In Springtime, Ontario is really a lovely place to be. Lucky for us Torontonians, we really don’t have to travel far from the city to soak up serious culture and feel like we’re in another world. We don’t even need mad money or a car. Here are some fun daytrips close to the GTA that will brighten up your spring. Feeling like a tourist is totally necessary sometimes, non? Lulz await, spring chickens!

Playing and promenading in Stratford

How to get there: Hop on the train (2 hours, 15 mins, 35 bucks)

What to do: It’s festival season! This year’s Shakespeare Festival line up looks amazing. You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, 42 Street, Christopher Plummer in A Word or Two? Take your pick of any one of these and you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and maybe you’ll love it as much as or more than Cats. If you’re not in the mood for the theatre, stroll along the Avon River and through the Shakespeare Gardens, head to a day spa, or get your tarot cards read. Stratford also has lots to offer the gourmand, from killer stone oven pizza to beer battered jalapenos. Before you head down to do anything though, I encourage you to print this “Beiberiffic map” and consider checking out a few of our small local muse’s favourite haunts. He had excellent taste in ice cream.

St. Jacob’s Farmers Market

How to get there: Take the train to Kitchener (1 hour, 40 mins, 30 bucks) then from the Kitchener bus station, take the Route 7C bus to Conestoga Mall, Waterloo. From Conestoga Mall on Thursdays and Saturdays, take route 21 “the country run” between 8 and 3 PM. Schedule.

What to do: The air smells like manure, the roads are made of gravel, and the sound of fiddling buskers fills the air. If there was ever a polar opposite of Queen St. West, it would be St. Jacobs Farmers market. This is the place to come for the ultimate break from the city. The Mennonite town is a charmer, dotted with horse drawn carriages and road side veggie stands. The farmers market is the biggest year round market in the world. The antiques, baked goods and flea market wares will lull you into a different time. The train ride there will fly by as you gaze into the picturesque landscape of red barns and dream of fudge.

Canoeing on the Grand River

How to get there: Take the train to Brantford (1 hour, 25 bucks)

What to do: You can rent a canoe pretty cheaply from Heritage River by the hour or the day ($17.50 / hour, $35.00 / day). If you don’t want to paddle aimlessly, you can pay 30 bucks for them to shuttle you to the nearby town of Paris so you can paddle downstream all the way back. Bring a picnic, a camera and your portable iPod speakers and take liberal tanning breaks.

~ Kait Fowlie