By: Mike Jacobs
Ontario is a great place to ride a motorcycle - miles of open, quiet roads, framed by the Canadian shield; tens of thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams; friendly people welcoming you into their communities; plenty of hotels, motels, inns, and accommodations with something special, unique, or truly beautiful.
We’ve collected a list of inspiring places to stay for people who love to do something different. These places have been hand-picked for their stunning visual appeal, their dedication to the sublime, and their decision to stand out. You won’t find the big chains on this list, but you’ll probably find some solace in your quest for individuality.
A truly magnificent lodge-like restaurant and main building overlooks 17 chalets and its own private waterfall. The 27-foot tall fireplace in the restaurant is an epic testament to how incredibly cozy this place is. If you’re doing the Grand Algoma Tour or Ride Lake Superior, the Wawa Motor Inn is the perfect basecamp for exploring the community of Wawa. Make sure you get a picture with the Wawa Goose and check out Young’s General Store.
Consisting of two buildings in the former city of Haileybury, these homes on what was once known as Millionaire’s Row are the work of Nicole and Ghyslain Guertin, two of the most meticulous hosts in Northern Ontario. They’re both very careful with their choices, and it shows. These two historical homes have been lovingly restored, with all of the important modern amenities added. Both buildings can accommodate large or small groups, and are suitable for couples’ getaways or groups travelling together. We love The Lumber Barons house, which won an interior design award in 2015. It really does an excellent job of showing what life was like for an industry magnate during the silver and lumber rush in this area. You’ll find Presidents’ Suites on the Temiskaming Loop.
It’s not often that we recommend a hostel for a motorcycle trip—after a long day on the road, a private room with your own shower is often the only thing you need. But The Haven Hostel is exactly that—a haven. It was started by two motorcyclists, who specifically saw it as a great place for riders (amongst others) on the Ride Lake Superior route. They’ve got indoor storage for bikes, and tools available if you need to repair anything en route. There are private options or shared accomms, but we guarantee, this isn’t a sweaty student enclave—this is haute hostel. They’ve lost the grubbiness, but kept the convivial, social aspects of a great hostel.
Just off the beaten track, south of the Trans-Canada Highway, is this hidden enclave of pure wonder and joy. There’s nowhere else like it in Ontario, maybe in Canada. On the Nor’Wester route, part of Ride Lake Superior, The Lone Pine Inn is the only motel we know of where the front door opens directly onto the lake. While there are plenty of places close to the water, there’s nowhere that has this immediate proximity. Just don’t sleepwalk, and everything else here will be just peachy.
A northern institution on the Georgian Bay Coastal Route, the Killarney Mountain Lodge has undergone massive renovation over the last few years and truly has to be seen to be believed. The legendary Carousel Lounge, once home to bush plane pilots and guests with the wherewithal to travel into the wilds of Northern Ontario, has been transformed into a swanky party palace for all those who make the trip down to the turquoise waters of the Killarney channel. Traditional Canadian lodge decor is taken to its highest iteration here with massive log beams, leather, wood furniture, and stone fireplaces taking centre stage.
Across the road from Killarney Mountain Lodge is its opposite—a modern take on the northern lodge with gourmet cuisine, massive wine cellars, modern rooms, and a private spa. The marina here hosts huge yachts from around the world, and the entire vibe at Sportsman’s Inn is almost urban—in the heart of the wilderness. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention to grab some fish and chips at Huberts close by—it doesn’t get more authentic than this.
One of the only five-star resorts in Ontario, and officially part of the Ride the Edge motorcycle routes, the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa has just completed extensive renovations and is still the leading purveyor of iconic Canadian class in the wilderness of Muskoka. Three restaurants here will ensure that you have something delicious no matter your taste, and the massive lobby with its multiple sitting areas and drop-dead gorgeous decor will have you staying up all night just to play cards in one of its many cozy nooks. Bar service throughout means you’ll be able to have a ceasar to complete the Canadiana. Or head downstairs for a soak in the indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub.
While there’s plenty of other incredibly unique places to visit in Ontario, we’ll let you get started with these. Don’t forget to check out the motorcycle routes they’re on—they’ve all been vetted by riders and make great additions to anyone’s bucket list.