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No Europe? No problem! 5 short drives from Toronto to give you a taste of Europe

Last Updated Jul 30, 2020 at 4:35 pm EDT

Road trip to the cabin. Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

When a pandemic quashes your plans for an overseas vacation, it’s time to dig deeper into your local surroundings.

Grab the snacks and get your road trip tunes ready, here are 5 ideal spots for a European summer getaway in Southern Ontario – without the jet lag!



The Grand River winds its way through this charming town that’s loaded with limestone structures from the 1800s. The Elora Gorge is full of adventure with activities like hiking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking still available. Don’t forget to quench your thirst with some local brew downtown.





Heritage buildings from the 19th century line the downtown streets and pathways that used to be horse lanes. Stewart Park is the perfect spot for a summer stroll or picnic with its tall trees, gorgeous gazebo, and cute wooden footbridge over the Tay River.


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No shortage of lush gardens and world-class wineries in this picturesque town, known for its culinary excellence. Shops and restaurants in the Heritage District are still open and boast a wide selection of local products. Bike rentals are also an option for a fun and active way to see the sights.





White sand beaches and stunning sunsets fulfill the desire for a splendid seaside vacation. The Boardwalk has been a trademark here for over 100 years and offers an impressive view of the Imperial Lighthouse on Chantry Island. Take a day off the beach and bike The Saugeen Rail Trail – a multi-use trail, built on an old railway line that connects to Port Elgin.


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Home to the oldest Canadian light station on Lake Huron, more than one quarter of “Canada’s Prettiest Town” is dedicated to parkland. Three beautiful public beaches are easily accessible by car. Bring your earbuds downtown and go back in time with a self-guided audio walking tour, starting from the uniquely-shaped core known as The Square.



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