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things you see on the road in Ontario

Road trips in Ontario: Five things you will see on the road

Sleeping during road trips in Ontario, in my opinion, is a big no-no in my books. Particularly when the road takes you through some of  the province’s most beautiful landscapes, towns and urban centres.

I know it can be hard for the passenger when the music is down low, and you’ve had an early morning wake-up. Sometimes a cell phone can be a distraction when you’re checking tweets, emails and Facebook posts – I know, because I’ve been guilty of this in the past.

When I drive, I usually tend to zone out all that is around me other than the road and other cars. I miss the details on the sides of the road, and so this is why I don’t mind at all when my husband Frank insists on driving. The bonus is that I also usually get to set the soundtrack for our journey via my iPhone and playlists… sometimes to Frank’s dismay.

The other thing I do is keep my camera (either my DSLR or my iPhone) close by to snap a quick photo of something interesting that I see up ahead. Keeping the windshield fairly clean is Frank’s job, and he’s wonderful about making sure the bug splatter is kept to a minimum.

So what do you see when you take a road trip in Ontario? Some pretty great things, and some not so great. Here’s a list to keep an eye out for next time:

Blue Historic Plaques & Informative Signs

Things you see on road trips in Ontario

See the yellow sign on the left? It indicates Wilno, near Barry’s Bay, was a town highly populated by Poles in the mid-19th century.

There are over 1,200 blue plaques indicating heritage historic sites in Ontario. Chances are that during a road trip outside of city centres you will see at least three or four. But there are numerous other interesting signs to keep an eye out for, such as a horse and buggy sign or moose crossing alert. There are signs in small towns indicating festivals, cultural activities or even those that hint at the history of a location, such as the sign on the pole above indicating Wilno’s Polish Kashub heritage.

Animals Big and Small

Things you see on road trips in Ontario

An elk farm near Mono, Ontario

Cows, sheep, horses and elk such as these on a farm near Mono Hills – these are some of the animals you will see on farms along Ontario roads and side roads.

The other types of animals you see are deer, moose (in northern Ontario) turkey, rabbit, squirrel, skunk, raccoon, coyote or fox that happens to scamper across the road. In some marshy locations, keep an eye out for turtles and snakes as well.

Of course, the other types of animals you see on the roads, are roadkill.

A tip for early morning and twilight drives: keep your eyes on the road as this is when animals tend to wander and feed.

 Winding Roads & Pretty Views

Things you see on road trips in Ontario

A country road in the Fall near Waterdown, Ontario

Best places for a mini road trip close to Toronto:

  • Belfountain/Forks of the Credit River
  • Highway 7 between Highway 10 and Airport Road and up to Mono Centre Road
  • Sideroads around the Halton Hills and Campbellville
  • Regional Road 3 east of Brooklin and Regional Road 20/Boundary Road (for a short jaunt)
  • Roads in and around the Dundas Valley, just west of Hamilton

Cool and Crazy Cars and Motorcycles

Things you see on road trips in Ontario

A guy on a scooter in Hamilton, Ontario

Whether it’s vintage cars, motorcyclists heading down to Port Dover for the weekend, or just putting around the city, there’s always something interesting to see on the road. Recently, we saw a souped up GM truck owned by a young guy, spewing dark clouds of smoke while going south on Highway 10. We’ve also seen people driving scooters and mini-motorcycles much to small for them… like the guy above, which we saw while driving through a neighbourhood in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Dreaded Weekend Cyclist

I keep an eye out for cyclists on the road for safety reasons. It’s not because Frank is a lousy driver but rather it’s because most cyclists tend to hog the one lane cycling together instead of a single file as close to the edge of the road as possible.

I’ve cycled on roads before and always make sure to keep to the right as much as possible. I hate to see a cyclist injured or killed on the road by poor driving, but my sympathy stops when the avid cyclist gets hit through nobody’s fault but his or her own due to not following the rules of the road.

Ontario’s country roads are filled with cyclists in the summer time. My advice if you are driving – just be patient. If they don’t move to the side, by all means, honk until they do!

What kind of interesting/strange/beautiful things you’ve seen during your road trips in Ontario?

4 comments

  1. Depending on the roadtrip to Belleville (like when we’re heading down the 401 to visit Gord’s family), I’ll snooze :)

  2. Belfountain in mid-October is nice but you’re also taking your life in your hands. Bikes, motorcycles, tour buses, people darting in front of you on the hairpin turns, taking photos. I no longer drive the Forks of the Credit Road due to bicycles going ten wide. I duck down Mississauga Rd and then bail towards Erin. Personal favourite, visiting St. Jacobs between Thanksgiving and Halloween, then driving down Hwy 6 to Carlisle, across the Carlisle Rd to Kilbride, where there is the “Halloween House”. Beautiful fall colours there too.

    • Ron – I agree with you completely. The fall period is a dangerous one in Belfountain for sure! We will have to try out St. Jacobs this fall. We’ve not explored too much of that area in the autumn yet. Thank you for the tip!

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