Northern Ontario

Romance in Northern Ontario

Romantics start to visualize northern Ontario before they arrive.  If you combine a romantic Ontario getaway with your visit you can see magnificent sunsets, Tom Thompson and Group of Seven landscapes, majestic forests, thousands of fresh water lakes where you toss your line, hike a trail, or imagine Golden Eagles soaring overhead as you paddle a canoe…..a romantic northern adventure awaits.

Where is Northern Ontario

If you think that you have been to Northern Ontario because you visited Barrie or Muskoka please do not tell a Northern Ontario resident.  If you do imply you know Northern Ontario,  you will be persuaded that you do not understand Northern Ontario, and you may be shown the back of the Official Ontario Map that delineates the locations for the real Northern Ontario. Highway 400 NorthHighway 11 North, and Highway 12 North and West  are the major roads heading to Northern Ontario.

When you look at the separation of Northern and Southern Ontario on the Official Map of Ontario the line runs east from the Quebec border and includes the northwest section of Algonquin Park, the towns of Sundridge, Britt, the French River, Parry Sound, the top part of Georgian Bay including Manitoulin Island, to the American border in Lake Huron, up to Sault Ste. Marie. From Sault Ste Marie, you can go strait north to James and Hudson Bay, and North West along Lake Superior to Kenora and the Manitoba Border. The geographic size of Northern Ontario presents one of the largest resort destinations in North America.

Winter in Northern Ontario

The 400Eleven web site has many members in Northern Ontario, from resorts, to inns, cottage resorts, bed and breakfasts, as well as tourist attractions. Many of the 400eleven Northern Ontario tourist operator members have a variety of winter getaway opportunities including snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, snowtubing, and ice fishing.

Summer in Northern Ontario

There are many member locations north of Toronto that could be officially classified as being in Northern Ontario. Other than borders and boundaries, the further one heads north into northern Ontario, the better the chances are to see more wildlife, catch more fish, meet friendly and hospitable northern tourist operators and experience northern Ontario cultural and rural differences from Southern Ontario. All Ontario residents and visitors should make sure they visit Northern Ontario. See Summer North of Toronto (Northern Ontario)


The governments’ Official Map of Northern Ontario divides the areas into the following categories and provides an enlarged map of each of the following areas:

Amstein/Port Loring/Loring | Tornado’s Canadian Resorts Inc.

Callander | Sunbeam Bungalows Family & Fishing Resort | Glen Echo Cottages

Chapleau | Moose Horn Lodge

Crystal Falls Okimot Lodge on Tomiko Lake

Lavigne | Deluxe Camp Cottages

Magnetawan| Ahmic Lake Resort | Pickerel Lake Cottage Resort

Mattawa | Mattawa River Resort  | Mattawa Adventure Camp

Missanabie/Wawa | Camp Missanabie Outfitters / Northern Walleye Lodge

Noelville | The Lodge at Pine Cove

Pointe au Baril | Pleasant Cove Resort


View 400Eleven in a larger map



If you are a bred and born Torontonian, or a new resident living in Toronto you may at different times try to define where “Northern Ontario” really begins and, “Southern Ontario” ends. At a recent luncheon, a new Toronto resident informed me that she drove “a way up north to Barrie”. This is where perception and reality sometimes diverge as the City of Barrie billboard on Highway 400, indicated that Barrie is in Southern Ontario. There is continued controversy over the location of “Muskoka”. For political purposes, or financial funding Muskoka was placed in Northern Ontario, and is now being re-located to Southern Ontario by the new Liberal McGuinty government.

Barrie Ontario, being located on one of the closest to Toronto, outdoor recreation lakes, Lake Simcoe, is still considered by many to be in Ontario’s cottage country. At the same time many will tell you it is “the fastest growing city in Southern Ontario”. When one sees the signs Highway 400 and Highway eleven merging just north of Barrie one must ask is this really the Gateway to Northern Ontario, or Ontario’s Cottage Country. Is Ontario’s Cottage Country and Northern Ontario one and the same??

Many Southern Ontario residents often define going north as anything north of “Highway 7”. There is a standard joke that anything up from Toronto past highway 7 is nosebleed country. Being an early convert to “going North from Toronto” and having spent most of my life trying to convince Torontonians, that life only begins north of Highway 7, I am continually perplexed by the perception of locating geographic Ontario destinations relative to a North-South relationship.

With the new “Bass Pro” mega Store on Highway 400 just south of Canada’s Wonderland in the popular Vaughn Mills mall, the average GTA resident will be getting north of Highway 7, and they will be feeling, listening and seeing a part of Northern Ontario in a retail setting. This is good for Travel and Tourism north of Toronto, regardless of where Northern Ontario begins or Southern Ontario ends.
Where do you think Northern Ontario begins??

As a child growing up, in Etobicoke a Toronto suburb, now part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), a northern outing for the family was a summer trip to Heart Lake, or the Albion Hills regional conservation area. Many now consider this to be a part of the GTA; it was at Heart Lake where I caught my first trout. It was here that Sunday’s have
fond memories, as family time with outdoor barbecues, playing catch, potato salad, picnics, swimming and card games with the parents. This was a Taylor family tradition for many years.

My first long trip north was in the early 60’s to the Town of Dorsett, and Bigwin Island to see my best friend who started a job as a sous chef at the then famous Bigwin Inn on Lake of Bays.

We traveled north on Highway 400 to Highway 11 to Highway 60, South on Highway 35 to Dorset. My most outstanding memory was the trip along Highway 35 to Dorset with the winding roads, and incredibly tall trees. We then took a water taxi to the resort, one of the Grand Old Ontario Resorts in Ontario, which was made famous with their entertainment line-ups and catering to the rich and famous. My eyes were wide open walking and visiting the magnificent old resort facilities. Seeing guests dress in white jackets and ties for dinner introduced me to a new world of elegance and luxury that I had never experienced. The introduction to resorts Ontario properties took me into a career path that continues now. The original Resorts-Ontario Association was called the Association of Tourist Resorts in Ontario. (ATRO).