A classic harbinger of spring, flower blooms are Ontario’s reward for the long months of winter. While the Ottawa Tulip Festival may be the most famous bud event, there are plenty of other horticultural celebrations across the province.
Warkworth, May 25-26
Warkworth, near Rice Lake, made our list of Ontario’s quaintest villages for its charming Victorian architecture and walkable, charming main street. Some of the best butter tarts in the region are found at the local Cara Mia Bakery and Cheeky Bee offers an amazing selection of bee-made products and honey.
In late May, though, what really stands out are the glorious lilac trees found throughout the village. The pinky purple hues of these flowers make for a fragrant and romantic backdrop for the community’s annual festival and highlighted by the Millennium Lilac Trail.
Apple Blossom Tyme
Colborne, May 25-26
While you’re in the area for the lilacs, why not head south from Warkworth to Colborne on the shores of Lake Ontario. Famous for its Big Apple roadside attraction, Colborne fittingly hosts a salute to the blossoms that predate this favourite fruit. This festival is definitely a family affair with face painting, pie eating contest, and tractor show. Stroll through the apple orchards in and around the town to fully enjoy the charming promise of this time of year.
For lunch, visit Minor Fisheries overlooking the Welland Canal for a classic fish and chips made with Lake Erie perch.
Bruce Peninsula, May 31-June 1
The orchids of the Bruce Peninsula are one of Ontario’s most special, yet lesser known natural wonders. Organized by the Friends of the Bruce District Parks Association, this festival is slightly more geared towards preserving the natural beauty of these wild wonders than a family carnival type of atmosphere. Based out of Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula National Park, this festival includes guided hikes and talks on more serious topics that affect the orchid and flora and fauna, such as climate change. Prices for activities vary depending on which events you attend.
While in Tobermory, stop by the amazing Circle Arts Gallery for fine art and crafts and grab lunch at local institution Craigie’s for fish and chips.
Oshawa, June 15-16
Hosted by the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden, this annual event is an Instagrammer’s dream, providing unlimited opportunities for glorious photo ops with one of the most popular flowers around. The garden boasts 300 varieties of peonies, so there’s sure to be at least a few that strike every guest’s fancy. Gardening seminars, food, and live music round out this event.
To round out a charming day enjoying the finer things in life, stop by the stunning Parkwood Estate and enjoy tea at their Garden Tea House.
Prince Edward County, July 13-14
Is it really summer if your Facebook photo doesn’t show you frolicking in a field of swaying purple lavender stalks? Enjoy this photogenic plant at the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm (and B&B) as well as take home some pleasing lavender products. You can learn about lavender oil making, sample tasty treats in the Tasting Tent, and take part in family activities such as pony rides.
If you’re still looking to enjoy the great outdoors, grab a scoop of Slicker’s Ice Cream and head to the Oeno Gallery and its amazing outdoor sculpture park.