mountain resort.

This is essentially a ski-resort, but it is still popular in the summer and autumn months as a good point outdoor activities.

We didn’t have too long to try out anything too adventurous (as the drive back to Toronto loomed) but we did have time to browse the touristy shops and play some golf.


I am tempted to return in colder weather and try out some skiing!

It feels like a long stint of work now until the next Holiday (Christmas is next on the calendar). I am quite looking forward to my first proper Canadian winter (I have already invested in a proper coat and boots).

If you have any suggestions for winter activities or trips in and around Toronto, let me know – otherwise I fear we may be hibernating for a while!



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