Living in Toronto we are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to weekend getaways – Niagara, Collingwood, Guelph, Georgian Bay, Prince Edward County – all so close and so fabulous.
But there is so much more to our beautiful province if you increase your drive by just two hours.
Recently travelling to South West Ontario – I was absolutely blown away and left smitten for the sights, sounds and tastes of this dynamically charming region.
With Windsor as the anchor, this whole region is a bustling hive of entrepreneurship in perfect unison with nature’s bounty.
With the most heat units per year than anywhere else in Canada, it not only feels tropical in the summer, it has the longest growing season for fruits, vegetables and wine.
Fresh and local is a consistent theme in this region. Because they can grow so much, restaurants make a point to pair with local suppliers in order to give their customers the freshest and most unique tastes available.
I dined at Birdie’s Perch ‘busteraunt’ where their fish comes to them fresh off the boat each morning. Trust me, there are no tastier fish taco around.
At Merli’s Coffeehouse & Eatery in Kingsville, the owner partners with local suppliers for everything from eggs, to their incredible fresh bread, to watermelon. Yes, watermelon grows here!
At the Walkerville Eatery, where they specialize in pizza and sliders, their dough and bread comes from Windsor-based bakeries and their veggies come from across the street at the local farmer’s market. You can’t taste fresher or more local than that.
A booming new wine region, there are currently 18 wineries to discover and the best way to do this is at the Annual Vintages event held at the stunning Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard. All the wineries showcasing their best paired with incredibly fresh food in a totally idyllic setting.
Wolfhead Distillery is an end-to-end experience distillery that just opened its buzz-worthy restaurant. Creating vodka and whiskeys, you can find bold flavours like grapefruit, coffee, and banana caramel. I love the décor of this building – created by owner Tom Manherz, you’ll find reclaimed pieces from boats to trains beautiful crafted into bars and countertops.
Walkerville Brewery is making some excellent beer in this historic nook of the Windsor area. I loved their Waterfront Wit – a Belgian-style white beer. What I also really loved was how you can pick up a mixed sampler six-pack of beer to larger, sharing bottles. All bottled right there in their brewery.
Al Capone would agree there is nothing finer than an Old-Fashioned made with Canadian Club. Founded by Hiram Walker on the banks of the Detroit River in 1858, this stunning building and distillery still produce one of Canada’s most well-loved and well-known beverages. An enthralling history, this company is as older than Canada. Prohibition made this company rich – dealing with shady characters like Al Capone – but quality has made it last.
This region is teaming with history. It is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Canada, West of Montreal. In Amherstburg you can find Fort Malden, a national historic site. The Fort played an important role in both the War of 1812 and the Rebellion of 1837.
Another fun way to learn about the history of the region is taking one of the many tours offered – like the ‘Drinks of Walkerville Walking Tour’ with Windsor Eats, or the Bikes & Beers Cycling tour.
With so much water in the region, watching the sunset will take your breath away.
With charming hotels, like the new The Grove Hotel in Kingsville, you can fully relax and unwind…especially when your boutique room is massive and bed is incredibly comfy.
What I loved most about my visit to this region was the overall sense of joie-de-vivre. People loving what they do in an area that is hard not to love.
There truly is so much to do in this region without even thinking about crossing the boarder towards Detroit for US shopping 😉 I had a wonderful adventure and am already planning the next…especially when local bakeries make incredible bites like this stacked wonder from The Little White Kitchen!
M Fab SouthWestOntarioLover