Durham Region is a beautiful municipality found in scenic Southern Ontario. Just east of Toronto, Durham makes up the east section of the Greater Toronto Area and consists of some of the finest, most charming small towns in Ontario. The gorgeous landscape of Durham Region consists of Lake Ontario, vast, mature forests, and plenty of natural parks. The perfect balance of urban and rural environments makes Durham Region the perfect home and tourist destination with some of the top destinations around. The following is a list of just a few of the many incredible things to do in Durham Region.
Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park
3667 Concession Road 6, Orono, ON L0B 1M0
Unleash your inner wilderness explorer by visiting Jungle Cat World, formerly named Orono Exotic Cat World. Here, you’ll be able to discover and learn about over sixty species of exotic animals including big cats such as lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards along with many other interesting creatures like ring-tailed lemurs, cockatoos, and wolves. With over 170 animals within the park, Jungle Cat World will have your eyes popping in every direction!
The park features many fantastic programs for explorers of all ages. The Night Safari is a guided tour through the park after dark to get a look at the nocturnal animals. Behind The Scenes is a private program hosted by one of the fabulous Animal Coordinators. This hands-on experience allows guests to (safely) get up close and personal with the animals and become more familiar with these beautiful creatures. The Safari Zoo Camp is an overnight experience that’s been held every summer since 1995. Every year, approximately 300 campers between the ages of six and seventeen come for a unique experience, sleeping on site and learning about zoo keeping and animal and reptile handling. The senior campers even get the opportunity to feed the animals!
790 Chalk Lake Road, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R4
Those looking to enjoy a winter activity have plenty of options. Durham Region is home to some fantastic ski resorts including Dagmar Ski Resort, Skyloft, and Ski Lakeridge. Nestled into the Oak Ridge Moraine, Ski Lakeridge offers a unique experience, as it’s the only ski resort in the area that offers a snow-tubing track. Thrill-seekers can hurtle down the snow-covered hills, which reach a vertical rise of 300 feet, over and over again. Ski Lakeridge also offers alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing opportunities. For those who don’t own their own equipment, the resort has an excellent rental program.
With twenty-three trails, five lifts, and seventy skiable acres, Ski Lakeridge has ample space to keep snowbirds entertained for hours on end! The various trails offer different challenge levels, so anyone from beginner to expert can enjoy the runs. Lakeridge also consists of mogul runs, three dedicated terrain parks, and snowshoe trails. Never been skiing before? No problem! Ski Lakeridge provides the opportunity for ski and snowboard lessons for all ages. This fantastic resort is the perfect place to spend a snowy, wintery day in Durham Region.
419 King Street West, Oshawa, ON L1J 2K5
Durham Region is home to the largest shopping mall east of Toronto: the newly renovated Oshawa Centre. This two-storey shopping complex consists of over 260 retail stores and public services. The Oshawa Centre first opened in 1956 and only included twenty-eight stores in the beginning. Recently, the mall underwent a $230 million expansion project. Phase one of this renovation process began in 2013, adding sixty new retail spaces, two full-service restaurants, and a brand new food court that seats 1,000 people. The second phase of the construction began in 2017 and included updated entrances, new ceiling treatments, lighting and tiling updates, and the addition of a new underground parking garage that contributes an additional 250 parking spaces. Upon completion, this gorgeous shopping centre consists of 1,219,962 square feet, making it the largest shopping mall in Durham Region.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
72 Queen Street, Oshawa, ON L1H 3Z3
Art enthusiasts in Durham Region are provided with a real treat. The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is the largest public art gallery in the region. Established in 1967, this beautiful building has been a staple in the artistic community for decades. The Gallery is home to an exceptional collection of Canadian contemporary and modern artwork. The permanent collection contains over 4,500 outstanding works of art and offers an exhibition of some of the top pieces in Canada’s heritage. This extensive collection includes Canadian paintings, sculptures, and prints, offering a variety of beautiful masterpieces for all preferences.
Many big names of the art world are familiar along the walls of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery including Canada’s largest collection of artwork by the Painters Eleven as well as a dedicated selection of abstract art, which can be connected to the well-known Alexandra Luke of Oshawa. Alexandra Luke studied under Hans Hofmann, a renowned artist and teacher, out of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Along with the famous names found within the walls of the gallery, the building itself was also designed by the wonderful Canadian architect, Arthur Erickson. Everything about the beautiful Robert McLaughlin Gallery, inside and out, is a wonder to see.
Pickering Museum Village
2365 Concession Road 6, Greenwood, ON L0H 1H0
History buffs can enjoy the largest living history museum found in Durham Region, the Pickering Museum Village. Not only one building, this experience is found within an entire village designed to take guests back in time to a simpler lifestyle. While exploring this quaint and quiet village, visitors will take in a unique experience through live interpreters and can explore the various heritage buildings including a blacksmith shop, a general store, a schoolhouse, a hotel, and a chapel. Each building is filled with intricate details and a plethora of information about what life was like way back when.
The Pickering Museum Village offers creative and interactive programs for people of all ages. Kids programs feature crafts and activities as well as plenty of hands-on experiences. Themed tours are available throughout the year for even more excitement. The popular Ghost Walk is open to those willing to brave paranormal investigations and discover evidence of spirits and ghosts. The History Detective event gives guests a chance to solve puzzles and riddles throughout the museum under the guidance of a Museum Interpreter. At Hallowe’en, the village is filled with jack o’lanterns, costumes, and candy. The fun never ends at this old-time village!
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Treetop Eco-Adventure Park
53 Snow Ridge Court, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4
If you’re looking for a challenging and exciting adventure, look no farther than the Treetop Eco-Adventure Park found at the edge of Oshawa. This fantastic aerial park features five zip lines, including the majestic Big Zip, a 60’ high, 734’ long, premier zip line, high ropes suspension bridges, Tarzan ropes, barrels, log swings, and challenging obstacle courses set within the treetops. Treetop Park is perfect for all ages, consisting of five youth and adult courses, one children’s course, and a junior children’s course. The staff of Treetop Eco-Adventure Park are incredibly helpful and very knowledgeable, and will make your experience climbing through the trees absolutely unforgettable.
Darlington Provincial Park
1600 Darlington Park Road, Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K3
Darlington Provincial Park is a beautiful part of the Ontario provincial Parks system and sits on 510 gorgeous acres of some of the finest terrain in Southern Ontario. The small park is dominated by gently rolling hills and is bordered by the northern shore of Lake Ontario with a long stretch of sandy beach along the shore. Enclosing the McLaughlin Bay, Darlington Park also consists of a protected marshy area filled with a diverse array of flora and fauna. Animals that can be sighted within the borders of Darlington Provincial Park include white-tailed deer, squirrels, and a variety of other small animals. Plenty of fish and amphibian life can also be found, particularly around the McLaughlin Bay.
Every year, the park hosts an annual monarch tagging program, providing an educational experience for those interested. The park is part of a greater monarch conservation program and migrating monarch butterflies fill the skies each year, creating a beautiful display of fluttering wings. Darlington Park also provides family campgrounds available for day passes as well as overnight use. Group campsites and picnic facilities offer ample space for get-togethers and group events.
Wooden Sticks Golf Club
40 Elgin Park Drive, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1N2
One of the most beautiful golf courses in all of Southern Ontario can be found within Durham Region. Wooden Sticks is a favourite among local golfers and was designed by Ron Garl. The eighteen-hole course features twelve holes inspired by famous PGA courses from around the world, the rest are unique rounds designed for a challenging and unforgettable experience. Players can enjoy a thrilling and balanced game while taking in the beautiful scenery; majestic trees, tranquil waters, and open green grounds surround the luxurious golf course.
Along with the exciting and beautiful game that golfers will enjoy, Wooden Sticks Golf Club is also home to a fabulous restaurant and banquet hall. Club-goers can indulge in a drink or two on the beautiful outdoor patio between games or enjoy a five-star meal after a full afternoon of golfing. Wooden Sticks is known to host beautiful weddings and events as well. The large banquet hall and outdoor reception space provide the perfect spot for celebrations and group events. Whether you’re looking for a place to brush up on your golf swing or enjoy a fantastic evening out, Wooden Sticks Golf Club is luxury at its finest.
Durham Regional Forest
Concession Road 7, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R4
The winding trails of the Durham Regional Forest stretch for over sixteen kilometres. Located at the very top of the Oak Ridges Moraine, there are four main loop trails within the forest: Maple, White Pine, Spruce, and Red Oak. Several side trails branch off of these main trails, allowing hikers to fully explore the beautiful, mature trees of the forest. Established over ninety years ago, the Durham Regional Forest is made up of mixed hardwood forest and plantation forest. The trails are all well-marked, allowing easy navigation, even if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Plenty of year-round recreational activities can be enjoyed within the forest. In the snowy winter months, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. During the warmer months of the year, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding are popular activities. Hiking is particularly popular during the fall, when the leaves are bursting with colour and the crisp air hasn’t yet caused a snowfall.
138 Division Street, Cobourg, ON K9A 3P3
Beachgoers flock to the beautiful Cobourg Beach during the hot summer months of the year. This gorgeous stretch of sand offers ample opportunity to kick back and relax on a sunny afternoon. Located just west of Victoria Park, Cobourg Beach is made up of a mix of pebbles and sand, a vast grassy area, and a peaceful boardwalk that runs from Hibernia Street to Ontario Street.
Cobourg Beach consists of several incredible features that make this day-trip area perfect for the whole family. With two play structures, a splash pad, plenty of picnic tables, a fenced-in basketball court, and a charming cantena, fun can be had by all, all day long. Close to the downtown core, visitors can also choose to venture through the charming shops and boutiques that line the streets. Throughout the year, many events and festivals are set up along the beach including a series of volleyball tournaments, the Sandcastle Festival, annual Canada Day celebrations, and more. Nonstop fun awaits all those who visit this popular, beautiful beach.
No matter what hobbies and activities pique your interest, it’s guaranteed that there is the perfect something for you waiting in Durham Region. From the sun-kissed beaches to the sheltered forests and campgrounds, from the intriguing heritage sites to the contemporary shops and boutiques, Durham Region is filled with fantastic outings and excursions for all ages, all year round. With an unending list of activities and events, locals and visitors alike can indulge in the eclectic and unique opportunities of this amazing municipality.