Updated: Jul 7
Not every gift comes wrapped in fancy paper and tied with a ribbon. Some gifts can be thoughtful experiences that can change the way one looks at the world. Gifting meaningful experiences can help learn a new skill or create memories for a lifetime. Here are some unique experiences in Ontario, Canada that you can gift a loved one without the guilt of tangible waste:
Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, a tour with the Niagara Vintage Wine Tours company would make a wonderful gifted experience for someone that loves to taste and enjoy wine. Run by a family of winemakers, the company has over 30 years of experience in food and wine and has been offering tours for the past 17 years, making them one of the best in the industry.
As a gift, you can choose amongst daily tours, half-day tours, lunch and dinner tours, brewery and distillery tours, and also customized tours by getting in touch with the company directly. Furthermore, to add to a great experience, all the tour guides are industry-certified wine professionals, providing diverse, educational, and interactive wine country experiences. The tour starts bright and early after 9 am, allowing guests to soak in all the wonderful daytime views of the Niagara region.
The Niagara Vintage Wine Tour company provides gift certificates of any tour value and can easily send them to your email after a purchase made online. The gifted tours have no expiry date and are open-ended, making it easy for your gift recipient to go at their own convenience.
Prior to the tour, the company requires guests to fill out a COVID screening checklist and also requires guests to wear masks throughout the tour, in lieu of COVID-19 risk of infection.
Location: Mississauga & Oakville, ON
Voted top experience in 2020 Traveller’s Choice on TripAdvisor, the Escape from the 6 challenge is bound to make a great gift for a friend that is a fan of crime and mystery! Based in Mississauga and Oakville, the Escape from the 6 experience has real life room escape games, where participants are immersed in a real life interactive game world as a team. To succeed, teammates must work together to solve puzzles, discover clues, and overcome challenges to escape. It is truly a unique experience that can be gifted to a group of friends or family to create a lasting and fun memory, while collaborating for one common goal and building on teamwork skills.
Escape from the 6 has three escape room options to choose from:
Escape the Wild West: A beginner’s level escape room challenge suitable for 2 to 6 players
Firefighter Rescue Mission: An intermediate level escape room challenge to play with 4 to 10 players
Volcano Views: Aerial Tours: An intermediate level escape room challenge to play with 4 to 10 players
Pricing per person for game rooms ranges from $26 to $30 exclusive of tax and for gifting purchases, vouchers can be purchased online, as well. In lieu of Peel Region policy for COVID-19 prevention, the Escape from the 6 has a strict masks-on policy within their space and during play. Even with all the safety protocols, this experience as a gift will help make lasting memories and can even be done during winter months, unlike other outdoor experiences.
Location: Toronto, ON
If you’re looking for a welcome gift for a new Toronto resident or a farewell present for a friend leaving the city (who doesn’t have a fear of heights), the Edgewalk Toronto is a gift like no other and will leave your friends stunned by the views of Toronto from 116 storeys above the ground. The Edgewalk is CN Tower’s more thrilling attraction and first of its kind in the North American continent. It is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft (1.5 m) wide ledge, encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod. It is both a Canadian Signature Experience, as well as an Ontario Signature Experience.
During the EdgeWalk, guests walk in groups, while being attached to an overhead safety rail via trolley and harness system. Trained guides encourage participants to push their personal limits, allowing them to lean back over Toronto, taking in breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath them. Designed with the highest international safety and security standards in mind, EdgeWalk runs for 1.5 hours, with the outdoor walk lasting approximately 30 minutes.
The EdgeWalk experience is currently limiting each walk to three guests at a time to allow physical distancing in lieu of COVID-19 to make sure participants have a great experience while staying safe.
Tickets for the experience start at $195 per person, excluding tax and includes a keepsake video, printed photos and a certificate of achievement. While being an EdgeWalk participant, guests also have access to the Tower Experience which includes access to the LookOut, Glass Floor and SkyPod levels - great for anyone that hasn’t been up the CN Tower yet. The EdgeWalk experience can easily be a gifted experience by purchasing online and your loved one can pick a date or time of their choosing at their convenience.
The EdgeWalk is an experience like no other anywhere in the world - and as a gift will always be just as unique and special!
Location: Hamilton, ON
If you are in search of a present for a loved one that can’t get enough adventure and thrill in their lives and has skydiving on their bucket list, then an experience for tandem skydiving by Skydive Ontario will be the perfect gift. Based out of Hamilton and accessible to all of GTA, Skydive Ontario provides an incredible experience with trained skydivers for a value of $295.
With safety a key priority, the Skydive Ontario experience includes a training session where a participant is fitted into a tandem passenger harness and paired with an instructor to learn exactly how to skydive. Once the training is completed, the participant and the instructor board the aircraft and enjoy a breathtaking 20-minute scenic flight around the Niagara region, while climbing to jump altitude. Once the peak altitude is reached, both the participant and instructor jump out to safely dive out together while being securely attached at 4 points on the harness. After jumping, the participant and instructor will experience free fall from above 11,000 feet with a speed beyond 120 mph. This is the experience that makes skydiving worth it and it lasts 45 seconds but is a memory of a lifetime. Once at 5000 feet, the instructor deploys the parachute for a safe landing back to earth, returning with a life-changing experience.
The experience is weather-dependent and operational only seasonally, but when purchased online as a gift, the participant can choose the date and time that works for them. If you include the video package along, then the participant also gets videos and photos shot by the GoPro camera on the instructor - as a record for one of the most incredible experiences one can experience in their lifetime. This invaluable gift can also be purchased together for a group with a discount and would make a great team-building exercise for a group of colleagues!
5. Pottery Class
Location: Dorset, ON
Pottery created at the heart of Dorset. Talented potter, Tara Gilchrist, founded Chetolah Pottery Studio in 2007 - and had been building, growing and changing ever since. The pottery studio, which is housed in a freshly restored barn, eventually expanded into a café and a yoga studio, taught by her wife Caitlin Hutt, eventually rebranding their business to Love Pottery.
Tara shows participants how to work with the clay, prepare it to use on the wheel, center it and eventually shape it into anything the participants like a small bowl or mug. She connects with the natural surroundings to create relaxed atmosphere and truly unique pottery.
Before the pandemic, Love Pottery offered handmade ceramics, along with pottery classes for children and adults, locally made soaps, and espresso drinks. It also included The Open Space yoga studio and hosted LoveFest Dorset each summer. Times have changed and so have we. A simplified version of the pottery gallery is open daily during the warmer months, while coffee, treasures from travels, yoga & Lovefest are currently on hold. Watch out for their classes to open up again!
Whether you give this experience as a gift to one friend or a bunch of friends, including yourself, the outcome will be more than just a sustainable art piece for home, but also a new skill learned with lots of fun and laughter and possibly new friends too!
Location: Toronto Islands
One of the highest rated Airbnb experiences, the Canoe Tour of the Toronto Islands provides a serene and relaxing way to explore the natural environment around the Toronto Islands, while paddling on a voyageur canoe. This experience includes a certified instructor that hosts guests to explore the beautiful waterways, flora and fauna of the Toronto Islands. The tour also takes guests around to explore the lagoons of the area and best parts of the city’s most beautiful park. During the hour-long excursion, guests can also take pictures of the Toronto skyline at one of the most Instagrammable spots in town. This experience is a wonderful gift for friends that are comfortable around water and enjoy the delights of both city and nature. It showcases the beauty of Ontario - as one of the most densely populated areas in Canada, as well as a place of utmost natural beauty.
For $40 per person, the Airbnb experience host, Alexander provides all the equipment required for the experience, which begins at the Centre Island Ferry Dock and can accommodate up to 5 people for the trip.
The Canoe Tour of the Toronto Islands Airbnb experience is a unique and thoughtful gift for anyone new to Toronto or a Toronto resident that still hasn’t taken the time be a tourist in their city - also a great experience to do with and gift the whole family.
Location: St. Catharines, ON
One of the most unique things to do in Niagara Falls is taking a Segway tour - through a beautiful vineyard! Go off-road (and literally, off the beaten path) with a Segway and wine experience tour at Henry of Pelham Family Estate from Niagara Segway.
Featuring some of the first vineyards in all of Ontario, these tours cover the rich history of the land, which goes all the way back to 1778. Learn about modern growing techniques and discover how the climate shaped the region into producing some of the best wines, including the world-renowned ice wine - all from the comfort of a Segway. Participants enjoy tasting four different wines of their choice, including Pelham Estates' signature Baco Noir and ice wines.
Niagara Segway's skilled guides ensure that safety is their number one priority, so the tours start with a 10-minute training on how to use, operate and ride a Segway. This one-of-a-kind experience, which starts at $99.95, is a unique twist to wine tasting and a fun way to gain a wealth of local knowledge. And because the tour is available for small groups, this means an escape from the crowds during peak winery season!
Location: Toronto, ON
In the heart of downtown Toronto, the Kensington Market Photography Walk on Airbnb Experiences is the perfect gift for a city lover looking for the perfect Instagrammable shot! For $38 per person, the photography walk showcases the diversity and culture of the City of Toronto and is a great way to introduce the city to a new immigrant or a friend that needs to take some time out of their busy routine.
In just 2 hours, the experienced host, TJ, a proud Toronto native, takes participants through 14 different locations on the Kensington Market-Chinatown photo walk, known to be one of the most vibrant cultural districts in Canada. By the end of the walk, the participants get 100 instagram worthy photos and reel videos shot professionally by photographers and transferred through Airdrop and Google Drive.
The photo walk starts at Boho Gelato at Kensington Market, and can accommodate a group of up to 8 people, making a perfect gift for a Fall day out with friends!
Location: Toronto Islands
The Toronto Islands Bike Tour from Toronto Bicycle Tours is the perfect gift for someone looking to head out of the busy, bustling downtown of Toronto and looking for some fun, relaxation and tranquility. Through this experience, explore and discover the beauty of the Toronto Islands, their history and attractions, a quaint cottage enclave which is the largest car-free community in North America and stunning views of the Toronto City skyline. This can be experienced during the day and is available as a twilight bike tour in the evenings.
Popular during the spring and summer months, the bike tours are also available during the fall and winter – complete with cycling blankets (poncho) and gloves, experience the serenity of the Islands all year round.
The experience costs $78 per person and includes a bicycle, helmet, drinking water, ferry ticket, and a snack. All that is needed is to show up, and the rest is taken care of - perfect for team building events and experiences.
Terrence, Toronto Bicycle Tours' founder, has over 10 years experience in welcoming guests and making the most of their time in our city. Through his business, Terrence hopes that everyone visiting the city has fun and a great time while gaining a deeper appreciation for Toronto's people, culture, history and food - which shows through the ranking of #1 outdoor activity in Toronto.
Why not try exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake the sustainable and eco-friendly way - on an Ebike or Scooter from Niagara EBike, a tour company dedicated to offering the best guided tours in the region on electric devices!
Enjoy guilt-free travel through Niagara's wine country on their Full-Day Wine and Cider Tour. Taking 5-6 hours to complete, these tours are perfect for those on a tight schedule but want to experience what the Niagara region has to offer. With rates starting from $179 per person, the tour visits, and has private tastings, at three local wineries and one cider house, followed by a gourmet picnic lunch. Because the group size is limited to 8 people, this is perfect for genuine interactions and a small team-building experience.
Arguably the most efficient way to get around on two wheels and the best way to comfortably appreciate Niagara's picturesque surroundings, you won't have to break a sweat with their power-assisted bikes and scooters.
With Fall almost upon us, gifting friends, colleagues and other loved ones experiences is the best way to utilize the last warm days of the year in Ontario. Whether you gift them a wine tour, a pottery lesson or a thrilling CN Tower EdgeWalk, they’ll be grateful for the thoughtful gesture, the new memories made, and the invaluable experience they had!
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