Without the benefit of planes or cars, 19th-century pioneers trekked to the County of Peterborough, where they built a new life for themselves. Here, they established a number of operations including farms, a cider mill, and a print shop, and today, it’s as if the village never changed. The Lang Pioneer Village Museum re-created the 19th-century town in 1967 to give visitors a glimpse into pioneer life, and more than 25 restored and furnished original structures have been moved as far as 90 miles to lend the outdoor museum authenticity. Among these buildings is the three-story Lang Grist Mill, an 1846-built facility where wheat is still ground into flour every summer.
Costumed villagers populate the town, roving past the museum's vegetable gardens, hitching posts, and watering troughs on their way to work. In the various shops, blacksmiths shape metals, carpenters assemble furniture, and printers generate handbills on a 1927 Washington Flatbed Press. Villagers perform crafts such as open-hearth cooking and weaving; in fact, the museum's weaver shop showcases one of the few Jacquard looms on display in North America.
Visitors to the museum can interrupt any of the townspeople to find out more about their trade or to lend a hand with chores, or participate in events, which range from corn roasts to traditional pioneer Christmas celebrations. The museum even rents out its 1886 schoolhouse to students for a day, replacing their usual teacher with a costumed interpreter who conducts lessons similar to those of a 19th-century classroom.
Kawartha Lakes Trout Farm is a 90-minute drive northeast of Toronto—just close enough to be convenient and just far enough way to feel like a true escape from city life. The tranquil lake is surrounded by verdant trees, making it a lush backdrop for fly fishing, swimming, paddleboating, or ceremoniously summoning the ghost of Bob Ross. Visitors can picnic at tables on the shore, rounding out their meals with items from the snack bar or the smoked trout sold onsite. After a long day of fishing, carousing on the playground, and tossing horseshoes, anglers can retire to their cozy campsite tent.
Kawartha Lakes also offers wintertime ice-fishing adventures, during which guests can keep warm inside a heated hut. The farm additionally hosts ice-skating outings.
With two 18-hole courses draped over a scenic stretch of Ontario countryside, Oak Hills Golf Club invites duffers to test their swings across rolling, timber-lined fairways. On both courses, constant elevation changes force players to hit toward uphill and downhill targets, and ponds, streams, and trees wielding catchers' mitts wait to snatch errant orbs. The longer of the two, the Highland Course connects across 5,655 yards, including an uphill, 568-yard par 5 that will require three long shots to reach the green in regulation. Though considerably shorter at 5,135 yards, the Glen Course requires more careful play with narrow fairways and traffic cones that carts must slalom in between each hole. The Club also encompasses a 30-stall driving range with grass hitting areas for pre-round warm-ups or casual practice sessions.
Originally founded in 1919 as a small petting zoo known as the Cream of Barley Park, Bowmanville Zoo has since evolved into one of the largest collections of animals on the continent. More than 300 creatures roam its 42 acres of parkland, including turtles, primates, and large felines seen in feature films and television shows such as Animorphs and Peter Benchley's Amazon. Throughout the week, visitors can ride camels or elephants, see trained critters perform in the 400-seat indoor Animatheatre, or watch as handlers feed the carnivores by throwing them meat to trade with monkeys for delicious twigs.
Each voyage the MV Woodman takes with Scugog Island Cruises pays tribute to the rich maritime history of the area. The double-decker vessel carries the moniker of an 1850s-era steamship that cruised Lake Scugog for more than 70 years, and the crew recounts tales from bygone days of glamorous lake parties and the time that carp ran for mayor during each sightseeing excursion. Whether they are steering up to 100 passengers for a wedding, birthday shindig, or themed dinner-dance cruise, the trained personnel aim to dip each experience in the colours of the area's rich history.