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Collage of 5 images of luxury camping

Camping or Glamping?

We’ve found five ways to kick your next camping trip up a notch! Enjoying the great outdoors can truly be a glamorous experience when you wake up in one of these stylish locales. Be sure to pack in a bottle of bubbly so you can raise a glass and toast your most stylin’ camping trip ever!

1.Oakwood Escape Luxury Prospector Tents – Situated between Canborough and Dunnville, Ontario. Oakwood Escape is the first Luxury Camping in southern Ontario. With large roomy fully furnished canvas tents. Camping in Ontario will never be the same. You can join them for the weekend or a whole season. Oakwood Escape is set among a Carolinian forest, with beautiful views from each tent. The local area has something for everyone, outdoor pursuits, wineries, sight seeing or just relaxing with a drink at the fire.

2. Gordon’s Park Tipi Tenting – Experience deluxe tipi tenting in the privacy of your own campsite in a wooded area of the park, with wooden floors, rain caps and comfortable foam sleeping pads. Picnic table, cook stand & campfire pits are included. All inclusive packages are also available. Located on Manitoulin Island, Gordon’s Park Eco Resort, Manitoulin is a unique outdoor destination offering camping, tipi tenting, stargazing and more. If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy your time on Manitoulin Island check out these 9 Great Reasons to Visit Manitoulin Island.

3. Happier Camper Vintage Trailers – Renting these little trailers in Amherstberg would be an memorable experience for a single individual or a family of 4. They’re small, easy to maneuver, lightweight, take virtually no fuel, can be towed with any vehicle, and require no extra insurance or brake lines. Known for their rigid, bold design, classic vintage style and comfortable interiors. Each trailer has been updated and restored to it’s original beauty with some added modern comforts like sound systems, iPod docks, heaters, ventilation fans and modern upholstery. There are currently 4 trailers available to rent.

4. Long Point Wilderness Suites – A tent with a shower?!? Take a break from the usual hotel experience! Long Point Eco-Adventures provides luxury glamping accommodations which are not only unique to Norfolk County’s Long Point area, but to Ontario! The Wilderness Suite’s design is purely Canadian with inspiration taken from one of Long Point Eco Adventures owners’ experience in Africa climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Wilderness Suites will provide the comforts of home with views, sounds and sensations seldom, if ever, experienced elsewhere in the world! Tastefully furnished to create an authentic and relaxed atmosphere, the decor has been picked to match with local tastes and history. Overlooking the amazing view of Long Point Bay, you can relax or try their zip lining and suspension bridges.

5. Yurt Camping in Bruce Peninsula National Park – Kick back and feel the lake breeze from your deck. Cozy up to the campfire and watch the sunset over the lake. Gaze up at the starry sky through the skylight dome as you drift off to sleep in a comfortable bed. The 10 yurts at Cyprus Lake are a modern version of a traditional dwelling used by the nomads of Central Asia. Yurts are a semi-permanent tent-like structure, circular in shape with a wooden lattice frame. Although yurts are classified as a tent, they are much stronger and offer better shelter from the weather. These yurts are 6m (20ft) in diameter and well-appointed with furnishings including a woodstove, beds, large deck and propane BBQ. Each yurt has a locking door.

–Erin

P.S. If you’re heading out on a glamping adventure be sure to check out these 12 Apps essential for Rural Ontario living too!

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Team building getaways in rural Ontario Team building getaways in rural Ontario

Want to foster more interpersonal growth among your professional team members? Need a chance for your employees or co-workers to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting than the office? Team building retreats are a great way to help your staff establish stronger relationships and work together on something challenging and fun that won’t be reflected on their performance assessment.

We know how valuable those opportunities to bond with co-workers outside of the office are, so we’ve gathered some team-building activities from around Ontario that we think you should try with your staff. There’s something for everyone, from cooking to painting, from horseback riding to kayaking, from spa retreats to unplugged lodges.

1. Edge of Walton Challenge Course, Walton (formerly Above the Falls Challenge Course)

10 or more people | Prices upon request

Climb and balance your way to the top of a forty-foot tower, strengthen the trust levels of your team with low course activities, or take up the challenge of a mountain biking course. EWCC is no ordinary corporate retreat – it is outdoors in a natural environment, physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. Your success is based on personal growth. Improve group decision-making, develop confidence and connect with fellow workers — all without the usual distractions. Rob and the EWCC team will work with you to develop a program that really focuses on the areas your team needs to grow in.

2. Rawhide Adventures Ranch Life Getaway, Shelburne

Contact for capacity and prices.

Escape to the country and enjoy the peaceful ranch life as part of a custom corporate retreat package. Provide the organizers with your budget and expectations and they will work with you to design a package specifically for your group. Activities include horseback riding,hiking on Bruce trail, archery, fly-fishing, and snowshoeing and tobogganing in winter.

3. Voyageur Quest Retreat, Algonquin Park

1-3 nights | April to November.

Soak up the tranquil scenery of Surprise Lake as your team stays at the rustic Algonquin Log Cabin lodge for a few days. Take advantage of the lodge’s award-winning guided program and go rappelling, hiking, sunrise canoeing, dog sledding or snowshoeing. In the evenings, enjoy a steam in a floating sauna, bonfires, and delicious homemade meals at a round table alongside a 36-foot stone fireplace. With no electricity at the log cabin, you will soon forget the sound of the buzz of your BlackBerry and start humming along with the seasonal fauna.

The same adventure company also offers corporate adventures in Collingwood, Muskoka, Prince Edward County, and Toronto.

4. Treetop Trekking, Huntsville

Appropriate for large groups | Activities starting at 2 hours in length

Spend some invigorating time away from the office, swinging in some Ontario treetops on a ropes course or zip line adventure (starting at $60/person). Or, take it up a notch and take your team on a night trek, where a ropes course is navigated by the light of headlamps ($65/person, minimum 8 people). Add in some specific team-building activities such as survival challenges or group dynamic challenges.

Treetop Trekking has also has parks in Ganaraska and Stouffville, as well as two GTA locations and five locations in Quebec. Not all activities are offered at all parks.

5. Grand River Rafting, Brantford

90 minutes to 5 hours | 2 to 200 people.

Take your team on a river rafting trek between Hamilton and London, launching from the Brantford area. Choose between kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, or river tubing. Paddling lessons are available prior to the trek. This team-building option is even good for non-swimmers: the water averages only one metre deep. Plan your adventure so you can enjoy a shoreline barbecue meal, a river tripper lunch, or an evening dining reservation at recommended establishments.

Team building getaways in rural Ontario6.  Meetings and Retreats at Ste. Anne’s Spa, Grafton

Your team will experience ultimate relaxation at this spa and wellness centre. Choose from several unique locations for your group to meet, and enjoy dinner prepared by the Ste. Anne’s Chef in an intimate setting. You could even choose to engage in a cooking demonstration or hands-on class where your team can add to its culinary repertoire alongside professionals. Participate in workshops designed to help your team learn how to enhance wellness in the workplace. The animal lovers will enjoy the chance to help care for the horses, and the nature loving groups may wish to conduct a version of the Amazing Race or other outdoor adventures.

7. Wine Country Cooking School, Niagara-on-the-Lake

$2100 up to 12 people | Cost per person reduced with increased numbers | Capacity for fairly large numbers

At this cooking school within Strewn Winery, work in small groups to prepare a seasonal three-course meal which you will then enjoy together in the School’s dining room. They provide the aprons, recipes, instructors, and everything else you’ll need to work together to create an unforgettable meal. After the fun, each team member goes home with a set of the recipes used in the session. As an added bonus, you don’t have to do the clean-up!

8. Long Point Eco Adventure Park, St. Williams

Choose from a one-day getaway at $50/person, a two-day escape starting at $235/person*, or a three-day retreat starting at $390/person*. Adventures include ziplining (day or night), mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, stargazing, or a custom adventure designed specifically for your team and its needs.

If you decide to stay overnight, the wilderness suites, a.k.a. tents with all the amenities you’d need, would make for an unforgettable experience. Top it all off with wine tasting at the on-site Burning Kiln Winery.

*Prices based on double occupancy in wilderness suites. Accommodation for up to 30. Meeting area available.

9. Art Party at 4Cats Studio, Woodstock

1.5 hours of studio time + 30 minutes of party time | Prices vary depending on length of project and size of party

Create and collaborate! At a 4Cats Team-Building Party, have a laugh and discover the artistic side of your colleagues while you work together to create a masterpiece inspired by greats like Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock. More fun than paintball, and just as messy!

Themes: Choose from parties inspired by Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Klee, or Claude Monet!

You can also find 4Cats studios in the following rural Ontario locations: Caledon, Port Credit, St. Catherine’s, as well as several GTA locations.

10. From the Farm Cooking Classes, Ameliasburg

8 to 15 people | $85 + HST for 2.5 hours | Available March through November

Employees compete in an appetizer cook off with assigned roles in each group, such as project manager and food stylist. Judging is based on a number of components, including originality, based on ingredients sourced from the “surprise” table. From the kick-off “ice-breaker” exercise to the final presentation, this two-hour workshop, plus reception, is a unique way to build your team and have a fun afternoon together.

Stay nearby at the Huff Estates Inn, which also can provide your group with a meeting space large enough for 30 people.

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  • Camp Kawartha - Another great spot to try out a day, half day or even have us come to you for Team Building activities is Camp Kawartha! We are located just north of Lakefield, ON on the shores of Clear Lake and are able to offer a wide range of team building activities in addition to high ropes & low ropes courses and rock climbing wall. For further information check out our team building brochure online http://campkawartha.ca/pdf/brochures/Corporate-Team-Building.pdf or contact our Administrative offices at 705-652-3860 or Toll-free 1-866-532-4597.ReplyCancel

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What is a Self-Guided Walking Tour?

Self guided walking tours are the ultimate day tour adventure for the independent traveller or interested local. A self-guided walking tour is an inexpensive, convenient and interesting way to discover the history, culture and stories in the places you are visiting. Rural Ontario is full of architectural and historically significant buildings and landmarks. What better way to get to know a town then to get out on foot an check it out. We’ve found ten fascinating tours that will provide you with an abundance of interesting venues and stops as well as many delightful things to see and do when you visit.

To make your trip even more enjoyable why not pack a picnic lunch and plan to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way? All of the communities featured here have excellent dining and shopping options to round out your visit. Heck if you’re saving money on the recreation part of your adventure, you can splurge al little somewhere else. Here’s hoping that you find your way to one of these 10 beautiful locations for a pleasant heritage walk this summer!

10 Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rural Ontario

Ganonoque – This pretty little town on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River was founded in 1792. This heritage tour covers 30 unique locations in the heart of Ganonque including several historic homes, churches and manufacturing facillities.

St. Marys – Located in Perth County, St. Marys is a perfect day trip for visitors looking for en joyable wander through a historic small town in southwestern Ontario. There are three diferent trail options of varying lengths to choose from on this tour. One will take you right through the town, the others travel the scenic perimeter. We recently visited St. Marys and shared our own experiences on Ruralist in our feature story {Try} Dining and Shopping in St. Marys be sure to check it out for our Ruralist recommendations for shopping and dining.

Bobcaygeon – The village of Bobcaygeon is particularly enhanced by its beautiful natural setting, it is situated on three picturesque islands between two lakes in Ontario, and within the City of Kawartha Lakes. The three islands are joined by a series of bridges with Lock #32 of the Trent-Severn Waterway system located in the centre of the Village. This 45 minute walking tour will take you to many of the historical highlights of the town – including the localtion of the infamous Bigley’s Shoes. We recommend bringing some extra cash along for some impromptu purchases at Bigley’s as a reward at the end of your journey!

Port Stanley - Port Stanley is situated on the north shore of Lake Erie and is home to numerous boutiques, shops, Inns and restaurants. This village bustles year round but is busiest in the summer when the beach and local theatre draw many tourists. THis short walking tour will take you around the heart of Port Stanley and will showcase many heritage properties dating back to 1822.

Merrickville – Merrickville like most of the settlements on the Rideau river system, developed beside falls or rapids which provided the water power to drive early development. The town of Merrickville is an attractive historic village spanning the Rideau Canal between Smiths Falls and Kemptville. This walking tour especially nice as the village streets are lined with shops carrying such things as locally-made products, art of all kinds, antiques, collector’s items, furniture, home & gardening accessories, specialty foods, and more.

St. Jacobs – The Village of St. Jacobs is a beloved destination steeped in history and set in a charming location along the Conestoga River. Located in Waterloo Region west of Toronto and within an hour and a half of Niagara Falls, it is renowned for Canada’s largest year around Farmers Market. The charming Village of St Jacobs is also home to a population of approx. 4,000 Old Order Mennonites who farm the surrounding countryside. This walking tour has no less than 30 stops so you may want to plan to have dinner or lunch while you’re there.

Vittoria – Vittoria is a quiet, peaceful hamlet in Norfolk County in Southern Ontario with some real architectural gems. With a population of about 600, VIttoria is home to The Cider Keg and Kernal Peanuts – two must-see foodie destinations. This nicely illustrated walking tour, covering 26 locations in the hamlet of Vittoria, would make for a leisurely summertime stroll.

Gravenhurst - Gravenhurst is the Gateway to the Muskoka Lakes. First settled in 1861, it soon gained prominence, first as a transshipment centre from stages to steamboats and later as a major lumber town and boat building centre. Today, with a population of roughly 11,500, it caters to tourists and cottagers. This coulourful and well-designed self-guided walking map features 26 stops of historical significance in the heart of Gravenhurst.

Delta – Best known for The Old Stone Mill, a National Historic Site showcasing milling technology and 1800s industrial heritage, Delta is located in eastern Ontario. The village is located between two lakes, Upper Beverley and Lower Beverley, along highway 42, approximately 15 kilometers west of Athens, Ontario and 28 kilometers east of Westport, Ontario. Take a stroll along Court St. and visit Lower Beverley Lake Township Park and its excellent facilities for camping, picnicking and swimming. Amble casually on this tour. Imagine the ring of the mason’s hammer, the whripp of the carpenter’s saw, the humming of mills, the singing of choirs, the laughter and tears of family and village life as it was a century or two ago.This short tour will take you to eight highlights in the community.

Beamsville – This self-directed multimedia tour takes you up and down the Niagara Escarpment to 20 destinations in the Beamsville Bench area of the Greenbelt. It introduces you to the history of grape growing and wine production in the Niagara Peninsula, and takes you past historically significant landscape features, vinyards, wineries, and juice producers. You’ll hear about the ecological, climatic, and agricultural aspects of grape and wine production, and explore the rise of wine grapes and the demise of juice grapes in the region.

–Erin

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  • Colleen - There is also one that was published in Simcoe, Ontario too, covering the downtown area. The Norfolk County Dept of Tourism, or the Simcoe Downtown BIA are aware of this…There were also guided walking tours held in town for several years, with skits, songs, & special tours of significant buildings.ReplyCancel

  • Carene Giosi - Good Afternoon,

    My name is Carene Giosi and I am the Assistant Curator at the Delhi Tobacco Museum and Heritage Centre and on your “Places” page under self-guided walking tours I saw some awesome places to go. I just wanted to let you know that at the Museum, we also created one for Delhi as well and it can picked up at the Museum or from the Delhi BIA and other retailers on Main Street.

    So, hey if people are in the Vittoria area or Port Stanley area, they could come on over and pick up one for Delhi too. They might want to even make their way over to Lynedoch to Cranberry Creek too! :)

    I thought I would let yah know!

    Thanks and keep up the awesome job, I love your website and social media!

    All the best,

    CareneReplyCancel

    • Erin Roy - Thanks Carene! That’s great to know. Thanks for posting your comments and suggestions. If there are any other recommended destinations please feel free to add them here as well.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Bobier - We have a walking or driving trail of the historic houses on Lakeview Line in Dunwich Township. Pick up the guide in our office at Backus-Page House Museum, 29424 Lakeview Line, south of WallacetownReplyCancel

1 Houseboat + 5 Couples + 3 Nights = Loads of Fun and Incredible Memories

Cruising the Kawartha Lakes with a group of good friends aboard a Happy Days Houseboat, my husband and I had the time of our lives a few summers ago. There are few better ways to reconnect with old friends than aboard a floating vacation home with nothing to do but swim, lounge, eat, fish and chat. Ten years ago, before we were married with kids, our group made our first houseboat voyage. This summer, we relived those old memories and made lots of new ones.

Five couples is the magic number for meal planning. A three-night voyage meant five meals to prepare, so each couple took charge of either a brunch or a dinner and a signature cocktail to go with it. Our meal was served on the last night, so we had to plan accordingly. We served up a mushroom risotto with fresh sweet corn, grilled sausage and shrimp and a caprese salad on the side. Our signature cocktail was a ginger pear martini (see the photos below for a snapshot of this tasty meal).

Happy Days Houseboat Rentals

I can’t say enough about the fantastic staff and service at Happy Days Houseboats. From the day we booked our reservation about 6 months ago, the owners enthusiastically helped us plan our trip. When we arrived to board the boat, the staff explained the local waterways, suggested a route and showed us all the safety features of the boat. By the time we pulled out of the marina, we were able to handle the boat confidently and comfortably.

We booked a 12-sleeper houseboat for 10 people, so we had lots of room. The boat was so spacious that we could all be together, yet still have enough to have room to spread out and do what we pleased: lie in the sun, read a book or have a nap.

The houseboat came conveniently equipped with a BBQ, lawn chairs, basic kitchen equipment, dishware and cutlery. All we had to bring along was our food and linens. You can see a more complete list of what boaters should bring on the Happy Days website.

Our crew had moderate boating skill. My husband Dennis and one other friend had boating licenses, and all of the guys were knowledgeable about docking, driving and navigating. Houseboaters are not currently required to have a boating license, but Happy Days issues temporary licenses that are in accordance with coastguard requirements.

Planning our journey and choosing a place to tie up each night kept things interesting. Captain Dennis loved this aspect of the trip! The Happy Days houseboat is equipped with superb navigation resources, a GPS, a depth finder and detailed nautical maps to help you chart your course.

Check out the Happy Days Houseboats frequently asked questions page for more details.

A Don’t-Forget-to-Bring list for Prospective Houseboaters:

  • Board games and cards to play in the evening
  • Lots of drinking water
  • Fun inflatable floating devices
  • A bar of glycerine soap for eco-friendly lake baths
  • Your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!

–Erin

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  • Kate Clegg - I was on this trip and enjoyed absolutely every minute of it. I found the Happy Days Houseboat staff extremely friendly and helpful and amazing. The boat was cleaner than most hotels I’ve visited! Loved it. and beautiful pics Erin!ReplyCancel

    • Erin Roy - Thanks Kate! You are right on all points. I hope there is another houseboat adventure in our future – only let’s not wait 10 years this time! – ErinReplyCancel

  • Melanie Steadman - Had an amazing holiday. Great company to book with. Happy Days scores 10 for customer service. Staff were very confidant and courteous. They made you feel comfortable with operating this boat. Before boarding the staff were meticulous in prepping and cleaning the houseboat. Not a corner of vessel was overlooked. Looking forward to our next houseboat holiday. Let’s not wait a decade next time.

    Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Hollenga - I have always wanted to Rent a house boat, But i want to do it in the Summer of 2013, I have checked out the website and it’s great.ReplyCancel

  • kim - hello i am looking to rent a house boat for a week in july for 3 adults. i used to live in Bobcaygeon when i was a a child and am looking to reconnect with some old public school mates.could you please send me some pics of the houseboats and pricing please thank you Kim StLouisReplyCancel

If you’re planning the perfect rustic, country style event you’ll quickly find out that the devil is in the details. Finding just the right look, not too country and not too shabby, but just enough to evoke that rustic look that you’re envisioning, can be rather tricky. If you don’t happen to have dozens of mix-and-match wooden chairs or antique milk glass bud vases and cake stands, how can you style your event in the way your dreaming of? Well look no further, we found eight different rental suppliers and event co-ordinators that have just the thing to make your dreams into reality. Best of all, these event experts specialize in rustic styling and are the real deal.

1. Marvelle Events, Caledon - This full-service design and rental company, run by Dan and Laura Forbes, offers a full inventory of creative rentals with a vintage flare. All design styles and all products imaginable are available for rent for weddings, events, trade shows, window displays, film and TV. Their two acre rural property is also available for photography and film shoots.

2. NJS Design, Clinton – NJS Design Event & Party Rentals, run by Nancy and Laura Snell, offers rentals and décor for all sorts of celebrations and events.With an inventory that could be described as ranging from simple, elegant and classic to contemporary and fresh in nature, NJS Design Event & Party Rentals has the options, styles and inventory to suit your celebration. Serving south-western Ontario, they offer a range of services beyond rentals, including event design, delivery, pick-up, event set-up.

3. Key Event Rentals, Niagara area – Key Event Styling & Vintage Rentals provides clients with an array of vintage props and products for movies, photo shoots, dinner parties and weddings. They’ll help you create any theme for your party. Be sure to check out their amazing inventory of lighting options and door and window backdrops.

4. Attic Door Vintage & Rustic Rentals, Harrow - You can find this sweet bicycle built for two, along with all sorts of other fantastic vintage inspired inventory on Facebook. They have a wonderful selection of small accessories.

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5. Vintage Rentals Ltd., Caledon - Offers a specialized collection of furniture and accessories for every aspect of a gorgeous wedding, special event or a fabulous party. They start with the basics then add the beautiful pieces for all elements of your occasion. From the ceremony to the reception, your rustic wedding dreams will be realized with Vintage Rentals.

6. Country Lane Vintage Rentals, Kettleby - Whether you are a couple looking to add a personal flare to your wedding or an event planner seeking the perfect items for a client, or a photographer in need of props, Country Lane Vintage Rentals will work with you to find just what you’re looking for. They offer sweet vintage vignette rental packages for your ceremony and reception. Checkout the vignette packages on their website and scroll through their décor inventory to choose items to add your own personal style.

7. Vintage Prop Rentals, St. Marys - Vintage Prop Rentals offers antique, vintage & retro items for sale or rent to the film, photography & wedding industry. They specialize in vintage inventory and feature large and small accessories, furniture, crates and containers. These eclectic vintage cake stands would make a gorgeous rustic styled dessert buffet!

8. Vintage Rentals Ltd., Caledon – See #5 for more details. This is a shot of their show room, isn’t it pretty!

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