The most memorable place I ever stayed in while on vacation was a converted farmhouse in Northern Ireland. As we pulled up the long winding driveway, we all had a couple moments of celebration, because we couldn’t believe our luck. Beautiful ocean view, just down the street from the Giant’s Causeway; it is a place that remains burned in my brain forever, in the best possible way. While traditional hotels have their perks and comforts for sure, it’s fun every now and then to stay somewhere completely out of the ordinary. It’s true what they say: location really is everything.
What follows, is a roundup of some of the most unique accommodations we could find in Ontario.
Go Back to the Beginning
Manitoulin Island is home to several indigenous groups including the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi people. And with Spirit Island Adventures, you can take part in some authentic native experiences including spending the night in a teepee. You can combine this with other activities such as horseback riding, hiking and tea making. More information at spiritislandadventures.com
Live It Up, Swiss Family Robinson Style
Something about living/staying in a tree house that evokes a childlike excitement. There is one such tree house in Perth, Ontario that will make all your childhood fantasies come true. It took three years to build and is made almost exclusively out of recycled materials. You can even order a pizza up to the tree fort! Perth is located about 100km away from Ottawa. Visit sheridanrapids.webs.com for more information.
Take Me To Church
This cool historic monastery is located in Muskoka, and currently operating as a luxury B&B (aptly named Monastery B&B). It is located right on the river and was used by an order of Anglican brothers, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, from 1928 to 1983. There are several rooms available for rent, all of which are housed in a building with a working bell tower. The property is a short, ten-minute walk from downtown Bracebridge. More info is available at bbmuskoka.com/themonastery
Making Waves at the Boatel
This is one of the coolest accommodations you’ll find in Toronto. It’s a bed and breakfast on a boat! This 65-foot private yacht is parked right in the picturesque Toronto harbour. The boat stays docked during your stay, but cruises are available (in other boats) if you want to cruise the water. The boat has three guestrooms and breakfast is served each day in the sunroom. There are three decks to lounge on after a day of sightseeing, and if you have a large enough party, the entire boat can be booked. The boatel only operates during the summer months. More information at boatel.ca
Let There Be Light…House
This 1907 era lighthouse is located in Northern Ontario in the town of Bruce Mines. It is perched on the shores of Lake Huron, and the view from the Widow’s Walk is amazing. The lighthouse (and surrounding cottages) are located on a private island, about 45 minutes away from Sault Ste. Marie. This getaway is good if you are looking for a “get away from it all” type vacation. There is also hiking, kayaking, biking and bonfires. More info at brucebaycottages.com
If camping isn’t quite your style, but you still enjoy being surrounding by nature, why not jump on the glamping trend train? In Long Point, Ontario (located in Norfolk County), there are pods that provide comfort, ambiance and a view. Several different size pods are available, each with their own private deck. Long Point Adventures is a cool place to stay also because in addition to glamping pods, there is treetop adventure tours, an observatory, kayaking, fishing, biking and boat tours. Check out Lpfun.ca for more info.
Farm Living Is the Life For Me
For those of us who grew up in a city, the day-to-day lives of those living on rural farms can be a bit of an intriguing mystery. Luckily, there is a chance to live the farming life right here in Ontario. Dwyers Farmhouse is located in the Ottawa Valley, and they offer the opportunity for a real farm stay. The farmhouse is rented to one family at a time and can accommodate several people. There are hens, horses, cows and you have the chance to take part in it all. Check out dwyersfarmhouse.blogspot.ca to see how you can take part.
A Night In the Big House
If you like being creeped out (or are just a huge history buff), this is the place for you! This hostel has actually been ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s spookiest buildings. The place in question used to be home to the Carleton County Jail, which served as a maximum security prison from 1862 to 1972. It became a hostel shortly after closing. Guests sleep in former cells, and when wandering the grounds, might come across the old gallows, hidden stairwells, secret tunnels and maybe even death row (but there is also a cool games room and free wifi). The hostel is located within walking distance of some of Ottawa’s most popular tourist attractions. More info is available at hihostels.ca/Ontario/1166/HI-Ottawa-Jail.hostel
Have you stayed some place really unique in Ontario that we failed to mention? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!