Editor’s Note: A pair of fun-loving motorcycle riders from Sweden, Britt-Marie Carlsson (47, beauty consultant for Chanel) and Camilla Berg (49, Health Coach for Herbalife), wanted to try something new this year, so they booked flights to Toronto, Canada. The story of their road trip goes to show just how welcoming Ontario is to riders from around the world. From the ease of renting bikes and finding accommodations on the fly, to the wealth of great riding roads and interesting destinations to visit, Ontario is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a motorcycle adventure! They did some research online, looked into when would be a good time for riding, where to rent bikes and really, that's about it! "We decided only to book the flight tickets and motorcycles so we could be flexible with where we would spend the nights." That's pretty gutsy! Here's what happened:
We wanted do a lot of riding and also visit the tourist attraction in Toronto, Niagara, the Thousand Islands and Toronto. Taking into account how much riding we would want to do each day (knowing that it's always farther than you think!) and how long we'd like to spend in each place, we worked out a route that would take us from Oshawa to Belleville, up to Ottawa and then west through the Kawarthas and up to Midland and some stops along Georgian Bay. We figured it would be around 2,000 km on small roads and take about 12 days.
Tips for renting a motorcycle from overseas:
Tips for renting a motorcycle from overseas:
- Find a dealer in the area that you will be flying in and out of
- Look into all the options for types of bikes the dealer rents
- Ask how many miles are included in the rental package
- Are there sidebags included?
- What kind of gear do they provide? (we brought our own clothes and boots but rented helmets)
- Budget for insurance cost (always get insurance!)
- Bring your motorcycle driver's license
We flew from Stockholm on the 14th of July. We had a transfer in New York, but had to spend the night there because the next flight to Toronto was cancelled; we were told it was due to bad weather. We arrived in Toronto the next morning and took an hour-and-a-half bus ride to Oshawa, where we had motorcycles reserved and waiting for us at Mackie Harley-Davidson, one of few Ontario motorcycle dealers that do rentals. We received a fantastic welcome and very good service there!
After some paperwork, we headed off to Belleville, our destination for the day!
Just before we got there we stopped for something to eat at the 10 Acre Truck Stop, a fantastic place with a lot of options. A group from the Southern Cruisers Riding Club Chapter 236 approached us while we were eating, and asked if we would be interested in joining them for an evening tour, as they do every Wednesday. We figured, “why not” and so we did. After a cruise around the area we ended at Tim Hortons for some coffee and talking. They told us about their chapter and were all so friendly. Then we realized that we needed to book a room for the night!
We preferred to stay at a B&B and quickly found The Montrose Inn in Belleville, a totally wonderful place! It’s a big house from the 18th century where we got a fantastic welcome with tea and snacks. We sat up talking to the hosts, Suzette and Roger, until we almost fainted of exhaustion. That was a very long, interesting, and amazing first day.
Days 2 and 3
We decided early in the morning that wherever we stopped next, we would stay for two nights. We wanted to go on a boat tour of the Thousand Islands so we headed for Gananoque. We stayed at the fantastic Colonial Resort and Spa and took advantage of the pool and entertainment that night. The following day was well spent on the water touring round the Thousand Islands. We thought it was very similar to the Stockholm Archipelago. We liked it very much.
When the tour was finished we just relaxed, ate some wonderful Italian food at Riva, swam in the pool and listened to the entertainer before going to bed.
The following day we headed to Canada’s capital, Ottawa. We stayed at the Rideau Heights Inn for the night. We were quite surprised the next morning to find that we had slept with the door open and that the key was still in the key hole! Luckily, nothing happened over the night. We got on our motorcycles and rode into the city to look at the Parliament buildings.
On the Road Again
We headed out of Ottawa towards the Kawartha Lakes area. It started to rain quite a lot on the road, so we decided to make a stop in Marmora. We came upon this lovely place, The Limestone B&B, so we decided to stay there for the night. They told us that they arrange special motorcycles tours up in the Highlands, a beautiful place with excellent services for riders.
Camilla has multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, and has been quite ill for a while. Things got so bad that we decided to go to a hospital for help. We found one in Lindsay and the hospital was surprisingly good. Camilla got some medicine so we could continue as planned. We stayed the night at the Kent Inn and first thing next morning we headed to Midland, where we stayed for two nights. Midland has a nice little harbour, some beaches and very nice paintings on the houses.
We found our way south to St. Jacobs where we stayed at the Baumann House B&B. We got a tip that we should to visit the big market there so we did and it was fantastic! A lot of Amish people live there and they make the most wonderful furniture and clothing. They are also very skilled farmers. There were signs along the road saying that you have to share the side road with horses with wagons, so thrilling!
The Way Home
Our time was coming to an end so we reluctantly headed back to Oshawa, which brought us to Caledon where we found the Forest Creek B&B, a very calm and nice place with a pool in the forest. We stayed there one night and just relaxed.
Pulling in to Mackie Harley-Davidson, the staff were as surprised as we were that we had found our way back. We didn’t have GPS on the whole tour, just a map and sometimes help from Google Maps (when the wi-fi was working). We left the bikes and took the Go Train to Toronto. We booked a room at the Elliot House B&B for two nights so we could do some shopping, manicure and pedicure.
Then we visited Niagara Falls and a tiny village called Niagara-on-the-Lake. We also stopped at Niagara College Canada where we got to taste Ice wine, something have never done before. Arriving back in Toronto, we ended it all with a nice lunch with an epic view at the CN Tower before heading up to the airport to fly back to Sweden.
This was absolutely one of the best tours we have done. We met so many nice, friendly and helpful people on our way. We couldn’t count the number of times we had to say where we were going, where we came from and from where we got these cool bikes because of all the curious Canadians we encountered.
Ontario was more flat than we thought, but quite beautiful country! We were told that there was a big population of black and brown bears, but we didn’t see any (luckily).
We want to give our best recommendations to:
Mackie Harley Davidson, Oshawa Ontario. Fantastic service, very nice bikes and good prices
All the B&Bs we stayed at, extremely service minded and caring; you feel like you are home and surrounded by best friends.