Thrilling rides, family attractions and sports fun near Toronto
Plan a trip that the whole family will love on this five-day adventure across the border to Ontario, Canada.
Visit top attractions in and around Toronto, including Canada’s Wonderland theme park, the Toronto Zoo and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
And the best part? You’ll love how much further your dollar goes in Ontario, Canada.
Border crossing information
Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to know to cross the border into Canada.
Before travelling, check border wait times.
Border crossing locations from Michigan into Canada include:
- Detroit Windsor Tunnel, Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario
- Ambassador Bridge, Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario
- Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron, Michigan to Point Edward and Sarnia, Ontario
Day 1: Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan
- Approximate distance and travel time: 180 miles (290 kilometres), 2 hours 45 minutes from Sarnia and 230 miles (370 kilometres), 3 hours 45 minutes from Windsor
Vibrant, family-friendly and a stone’s throw from Toronto, Vaughan is a bustling, diverse city that’s home to Canada’s Wonderland, the entertaining first stop for your road trip.
Where to stay in Vaughan
The Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Vaughan is the ideal hotel for those looking to be close to all the action and features an indoor pool and free parking.
Location: 3201 Highway 7, Vaughan
SpringHill Suites Toronto Vaughan is an all-suite hotel that features free onsite parking and complimentary breakfast just four miles (six kilometres) from Canada’s Wonderland.
Location: 612 Applewood Crescent, Vaughan
Things to do in Vaughan
Amusement park thrills
Canada’s Wonderland is a 330-acre (134-hectare) amusement park with over 200 attractions for every member of the family, including soaring roller coasters and lazy river tubing.
With 18 thrilling roller coasters and gravity-defying drops, including the Leviathan and the Tundra Twister, the big kids are sure to be entertained all day long. Splashworks, Canada’s Wonderland water park, boasts eight hectares of wave pools, water slides, cliff jumping and kiddie slides. If you’ve got little ones, take them to KidZville, which features multiple attractions for kids like Taxi Jam, Splash Station, Character Carousel and Jumpin’ Jet.
Fuel up with food at sit-down dining spots like the Treetop café or the Chicken Shack. For something quick, head to the Grab & Go Market or one of the many stalls across the park. Gluten-free, Halal, vegan and vegetarian options are available.
Find information on tickets and passes. Purchase tickets online prior to your visit to save on the price of admission.
Location: 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan
More family-friendly attractions
Located inside the Vaughan Mills shopping centre, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre exhibits are made up of over two million LEGO bricks. This must-see attraction features rides, a 4D cinema, a large play area and store.
Location: 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is Canada’s largest publicly funded art gallery. The gallery’s permanent collection includes over 6,500 artworks by Canadian, Indigenous and contemporary artists.
Location: 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the day away at the Kortright Centre for Conservation, a suburban conservation area with a 9.94 mile (16 kilometre) trail network for hiking and biking. The centre offers excellent programs for adults and children on biodiversity, sustainability and environmental conservation, and sells maple syrup products you can take home as a souvenir.
Location: 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge
Where to eat and drink in Vaughan
A Vaughan institution that serves all-day breakfast and classic dinner, Kotsy’s Restaurant is a retro 1950’s style diner that is family owned and operated.
Location: 2104 Highway 7, Concord
Popular for its seasonal patio, Belsito Trattoria serves traditional Italian fare that combines authentic Mediterranean ingredients with premium local and imported products.
Location: 10429 Islington Avenue, Vaughan
Local favourite Ciao Roma serves Roman-style pizzas, house-made arancini and build-your-own salads made fresh to order.
Location: 28 Roytec Road #12a, Woodbridge
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Old Firehall Confectionery, which crafts the finest chocolates and cookies with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Location: 10449 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg
Day 2: Toronto Zoo
- Approximate distance and travel time: 30 miles (50 kilometres), 40 minutes
Insider tip: Save time and money with the Toronto CityPass, that provides entrance into five of the city’s most popular attractions including the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Before heading to the downtown core of Toronto for your next overnight stay, visit the Toronto Zoo.
Wear your walking shoes because it’s the largest zoo in Canada, covering over 700 acres (287 hectares). The zoo is divided into seven different geographic zones: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain.
Location: 2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto
Day 2 - 3: Toronto
- Approximate distance and travel time: 25 miles (40 kilometres), 45 minutes
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the most multicultural city in North America. Start your visit at the “Toronto” sign in Nathan Phillips Square (the city’s ultimate selfie spot), then take in all the sights, attractions and food options this metropolis has to offer.
Know before you go:
- Due to construction in spring/summer 2023, the area around the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto as well as the downtown will be very busy. Try to book extra time to get to your destination and consider alternative routes or public transit where possible.
- Find parking around Toronto at pay & display meters. Most of these paid parking spots are valid for three hours and bookable using their mobile app. Check the signage and the rate card carefully before parking.
Where to stay in Toronto
Located on Blue Jays Way in Toronto’s entertainment district, The King Blue Hotel is within walking distance of numerous sites and attractions. The hotel offers on-site parking, a fitness centre and indoor pool.
Location: 355 King Street West, Toronto
The Sheraton Centre Hotel, in the heart of downtown, is close to the Eaton Centre and CN Tower. It features a swimming pool with a lifeguard on duty. The hotel is directly accessible via the underground PATH network with shops, services and restaurants. Paid valet parking is offered.
Location: 123 Queen Street West, Toronto
The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto offers family-friendly stays near Dundas Square, the CN Tower and the Eaton Centre. The hotel features an indoor pool and 24-hour gym. Paid parking is available.
Location: 475 Yonge Street, Toronto
The Chelsea Hotel caters to families with a family fun zone complete with a teen lounge, kids’ centre, heated pool and Toronto's only indoor waterslide, the “Corkscrew”. Underground paid parking is available.
Location: 33 Gerrard Street West, Toronto
Things to do in Toronto
No visit to Toronto is complete without a ride to the top of the 144-storey, 180-foot tall (55-metres) CN Tower. Get lunch at the revolving 360 Restaurant, or join an EdgeWalk, an open-air, hands-free walk around the exterior of the tower.
Location: 290 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Explore the aquatic world of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. A family favourite, the aquarium offers multiple viewing galleries and artificial reefs, a discovery centre and live diving shows.
Location: 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Learn more about our country at Little Canada. Explore detailed, miniature exhibits representing some of the most iconic landmarks in Canada. You can also create a mini replica of yourself to take home or add to the exhibit.
Location: 10 Dundas Street East Basement 2, Toronto
The Toronto Botanical Garden offers an engaging learning environment grounded in plant-based content. Tour the garden and learn about the local ecology, ecosystems, botany and horticulture. Kids will enjoy the interactive, hands-on activities at the Teaching Garden.
Location: 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto
Step back into the 1800s at Black Creek Pioneer Village. With historically accurate buildings, costumed interpreters and live demonstrations of traditional crafts, you and the kids will be fully immersed in the life of a small rural Ontario town.
Location: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto
From the 30 exciting rides at the Centreville Amusement Park, the petting zoo at Far Enough Farm, bike rentals, beaches and splash pads, there are a lot of activities for the whole family to enjoy at Centre Island.
Location: Catch the ferry to Toronto Islands at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, 9 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Museums and culture
Discover Canada’s rail history at the Toronto Railway Museum. Located steps from the CN Tower, the museum offers tours of a historic roundhouse and a chance to walk through historic rail cars.
Location: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
The Ontario Science Centre brings science to life with kid-friendly interactive displays, giant IMAX® theatre and live events including the classic hair-raising Van de Graaff Generator demo.
Location: 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto
Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum, The Royal Ontario Museum offers everything from a bat cave and hands-on biodiversity gallery to dinosaur exhibits and Egyptian mummies.
Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto
Explore over 4,500 years of history as told through the world of footwear. The Bata Shoe Museum houses an impressive permanent collection, inside a shoebox-inspired building.
Location: 327 Bloor Street West, Toronto
One of Canada’s premier art galleries, the Art Gallery of Ontario offers the chance to view world-class exhibits and participate in kid-friendly activities. Check the schedule for daily family-oriented tours. The museum is free for all visitors 25 and under.
Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Experience mind-bending optical illusions at the Museum of Illusions. This unique museum encourages you to interact with the exhibits, making it engaging and educational for people of all ages.
Location: 132 Front Street East, Toronto
Don’t miss Kooza by Cirque du Soleil, Canada’s largest contemporary circus extravaganza with entertaining storytelling through live music, dance, acrobatics and theatrics in Toronto until June 16.
Location: 2150 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
With over 230 shops and restaurants, the Toronto Eaton Centre offers hours of shopping entertainment. Located in the heart of the city on Yonge Street, across from Yonge-Dundas Square.
Location: 220 Yonge Street, Toronto
A national historic site in Toronto’s east end, The Distillery District charms with its cobblestone streets and painstakingly restored Victorian industrial architecture. Dating to 1832, the district is an arts-and-culture hub, home to galleries, boutiques, restaurants and cafés. For a unique adventure, take an exciting segway tour through the best photo ops in the Distillery District.
Location: The Distillery District extends from Parliament Street to Cherry Street, south of Front Street East, Toronto
A must for every devoted and casual hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a 65,000-square-foot shrine to Canada’s favourite sport, filled with history and collections from around the world.
Location: 30 Yonge Street, Toronto
Depending on the time of year you plan to visit, Toronto offers numerous opportunities to watch live professional sports. If the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs or NBA’s Toronto Raptors make the playoffs, cheer them on at the Scotiabank Arena. Catch an MLB Blue Jays game in the Rogers Centre, aka the Skydome. For football fans, Toronto also offers an opportunity to catch the local CFL team, the Toronto Argonauts.
Where to eat and drink in Toronto
For breakfast or lunch in a family-friendly atmosphere, try Cora in the heart of the Entertainment District for a variety of hearty brunch options ranging from French toast and pancakes to skillets and sandwiches.
Location: 106 Front Street East #102, Toronto
Karine's Fresh in Grange Park, offers all-day, gluten-free breakfast. From omelettes to crepes, the delicious menu is served up with fresh fruit and a friendly smile.
Location: 109 McCaul Street, Toronto
Find classic diner-style breakfasts and lunches at Patrician Grill, a downtown Toronto landmark. Built in the 1950s, the diner features cozy booths and 50s style counter service.
Location: 219 King Street East, Toronto
Enjoy dining and gaming at The Rec Room. This unique food and entertainment spot offers over 40,000 square feet of family-friendly games and Canadian-inspired cuisine.
Location: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Located inside the Marriott City Centre Hotel, the Sportsnet Grill serves everything from burgers to bowls and kids-size meals.
Location: 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Dine on food fit for royalty at Medieval Times. You’ll enjoy a four-course meal that includes garlic bread, roasted chicken, sweet, buttered corn and herb-basted potatoes and dessert while being entertained by an exciting tournament of jousting and horsemanship.
Location: 10 Dufferin Street, Toronto
Scaddabush offers family-style Italian meals, including gluten-free options. The restaurant makes its own pasta and bread, and hand-stretches its own mozzarella daily.
Location: 200 Front Street West, Unit G001, Toronto
Amsterdam Brewery, situated on the waterfront, offers a spacious interior perfect for family hangouts. Find burgers, schnitzel, smoked brisket and fish, along with a view of the harbour. The restaurant also features a large patio, weather permitting.
Location: 45 Esandar Drive, Toronto
Toronto classic, The Old Spaghetti Factory serves pasta dishes and more in a lively, family-friendly space. Located minutes from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Location: 54 The Esplanade, Toronto
Day 4 - 5: Hamilton
- Approximate distance and travel time: 44 miles (70 kilometres), 1 hour 30 minutes
Known as the “City of Waterfalls”, Hamilton is renowned for great food and drink, its CFL team the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and a wide variety of family-friendly attractions.
Where to stay in Hamilton
Located in the heart of downtown Hamilton, Sheraton Hamilton Hotel is a modern, comfortable hotel that's within walking distance of many popular attractions like the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Farmers’ Market and FirstOntario Concert Hall. Park in the hotel-owned car park.
Location: 116 King Street West, Hamilton
Homewood Suites by Hilton is also situated in downtown Hamilton and features spacious family suites, along with access to the indoor pool, fitness centre and complimentary hot breakfast. Onsite parking is available.
Location: 40 Bay Street South, Hamilton
Things to do in Hamilton
Travel tips: Find $2/hour parking meters throughout downtown Hamilton, and pay & display machines in most city car parks. Some are free on Saturdays or after 6:00 p.m. Check the parking meter for the operational hours and required fee.
Culture and history
Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton holds a permanent collection of over 10,000 works of Canadian and international art, along with numerous special exhibits throughout the year. Admission to the gallery is free every Thursday.
Location: 123 King Street West, Hamilton
Built in the 1830s, Dundurn Castle is a 40-room Italianate-style villa built on Burlington Heights—the site of a British military encampment during the War of 1812. Guided tours can be booked in advance.
Location: 610 York Boulevard, Hamilton
Explore Canada’s aviation history at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Book an actual flight in a vintage Lancaster Bomber, or try out their FZ Fly Zone virtual reality flight simulator.
Location: 9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope
Take a tour of the HMCS Haida, a Tribal class destroyer that served in the Second World War, the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. A National Historic Site, the HMCS Haida is a must-see for anyone interested in military history.
Location: Pier 9, 658 Catharine Street North, Hamilton
Take in a game of CFL football at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field, home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The season runs from May to October, with tickets available for purchase in advance.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton
At the same Tim Hortons Field, you can watch the Forge FC play Canadian Premier League soccer.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton
Watch a game of lacrosse played by the Hamilton Bengals at the Dave Andreychuk Arena.
Location: 25 Hester Street, Hamilton
Learn about Canada’s football history and its greatest players at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. This 10,000-square-foot space can be found in the club level at Tim Hortons Field.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton
Families will have a splash at Wild Waterworks. With a large, heated wave pool, twisting waterslides and a wading pool with mists and sprays, you’ll cool off from the summer heat in no time.
Location: 680 Waterfront Trail, Hamilton
Meet animals up close at the African Lion Safari. Drive your car through the park or take a guided tour on a safari bus, where you’ll see lions, giraffes, zebras and more. You can also watch a variety of engaging animal presentations like the birds of prey flying demonstration.
Location: 1386 Cooper Road, Cambridge
Enjoy mini golf, batting cages, bumper cars, rock climbing, laser tag and more at Adventure Village, a fun amusement park perfect for the young and young at heart.
Location: 580 Van Wagners Beach Road, Hamilton
Places to eat in Hamilton
Soak up the local flavour at the Electric Diner, an all-day spot that serves creative breakfasts in a trendy neon-lit space.
Location: 96 George Street, Hamilton
Find easy-to-love breakfasts for the whole family at the Jet Café. Fuel up for the day with casual diner classics like omelettes, eggs benedict or breakfast poutine.
Location: 184 King Street East, Hamilton
Fill up on monster hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and class milkshakes at Hambrgr.
Location: 207 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton
Enjoy authentic deep dish Chicago-style pizza, a large selection of pastas, salads and more at Chicago Style Pizza, a Hamilton favourite since 1946.
Location: 534 Upper Sherman Avenue, Hamilton
Indulge your kids (and yourself) with ice cream at Panini & Ice Cream, a popular dessert spot known for their delicious “half and half” half milkshake and half ice cream creations.
Location: 1505 Main Street East #1505, Hamilton
Satisfy everyone’s craving at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, home to a variety of ready-to-eat food stalls and sweet treats.
Location: 35 York Boulevard, Hamilton
Extend your trip to Ontario with more road trip itineraries.
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Last updated: May 4, 2023