Come Wander
Meet the Locals

Get to know our vibrant communities and cozy small towns through the eyes of our locals. Meet the interesting, friendly and colourful people who live – and wander – here, and get an insider’s perspective on the hidden gems around Ontario’s Highlands.


Connecting to the Land and Algonquin History: Amber Hein

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. On my mother’s side, I am Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. The traditional homelands of the Algonquin people are the […]

Educate Yourself About Indigenous People and their Cultures

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canadians are becoming more aware of the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples since settlers arrived on the shores of Turtle Island (North America). Still, many of us aren’t […]

Responsible Tourism: Be a Better Ally to First Nations peoples

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canada is home to more than 630 First Nations, representing over 50 sovereign nations with their own lands, culture, language, creation stories, language or dialect. With such a […]

Celebrating Women in Business in Ontario’s Highlands

In today’s world we must consciously strive to reduce and eliminate the biases that colour the world and our interactions within it. Here in Ontario’s Highlands, we imagine a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, where women are free to celebrate their successes and find support for their struggles. On International Women’s […]

Responsible Tourism: Being Where the Wild Things Are

Is there anything more thrilling and rejuvenating then venturing out into our wild places to connect with ourselves and nature? As photographer and conservationist Art Wolfe said; “It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed.” And lucky us, we have […]

3-Day Wild Journey

In a world filled with long concrete ribbons of roadways, busy intersections, blinking streetlights, and people’s chatter, the thought of stepping away from the noise and chaos even just for a few minutes is appealing. The wild places in Ontario’s Highlands are calling to those looking for a respite from the everyday. Here in Ontario’s […]

Getting Started Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is an activity that invites you to go deeper into the wild places where it’s just you, your gear, your climbing partner, and your own sense of adventure. Climbing calls to those who want to try something new, want to learn something, and just want to feel the cool breeze of the great […]

Local’s Take: A Winter Escape Somewhere in Calabogie

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycations in Ontario’s Highlands.  Local: Amy From: Lanark County Travelling: Ottawa Valley There are those among us who spend their […]

Breaking Boundaries with Remote Ice Climbing in Haliburton Highlands: Lorne Foisy

“Our rock is Canadian Shield, it’s old, it’s covered in lichen, you have to wander through the woods to find it. But the way I describe Ontario climbing is adventure climbing, it’s kind of the whole deal.” – Lorne Foisy, Elements Guiding Lorne Foisy didn’t grow up climbing rock walls like Tommy Caldwell, and doesn’t […]

Snow Man: Andrew Twigg Meets Winter Head on in Frontenac County

“Winter’s so special because you have incredibly fresh air, you get that cold oxygen into your lungs. It just feels good to be outside.” – Andrew Twigg, Cruising Canoes When the snow blankets the ground for the first time each year it’s immediately clear there are two kinds of people in the world: those who […]

5 Real-Life Holiday Movie Sets

If you ever want to feel like you’ve stumbled onto the set of a holiday movie, the charming towns of Ontario’s Highlands are the place to be. Seriously, our small towns are so picturesque, they’re often used as the set for Christmas movies. Feel the holiday cheer for yourself when you visit these spots that […]

Responsible Tourism: Building Connections

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses.  Is there any better feeling of aliveness than the way we feel when we connect to ourselves and others? Connections give us a grounded, joyful sensation of awareness and interaction that […]

How to Strengthen Your Connection to Yourself and Others

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses.  Let’s face it, we live in a pretty disconnected world. Especially over the last year and a half, we’ve begun to connect primarily through digital media like social media, cell phones, […]

Connected to People: Ro Nwosu

“My calling is to help people, to help them see the way they move is so unique to who they are.” – Ro Nwosu What do you get when you take the rich Nigerian and maritime cultures, pepper in a dash of Valley, a twist of determination, and combine? You get a people loving, community […]

Connecting People Through Food in Lanark County: Ian Carswell

“Food brings people together…the experience of dining makes people happy, way beyond the food.” – Chef Ian Carswell, Black Tartan Kitchen Black Tartan Kitchen owner and chef, Ian Carswell, is a study in contrasts. He’s passionate about food but he wasn’t raised in a culinary-focused household. He’s traveled the world but chose to open his […]

Translating the Vibe in Haliburton: Nick and Benton

“In every season, Haliburton is inspiring – the pace, vibe and cottage feel creates the perfect setting for creativity.” ~ Nick Russell & Benton Brown, Haliburton musicians Picture this: You are at the cottage seated with friends and/or family around a roaring bonfire, the low murmur of voices competing against a chorus of crickets and […]

Find Inspiration in Ontario’s Highlands

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. We all want to be able to make beautiful music, paint stunning works of art or write beautiful prose, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? It’s fair to say that fostering creativity is difficult to achieve in a […]

Carving her Course on the Madawaska: Stefi Van Wijk

“The river is where I’m my best self. It doesn’t care who I’m pretending to be.”- Stefi  Van Wijk, avid paddler. It’s no exaggeration to say that water is in the blood for whitewater paddler, instructor, and paddle school manager, Stefi Van Wijk. Most days Stefi looks like she’s coming straight off a paddling trip […]

Responsible Tourism: Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Making Really Good Cheese: Meet Jeff and Jenna Fenwick, Back Forty Cheese

Pull off the gravel road that leads to Jeff and Jenna Fenwick’s small Frontenac County farm and you are greeted with a quintessential small farm scene: a cozy farmhouse, rustic barn, small orchard and garden. The setting on the shores of the Mississippi River is pastoral and idyllic. At first glance it may appear that […]

Finding Beauty in the Everyday: Meet Rosemary Leach, Almonte Artist

The community of Almonte has a habit of creating and fostering artists, a trend that’s perpetuated in the work and life of Almonte artist, Rosemary Leach. Rosemary and her husband, Jake, originally hail from Toronto and Peterborough, respectively, and intentionally went looking for a community with an unhurried pace in which to settle down when […]

Ice Cream and Skiing: Meet Laurent Coulibaly from Cafe Laurent, Burnstown

If you travel through Burnstown during the warm summer months, you will probably take note of a line-up of cars parked outside what has become one of the most sought-after ice cream shops in the region: Café Laurent. Here, Laurent Coulibaly makes his delicious ice creams from scratch, and is dedicated to revolutionizing the ice […]

A True Bru-Master

Meet Marc Bru, owner of Square Timber Brewing Company who is taking beer to the next level in Pembroke, Ontario.

Bringing Together the Best of Haliburton

Before Michael Schiedel-Webb came to live full-time in Haliburton, he had never made beer. Not once. Not ever. His first batch came from a really big home-brew kit, located in the living room of his cottage, in the middle of the winter. “It was minus ten, and we had to do some of it outside,” […]

The Evolution of Art: Wendy Wood, Haliburton Artist

Haliburton artist, Wendy Wood, has lived everywhere from Kapuskasing to the shores of Lake Erie, but says nothing can compare to the creative atmosphere in Haliburton, particularly when it comes to fostering art and artists. “There’s a little bit of everything here,” Wendy explained. “The art school here draws everybody…you have top-notch teachers then people […]

Finding Good Medicine on Thunderbird Mountain

Having a guide can turn an everyday hike into the most amazing adventure. Although I’d hiked on my own in the past, making the hike with Tim Yearington of Bird Mountain Journeys wove together a story that allowed a deeper connection and different outlook on nature and history. It gave me a greater outlook on […]

Living the Dream

Meet the Locals: Rob and Nancy Moore, owners of Cardinal Cafe and Shop in Sharbot Lake Ontario.

Maple Linguist

Laurel Cook reflects on life in Lanark County, Ontario’s Maple Syrup Capital.

Chocolate Marshkebabs DIY

Easter is just a bunny hop around the corner and dreams of chocolate are filling the minds of children – and adults, too. A chocolate treat is the perfect way to sweeten your spring, and when it comes to this dark delicacy, the folks at Perth Chocolate Works are the experts. Since opening their doors […]

A Slice of Italy

Meet Sarah Woods and Luca Molteni, owners of The Barn Chefs who are bringing a little slick of Italy to Coe Hill, Ontario.

GPS Guru

Meet Mary Barker, the Wilberforce woman who’s making Haliburton world-renowned for geocaching.  Wilberforce, Ontario, County of Haliburton The roads to Wilberforce are winding and majestic, flanked by high pine trees and birches, nestled between the hard rock and calm lakes that make up the Canadian Shield. Mary Barker knows these roads and waterways well, having […]