The snow is gone, the birds are singing and the sun is getting stronger – the trifecta that signifies winter is officially over. While I’m unlike most and mourn the passing of my favourite season, I cannot deny that the arrival of spring signifies that new beginnings are on the horizon. Time to come out of hibernation to enjoy those longer days and what better way than with some adventuring in the province! Here are 15+ things to do in spring in Ontario.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Dates can vary for events and opening hours for attractions. Be sure to doublecheck before getting your heart set on some of these things to do in spring in Ontario!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Indulge in Some Maple-Themed Fun
With the end of winter and temperatures starting to rise, the sweet sap of the sugar maple begins to flow. What better way to kickstart the season than with some maple goodness! Of course, maple syrup festivals are everywhere across the province and are always a great way to enjoy this sweet treat. If you’re going to go anywhere, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is one you must experience at least once in your life. With plenty of vendors, maple eats and treats, trips to the sugar bush and more, it’s guaranteed fun for the whole family.
However, if you want to take your maple-themed adventures to the next level, you’ll want to head to the Headwaters Region. In and around the Caledon area, you will find a plethora of fantastic experiences. From all you can eat pancakes and maple syrup to learning about how this sweet sappy goodness is made, you can’t go wrong with a weekend trip here. Especially since the Millcroft Inn & Spa offers a fantastic magic of maple package! Check out the full details in my Ontario maple weekend getaway guide.
Enjoy an Easter Adventure
My family was never really big on Easter besides egg decorating and copious amounts of chocolate. As I got older, Easter typically meant a long weekend aka the perfect opportunity to travel to see friends. However, there seem to be a number of fun Easter-themed events nowadays compared to my early years! Follow Peter Cottontail as he’s hopping down the bunny trail and check out these ideas for some Easter fun over the long weekend:
- Hunt for eggs and treats across 23-acres at Canada’s largest Easter Egg Hunt in Milton
- Ride the Easter Eggspress along Canada’s shortest railway at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smith Falls
- Check out the largest Easter Parade in North America as it traverses Queen Street for the Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade
- Settle in for an Easter Brunch Buffet along the York Durham Heritage Railway between Uxbridge and Stouffville as you enjoy delicious eats while taking in the scenic views of the Oak Ridges Moraine
Hunt for Some Ontario Cherry Blossoms
There is no surer sign of spring than when these beautiful blossoms start to appear across the province! We are fortunate to have a number of incredible places to enjoy them. While Toronto’s High Park is considered the top spot to enjoy the flowers, there are a number of other fantastic spots in Ontario.
Peak bloom can vary depending on the weather, though it’s recommended to start keeping an eye on the buds come mid to later April. If we have a warm spring, it won’t be long before the blooms appear! Peak viewing time only lasts about 10 days as the blossoms only hang around for three weeks once they open. Scope out where you want to see them now, that way you’ll be ready once the blooms arrive!
For Ideas on Where to Find Cherry Blossoms in the Province:
Check Out This Overarching Guide to Cherry Blossoms in Ontario
These Are the Best Spots for Cherry Blossoms in Niagara
Check Out Some Unusual Destinations with Doors Open
Doors Open Ontario launched in 2002 and has allowed the public to access unique buildings that may otherwise be off-limits. For the past 20 years, over 8 million visits have been made to thousands of spaces across the province. Whether it’s a historic house, natural space or cultural landscape, Doors Open Ontario gives the average person a distinct experience they otherwise may not have.
While Doors Open has been a virtual event for the past two years, there are a few cities that are returning to in-person events in 2022! There are over 100 establishments across Hamilton, Peterborough, Toronto, Stouffville, Loyalist Township, Oshawa and Windsor allowing you to sneak a peek this year. Take a look at the Ontario Heritage Trust website for a full list of dates and participating attractions.
Check Out the Trilliums in Awenda Provincial Park
Alongside the brilliant blooms of spring comes Ontario’s provincial flower. They are often found in hardwood forests across the province in April and May. One of the best spots to see them is along the 30+ kilometres of trails at Awenda Provincial Park along the shores of Georgian Bay in Tiny Township. While white trilliums are the most common, there are five species of trilliums in total with the others being the red, painted, drooping and nodding trilliums. If you’re lucky, you just might spot them all during your visit!
Awenda isn’t the only spot to find trilliums but it’s certainly a hotspot for them. You might be surprised just how common they are if you know where to look! While you may be tempted to take some home with you, please refrain from picking trilliums. They take ten years to produce a single flower and once picked, there’s a high chance they won’t survive the next winter. Opt to take a photo instead – it’ll last longer anyway!
Looking for Other Provincial Parks to Explore in Ontario?
Check Out My Bronte Creek Provincial Park Guide
Hit the Trails With My Guide to Short Hills Provincial Park
Your Eagle Eye Guide to Mikisew Provincial Park
See All that Silent Lake Provincial Park Has to Offer
Visit the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa
If you’re going to visit any spring festival in Ontario, it has to be the Canadian Tulip Festival in our nation’s capital. It was established to commemorate the historic gift the Dutch gave us as a thank you for the liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War. Not only this, but it also honours the birth of Dutch Princess Margriet, the only royal person ever to be born here, in Ottawa during World War II.
Celebrating its 70th year, the Canadian Tulip Festival is bigger and better than ever after a few years of hiatus due to… well, y’know. Head to Ottawa Commissioner’s Park and admire the over 300,000 flowers as you walk through the gardens. There are also additional festivities like guided walking tours, tulip bingo, outdoor movies and more! Check out their website for full details and times.
Chase Some Waterfalls
Spring is the perfect time of year to do some waterfall chasing. While my favourite time of year for waterfall chasing is winter, the big thaw means this is the best time of year for those smaller waterfalls that often run dry in the summer months!
There is no better place to start hunting for waterfalls in Ontario than Hamilton. As the waterfall capital of the world, there are over 120 waterfalls to be found within the city limits with a large majority of them being within a 20 kilometre radius of downtown. You’ve probably heard of the more popular ones like Webster’s Falls, Tiffany Falls and the Devil’s Punchbowl but there are many more to admire. Take a look at my full guide to the best waterfalls in Hamilton and start planning your adventure.
Check Out These Other Destinations for Waterfalls in Ontario:
Do The Tour & Experience Each of Grey County’s Waterfalls
Here’s How to See All of Niagara’s Waterfalls in One Day
These Thunder Bay Waterfalls Will Call You to Northern Ontario
…and more ideas in the IBB archives!
Explore Prince Edward County
This area of Ontario has become a hotspot for tourism as the weather gets warmer. A spring visit is a great way to truly experience Prince Edward County without the crowds!
While it’s a popular wine touring destination, the region has so much to offer than just great vintages. There are a number of beautiful natural areas such as Sandbanks Provincial Park and Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park if you’re looking to get your hike on. If you’re a bit of a shopaholic, you’ll want to stop in at some of the small towns like Picton to check out their adorable local shops. Of course, all this will probably make you thirsty so stopping in at a winery or two is never a bad idea!
INSIDER TIP: During the Easter Weekend, folks can visit two waterfalls that are normally inaccessible to the public. Check out the Picton Rotary Club for more details!
The County is certainly a fantastic weekend getaway in Ontario whether it’s with your girlfriends or as a romantic adventure. Check out these great Prince Edward County accommodation options and book your getaway now!
Get a Start on Patio Season
We are no stranger to drastic weather changes in Ontario as we can have snow one day (I’m looking at you, notorious late April storms) and t-shirt weather the next, but that also means we often have our fair share of early patio weather. Take advantage of them with a pint and soak up that springtime sunshine! Here are a handful of fantastic options for patios in Ontario to visit:
- Collective Arts Brewing in Hamilton has an incredible beer garden with plenty of seating and gorgeous murals to really set the vibe
- Schomberg Pub & Patio in Schomberg is a gorgeous restaurant in a historical 1800s house with a tree-shaded patio adorned with Edison bulb string lights for a prime date night location
- Locale Restaurant in Aurora has a gorgeous garden terrace with chic couches that bring the schwanky lounge ambiance outdoors
- Rural Roots in Elmira has stepped up their patio game to include a gorgeous wooden canopy that really sets the comfy rustic vibe
- St Veronus in Peterborough brings a taste of Europe to the province with their back patio as you enjoy impeccable Belgian eats and a stellar beer list making it one of the top restaurants in Peterborough
- Taps Brewhouse in Niagara Falls has a great patio adorned with a plethora of flowers making it a great spot to enjoy a craft beer on a sunny day
Dodge the Rain With An Indoor Attraction
While we do get some beautiful sunny days, the rain can certainly flow in April and May. When this happens, it’s the perfect reason to head inside and check out some of the fantastic museums and galleries across Ontario!
You may not think of it but Hamilton is full of amazing indoor attractions. There is a large amount of history to be found in the Hammer with Dundurn National Historic Site being a great place to start. The city’s strong connection to the industrial revolution and its heavy focus on manufacturing to this day make a visit to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology a no-brainer. However, that’s not all Hamilton has to offer! The Art Gallery of Hamilton always has a fantastic repertoire of fine art to be enjoyed. Of course, a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens is never a bad idea – especially on those extra dreary days.
If you find yourself in Niagara, the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is the perfect way to brighten a rainy day. The cozy warmth of this tropical greenhouse paired with the gorgeous colours of our flying friends will turn any frown upside down. Plus it’s easy to enjoy a full day of exploring with all of the great indoor attractions Niagara Falls has to offer.
Experience the Peony Festival in Oshawa
Ottawa isn’t the only spot in Ontario with a spring flower festival! Head to the Oshawa Botanical Gardens where you’ll find one of Canada’s largest collections of peonies in the country. Spend an afternoon in early June enjoying these beautiful flowers and taking part in some of the family-friendly activities that are free for everyone. You’ll also find a wide variety of local artisans ranging from clothing to crafts to food and more!
Since you’re in the area, you may also want to stop by and check out the beautiful Parkwood Estate gardens. Of course, you can always admire these flowers from the comfort of your own home with the Oshawa Peony Festival’s virtual offerings.
Escape to Cottage Country for Victoria Day
While the Victoria Day weekend may be the unofficial start to summer, it’s still technically spring! No matter what season you consider it, the long weekend is a great excuse to escape for a few days. Muskoka is always top of mind for those of us in Southern Ontario when we think of cottage country, but there are a number of great spots to get away. The aforementioned Prince Edward County is another popular destination as well as Niagara thanks to their natural beauty as well as the abundance of wineries.
However, a fantastic destination to head for an escape is Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Not only is there plenty to experience in Peterborough itself, but there are also a plethora of natural wonders to be discovered around it. The region has an abundance of hiking trails, unique cultural destinations, plenty of paddling opportunities and more! Plus you can always head into the city for great eats, shopping and museums if the weather is lacklustre at best.
Hit the Open Road with an Ontario Road Trip
While many will argue summer is the optimal time for an epic Ontario road trip, I say road trips are a good idea no matter what time of the year it is! Yeah, you might come across some not-so-nice weather but that certainly shouldn’t stop you from taking off on an adventure.
Summer comes with big crowds (especially once the kids are out of school), especially to more sought out destinations. Travelling in a shoulder season like spring will allow you to experience spots in a more calm and leisurely manner. It may require some additional planning as not all attractions and facilities may be open if they’re seasonal, but I certainly say it’s worth it!
If you’re wondering about some destinations to check out (besides those I’ve already mentioned above), here are a few more recommendations for some spring getaways in Ontario:
- Niagara-on-the-Lake – The town is absolutely beautiful with plenty of spring blooms and you can enjoy exploring without hordes of crowds. This is a great time to go wine touring as well before the guided bus tours really start to take off for the season. Sneak a peek at my Niagara-on-the-Lake guide for plenty of things to do.
- Tobermory – Cruises to Flowerpot Island begin in early May and an early trip makes finding accommodation a lot easier than in the dead of summer. Check out my guide to Tobermory for more details.
- Burlington – Often a pit stop along the 403 and QEW, the city has plenty to offer with great restaurants, fantastic attractions, Bronte Creek Provincial Park and more! You’ll see what I mean with my overnight guide to the city.
- Toronto – If you find yourself wondering what to do on a rainy weekend, Toronto has an incredible amount of indoor museums and attractions that will certainly keep you entertained on a spring getaway.
- Northern Ontario – While Lake Superior will certainly be frigid, the snow should have cleared enough to allow for some solid adventuring. Get a small taste of Northern Ontario with this beginner itinerary or go full hog and check out these sights between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay.
Things to Know for Spring in Ontario
Canadian weather to begin with can be a bit of crap shoot, especially in southern Ontario. So as you can imagine, it’s good to prepare in case Mama Nature throws a temper tantrum and tries to rain on your parade. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy spring in Ontario!
When is Spring in Ontario?
Great question! While spring officially starts around March 20th according to the calendar, it’s not uncommon to have winter weather up until the beginning of April. Freak snowstorms in the middle of April or even May is not unheard of either so it’s best to keep an eye on that spring weather forecast when planning your adventures.
What Do I Need for Spring in Ontario?
Layers – always lots of layers. The weather can certainly take a turn for the worst and it’s best to be prepared so you don’t get soggy! A rain jacket, as well as waterproof shoes, are always a good idea if you plan to be outside at all. If the forecast for your adventure is looking grim, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for some things to do indoors.
Where Should I Go For Spring in Ontario?
Any of the places listed above! Here’s a quick recap of some of the top things to do in spring in Ontario:
- Enjoy a maple-themed getaway in and around Caledon
- Get your Easter on in Milton, Smith Falls, Toronto or Uxbridge
- Hunt for cherry blossoms across the province
- Go see the trilliums at Awenda Provincial Park
- Check out a unique destination thanks to Doors Open
- Visit the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa
- Explore more of Prince Edward County
- Chase some waterfalls in Hamilton, Niagara, Grey County and/or Thunder Bay
- Hit up a local patio to get the summer vibes rocking and rolling
- Enjoy an indoor attraction such as an art gallery or museum
- Experience the Peony Festival in Oshawa
- Kick off the unofficial start of summer with a cottage getaway for the Victoria Day weekend
- Enjoy the open road with an Ontario road trip
How Do You Celebrate Spring in Ontario?
If you’re like me, early spring can be a tough time of year. The dreary cloudy days of April combined with mud can put a damper on my days but luckily there are so many great things to do in Ontario in spring that it’s always possible to find a ray of sunshine!
What are some of your favourite ways to enjoy spring in Ontario? Is there something else you’d recommend? I’d love to hear it in a comment below!
Looking For Other Seasonal Things to Do in Ontario?
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