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Contents Ontario’s Highlands: Come to Know Us



Our Stories & People

Our Festivals & Events


08 Unique Small Towns Pitch #1: Charming Downtowns Pitch #2: “Anti-Vegas” Girls’ Getaways

11 Your Ultimate Escape Plan

Our Organization

Pitch #3: One-of-a-Kind Accommodations Pitch #4: Slow-Mo Spas & Wellness Pitch #5: Rural Romance


15 Venture Off the Beaten Path


Come to Know Ontario’s Highlands 02 About Us 04 Ontario’s Highlands at a Glance 06 Getting Here 07 Top 10 Photo Moments on an Ontario’s Highlands Road Trip

Pitch #6: Discover the Undiscovered Pitch #7: Scenic Lookouts & Stargazing

Opportunities for the Media 38 Take a FAM Tour! 40 Contact Us

17 Expand Your Horizons

Pitch #8: Go Back to School Pitch #9: Art Attack in Ontario’s Highlands Pitch #10: Travel Back in Time

20 Something to Brag About!

Pitch #11: Find Out What You’re Made Of Pitch #12: Learn to Love Winter Pitch #13: Wacky Foodie Tour Pitch #14: Ride the Highlands Pitch #15: Dig for Buried Treasure

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Come to Know Ontario’s Highlands Escape, Explore, Enrich!

About Us Located just 2.5 hours east of Toronto and 30 minutes west of Ottawa, Ontario’s Highlands is a premier travel destination known for natural beauty, rural landscapes and small-town charm. You may already be familiar with our breathtaking backdrop — our serene lakes and rivers, rushing whitewater streams, elevated buffs and hills and majestic Provincial Parks. When it comes to stunning scenery, our region is undeniably hard to compete with. But visitors to Ontario’s Highlands are quickly learning that we are more than just a beautiful spot to pitch a tent or float on a still, glass-like lake during a summer weekend — we offer many unique and memorable experiences that make travelling here feel different and more magical than anywhere else in Ontario. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we are the only Regional Tourism Organization (RTO) in the province that is entirely rural. In place of towering skyscrapers and the loud rush of traffic, our picturesque small towns feature one-of-a-kind shops, quaint restaurants, old architecture and an unmatched hospitality that we are always remembered for. Our streets echo with the friendly conversations of local shop-owners learning your name, notes of jazz (or fiddles!) during one of our year-round festivals, the spirited applause following a classical theatre pro-

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duction, the crackling of a warm fire at a nearby Bed & Breakfast and the slow, easygoing pitter-patter of feet with plenty of places to go and plenty of new moments to discover. Curiosity leads our visitors to explore beyond our welcoming towns and villages into over 23, 000 square kilometres of pristine, untouched wilderness. From groomed trails to the solitude of the bush, our region is an adventure playground waiting to be revealed by hiking, mountain biking, ATVing or even ziplining. In the winter time, powder junkies can listen to the crunch of fresh snow as they snowshoe through a sparkling white sugar bush or feel the exhilaration of being drawn into the wilderness by a pack of Siberian Huskies. When you finally stop for a moment to take in the crisp air and silence, you’ll know that nothing can make you feel as small — or as relaxed — as realizing that you’re in the middle of a humming ancient forest or overlooking a spectacular canyon that is one-fifth the height of the CN Tower. Whether it’s a small-town getaway or a secluded experience off the beaten path, Ontario’s Highlands offers an opportunity to step outside of your everyday life, escape the Big City, and try something new. Our region is booming with possible story pitches for readers looking to cross off a unique bucket list travel item, test their limits with an outdoor thrill, expand their horizons with a hands-on workshop led by a local artisan, or travel back in time with a visit to a cultural centre, quirky museum or nostalgic heritage site. Come to Ontario’s Highlands and discover the unique breath of experiences that this unforgettable and welcoming region has to offer, or enjoy doing nothing at all in a rural and tranquil setting that’s yours for the taking. No matter how you choose to travel, one thing is for certain: Even if it’s your first visit, you’ll feel like you’ve known us forever.

it’s worth mentioning You’ll love our unique regions. Ontario’s Highlands is home to the Haliburton Highlands, Hastings County, Lanark County, the Land O’ Lakes and the Ottawa Valley.

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Ontario’s Highlands At a Glance

lakes and major river systems

The top facts & stats about our incredible and welcoming region.


23,840 square kilometres of unspoiled awesomeness

6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000



day hike trails

Visitors in 2011 (latest stats) Most from within Ontario

Number of maple sap buckets that are a part of the museum collection at Wheeler’s Maple Heritage Museum in Lanark County

800,000+ locals live here!


618 Number of heritage sites & buildings with national, provincial and regional significance

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2014 & the year Wheeler’s attained a Guinness Book World Record for having the “Largest collection of maple syrup production artifacts”(a whopping 5,228 total!)

come to know ontario’s highlands


1 2


The time period

Number of days

to which you are most likely to be transported back into with a variety of cultural sites, museums, heritage buildings, B&Bs and interpretive experiences focused on the Victorian era

it takes to ride the twisty Highlands Loop, our signature motorcycle route

7 6


At least 7 Total number of “beardsicles” a man develops after a half-day dogsledding adventure in Haliburton’s winter wilderness


Only one! Starbucks location & 0 major urban centres

Provincial Parks


within our borders


654 Estimated number of squats required to burn off the calories equivalent to one serving of french fries from one of the region’s quirky chip trucks


Unique “titles” we can’t stop bragging about. We are home to the Whitewater Capital of Canada (Ottawa Valley), the Mineral Capital of Canada (Bancroft) and Ontario’s Maple Syrup Capital (Lanark County).

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North Bay



Pembroke 17

11 60

Barry’s Bay


Eganville Renfrew








Carleton Place







Smiths Falls

Perth 7

Kaladar 15 28





Peterborough 62





GettInG HeRe Ontario’s Highlands is located 30 minutes west of Ottawa and 2.5 hours east of toronto. the northern border is the Ottawa River, with the province of quebec just minutes away. Algonquin Park, Canada’s oldest Provincial Park, lies adjacent to the region’s north western boundary. Road trips (by car) are the best way to get here, and probably the most fun. Greyhound Canada bus depots are located in Carleton Place, Pembroke, Perth, Petawawa, Renfrew and smiths Falls, and limited scheduling is available in some of the other towns, including Haliburton, Arnprior, Barry’s Bay and eganville.

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Haliburton Highlands


Hastings County


Ottawa Valley


Land O’ Lakes


Lanark County

seCtion naMe

tOP 10 PHOtO MOMents on an Ontario’s Highlands Road trip Travelling to our region? Stop to take a photo of yourself next to these odd, quirky and downright adorable rural treasures: 2. Canada’s only Clock Museum Located in Deep River, this museum will give you absolutely zero excuses for being late for your next appointment! take a picture next to some of the oldest and most historic clocks in the country.

3. elvis! sideburns and jumpsuits are plenty in tweed during August’s tweed to tribute Festival. Get your photo taken with the King, or gather up several performers for a group shot (otherwise known as the “elvis sandwich”).

4. the Mammoth Cheese Made from 207, 200 pounds of milk and weighing over 22,000 pounds, this giant cheese was produced back in 1893 to promote Canadian Cheese at the World’s Columbian exposition in Chicago. today, a small portion of it is on permanent display at the Perth Museum, while a full-sized replica can be found by the railway tracks on the former site of the Perth Railway station. You’ll look tiny posing next to it for a photo, and do we really need to point out the irony of yelling, “Cheese!” to the flash of the camera button?

5. Pakenham Five-span stone Bridge the only one of its kind in north America, this breathtaking five-arch stone bridge was named as one of the seven Wonders of Lanark County. Grab a loved one and ask one of our locals to take a photo as you lock lips next to its majestic beauty!

6. Wes’ Chip truck It’s a quirky wagon. It’s a restaurant on wheels. It’s your next Facebook profile picture! Located in Arnprior, this unique truck doubles as the perfect pit spot for lunch.

7. Camp Medeba Featuring a 50-foot man-made ice wall that looks larger-than-life in photos, striking a pose next to this Haliburton-area attraction will earn you the ultimate in bragging rights.

1. tweed Jailhouse take a photo behind bars at one of the smallest jailhouses in north America, at only 16 by 20 feet! Grip the bars and put on your best “mug shot” face for a memorable moment that looks especially funny captured in photos.

8. Chainsaw Museum the personal collection of Vernon Wheeler, owner of Wheeler’s Pancake House and sugar Camp in Lanark County, the display features 550 antique saws along with other interesting logging items from back in the day. the collection makes for a unique photo-op and holds a Guinness World Record! 9. a guy dressed as a Fur trader styled head to toe in a replica 18th century fur trader costume, the guide in Yours Outdoors’ “On the trap Line” winter adventure also photographs well! the tours take place in Haliburton.

10. ancient Caves strike a pose in one of the Polaroid look-alike frames found at one of our recreational geology sites, like the Bonnechere Caves, featuring hanging “rock icicles”. tweet it using #OHrocks!

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Our Stories & People Ontario’s Highlands has many unique, memorable and off-beat stories to tell. The below pitches highlight what makes our region stand out from other Ontario destinations, and why you should bring us up at your next editorial meeting.

Unique Small Towns In our historical towns, preserving the past remains paramount over skyscrapers and strip malls. Visit Ontario’s Highlands to discover the charming beauty, rural warmth and picturesque architecture from days gone by. Our small communities are known for their rich heritage, unique local culture and — above all — welcoming people. Escape the “concrete jungle” and come get to know us.



Charming Downtowns Peppered with quirky shops, fine boutiques, old stone buildings, unique restaurants and an all-around feeling of old-time nostalgia, Ontario’s Highlands features some of the most adorable downtowns in the whole province. Take Almonte, an old textile mill town in Lanark County coined “little Manchester” in the 1880s. Its enchanting core features many architectural gems from its most popular period, including woolen mills that have been converted into antique shops, museums and quaint restaurants. With a warm coffee in hand or the arm of a loved one hooked into yours, take a walking tour of the town, passing by the Old Town Hall and a variety of vintage signage that reminds you of a simpler time. Flip through the pages of your favourite classic novel at Mill Street Books, a community-minded book store; inspire your creative soul at Hello Yellow, a one-of-a-kind little shop stocked to the gills with cheerfully handmade goods; window shop for a new piece of locally-produced jewellery, salvaged furniture

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or unique houseware item at the Tin Barn Market; or head straight for Mill Street Crepe, where the sweet and savoury crepes are made of locally-grown ingredients and the sign promises “A little taste of France right here in Almonte”. Voted the “Prettiest Town in Ontario” by TV Ontario in 2000, downtown Perth also features a welcoming small-town hospitality coupled with plenty of open natural spaces, eye-opening heritage museums and over 70 thriving little shops and boutiques, like Ground Waves, a charming gift store that features old wood beams and stone walls that date back to its history as a tannery and textile mill circa 1900. Relax in one of the town’s cafes or pubs, or take in the scenery while enjoying lunch at Fiddleheads Bar & Grill, occupying one of Perth’s oldest heritage buildings. In the summer time, watch the town transform with music, art and spectacular performances during one of the many annual festivals, including the Classic Theatre Festival. Take a horse and carriage ride down Gore street during one of the special events, listening to the rhythymatic pattern of horse hoofs as you pass by the Matheson House, a national historic site with four period rooms restored in 1840s fashion, and Perth Town Hall, a sandstone building has a slightly protruding frontpiece capped by an elaborate wood cornice and tower. For more small-town fill, Bancroft, Stirling and Haliburton all fit the bill, with attractive downtowns that feature artisan shops, local flea markets, speciality shops and a historical feel. Take a detour to the newly restored Bancroft Railway Station and Mineral Museum to explore the town’s mineral heritage or pick up some fresh produce between May and October at Stirling’s Farmers Market. With a new local culture to explore and a belly full of made-from-scratch goodness, the rural experience only gets better and better. Tin Barn Market

Vamos Outdoors

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“Anti-Vegas” Girls’ Getaways Think of Ontario’s Highlands as the perfect girlfriends’ weekend escape: Kind of like Vegas, minus the rowdy partiers, over-priced entertainment, cheesy lights, hangovers and everything that’s annoying about Vegas. In fact, the small towns in our region couldn’t be more opposite of Sin City, providing the kind of iconic trip you’ll still brag to your other friends about, while being fun enough for your mother. Whether you’re getting away for a rejuvenating weekend with your pals or embarking on a Mother’s Day adventure with the woman who gave you those adorable cheek dimples, a day out on the town in our region is an unforgettable experience with a packed itinerary. After spending the day exploring the many charming downtown shops, antique stores and flea markets, chat and unwind with a cup of fragrant loose-leaf tea and scones at a local tea room, such as Robert’s Nest (Almonte), Victoria Rose (Pembroke) or Momma G’s (Haliburton). Next, give in to the tranquil sounds and enticing aromas at a local spa, like the Parkside Spa at Best Western Plus Perth, where holistic treatments and traditional massages are designed to create harmony of body, mind and spirit. When you’ve finally forgotten about the stresses of every-

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day life, leave your sanctuary behind for a night out on the town that begins with a selection of arts-inspired festivals, community-based plays, musical theatre and historical performances. Catch a classic hit at the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, take in a play in a refurbished 1920s building at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, enjoy performing arts like ballet, folk, opera or jazz at the Highlands Performing Arts in Haliburton, or laugh your way through a comedy about the heritage of the Ottawa Valley presented at the Stone Fence Theatre in Eganville. Unlike Vegas, what happens in the charming small-towns in Ontario’s Highlands definitely doesn’t stay here, so make sure to bring a camera, along with your favourite women.

Classic Theatre Festival

Your Ultimate Escape Plan Leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind with a weekend getaway to Ontario’s Highlands. With cozy accommodations, one-of-a-kind retreats and a backdrop that’s welcoming for a little rural romance, you’ll quickly forget your Big City stresses and rejuvenate your soul. Out here, every day feels like it’s happening in slow motion.



One-of-a-Kind Accommodations From farm milk houses and suspended rooms nestled between the trees, to Victorian-style B&Bs adorned with antique furniture so perfect you get the impression it will break with one touch, there’s nothing ordinary about the accommodations available in Ontario’s Highlands. Our warm lodges, welcoming Inns and spectacular period homes each have a personality of their own, as do their hospitable owners. Together, these elements blend to create unique, memorable and peaceful getaways unlike anywhere else. Just ask Don and Jessie, owners of the Stouffer Mill Bed and Breakfast in the Haliburton Highlands. Their 12-sided, circular post and beam home, with a roof-top solarium that provides a 360 degree panoramic scenic view, is so soothing that they have had to mail back cell phones to past guests who left them there because they didn’t use them once!

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Other unique accommodations include: Limestone B&B (Marmora) A Charming 1860s home with a view of the Crowe River and outdoor sitting areas surrounded by lush gardens. In the mornings, enjoy a home-cooked feast! The Old Carriage House B&B (Stirling) This luxurious, historically-rich property dates back to the United Empire Loyalists who settled in the area circa 1850. You’ll truly feel like royalty while staying in the grand, antiquefurnished rooms. There is even an old doctor’s bell that belonged to Dr. Carlton, who owned the house in the 1940s. Bancroft B&B (Bancroft) This historical Bed and Breakfast features original post office boxes, Victorian ambience and an owner so welcoming that she’s been known to pack you a lunch before a day hike. Spectacle Lake Lodge (South Algonquin Township) Cozy cabins are a quaint gem at this beautiful lodge that borders a pristine lake. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats are available to guests who wish to venture off the beaten path. RiverRun Resort (Foresters Falls) From camping to lodge luxury, this resort has it all. Opt for the Milk House, an original farm milk house transformed into a beautiful cottage on private grounds, or Paddler’s Cottage, where travellers can interact with fellow whitewater fans from around the world in a common living room and outdoor deck.

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Unique Story Idea Meet “Miss Daisy” at the Bonnie View Inn Located on Lake Kashagawigamog and featuring over 300 feet of beach front, the Bonnie View Inn in Haliburton is a four-season resort that will keep you busy with a variety of water and winter-time activities, but what really keeps guests coming back are the friendly owners, Andrea and Monte, and their quirky collection of pig paraphernalia! The collection, which can be seen throughout the Inn (even the clotheslines have little pigs on them!) is made up of gifts given to Andrea from visitors staying at the resort over the years. They often return after their stay to give Andrea a new pig momento and to pet and feed her real-life pot-bellied pig, Miss Daisy.

Our Stories & People

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Slow-Mo Spas & Wellness Step into a slower pace of life with a variety of tranquil spas and wellness experiences available in Ontario’s Highlands. As if the calm lakes, secluded cabins and endless opportunities to connect with nature weren’t enough, we’re also home to some very cool, calm and collected businesses that specifically focus on the art of relaxation. Head to Bancroft for a multi-day spiritual escape at Grail Springs, an award-winning holistic, health and wellness retreat nestled beside a therapeutic spring lake, meditation gardens, walking trails and unique deposits of healing quartz crystals. Feel your thoughts quiet as you deeply inhale and exhale the fresh air during an outdoor yoga session or take in your surroundings from the saddle while horseback riding through the magnificent property. If a massage or white chocolate wrap is more up your alley, the RiverRun Rafting and Wilderness Resort in Foresters Falls will hit the spot, while water babies can find their zen at Sir Sam’s Inn WaterSpa that features sensory stimulation with underwater music and subtle lighting that will keep you in a dreamlike state as you float the calm waters. Finally, the Rejuvenation Getaway package at Sands on Golden Lake in Deacon, which combines traditional spa treatments with a Chef Select Dinner, will satisfy your need for R&R, along with your grumbling stomach.

Unique Story Idea For all your meditation needs The nearby Breath True Yoga, located in a mature pine tree forest, provides yet another opportunity to unplug and wind down. Featuring an earth hut for darkness meditation, an outdoor shower and even a composting toilet, this is truly a spot for those serious about getting down with nature.



Rural Romance Ah, privacy. While it might be difficult to find an intimate couple’s retreat in the Big City, Ontario’s Highlands is the perfect spot for an uninterrupted escape to a romantic small town or secluded woodland suite for two. Catering to one couple at a time, the Black River Retreat in Tweed is our signature getaway, hidden amongst six acres of rolling trails and a half kilometre of “just-you” privacy along the banks of the Black River. Cuddle up together and roast some marshmallows over a roaring bonfire, relax under the stars in your cedar hot tub, or kayak the serene river while feeling like you’re the only two people in the world. For active couples who like to move, the Rideau Canal, the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers an opportunity to lock mittens in the wintertime, skating together along the famous waterway while holding hands, or, in the summer time, to explore the historic towns and villages that dot its shoreline by paddle. Adventure seeking pair? Strap yourselves into a two-person Sport Yak with OWL Rafting and work together to maneuver the exhilarating whitewater rapids of the Ottawa River. For a land-based experience that will leave a lasting impression, head to South Algonquin Trails to explore forest trails, meandering creeks and majestic wilderness while horseback riding through southern Algonquin Park. Settle in for the night at the Deluxe Studio at the Heather Lodge in Minden, complete with a two-person whirlpool and a generous secluded deck, and enjoy privacy away from the everyday while lakeside dining in an enchanting lodge setting.

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Venture Off the Beaten Path Get lost in the peaceful wilderness of Ontario’s Highlands, where you can explore thousands of kilometres of the province’s rolling hardwood forests, beautiful lakes and extensive wetlands, far away from crowds, concrete towers and touristy “gimmicks”. Between our lush Crown Land, vast Provincial Parks and wildlife-rich conservation areas, there are countless experiences that will leave you feeling like you are the first person to step foot into one of our beautiful natural and secluded settings. Unlike anywhere else in Ontario, in Ontario’s Highlands, you can truly travel the unknown.



Discover the Undiscovered Unique Story Idea Learn to Live Off the Grid Hardcore backpackers and those inspired to learn how to authentically live off the grid can visit Harder’s Heritage Farms in Stirling, where owners Owen and Jackie produce their own solar and wind power and manage their farm with draft horses. They teach solar and wind workshops and teach an introduction to sustainable, unplugged living, just “as their grandparents did”.

There’s a specific thrill that comes with never knowing what’s around the corner and, there’s no better place to tame your curious sense of adventure than in Ontario’s Highlands. Whether mountain biking, hiking or taking an interpretive walk through an isolated bushy trail, stepping onto a fresh blanket of white snow in the winter, or marveling at the sheer size and beauty of the natural environment at the Pinecone Forest Nature Sanctuary (Boulter) or the Haliburton Forest, only one word can describe the feeling that overtakes your body when you take it all in: awe. Discover the hidden wildlife and scenery of Ontario’s Highlands by travelling to locations like Silent Lake, an undeveloped glacier lake located just outside of Bancroft, or Buttermilk Falls Resort in Haliburton Highlands, where you can spend a day basking in the serene environment while fishing from the comfort of a heated ice hut on Boshkung Lake.

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Scenic Lookouts & Stargazing Unique Story Idea A View that Rocks Hike to the top of Mazinaw Rock, the 1.5 kilometre sheer rock face that rises 100 metres above Mazinaw Lake at Bon Echo Provincial Park, while keeping your eyes peeled for hundreds of ancient native pictograph drawings, the largest visible collection of native petroglyphs in Canada. High at the top of the rock is a spectacular view over the lake that you won’t want to miss out on!

Without the glare of city lights, Ontario’s Highlands is a great destination for stargazing. Take in a panoramic view overlooking lush forests and waterways stretching into the distance, or enjoy a moment of silence at the height of a lookout where all that stands before you is the breathtaking beauty of nature. Stare through the lens of a telescope, a pair of binoculars or simply bring a blanket and your imagination. You’ll have to work for some of these views, but the payoffs are worth it. Check out these spectacular lookout areas: Dark Sky Viewing Area (Lennox & Addington) This is the most southerly point in Ontario where the night sky is so pristine that the stargazing experience can be compared to what was available more than 100 years ago, before the rise of skyscrapers and bright city landscapes. Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve (Haliburton) This fully-functioning observatory and planetarium comes complete with state of the art telescopes and no shortage of galaxy to gaze. Foymount (Bonnechere Valley) This small community is Ontario’s highest populated point at 500m (1650’) above sea level. Eagle’s Nest Conservation Area and Lookout (Bancroft) Accessible by car or a trail leading through expanses of berry patches and a mature forest, this spectacular lookout offers panoramic views of the York River Valley and the town of Bancroft below. Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower (Dorset) Built in 1922 as a fire lookout, this restored tower looms 100 feet into the air and offers a bird’s eye view over a sea of treetops bursting with colour. Barron Canyon (Algonquin Park) This 1.5 km long interpretive trail passing through pine forest to the rim of a 100-metre deep canyon is one of Algonquin Park’s most spectacular sights. The canyon was formed 10,000 years ago as raging water from melting glaciers made its way to the Champlain Sea.

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Expand Your Horizons Nestled within a natural wilderness setting, Ontario’s Highlands is a travel destination rich in culture, arts and heritage. Beyond new outdoor experiences, visiting our region opens you up to many opportunities to embrace, discover and immerse yourself in the culture, people and history of our historic towns and charming villages. Absorb yourself in our past and present ways of life, while uncovering a love of learning through travel. If you’re seeking an enriching experience that leaves you feeling inspired, you’ve come to the right place.

Unique Story Idea Fine Tune Your Skills Music lovers will enjoy jamming session with a working musician at the Haliburton County Folk Society’s Winter Folk Camp or learning the detailed craftsmanship required to make their own instruments at the Wild Blue Yonder Cabin in Madoc.



Go Back to School No matter your passion, Ontario’s Highlands has a class to satisfy your deepest interests and learning desires. From culinary classes, to canoe clinics and wildlife education workshops set in a research forest, there’s no shortage of experiences to broaden your knowledge and hone your skills. Ours is a region of “first times”, so shake your inhibitions loose, roll up your sleeves and attempt something new, like Stand Up Paddleboarding at Liquid Skills in Beachburg, where you’ll learn to balance your body while paddling what looks like a larger surf board; or ease into mountain biking or skiing with a friendly instructor at Sir Sam’s Ski & Bike in Haliburton. For a chance to take some of your handy work home following your trip, there are plenty of options to get creative in our region, including pottery classes at the Haliburton School of the Arts and a look into the true understanding of what it means to be “full of hair air” with a glassblowing workshop at Artech Glassblowing Studios in Tory Hill. Whether you leave with a token or not, one thing is for certain: A trip to Ontario’s Highlands will cultivate new passions alongside new memories.

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Our Stories & People



Art Attack in Ontario’s Highlands The communities within Ontario’s Highlands are abound with creative energy and unique works. Did you know, for example, that the Haliburton Highlands have the highest number of working artists per capita in all of Ontario? Our region is budding with landscape painters, potters, weavers, jewellery makers, dancers, actors, songwriters and musicians who proudly welcome visitors and show off their work. Get a taste of the region’s local artistic flair by experiencing first-hand the myriad of visual arts, festivals and galleries. In the fall, take a self-guided studio tour to admire the striking beauty of our picturesque countryside and the works of the region’s creative talents — right in their element! Renowned tours include the Perth Autumn Studio Tour, Madawaska Valley Studio Tour, Haliburton Tour de Forest and the Haliburton County Studio Tour. For a truly unique experience, don’t forget to stop by the Rails End Gallery and the Haliburton Sculpture Forest in Haliburton. You’ll be amazed by the incredible collection of local art, including an outdoor assortment of sculptures that you can marvel at while walking, biking or cross-country skiing one of the beautiful trails.



Travel Back in Time Take a walk down memory lane in Ontario’s Highlands! With plenty of wild, wacky and just plain wonderful museums and heritage sites, you’ll have a reason to return year after year to learn about everything from the origins of sweet maple syrup to the lifestyle of the mid 1800s. You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of our community, culture and people. Visit these notable sites: Wilberforce Red Cross Outpost & Historic House (Wilberforce) The site of the first Red Cross Outpost Hospital in Ontario. Matheson House (Perth) A national Historic Site featuring the pistol from the “Last Fatal Duel” in Canada’s history, a charming enclosed Scottish garden, outdoor bake oven, pioneer demonstrations and a new Rock & Mineral gallery. Canadian Clock Museum (Deep River) Showcasing the heritage of Canada’s many clock manufacturers and sellers from the early 1800s to the present time. Petawawa Heritage Village (Petawawa) Celebrates the settlement era and immigrant story of early Canada. FarmTown Park (Stirling) Home of the Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage, celebrating rural life and the importance of agriculture and the farmers who provide us with local food. Bonnechere Museum (Eganville) Tracing the local history, legends, lifestyles,

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and major events that helped shape the various municipalities that share the Bonnechere River. School House Museum (Deep River) Encompasses facets of local history such as Hydro Electric and Nuclear Power development, railroads, pioneer farming and life on and along the Ottawa River. Rideau Canal Museum (Smiths Falls) A flagship interpretation centre for the historic Rideau Canal system. Heritage House Museum (Smiths Falls) Tour eight period rooms, located along the Rideau Canal. Enjoy lunch in the Victorian gardens. Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario (Smiths Falls) Declared by Parks Canada as a National Historic Site, the museum houses the only remaining dental car in Ontario, plus an extensive collection of rolling stock and inspection vehicles as well as over 10,000 artifacts, archival and library materials. NHL Birthplace Museum (Renfrew) A unique museum that explores Renfrew’s connection to the early days of the NHL. Features hockey artifacts. When you’re done browsing, watch history come to life with one of our region’s unique interpretive experiences. Explore the natural and historical beauty of the Rideau Waterway from the “backseat” of a 34-foot replica canoe while striking up a conversation with your guides — dressed from head to toe in replica “Voyageur” fur trader costumes — about the unique mythical figures that played a significant role in the development of a young nation during this special time. Or strap on your snowshoes and follow a guide from Yours Outdoors, a team of dedicated “experience leaders”, along Ten Mile Creek in Haliburton County to a rustic log cabin that mimics an 18th century fur trading post. Here, surrounded by deep snow and the silence of stillness, you’ll learn what it felt like to fend for yourself in the wilderness with a demonstration on using artifacts like flint and steel to build a fire, handle flintlock firearms and set traps. In the afternoon, enjoy a traditional lunch of baked beans, bannock, wild rice and hot rum toddies before snowshoeing back to your departure point with a newfound appreciation for the simplicity of your kitchen oven.

Unique Story Idea Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum Makes Guinness Book of World Records! Located in Lanark County, the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum displays the world’s most extensive collection of maple related artifacts, an original 1900s sugar shack, aboriginal display and more. In 2014, it attained a Guinness Book World Record for having the “Largest collection of maple syrup production artifacts” in the world. Come see what’s on “tap” here!

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Something to Brag About! Moments like these don’t happen every day. In Ontario’s Highlands, “must try” experiences — the kind that you can’t wait to share with your friends back home — are our speciality. Meet your travel bucket list.



Find Out What You’re Made Of Feel the wind in your face and the knots creep into your stomach as you experience a unique outdoor adventure in Ontario’s Highlands. Whether you’re looking to dabble in a little risky business or fly completely off the edge (literally — we have bungee jumping!), our fast, fierce and fun ventures are designed to make you sweat, pant, grunt and beg for more. Would you expect any less from a region that’s home to the Ottawa Valley, the Whitewater Capital of Canada? Boasting over 15 whitewater rivers ranging from Class I to V rapids, our rafting companies, like OWL Rafting and RiverRun Rafting in Foresters Falls, have the perfect adventure lined up according to your precise appetite for thrill, so whether you’re looking for “slightly afraid” or “cry for your mother” type of excitement, they have you covered. Those leaning towards the more extreme end of the spectrum can experience the rush of the mighty whitewater forcefully guiding their raft across the nerve-jangling Ottawa River, or kick it up yet another notch with a full-day Wilderness Tours (Foresters Falls) trip that includes bodysurfing, cliff jumping and rock climbing. Scaredy-cats need not apply at Chutes Coulonge, either. This aerial park, located in the Canyon of the Coulonge River, takes your fear of heights to an all-new level with giant canyon ziplines hundreds of metres above the ground that leave you hanging with nothing but a terrifyingly perfect view of the raging rapids below. If zipping across the lines leaves you with a longing for solid ground, visit the Renfrew County ATV Club to scope out the best locations to burn some rubber while behind the handle bars of an ATV. Ontario’s Highlands is entire world of rugged terrain, rushing rivers, secluded lakes, craggy hills, muddy river beds and abandoned rail lines for you to play in. Or, if you prefer two wheels to four, catch some air at the BMX Pump track at Sir Sam’s Ski & Bike in Haliburton. From water, to land, to air, there’s no shortage of blow-up-your-Facebook moments in our region.

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Learn to Love Winter Hate winter? A trip to Ontario’s Highlands will convert you. If you curse under your breath every time you have to scrape ice off your windshield following a storm in the City, experiencing the magic of winter in our region — where the locals actually look forward to it every season — will melt your reservations. With some of the deepest snowfalls in the province, every day is a snow day in Ontario’s Highlands with a new playground to explore. From the blur of white scenery that moves past you while riding one of our famous snowmobile routes, like the RAP (Round Algonquin Park) Tour, to the excited panting of an entire pack of Winterdance Siberian Huskies that pull you into the crisp Haliburton wilderness by sled, ours is a truly Canadian winter. Swap your treacherous morning commute for a walk on a beautiful groomed

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trail on snowshoes; reel in trophy game walleye and pike from a secluded ice hut; or conquer a challenging, sparkling 50-foot man-made ice wall at Camp Medeba with the help of a trained guide from Yours Outdoors. Once you’re converted into a powder junkie, you won’t have to go far to experience a true day on the slopes. With Calabogie Peaks Resort, Madawaska Mountain, Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike and Mount Pakenham all in your backyard, a winter wonderland is just hours away. In Ontario’s Highlands, every twist, loop and bend of the landscape is seen through the blur of foggy goggles; every hill is experienced within the serene backdrop of white-covered tree tops; every carve is accompanied by excited breaths of fresh, crisp air and every brag-worthy moment begins in a cloud of white fluffy dust that only settles once you conquer the thrill of flying.



Wacky Foodie Tour Get our your stretchy pants: it’s time to go on a cruise of the weird, quirky and mouth-watering culinary offerings in Ontario’s Highlands. Though our region’s fine-dining establishments, like Rhubarb restaurant (Haliburton) leave our visitors with a taste of unforgettable local flavours, it is our vast array of chips trucks, small tea shops, maple-packed treats and (get ready for it...) gooey hand-made butter tarts that showcase our unique regional love of just about anything that can be eaten without a fork (and some things that can).

You won’t want to miss these local favourites, each of which has a unique story and taste: Algonquin Gourmet Butter Tarts (Maynooth) Do we really need to say more than “33 kind of home-made butter tarts”? The owner, Carolyn, uses third-generation recipes passed down from her grandmother, Ruby, to create mind-blowing concoctions like Maple Walnut, Rum & Raisin and Pumpkin-flavoured tarts. Wes’ Chips (Arnprior) These fries were made on wheels! Though the story of this famous chip truck began back in the 1960s, Wes’ Chips continues to operate out of the original 1956 Ford that started it all, selling the same great tasting french fries that still produce long, salivating line-ups. Psst.. rumour has it that the owner uses grease from the Ford to make the fries! Fact or fiction? The Spud Chip Trailer Box (Kaladar) The poutine from this chip trailer earns rave reviews from locals, who choose to forgo traditional burger joints in favour of this massively striking orange-and-black eatery, also serving fish & chips, cheeseburgers and salads (yeah, right.) The Wilno Tavern (Wilno) For perogies just like a Polish grandma used to make, except a lot bigger, visit this 85-seat restaurant located in a historic building that was formerly the Exchange Hotel. The menu features traditional Polish foods as well as Canadian fare like homemade soup, salads, burgers, pizzas and pasta. And lots and lots of cabbage rolls.

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Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch (Pembroke) If blue is your favourite colour of berry, boy, are you going to have your world rocked. This family-friendly ranch is an explosion of everything-blueberry: from homemade blueberry fudge, to blueberry pies to blueberry wines. Just when you think it can’t get any more sweet, you’ll realize that the property has 18 varieties of plump berries themselves: game over. The Stirling Creamery (Stirling) Your bread is going to love this. Known for the finest, all-natural, artisanal crafted butter in Canada, this creamery has been cold barrel churning delicious slippery goodness since 1925. Saveur Magazine declared it “one of the World’s 30 Great Butters”! Moon Shadows Estate Winery (Haliburton) The first winery in Ontario to make maple wine, this local spot offers over 20 unique bottle options, from dry to sweet and welcomes guests on a tour of the beautiful winery and unique gift products. Perth Lions Garlic Festival & Haliburton Garlic Festival Pack up your breath mints! Taking place in August every summer, these garlic festivals feature farm-fresh cloves, cooking demonstrating, live music and even garlic-related crafts! Underground Dining at Bonnechere Caves (Eganville) For two evening every summer, the subterranean passages of these historical, fossil-rich caves are transformed into a candlelight dining establishment with live local musicians and a catered meal from Frisco’s Restaurant.

Unique Story Idea Small-Town Sips! In place of big-box city cafes, Ontario’s Highlands features an inviting selection of quaint tea rooms with unique ambience and charm. Choose your favourite cup at the Old Schoolhouse Tea Room in Coe Hill, located in a restored 1921 one-room schoolhouse with old desks, books and blackboards; the Algonquin Tea Company, where lucid dream tea is handpicked by canoe in the Algonquin Wilderness; Momma G’s Tea in Haliburton, stocked with over 60 varieties of loose leaf picks including Zombie Apocalypse, a to-diefor spicy black tea.

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Ride the Highlands Ontario’s Highlands is poised to become the next big destination for motorcycle touring in Ontario. With a launch in the summer of 2014, Ride the Highlands (, an interactive website and trip planner, introduces some of the most-loved roads in our region, and in the whole province. Ontario’s Highlands has the windiest, curviest, twistiest, gnarliest and most challenging motorcycle roads in Ontario, offering pure heart-pounding excitement as you ride through constant beds, turns and rock cuts on two wheels. Beyond bend after bend of high-adrenaline riding — the kind that comes with never knowing what you’ll discover just around the corner — what makes our routes truly special are the stories of the miners, loggers and surveyors who carved the roads hundreds of years ago, beginning a culture of pride and ownership that still resonates with the locals today. The Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) has worked with BC Hughes to hand-select motorcycle- friendly operators, restaurants and accommodators who welcome bikers and adorn their businesses with special Ride the Highlands window clings. For today’s rider, the road is larger than life and is treated with the utmost respect as it represents the spine on which all riders travel to explore the region’s landscapes, scenery and people. It’s an experience unmatched anywhere else in Ontario.

it’s worth mentioning Hand-Carved Roads & Top Loops Ontario’s Highlands features hand-crafted roads that take you back in time, all the while providing thrill and excitement that makes it impossible to focus on anything but being in the moment. The Highlands Loop, our signature route, runs just shy of 1,000 kilometres, while other routes include the Rideau Canal Loop, the Ottawa Valley/Calabogie Loop and the Haliburton/ Bancroft Loop. We’ve also identified the top 10 roads in Ontario’s Highlands for riders who don’t want a self-guided tour, but want the bragging rights of riding the best and most loved riding routes in the area.

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Dig for Buried Treasure For an experience you’ll really dig, try your hand at recreational geology in Ontario’s Highlands. Our region has one of the most unusual and diverse geological regions in all of Canada, featuring a unique collection of gems, fossils and crystals resulting from billions of years of environmental shifts, a rich “story of our earth” that has seen everything from erupting volcanoes, gigantic mountain ranges, advancing glaciers and ancient oceans as part of our history. Here, you can marvel at the breathtaking curves, vistas and scenic landscapes that have inspired art and culture, hear the tales of over 1.5 billion years of environmental change, or even dig for buried treasure and take home unique crystals and gems hidden underneath the earth’s surface. There are few other regions in the world where the opportunities to dig for “treasures” are as numerous, accessible or rewarding. Ontario’s Highlands offers many opportunities to explore the ways in which our unique geology has shaped our landscape, culture and way of life. Recreational geology has impacted our rich mining heritage, geoheritage, as well as settlement and trade in our region, but you don’t need to go to a museum to see its influence on who we have become — the iconic rock formations, natural gems

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Courtesy of Yours Outdoors

and scenery can be enjoyed while taking part in any recreational activity in our region. From nature hiking on a geology trail, to off-the-beaten path excursions deep into the Canadian Shield, to the strong rapids and beautiful shorelines of our whitewater regions in the Ottawa Valley, our unique geology is everywhere. In fact, anyone traveling along our scenic roadways will notice firsthand its stunning physical impact. Ontario’s Highlands features excellent opportunities to search for deep-blue sodalite, flaky mica and gemmy green apatite, at sites like the Eganville Geology & Fossil Trail (Eganville), AquaRose Gems & Minerals (Quadeville) and Bear Lake Diggings (Tory Hill), Ontario’s first protected mineral collecting locality. If you’re not sure what to look for yet, then the Bancroft Mineral Museum is the place to start. With over 400 of the best local mineral specimens on display, it will definitely get you inspired! For more unique experiences, head to the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville, the Ordovician Fossil Capital of Canada. This underground cave system used to sit at the bottom of the sea 500 million years ago and is now full of “rock icicles”, limestone walls and ancient fossils to explore with the help of an interpretive tour guide, or on your own. There’s even a museum to help put everything into perspective. Bon Echo Provincial Park is also a popular destination, especially Mazinaw Lake, which features a granite rock surface that rises out of the water and displays ancient pictograph drawings. Or, if you’re looking to explore our geoheritage, head to Lanark County, where geology has spawned a backyard mining industry through the 1800s, and where stories of original families and their struggles can be conveyed in the unique landscapes, buildings and museums. Head over to the Perth Museum/Matheson House in Perth, where a historic collection from our region’s first recreational geologist, Dr. Wilson, will leave you marveling at the buried treasures of Lanark County. Then, make your way to the Silver Queen Mine at the heart of Murphys Point Provincial Park, where dedicated staff have gone to great lengths to restore the mica mine, heritage building, artifacts and interpretive dioramas — an entire way of life! Although quite small compared to the vast underground workings in some of the great mining districts of today, the cavernous underground pit is jaw-dropping when you consider that it was carved out of solid rock using only hand, horse, and later, steam power in the early 1900s. Take part in a regularly-scheduled guided trip into the mine, or come out for Heritage Mica Days festival between June and October for interpretive spirit walks, music nights, unique displays and geoheritage games.

Unique Story Idea Find Treasure in Ontario’s Highlands Get down to earth with mineral collecting in Bancroft, the Mineral Capital of Canada, and visit the annual Rockhound Gemboree in August, where you’ll have a chance to learn how to identify different types of gems and even pan for gold! The Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce runs regular tours throughout the summer months to a number of popular destinations.

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Our Festivals & Events The locals in Ontario’s Highlands love to celebrate our region’s culture, seasons and unique personality with year-round festivals that draw visitors from many parts of Ontario and beyond. See our streets, communities and rural regions come to life with music, performances and more in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel like part of the family. Our festivals and events are the perfect occasion to get up close and personal with our friendly locals and come to know our authentic, history-rich, nature-loving and just plain wacky experiences. Members of the media are encouraged to use the monthly Events Calendar below for story pitches. No matter your lead time, the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization will be happy to work with you to help provide event information, photos, interviews and, where possible, FAM trips.

Please Note: Events marked with an * have been named one of the top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario!


february Renfrew Frew Fest (Renfrew) There’s a reason they call this part of our region Snow Country. Warm up to winter with a festival that includes skating, snow sculptures, face painting and funny events, like high school bed races, where students push their teammates to the finish line while they sit in a real bed!

Petawawa Cabin Fever (Petawawa) Out here, we don’t stay indoors during winter! This event celebrates our frosty season with stand-up comedy, snowmobile races, a snow creations contest, chili cook-off and more.

Marmora Snofest (Marmora) This event is held the first weekend in February and hosts one of the largest dogsledding races in Canada. Bonus: An Igloo Village made up of inflatable igloos!

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Bonnechere Cup (Eganville) The Bonnechere Cup has become one of the most elusive and coveted prizes in professional ice oval snowmobile racing! Cheer for your team at this iconic event.



March Break in the Sugar Bush

(Barry’s Bay)

(Lanark County) A weekend of family fun celebrating the timbering heritage of Barry’s Bay and the Madawaska Valley. Includes a snowmaking competition, ice wall decorating, logging-themed stories, games and crafts.

Haliburton FrostFest (Haliburton) With some of the heartiest winter pride in the region, Haliburton sure knows how to throw a party in celebration for the season! Events include disc golf, snowshoe games, horse wagon rides and dogsledding.

A thousand times better than sitting home and watching TV, come out to Wheelers Maple Syrup Camp & Pancake House or Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush to get hands-on with maple. March Break events include learning to tap a real maple tree, snowshoeing through the sugar bush, horsedrawn sleigh rides and roasting marshmallows over a cozy campfire.

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*Heritage Mica Days (Silver Queen Mine) From June to October, join us underground in a historical mica mine located in Murphys Point Provincial Park. Hear stories about the mine and wander through mica artifacts, or try your hand at one of the heritage games and take home a small souvenir sample of mica. Bonus: The event also includes kid-friendly spirit walks and music nights!

Festival of the Maples (Perth) The end of maple season is marked by this annual affair, which offers everything from stage entertainment to maple products for sale to a pancake breakfast.




Kashub Day (Wilno) A celebration of the rich Polish heritage and unique Kashub culture in the Ottawa Valley, with wagon rides, Polish food, traditional folk music and outdoor dancing.

MACKfest (Marmora)

*Calabogie Country Music Festival This festival brings paddlers together from all across Ontario and beyond for a weekend of kayaking, camping, live entertainment, and night time festivities.

(Calabogie) Taking place at the Calabogie Peaks Resort, this is one party you will not want to miss. See great Canadian country acts live on stage in an amphitheatre setting located right on the mountain side.

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*Classic Theatre Festival (Perth)

Herbfest You don’t have to go far to experience some of the best theatrical talent in Canada. Running through July and August, this festival transforms Perth into a celebration of local performing arts in the summer time and invites visitors to catch a play from the Golden Age of Broadway and the London Stage.


Haliburton Art & Craft Festival (Haliburton) Discover your crafty side at this summer festival that features the work of over 130 artists from across the province and beyond.

A unique celebration of wellness in the Ottawa Valley! Check out over 90 vendors and artisans at the marketplace, listen to informative lectures, watch a Chef cook-off or relax and meander through the beautiful landscaped herbal garden beds.

july Dusk Dances Festival

*Bancroft Wheels, Water and Wings


(Bancroft) Show everyone your moves at this outdoor dance festival in Head Lake Park that brings contemporary and traditional performers to play to the background of a golden sunset and shimmering lake.

*Stewart Park Festival

*Almonte Celtfest



This three-day music-themed festival draws more than 20,000 visitors each year and features tunes, workshops, an artisan market and after-hours concerts.

A free afternoon of Ottawa Valley and Celtic entertainment performed in the natural amphitheatre of Gemmill Park in the heart of charming Almonte.

More than 100 classic cars line the streets over this weekend show, which also features a 50s and 60s style street dance, a boat show and (of course!) ribs.

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Unique Story Idea Explore and learn at the Rockhound Gemboree (Bancroft) Each August, join Rocky the Rockhound at the nation’s most celebrated gem and mineral show, right in the heart of Canada’s Mineral Capital, Bancroft. The largest show of its kind in the county, the event brings together top mineral and gem experts and offers an opportunity to learn how to identify precious stones and even pan for gold! This fun event is sure to broaden your horizons while presenting many beautiful minerals, stunning gemstone jewellery and crafts.

Tweed Stampede and Jamboree

Lanark Highlands Classic Car Show


(Lanark Village)

Have a rowdy good time with other cowboys and cowgirls, watch bulls flail at the rodeo, or stomp your own feet to the beat of the jamboree performers. Bonus: On-site camping!

Classic car enthusiasts congregate along the banks of the Clyde River to show off their “babies”!

Taste of the Valley (Upper Ottawa Valley) Packed with community events that help introduce both visitors and residents to the many unique agricultural products available in the region, this event runs between August and October and includes local foods, crafts and products.

Algonquin Pow Wow (Pikwakanagan) Each year, Pikwàkanagàn welcomes hundreds of dancers, numerous drum groups and thousands of spectators to celebrate Algonquin culture at this traditional pow wow.

august Haliburton Forest Festival (Haliburton)

Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival

Enjoy an array of Canadian and international talent while taking in breathtaking scenery among forestland, winding rivers, and wetlands. Take a pause from the music and stroll along the trails, lined with art installations against a mythical backdrop of lush forest. Artists such as Natalie MacMaster, Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) and Dan Hill have all graced the stage at previous years’ festivals.

(Tweed) Elvis is in the building! There are plenty of sideburns, curvy lips and bedazzled jumpsuits to be had at this annual event that sees top Elvis tribute artists compete for a chance to attend the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis.

Puppets Up! (Almonte) An international puppet festival that will have small children, older kids, adults and grandparents alike smiling and laughing all weekend long. Includes puppet parades, face painters, balloon twisters, stilts walkers and clowns.

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Haliburton Tour de Forest

Hike Haliburton Festival (Haliburton)

(Haliburton Highlands) Stop at featured art and artisan studios along a self-guided driving tour of the region’s picturesque countryside.

With over 50 guided themed hikes taking place on over 200 kilometres of gorgeous trails, there’s a perfect one for all ages and abilities, including the Ghost Walk, Leave it to Beaver, Stouffer Mill Strut and Walk in the Clouds. Come to know our regional stories and memorable people while exploring our beautiful region.

Rural Ramble

Stirling-Rawdon Water Buffalo Food Festival

(Ottawa Valley)

(Stirling) Nature’s tapestry sets the stage for the annual Rural Ramble each year, a free self-guided driving tour set against the beautiful backdrop of Autumn in the Ottawa Valley. Enjoy your road trip through fall colours!

Eat your heart out and enjoy the local fare of the region at this festival offering a unique opportunity to taste fresh cheese products made from local water buffalo milk.

september Calabogie Blues & Ribfest

Drum Nation Festival



A weekend long celebration of all things ribs and blues! Blues artists and ribbers from across North America take over the Calabogie Peaks mountainside for a weekend that includes a beer garden, vendor’s area, kids’ zone and mountainside camping.

A multicultural festival about creative expression and family interaction, enjoy celebrations in music and dance as an art form and the presence of the drum in various cultures. Take part in learning circles that teach drumming, dancing, healing and more.

Perth Lions Garlic Festival & Haliburton Garlic Festival For an event that really “stinks”, plan to visit one of the Ontario’s Highlands garlic festivals this summer. Try different varieties of garlic, watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy live music and take part in garlic-related crafts.

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Madawaska Valley Studio Tour (Madawaska Valley) Explore picturesque rural roads and browse 16 county studios filled with the exciting work of talented artisans and artists.

Haliburton County Studio Tour

Rally of the Tall Pines

Light Up the Night



An Earth-shredding rally race where small cars with four-wheel drive are driven treacherously down forest roads to the loud cheering of a roaring crowd.

Combining a breathtaking Christmas concert and fireworks display, this festive event leaves everyone feeling in the spirit.

(Haliburton) Enrich your travels with a self-directed tour offering the opportunity to discover the treasures in the studios of Haliburton’s artists. Observe the creative process and become amazed by a selection of finished work from more than 30 local talents.




ColourFest (Haliburton) Named the “Best fall fest yet!” by the Haliburton Echo, this festival boasts vibrant street displays, headliner entertainment, a vintage cars show, hockey tournament, contests and live music!

Want more? Find all of our events online

Visit for a full list of all the exciting upcoming events in Ontario’s Highlands or contact us for more information.

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our organiZation


The Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization

Who We Are the Ontario’s Highlands tourism Organization (OHtO), also known as Regional tourism Organization 11 (RtO11), is one of 13 Regional tourism Organizations created by the Ontario government to increase tourism in the province. the OHtO was founded in October 2010 and covers a large, predominantly rural region, including Haliburton, Lanark, Renfrew and portions of Frontenac, Hastings and Lennox & Addington counties. In total, the region spans over 23,000 square kilometres and features scenic wilderness, unspoiled rivers and lakes, unique wildlife, charming small towns, historical sites and friendly communities and people. Luckily, we have a wonderfully unique and welcoming region that is just as much fun to develop and promote as it is to live in and visit! the OHtO is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization, currently with over 700 members. It is governed by a Board of Directors.

Our Partners In an effort to effectively reach our stakeholders at the local level and generate the greatest impact from our programs, the OHtO works with established and recognized tourism organizations, municipalities and entities to build and support a competitive tourism region. More specifically, we regularly collaborate with six sub-regional marketing organizations, who have established themselves as leaders in tourism development and promotion in their own communities. these organizations include: Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce, Haliburton Highlands, Lanark County tourism, Land O’ Lakes tourist Association, Ottawa Valley tourist Association, and the Rideau Heritage Route tourism Association.

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Opportunities for the Media

Take a fam tour! Want to get a first-person perspective of Ontario’s Highlands for your story? We work with individual members of print, digital and online media throughout the year to plan memorable trips and itineraries specificallytargeted to your angle.

In the past, we’ve sent magazine editors and videographers on multi-day tours through our region’s bendy and scenic snowmobile trails; newspaper writers into the hearts of our most charming communities to discover the truly incredible stories shared by our locals; bloggers to experience some of our most brag-worthy moments, like dogsledding and recreational geology; and photographers into the nooks and crannies of our towns, businesses and recreational playgrounds to capture what it means to visit our magnificent region and feel instantly connected. We are always on the lookout for new opportunities to partner with media.

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Long story short? We want to bring you here. If you are interested in covering a pitch or event included in this kit, or in pursuing any other story about our region, send an email to our Communications Coordinator, Kasia Wind, at outlining: Your name and contact information The name of your organization/publication The reach/circulation of your media outlet Details on the kind of FAM trip you are interested in Proposed story angle and publication date A photo of your breakfast (Just kidding! We get enough of those in our Twitter feeds.)

The opportunity will be evaluated and you should hear back from us within a few business days. Please note that, while we always welcome inquiries from freelance writers, we kindly request an assignment letter from an editor/media outlet before pursuing a press trip opportunity.

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Contact us If you are a member of the media interested in covering travel stories about Ontario’s Highlands or the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO), we want to connect with you.

get in touch We look forward to working together! Reach our Communications Coordinator, Kasia Wind, at or 1-855-629-6486 with all your media inquiries.

Story Assistance Whether you need information, photos, interviews, fact-checking help or just to clarify whether there’s actually an apostrophe in our corporate name (Yes! We often get “Ontario Highlands” and scratch our heads), we are here to lend a hand.

Sign Up for Our Press Releases! Stay informed of Ontario’s Highlands news, events and story pitches by requesting to be added to our media contact list. It’s the best way to stay current on the travel picture in our region. Send over your details or give us a call and introduce yourself.

Receive a Print Media Kit Want a copy of this kit to share with your editor, read on the train or frame over your mantle? It just so happens that we have a copy with your name on it. Get in touch!

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Ontario’s Highlands | Media Kit | 41 9 International Drive, Pembroke, ON K6A 6W5 Tel.

613-629-6486 or 1-855-629-OHTO Fax. 613-629-6488

twitter @onhighlands / @ohtoinsider




Communications Coordinator


Profile for Kasia Wind

Ontario's Highlands - Media Kit  

Pitches, stories and upcoming events in Ontario's Highlands. For more information, please visit:

Ontario's Highlands - Media Kit  

Pitches, stories and upcoming events in Ontario's Highlands. For more information, please visit: