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{Get} 12 Apps Essential For Rural Ontario Living

12 Essential Mobile Apps for Rural Ontario

Although I consider myself a bit of a traditionalist, I sometimes can’t imagine how I would manage without my iPhone. It’s amazing how integral it has become in making day-to-day things simple. These apps are ones that I have used over the past year, some for fun and some for more practical reasons. If you’re like me you always appreciate a good tip, so here are 12 apps I recommend you try:

Discover Ontario - To know what events are going on virtually anywhere in Ontario, all you need is this one handy app. I used it to check on the dates of the Goderich Winterfest, which my family and I attend every year. The app tells me the dates, locations and provides a link to more event details. This is especially handy when you’re travelling around rural Ontario and may not be familiar with local happenings. The app will also utilize your iPhone GPS to locate the closest events in the vicinity.

Stratford - This is a complete and essential guide to visiting the Stratford area. From food and accommodation to shopping and all things in between, the Stratford app will provide you with maps and directions all of which are shareable through social media.

LCBO on the Go - This app allows you to search for a store or a specific product. Trying to locate your favourite bottle of wine? Simply scan the barcode and let this handy app tell you which LCBO is currently stocking it. This sure beats the old-fashioned way – driving from store to store looking for an elusive vintage only to be disappointed.

Shaw Festival - Book your tickets and plan your entire trip with this all-in-one app for visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can conveniently find complete vacation packages as well as listings for cottage rentals, spas or other local attractions. Of course, this app will link you directly to the Shaw Festival box office where you can purchase your tickets for the upcoming 2013 Season, which runs from April 3 to October 27.

Leafsnap - No more debating whether it’s a red maple or a sugar maple. Take a quick picture of the leaf in question with Leafsnap and let this handy app tell you exactly which species you are looking at. Better yet, learn the names of many new species and compare the photographs in the app to the species you’re looking at.

Parks Canada - This is the essential app for federal park camping across Canada. Not only will you have access to important details about each federal park campsite, you can be easily connected to book a reservation. Don’t miss out on major landmarks and points of interest: this app will point you to the highlights of each park. Parks Canada also provides excellent recipes, camping tips and checklists to make the most of your outdoor experience year round.

GasBuddy - This app has been a lifesaver more than once. I have been grateful for it when I’m travelling through an unfamiliar town and the gas tank needle is on empty or I’m in need of a restroom. If you simply want to find the best price on gas, GasBuddy will provide you directions to your destination, saving you precious time and money when it counts most.

Swim Guide - Ever been disappointed after driving to the beach only to find that it’s been closed due to water quality? Download this app and stay current on the status of the local beaches. This is especially handy for locating beach access points nearby when travelling in an unfamiliar area.

Ontario Craft Brewers Beer Finder - This app can start all sorts of great adventures. If you love Ontario craft beer then let your journey begin! Find a restaurant or pub that has your favourite draught on tap, go on a brewery tour or simply have a look at what’s nearby. If you’ve tasted a great beer on holiday and want to find it close to home, then this app is just for you.

Night Sky - Behold the wonder of the night sky. With this app you simply hold it up to the night sky to locate or name any of the constellations in the viewfinder. You’ll also be able to locate planets and satellites as well. Kids love finding the Big Dipper and the North Star with this app at any time of year. Works through a window, so there’s no need to be outside on a chilly winter night.

Ontario Trails Council Mobile - Conveniently access local trails wherever you are. If the forecast for snow isn’t looking good in your area and you want to do some cross country skiing, check the area forecast and enter in the name of your destination. The OTC Mobile app will tell you where the trails are located, the difficulty, length, amenities, price of admission and any other details. The photos and descriptions will also advise you of any significant landmarks you shouldn’t miss during your visit. Links and phone numbers for local trail organizations are provided for more information.

Travel Ontario Highlands - If you’ve never visited Ontario’s Highlands, then this app will give you loads of inspiration! Home of six sub-regions, Ontario’s Highlands have some of the prettiest landscapes in all of Ontario from Pembroke to Brighton. Explore by theme, attraction, event or by using the map. This app will make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for and will be sure to throw in a few extra bits of fun you hadn’t even bargained for. Book a room, dinner reservations and tickets to the show all from this one handy app. You can even send a postcard to tell everyone how much fun you’re having while you’re away! Save your itinerary right in the app and keep all of your contacts and information in one easy to access location (then you won’t have to go looking when you want to rebook your trip next year).

If you have a great app recommendation we’d love to hear from you! Please let us know about it by clicking on our Contact page and sharing your ideas. This list is not exhaustive and no doubt there will be more fabulous new apps making their debut this year.



  • Jason - Hi Erin,

    Nice list, but it would have been nice if you linked these apps to the iTunes store. Nonetheless, I am cross-referencing and searching.


    • Sarah Koopmans - Great suggestion, Jason! Can’t believe we didn’t think of that! I’ll add links right away.


  • Lise - Great list, but where is the one for Android? I would love to know if any similar apps are available.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah Koopmans - Lise and Robert, sorry that there aren’t more Android apps linked in this post. Erin and I use iPhones, but I tried to link to pages that offered the apps for various platforms and devices, when such a variety was available. Unfortunately for non-iPhone users, not all of these apps appear to be available for other platforms. If anyone finds versions of these apps for other devices, please share them with us and we’ll update this post! Thanks for your feedback!ReplyCancel

  • Robert Day - Great list! I’m downloading a bunch of these now… but for my Android phone. iPhone apps are great, but to be fair, Android has as many users – if not more – vs. iDevices. Links to the Google Play Store would be ideal where possible – and I know many of these apps are in the play store.

    Feel free to email me and I will send you links to as many as I can get.ReplyCancel

  • Janet Bauer - To bad there is no great app for cycling trails, bije paths and rides for Ontario!ReplyCancel

    • Sarah Koopmans - There may be, Janet! This list isn’t exhaustive, and we hope to periodically post about new apps that we find along the way. Meanwhile, if you stumble across one you think we should know about, please send it our way!


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  • Martina - Are these apps any good (have data) outside/beyond the GTA /central to SE ontario? The trail app sounds great, but I’m skeptical that there are trail listings in my neck of the woods.

    There’s an app called “Ontario’s Sunset Country” for travel info, accommodations, activities, events, landmarks etc. across the Northwestern Ontario region (which sees an influx millions of visitors annually).

    Available on both android and “idevice” here:

    • Erin Roy - Thanks for sharing the Sunset Country app., that’s a great tip. I use the gas finder and LCBO app quite often. You might really like the constellation app to do northern Ontario stargazing.
      Thanks for reading Ruralist! –ErinReplyCancel

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