If you are new to Canada and want to get to know the local culture, history, food, and people in Ontario's Southwest, the best way to do that is by travelling locally. No matter which season you arrive in, don’t wait before you start exploring. It would be a shame for you to miss out while waiting for different weather. To help you get started, we’ve put together a “must visit” list that you should check out. 

This list isn’t going to be filled with the usual tourist traps. These are the true and authentic Southwestern Ontario experiences that all newcomers will benefit from seeing, tasting, and exploring. Click here for a map of all locations mentioned in the following blog post. 

family running in snow


Visit a Museum or National Historic Site

Canadian history isn’t just our achievements, it also includes our failures. We can continue to learn, grow, and become better for it. We hope that by sharing these moments of our history with you, you’ll see the potential and join us in making your new home a great place to both live and visit.


The Ska-Nah-Doht Village - Mount Brydges

As a new settler to the area, it is important to understand that what we refer to as “Ontario’s Southwest” is located on the traditional territories of the Anishnaabeg/Anishinaabeg/Anishnabek/Anishinabek, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Huron-Wendt/Huron-Wendat, Attawandaron (Neutral), Lenape, Ojibway/Chippewa, and Wendat Indigenous Peoples.

To learn more about the heritage of the land you now call home, visit the Ska-Nah-Doht Village, a recreated longhouse village that symbolises what would have existed 1,000 years ago. The Ska-Nah-Doht Village is open year-round, and features exhibits about the traditional practices of the Haudenosaunee Peoples that would have lived in similar longhouses.

Ska Noh Museum Village

Click here to learn more about Indigenous Tourism in Ontario’s Southwest.


Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History – Dresden

Did you know that during the 19th century an estimated 30,000 Black refugees fled the United States to escape slavery via a system of routes ending in Canada? This system was called the “Underground Railway” and one of the stops along the route was Josiah Henson's home, and it’s now a National Historic Site. You can tour Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History and learn about the Underground Railroad and early Black settlements in Ontario. The museum is open for tours by appointment for groups of 15 or more in the colder months.

If you want to learn more about Black History in Ontario's Southwest, click here


Ruthven Park – Cayuga

Another National Historic Site you’ll want to visit is Ruthven Park that features a Greek revival mansion, built in 1847. During the early 19th century, many Europeans settled in Ontario and began building on land that Indigenous Peoples inhabited.

We encourage you to explore Ruthven Park grounds and trails. It is a beautiful spot to hike during any season! 

Ruthven Park


Banting House – London

The Banting House is known as the birthplace of insulin because it’s the location that Dr. Banting’s had his private practice out of in the 1920s. Dr. Banting was the man who discovered Insulin, which is used by people with type 1 diabetes to control their blood sugar. Guided tours are available and even offered in many languages (English, French, Mandarin, Lebanese, Japanese, Farsi, Arabic, Korean, and Russian).


Try Local Food

We believe that you can get to know people through their food. And since Ontario’s Southwest is home to both the “Dairy Capital of Canada” and "Ontario's Garden", we believe that we have something very special to offer. 


Chef's Table Experiences – Woodstock and Cayuga

Where do you think the best seat in the restaurant is? If you said, “in the kitchen”, we have the perfect experiences for you! 

At SixThirtyNine, a local restaurant in Woodstock that only uses the finest local ingredients in their food, you can sit at the Chef’s Table and watch your food being made.

SixThirtyNine chef serving dish

You can also book an Open Chef Table night at the Twisted Lemon Restaurant in Cayuga. During this tasting experience, you will have exclusive access to Chef Dan as he cooks for your table in a private kitchen. 


Arrowwood Farm – Melbourne

Come and enjoy a wonderful Harvest Table dinner at Arrowwood Farm. These dinners are often themed by the time of year or specific cuisine styles. Enjoying a delicious dinner at a local farm is the authentic farm-to-table experience both locals and visits love.


WindsorEats Bevy Boxes

You don’t have to leave your house to enjoy local beverages! WindsorEats created the Bevy Box to support multiple craft producers and small businesses across Canada. They have multiple boxes available to satisfy all preferences and they ship across Ontario. Each item in the Bevy Box is lovingly selected and sure to impress anyone that enjoys craft beer, wine, spirits, or coffee. 


Taste of Farm Life at Udderly Ridiculous – Bright

The Taste of Farm Life is an Ontario's Southwest Signature Experience and is a great way to see what types of food we grow and raise in Ontario’s Southwest. You get to try goat milk ice cream and see how it’s made. You’ll meet farm animals, gather eggs, and learn about the local ecosystem.

Interested in learning more about Ontario's Southwest Signature Experiences? Click here!

Winter Experiences

Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on winter! Yes, it’s cold, but there is so much to do that you wouldn’t be able to do at any other time of the year. Make sure that you dress warmly and get out there to enjoy these Canadian winter experiences.  

Learn to Ski at Boler Mountain - London

The winter is so much more fun when you participate in winter activities such as skiing! And if you’ve never skied before, that’s okay! Boler Mountain has everything that you need to get started, including lessens and equipment rentals. Click here for more information on their private lessons.

Boler Mountain

Winter Fat Tire Biking - Woodstock

Yes, you can (and should) mountain bike in the winter and lucky for you, there are great fat tire biking experiences in Ontario's Southwest that you can try. Fat tire bikes (aka. fatbikes) were invented for use in snow.

If you already have the equipment and want to make fat tire biking a frequent activity this winter, be sure to check out the groomed trails at Wildwood Conservation Area. Biking trails at Wildwood range in length from 1.2 - 25 km, which makes it a great spot to work on your endurance.


Watch a Hockey Game - London, Windsor, and Sarnia

We aren’t sure what is more Canadian than watching a hockey game. So, if you want that Canadian hockey experience, you can attend a London Knights game at Budweiser Gardens, Windsor Spitfires game at the WFCU Centre, or a Sarnia Sting game at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.


Winter Winery Experiences – Multiple Locations

Ontario’s Southwest is home to many amazing wineries, and we encourage you to check them out during any season! But if you are going in the winter, we think that you’ll enjoy Alton Estate Farms in Plympton-Wyoming for their beautiful winter trails that you can either hike or cross-country ski on. Oxley Estate Winery, in Harrow, and the Burning Kiln Winery, in St. Williams, also have outdoor patios and fireplaces to warm you up as you take in the beautiful winter landscapes.

Click here to read more about the wineries in Ontario's Southwest that are winter ready! 

couple by fire at winery


We are so excited that you chose to make Canada your new home and hope that you love it as much as we do. Check out some more adventures below and share with us on social media by using the hashtag #OntSouthwest.

Looking for even more memory-making experiences for your family to connect? Browse our collection of experiences and itineraries that have been optimized for maximum fun and will set the stage for you to learn, play, and explore as a family.