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Ontario Motorcycle Bucket List for 2020

Ontario Motorcycle Bucket List for 2020

On the incredible Ride Lake Superior route. Photo: Colin Field

Riding north of the border? Don't head home until you've checked these off your list.

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If you’re riding into Canada in 2020, the Ontario attractions on this list cannot be missed. For sure, you'll want to test your skills on Canada's version of the Tail of the Dragon, tackle a ton of twisties on little-known Country Road 8, and blaze through a billion-year old canyon. But whatever you do, trust us: you’ll have serious FOMO if you don’t eat the world’s biggest (and best) pierogi.

Attend the World’s Largest Single-Day Motorcycle Rally

Minutes away from the Buffalo, NY border is the sleepy town for Port Dover—sleepy, except for every Friday the 13th, when motorcyclists from far and wide descend to come together in celebration of everything biker. Wild, shaggy, and proud, this longstanding event started when a few rider friends agreed to meet in the town every Friday the 13th; before long, more and more motorcyclists started joining them. Today, it’s the largest single-day motorcycle event in the world—and you definitely have to go to see what it’s all about. Bring a camera—there will be plenty of moments you won’t want to forget.

Get Your Picture with the Goose

Probably the most well-known roadside attraction in Canada is Wawa’s Canada Goose. Replaced at least three times, this massive sculpture is the reason everyone driving across Canada stops in Wawa—that, and the pickle fudge down the road at Young’s General Store.

But seriously—ride your bike up, get a pic and post it on your social media. You’ll get tons of comments from people who’ve “been there,” and even more from people who want to know “where is that?”

Eat Ontario’s Largest (and Best) Pierogi

Perched high atop Ontario’s Highlands is the oldest Polish settlement in the province, and in that settlement is the Wilno Tavern, home to the largest (and tastiest) pierogi in the land. About the size of a closed fist, the pierogies aren’t the only reason to come to this renowned place.

The band nights show off the local talent (and there’s plenty in these parts) but all of the food, from cabbage rolls to sauerkraut, is deeply satisfying.

See The Niagara of the North

Only a 20-minute ride out of Thunder Bay, on the Ride Lake Superior route is Kakabeka Falls, the so-called Niagara of the North. While it’s not as wide as Niagara Falls, more water pours over its crest per hour, and it’s definitely less crowded. You can get up close and personal here too, with minimum effort. There’s a bridge that goes right over the crest, and the parking lot is a two-minute walk from there.

Ride Through A Billion-Year Old Canyon

Pijitawabik Palisades just north of Nipigon is definitely the route less taken, but not for lack of spectacular scenery. If you feel like it, the hike up is 500 feet, but we’re happy to stay on the ground and enjoy the massive cliffs on either side as we cruise through. You might want to stop and do it twice.

Get Really Dirty in a 10,000-Acre Forest

The Ganaraska Forest is a multi-use wilderness that is home to some of Ontario’s favourite off-road motorcycle trails. Known by riders throughout the province as the most welcoming and entertaining trails within a stone’s throw of the US border, the Ganny (as it’s known to locals) is truly a bucket list off-road riding destination. If you’re not bringing a dirt or adventure bike, link up with Trail Tours they’ll get you sorted with bikes, training, and gear. A day pass is only $30 Canadian, so get them while they’re hot!

Probably Ontario’s most infamous riding road, the Calabogie Road is known for its great pavement and unending twists and turns that roll up and down the generous (and rapid) elevation changes in this hilliest part of the province. There’s no badge for completing the road (yet), but you’ll understand why Ride the Highlands are Ontario’s best riding roads—and it all starts on the Calabogie.

Ferry Your Bike on the World’s Largest Canoe

Technically, this is a massive ferry, but the MS Chi-Cheemaun’s name translates from the Ojibwe to mean “Big Canoe.” It connects riders to two routes—the Manitoulin Island Tour and the Georgian Bay Coastal Route. Motorcycles here are first on and first off, and there’s something magic about pulling off from the massive front opening of this ferry when it docks on the world’s largest freshwater island—home of the only roads in Ontario with banked corners.

Do Ontario’s Only Bucket-List Ride (Ride Lake Superior)

If there’s one motorcycle route you need to ride in Ontario, Canada, it’s Ride Lake Superior. Clocking in at over 1,400 miles, this route runs through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario with absolutely wild changes in scenery. From lakeside sub-arctic dunes, to craggy rock cuts, to towering red soil rifts—all framed by the massive expanse of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Give yourself at least a week, and enjoy every minute.

Ride the Tightest Turns in Ontario

A lot of people love to talk about the Forks of the Credit for its hairpin turn, but the truth is there’s a tighter, and more scenic turn in Ontario, and it’s one that every rider should enjoy—especially since the locals around the Credit are getting a bit tired of bikes riding by all day. County Road 8 west of Westport, around Wolfe Lake presents itself at the bottom of a hill, and then exits heading up another looking over the lake. It’s banked ever so slightly, and is part of some great riding routes on Ride the Highlands, so you know you’ll find something cool to ride shortly after it.

Ride Canada’s Tail of the Dragon

In the heart of Ontario’s Algoma region is one of our favourite roads—and a legendary number associated with it: 129.

While it has the same number as that infamous highway south of the border, it’s not really the same thing as the Tail of the Dragon. For one, Ontario’s Highway 129 is way less busy—you can actually appreciate the curves here. And there are plenty, although they start off with a slow series of sweepers, that escalate into 10 minutes of aggressive up-and-down and side-to-side before smoothing out again. While it’s not as white-knuckle as the North Carolina road, it’s a wonderful kind of fun and the scenery can’t be beat, as much of the road is followed by river, lakes, or cliffs.

If you're still looking for more, check out these great links—ride on!

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