Food has some superpower which has the ability to transport us to different places, cultures, and experiences, sometimes even takes us back in time to our childhood. One such place that made me feel nostalgic and helped fill a void in Hamilton Food scene is “Milan – Ultimate Indian Street Food” located at Barton Street Hamilton. According to me, Hamilton lacked a good chat point and Milan did come as a saviour. Now, we do not have to travel too far for a good chat. This place offers some good Indian Street Food and I am sure you would have an awesome experience. Their customer service is really good that they serve all the customers with a smile on their face.
Our Recommendations: This pure vegetarian restaurant has many dishes to offer but here are some of our recommendations.
Bhakhri Pizza: This is a must try if you are a fan of fusion food. Bhakhri is a type of round, unleavened Indian flatbread made from whole wheat flour, water, and spices. The base of the pizza is Bhakhri and is topped with vegetables like capsicum(green pepper), and onion. The taste of the pizza is increased thanks to the adequate sprinkling of shredded cheese. This cheese is usually not melted. Verdict: Must Try
2. Paneer Club Sandwich: Try this awesome sandwich if you are looking for some zesty, tangy and spicy snack. Layers of soft bread spread with mint chutney, overdose of Paneer Burji and combination of vegetables like tomatoes, onion, and beetroot. The paneer burji is made by marinating the cottage cheese with spices and pan-frying them with onions, adding a rich savoury element to the sandwich. Additionally, this is served with potato chips on the side. Caution, one order of this could fill a stomach. Verdict: Must Try
3. Pav Bhajji: Pav Bhajji is something that you cannot miss here. Bhajji is vegetable curry made with potatoes, carrots, and peas blended with richnesses of spices and herbs. Additionally, the Bhajji is garnished with chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon. Pav is soft bread toasted with butter or ghee. This dish captures the very essence of Indian street food culture and could be had for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Verdict: Good try.
4. Ragada Patties: The ragda, is a flavourful stew of white peas, is spiced with a blend of masalas. The patties refers potato tikkis which mashed potatoes coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried in oil. This is a popular street food in India and you would not go wrong placing this order. The dish is served with mint and sweet chutneys garnished with coriander. Verdict: Could Try
Other worthy mentions
Paani poori – hollow, crispy puris filled with a mixture of spiced potatoes, chickpeas, and tamarind chutney),
Chuntney cheese sandwich (This is lighter than the paneer club sandwich).
Areas of improvements:
Obviously, as patrons we do expect more from this awesome family run franchise. Some recommendations from us would be,
Live Pani Poori Counter
Paper bowls instead of plastic bowl.
Add some south Indian flavours like onion masala samosa
Location: 2415 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8E 2W9
Restaurant Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2.
I would go there any day for a tasty food with a good ambience. Further, the friendly staff who love serving you good food makes it a even better experience.
Hamilton is a vibrant city located at the western end of Lake Ontario(my father still does not believe that this waterbody is called a lake rather than an ocean). The city has stunning landscapes and attractions for trekkers, history lovers, and food enthusiasts. This city has something to offer everyone. There are many attractions spread across the city, in this part, we will see about 3 attractions that would attract anyone who loves nature and waterfalls.
Attraction 1: Fifty-point conservation area
Location: 1479 Baseline Rd, Hamilton, ON L8E 3L8
A picturesque location that should be top of the list for any travel lovers, be they local or tourists. The area is located right on the shore of Lake Ontario offering a variety of outdoor activities like walking trails, sand beach for fun family activities, fishing, etc and natural beauty. The marina and the lighthouse are some standout attractions for everyone. On a clear day, the view of Downtown Toronto is spellbinding. Nevertheless, the sight of the lake is similar to an infinity pool and swimmers and sailing boats are something that beautifies the place. Hikers and nature lovers would be excited to enjoy the breezy winds flowing through the forests and open meadows. There is ample space for picnicking, designated barbeque spots, and an open play area for the family. Parking is also plenty and you can find a spot with ease. The one-day pass would cost you $11.
Best Time to Visit: All around the year.
Attraction 2: Tiffany Falls
Location: Tiffany Falls, 900 Wilson Street East, Ancaster
Put your hiking shoes on, get your cameras ready and be prepared to be amazed by the charming beauty of tiffany falls. You are sure to be spellbound if you visit this beauty a day after heavy rainfall. The waterfall is just 21 meters tall but the beautiful green cover surrounding the falls and the stream that flows through the thick woods make it an experience to cherish. The trail that leads you to the falls is well maintained with a couple of wooden bridges adding some rustic touch to the natural splendour. The trail is easy for all age groups and should be easy for all age levels. The spot is perfect for a good photo opportunity. The only downside of the place is the parking. It is limited and usually full on a crowded day. The parking would cost you $11 and is free with a conservation area pass. You would also appreciate the drive through the splendid town of Ancaster.
Best time to visit the falls: Early Spring and Fall season.
Attraction 3: Sherman Falls
Location: Walking distance from the parking lot, 917 Artaban Road
Oh, this one is a hidden gem and combine this with the Tiffany Falls bet you will not regret. The waterfalls can be reached via the well-marked trail from the parking lot. The picturesque falls trail is an easy one and should be accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. The lush forest and the cascading waterfalls will transcend you to a different world. The sound of the flowing water combined with the chirps of the birds is a heavenly experience. The place is perfect. If you are looking for a peaceful retreat and a chance to connect with nature, Sherman Falls is must visit. There is ample parking and I would suggest using the bruce trail which is like 20-minute walk to access tiffany falls to get decent cardio and enjoy nature a bit more.
Best time to visit the falls: Early Spring and Fall season.
Hamilton Conservation Area Pass in my opinion will save you a lot if you plan to visit these places often. Mark these places for fall season and you will be in for a treat. If there are any places that you would love us to explore please feel free to share it in comments.
Maharaja Bhog located in Hurontario St, Mississauga is the place to go if you think about indulging in an absolute Indian feast and this place would probably need no promotion. This place serves authentic Rajasthani and Gujarati Thali, which will delight your taste palates with flavourful and tasty food.
This place is a newly opened restaurant in the GTA region and is located in a rather small complex. The decor and the interiors do not give you a traditional Rajasthani ambience but are rich enough. We were greeted with a smile by the staff taking our names for the waitlist. We waited for close to 45 minutes for the seats to be assigned but trust me every second was worth it. We went on an empty stomach and travelled quite a few kilometres after an intense session of Badminton, so the 45 minutes did not matter much.
More than the food, the star of the show according to me was the people who prepared the delicious food and the people who served it with no sign of tiredness despite being thronged by the crowd there. What I saw in those close to 2 hours of the visit was the enthusiastic staff who wanted to serve the patrons which according to me is an encouraging sign for a restaurant.
All the dishes were fantastic and filled with heavenly taste. This is a treat for Gujarati and Rajasthani food lovers. The menu in this restaurant keeps changing. Some of the standard options on the menu would be Roti, poori, Daal Khichdi, Rice, Rajasthani Dal, Dhokla, and Gujarati Dal. One of the softest and fresh Dhoklas that we have had. The rotis and pooris were served hot and straight from the kitchen. The masala chas ensured that the digestive juices kept flowing and the icing on the cake. None of the food was too spicy or overladen with masala. Here is a list of dishes we enjoyed.
Vada Dahi Chat: This stole our hearts. This is an appetizer consisting of deep-fried soft lentil fritters soaked in Dahi (yogurt) with chutneys and spices to make it a chat. This seems to be a rather simple dish but it was sumptuous.
Rajma Masala: Rajma masala is a popular Indian dish made from kidney beans, onions, tomato, herbs and spices. This is a healthy and hearty dish. This was something we repeatedly filled up. It went really well with both rotis and rice.
Rajasthani Dal: The Rajasthani Dal was packed with flavour and proteins. This was the perfect comfort food for a cool rainy day. To enhance the experience, we paired Rajma Masala with rice and a side of crunchy churmuri papad.
Restaurant Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We truly hope that this restaurant opens in Hamilton and continues to serve with the same smile and enthusiasm.
The following post might look like a rant but this is a summary of the true events and how our group felt that we were taken for a ride by Airbnb. We had nowhere to complain or raise a grievance to help make things better. What was supposed to be a good break for us started as a nightmare. The year-end plans went for a toss thanks to the awesome Airbnb support staff and policies. For the first time, I felt the pain of not having enough time to read the fine print under the asterisks.
On Dec 21,2022, the federal weather agency issued a winter storm warning Canadians of the large amounts of snow followed by strong potentially damaging winds that could cause power outages across Ontario and Quebec. (Link source: CBC ) Flights and train routes were affected. One via rail had derailed en route to Ottawa and some passengers were even trapped inside the Via rail that followed the derailed one. Via rail sent us a notification 24 hours before travel that our onward journey is cancelled. Considering the severity of the storm, we decided to cancel our trip and contacted Airbnb to cancel our trip and what followed was a horrible experience with our friendly neighbourhood representative.
Inconsistent policies: I had spoken to four or five different customer service representatives and found that Airbnb’s policies are inconsistent. I received different answers to the same question from different customer service representatives. One mentioned that I was eligible for a 100% refund, another 0%, one didn’t know about the policies and wanted to contact the host for a refund. Rare weather events according to their policy are considered an event that entitles you to a 100% refund. But thanks to their awful customer service I didn’t even get 50% back.
Slow response times: I understand that it might have been horrible for them due to peak requests for cancellations. But the ones who I worked with worked at a snail’s pace. They figured out at around midnight after 4-5 hours that they need to contact the hosts who were asleep by then. In fact, it was the host who contacted me to tell me that he has offered a 50% refund as this is a last-minute cancellation. The customer service agent who I spoke to was not even aware of this and took hours to confirm this on their end.
Lack of helpfulness: Each customer service representative had their own answers and had their own interpretation of the policies. They were restless and were reading lines from a script rather than understand the situation. One customer representative cancelled my booking without my approval. My booking was for $1,200 and as per their calculation 50% is some $400-odd. They mentioned that Airbnb would only return any % of their fees if the host issues 100%. What is the customer service here. Basically, Airbnb pocketed $200+ without offering any service. To top it all, they charged the host and the host could relist the property again. There were no apologies or any regret shown from the agent. Nor did they even try to make an effort to help the customer in distress. If this winter storm that derailed a train is not considered a extreme event I do not understand what would qualify under Airbnb policies.
After all this mayhem our group still had a good vacation in Ottawa and the places around the capital. Thanks to my travel card which has an annual fee of over $100, we were able to recoup more than 90% of what we lost with Airbnb. Until then, I had my reservations about paying annually for a card but the $120 I paid for the card is totally worth it. My recommendation for everyone would be to get at least one card with features like travel insurance built in that will come in handy in uncertain times.
Airbnb can improve its customer service in many ways, some of them are
Be Accountable and Transparent: Airbnb customer service agents mentioned that they will only refund their service fees and other charges if the host issues a 100% refund. Even though the host returned 50% of the booking fee, Airbnb retained their charges, which amounted to more than $300. Should they not be transparent about these charges, be empathetic towards the customers, and match at least what the host refunded?
Clearer Communication: Communicate more clearly with your customers, especially when it comes to cancellation policies and fees. Every customer service agent had a different answer to the same question.
More personalized support: Airbnb should offer more personalized support to customers, taking into account their current situation, especially in places that are prone to weather disruptions. They should also bring priority and severity levels to their tickets and maintain a log of the conversation which the customers should be given access to.
Better training for customer service representatives: It felt like the representatives were reading from a script. Airbnb should commit and invest in better training for its customer service representatives to ensure that they are knowledgeable, accountable, empathetic, and have a clear path to escalation. Provide local support for the region wherever possible or at least give them access to know what is happening in that part of the world.
In a nutshell. Airbnb has lost a customer in me and I would encourage people to book with a card that has travel insurance bundled in.
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
Mysore Masala Dosa: Dosai is a fermented Indian pancake made from rice and lentil dough. Masala Dosai is usually crisp with a filling of masala gravy inside. Mysore Masala Dosa usually has a paste of chilli and garlic paste spread on the inside of the dosa with masala potato filling. The dosa was quite big and crispy just as we had requested. I usually order the masala on the side for the dosa to retain the crispiness. The dosa was served along with a couple of chutneys and sambhar. The sambhar could have been thicker as it should be for a accompaniment of dosa. Verdict: Good to try.
Vegetable Pakora: A popular street food and snack from the Indian sub-continent. Pakoras are crispy fritters made from dough of gram flour, vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes, carrots, cabagge, native spices and herbs. This usually goes very well with Indian Masala Chai. The pakoras were crispy and tasty. A good starter to try but go for their cut mirchi if you like it spicy. Verdict: Good try, but must try for cut mirchi.
Chilli Idli: Idly is a savoury rice cake prepared by baking fermented rice and lentil batter and is very popular in South India. For chilli Idly, the idly is cut into pieces and tossed with chilli sauce and vegetables like onions and green pepper. This was not really spicy and does not affect your taste pallette. For idly lovers this is not a starter for sure and a safe option. Verdict: Must Try
Channa Bhatura: Bhatura, a very popular dish from Northern India, a deep fried bread made of all purpose flour. It is also known as Chole Bhatura. Chole or Channa is made from cooking white channa along with spices, tomato and onion sauce, herbs, onions, garlic and ginger. The quantity of Channa Bhatura is quite large and would definitely fit a meal for one person. The taste was really good and I would recommend to have this hot. Verdict: Must try
Average Price: $10-$15 per person
Restaurant Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Overall Verdict: A good and improving Indian restaurant in Hamilton with both North and South Indian cuisines in their menu.
The food is tasty and flavorful. This place is known for Biryani and I have tried their Vegetable Dum Biryani and Daawat special dum biryani which according to me is a Must Try. The restaurant is a take out place for now and the owner has started to add some tables based on feedback from customers. I also spotted some picnic/patio tables at the spot, so dining during summer should be an option. The owner was open to accept feedback from customers and improve their standards. They have some good combos and weekly/monthly offers. The restaurant and grocery store is relatively new so they have room for improvement like adding more variety to their Dosa menu, sambhar and chutneys and some native Andhra special cuisine.
Ferrero CheesecakeFreakshake: As the name suggests this was indeed freaky- a milkshake that was unusual and out of the ordinary. The highlight of this drink is the Cheesecake Factory Bakery® Cheesecakes are added either on top or by the side of the drink. The drink burst with an abundance of Ferrero rocher flavour. I am a big fan of the cheesecake factory cheesecakes and this one is right on top of my list of favourites for sure. Make sure to take the jar with you, bring it back to get a 5% discount which was confirmed by the staffs. Verdict: Must Try.
Steamed and Pan-Seared Chilli Momos: Momos are a popular street food in northern parts of India and are quite popular now even in Southern India. These are also known as Dim Sum or dumplings and made from flour with some flavourful filling. This was a spicy flavour-filled momos which had less oil as it was pan-seared rather than pan fried. The filling was well cooked and the out layer was a little bit more thick than the usual. The chilli sauce on top added a touch of spice to the otherwise bland food. Verdict: Hit or Miss. Can Skip.
Roadside Burger (Chowmein): Chow mein means fried noodles. This burger consisted of mix-veg patty, chowmein and holy eatery signature sauces stacked inside sliced Brioche buns. The touch of fusion was fantastic and innovative. For someone who does not like burgers, this was something that I enjoyed eating. The patty inside the burger and the chow-mein was well cooked and juicy. The side of masala fries topped with spicy habanero sauce was a class apart.I would not mind buying them on the side. Verdict: Very Good Try
Average Price per person: $20-$25.
Address: 1299 Barton St E Unit K04, Hamilton, ON L8H 2V4
Restaurant Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The place was well-maintained and clean. The staff were courteous and welcoming. The only issue would be the number of seats in the location. Not a place for a group to sit and hang out. Special shoutout to Rajat for diligently preparing the delicious milkshake. I would have given them 5 ⭐️s had they fulfilled the offer that was displayed but they let us down by stating that the promotion is now closed.
After an incredible and hectic eleven months of 2022, my wife and I were looking forward to December. Most offices shut down the last 10 days of December across Canada and USA and people look forward to travelling even though COVID bowled a googly, in other words a curveball the previous 2 years. We were looking forward to this winter break to refresh and rejuvenate. The holiday started with one of the worst winter storms that Canada and the USA had seen. This threw a spanner in the holiday plans of many tourists. Flights, buses and trains were cancelled at the last minute, ours was no exception. The train operator “Via Rail” cancelled our plans a few hours before our scheduled start. But, an ad-hoc plan turned out to be an excellent experience. Here are some places that we visited during this winter that made our holiday season a very good one and might help plan your next trip to the Canadian Capital a pleasant one. Feel free to use this blog to create an itinerary of your own.
Abraska Laflèche: This place is a must-visit in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. This was a 30-minute ride from our Gatineau stay and downtown Ottawa. I would suggest booking the stay at Gatineau or the outskirts of Ottawa to save some dollars and avoid traffic. The staff at the location were very friendly and comfortable in both English and French. The guide (Our guide G.I. Joe, a.k.a Jonathan) knew well about the caves and the locations nearby. The hiking through the caves was about an hour. Hiking is a bit strenuous and involves walking through low ceilings and climbing steep stairs. But the experience is worth it. The guide was very helpful in helping us hike with ease and also shared some interesting insights about the caves and also asked some interesting questions about the cave. The experience of sitting inside the cave in complete darkness was spellbinding. I could sleep there with my eyes open. There is also an experience to camp inside the caves, we have added that to our bucket list. Winter hike through the forests is something we missed during COVID and if you get a chance rent their snowshoes and go for a good hike. Along the way, you also have some interesting riddles to solve along the way. The ziplining experience is reserved for summer and would be a great activity to do along with kids. Booking the ticket online is recommended.
Ottawa Winter Lights: The original plan was to see the Christmas lights in Quebec City but the winter lights in the capital were equally awesome. The streets of the capital were lit with thousands of lights. The dazzling lights are best enjoyed when you cover the streets by walking. Most of the streets that are lit are in and around downtown Ottawa. The icing on the cake is the multimedia projection on the Parliament center building. The multimedia takes us through the journey of luminous smileys that come alive in winter and travel across different landscapes of Canada illuminating the dark evenings. The lighting and the multimedia shows happen only during the holiday season, make sure to check the timings of the winter light show on the capital website before planning your trip. There is no parking in Capital Hill, so use SpotHero or any other app to find the best parking spot. There are many restaurants in and around the parliament building, check out York street. Do not miss out on Zak’s diner’s milkshake and the out-of-the-world moulin de Provence bakery.
Canadian War Museum: I have always found Canada a safe country, never have I heard about Canada’s involvement in any war. Many could even wonder why Canada needs a military. All those questions would be answered when you visit Canadian War Museum as they walk us through the different wars that shaped Canada from pre-contact warfare to the current warfare across the world. If you are a lover of history, you could probably allocate a day to this fascinating display of different eras of war. The Museum is located in Ottawa near parliament hill. Plenty of paid parking space is available. The museum was divided into 4 different zones, the Early wars, the First world war, the Second World war and the Cold war to the present. The artifacts on display like trenches, and war zones must catch your eye for sure. Some other displays like letters from the family, paper ads during wars, Hitler’s car, guns, and artilleries like cannons and tanks take you back in time. Some documentaries on war zones are sure to attract your interest. As a product manager, what I also liked about the museum was it had a mention of the estimated time you will spend in each section of the museum which helps you to plan better. Entry to the war museum can also be booked through Canoo App.
Parc Omega: A complete package for the family and I would call it the ultimate winter experience as we get to see Canadian wild animals in their natural surroundings. The snow-clad rocks, forests and freely roaming deers and other animals almost makes you forget that you are in a zoo. You can feed the animals like deer and boar that are considered safe with carrots. The 12-kilometre car trail lets one visit various types of wild animals like silver foxes, red foxes, wolves, turkeys, boars, deers, bison, elks, moose, mule deer and others. Due to winter, we missed out on the bears as we were told they were hibernating. The park also has some walking trails like the First Nations trail and the land of the pioneers. All along the way you would be treated with the joy of observing a plethora of wildlife. During winter there was also a show on the wolves where you get to know a lot about them and their behaviour. You also have a picnic area, a restaurant for a quick bite, and hot beverages in the middle of the car route. I would recommend packing your lunch for the trail especially if you go on a light day which might give you the entire day to enjoy the splendid beauty of the park. Omega park is located an hour from Ottawa or Montreal. Adding this to your itinerary is totally worth it. I am going back to the park in the summer for sure.
Canadian Parliament: Are you interested in knowing more about the place where important national policies are discussed and decisions that impact the lives of Canadians are made? Book some time to take a guided tour of the Canadian parliament and it is absolutely free. The tours are offered in both French and English. If you are interested in taking this 45-minute tour, book this when you plan your travel and the other activities around this one. Our group loved this experience completely and interestingly you can also attend the live session on a first come first serve basis. All tickets need to be booked online and there is no in-person ticket. Historic paintings adorn the walls of this beautiful Neo-Gothic structure. The tour takes you through the different chambers in the parliament and also guides enrich your knowledge through some fun trivia questions in between the tour. Fun fact: The word parliament came from the French word parler, which means ‘to talk’. Book your tickets through https://rts.parl.ca/en-CA/Home?
Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly places tried
Pacini Gatineau: Italian; Plenty of vegetarian options. Avg: 35-40$ per person
Zak’s Diner: All-day diner, near Parliament hill, Must-try milkshakes $15-20 per person
TanjaiOttawa: Authentic South Indian Restaurant, Good try, $25-$27 per person. Full Review.
Indian Cafe, Ottawa: Take-outs and short eats, Good channa masala and samosas, avoid their tea. $10-$15 per person. Not a must-try.
If you are wondering where to travel in Fall, check this post- Fall 2022
Location: 1508 Upper James St Unit 245, Hamilton, ON L9B 1K3
Verdict: Good Value for money, must try.
Average Price: $12-$15/person
What did we try?
Super Bowl: Indian version of Mexican burrito bowl. You can choose basmati or brown rice with 3 vegetable curries. I chose Rajma, Masala Paneer and Channa. We chose to top the bowl with Salad(kachumber), Pickled Onion, Jalapeno, Coriander, carrots, purple cabbage and their custom sauces. Verdict: Must try.
Aloo Tikki Burger: Two potato patties smashed and served on a pretzel bun with, kachumber choice of specialty sauce & served with chutney. I did add-on other toppings to the burger. I am not a big fan of burgers but this one tasted really good. I will definitely give it a try again. Verdict: Good pick.
Naan-wich: We tried the paneer naan-wich. It is probably a new item on their menu and we loved it. As the name says, it is a sandwich made with naan. We filled the inside with paneer masala, spicy sauce and kachumber. As per the staff, this was one of the best items on their list and was indeed worth it. Verdict: Must Try.
Masala fries: Wanted to try this as a side to our bowl. I would rate it not so high. Verdict: Skip
Dessert: We tried their Gulab Jamun and Mango Kulfi. They had the offer to go review them on google and Facebook check in to get a free dessert. Verdict: Gulab Jamun – Good pick, Mango Kulfi – Skip
Restaurant Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 The restaurant was clean and well-maintained. The staff were very courteous and helped us pick a good option with patience and care.
“Humpty might not have had a good summer, but Humpty will surely have a great fall.” – read a quote in Wilno Tavern. This quote pretty much summarizes how my summer and fall of 2022 were. The summer was occupied with work, and hectic travel, in between fell sick and recovered, the lawn and plants took a beating due to the harsh winter and I could not wait for the fall weather to kick in.
“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”
– Chadd Sugg
I grew up in southern India which is highly tropical in nature. The sarcasm in the region is that the weather is just hot, hotter and hottest. But we did study that there are 4 seasons when I had actually experienced only 2. Fall was a season I had never heard of but it is the season that I look forward to every year since I moved to the United States. What makes the fall season so special?
Fall is a season that is all about pumpkins and one of the favourite drinks is not so spicy “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. What made fall even more beautiful was the ever-present warning of “Winter is coming”. The trees that were once green burst into gold, pink, brown, red and many other beautiful colours. The season activates your 5 senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight, making you fall in love with the Fall season.
Things to do in the fall in Ontario.
Day 1 was about driving through Madawaska valley consisting of the beautiful locales of Wilno, Combermere and Barry’s Bay. The trip was planned in a way that we avoided the traffic on Highway 60 and went through routes that gave us a lot of surprises and many scenic spots to click beautiful pictures.
Kamaniskeg Lake Lookout: The trip started with this awesome place that is definitely worth the stop. This place was initially planned to be our lunch stop. There are no restaurants here, we planned to have our homemade food here. This picturesque place actually delayed our lunch by an hour or so. Such was the beauty of this place. This place overlooks the Ottawa river basin and an island dedicated to the Mayflower tragedy, one of the biggest inland tragedies in Canada. The place also offers some information on this tragedy and the locals mentioned that the trail around the lake is a must-try. One place added to our bucket list for the summer of 2023.
St. Mary’s Church: This magnificent church was our next stop; unfortunately, the church was closed. The region is known for being the first polish settlement in Canada. The views from the hilltop were spectacular and the church grounds are so well maintained. The fall colors was just awesome will never forget those views. This detour is completely worth a quick stop. Wilno Tavern restaurant is located close to this church. Fun fact: This is where i read the “Humpty Quote”, referenced at the beginning of this blog.
McRae Lookout Park: This place was not a part of the agenda and stopped us in our tracks. This scenic lookout park overlooks the Bonnechere river and the flowing water through the ruins is a sight to behold. The spot has plenty of parking lots and seems a bit of a detour, but I am sure this place will pull you to stop. This spot is a good place for a picnic or a hangout with friends. You can also find a nice shelter here to rest and hangout with friends.
Mount Molson Dairy Bar: This one was a quick pit stop before our dinner. The dairy bar is run by friendly staff and is located in a spot where you would lose track of time. This place is situated on top of the mountain overlooking the Ottawa river. They serve Kawartha Lakes Dairy and this is a window service takeout. Grab an ice-cream, sit at the top of the ski hill and enjoy the stupendous view of the Ottawa River!
Day 2 was spent in the majestic and beautiful Algonquin park. The provincial park is home to different kinds of flora and fauna. The fall(autumn) is the best season to visit the park and highway 60 is the most popular route used by tourists to enjoy the colours. You do not need a permit to access the highway but purchase a permit and book a date to access the facilities like parking, trails, and rest area.
Sand Lake Gate, Algonquin Park: This gate is located on the East side of the park. This place contains information on the park, permits for various parks, information bulletins, and restrooms. I would advise using the restrooms here as the restrooms near the trails are not super clean. If you plan to cover multiple trails getting a daily pass is a better deal. The staff here were very friendly. The place also sells some Algonquin park merchandise.
Barron Canyon: The sand lake gate is the entry to Barron Canyon. The drive to the trail offers various photo-ops. Set your google maps ahead of time as you will lose signal after you cross Sand Lake Gate. This is a medium-level 1.5 KM loop trail. I have trekked this trail in both Fall and Winter, and the hike is totally worth the time. The course and the cliff are very picturesque. This is not a kid-friendly trail and has a high unfenced cliff which can be fatal. So, make sure to keep a watch on your loved ones.
McManus Lake: The truly hidden gem and a must-visit spot. This is a bit of a detour from the Barron Canyon and there is absolutely no signal in your cellphone so make sure you trust your map and stay on the route. The route is a little tricky to handle as it is narrow so do not speed, and be cautious while driving. The lake is accessible and a good place to hang out with friends and family. The view of the mountain and the forest on the other side of the lake makes the place even more special during the fall season.
Driftwood Provincial Park: The park is located on the Ottawa River directly across from the mouth of the Dumoine River. This park is located very close to the highway making it easy to locate. During the summer, this water is warm enough to swim, and the small trail that takes you to the top of the rock is an experience worth it in the fall season. There is a small boardwalk leading into the lake which can be used as a runway to jump into the lake or take some excellent photos. The boardwalk sways a lot so caution is advised when using the boardwalk.
Deep River Marina: Small little town took me by surprise during my first visit. This place reminded us more of Schitt’s Creek as this was a self-contained town. There is a sand beach here for you to enjoy the warm water during the summer and a small trail leading to a boardwalk which makes the view romantic. We also found many boats docked by the locals and the place is known for canoeing.