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Located in southeastern Canada, the Kawartha Lakes Destination can be found in the province of Ontario. A few of the most notable cities in the destination include Toronto, Barrie, and Oshawa, to name a few. The Golden Horseshoe is a region in Ontario that constitutes the southern half of the Kawartha Lakes Destination. As a whole, the Golden Horseshoe is home to about 9,765,188 people in its “greater area,” and 7,759,635 people in its central core. This region alone accounts for over 20% of Canada’s population and 54% of Ontario’s entire population.[10] Similar to Toronto—the most prominent city in the destination—the Kawartha Lakes Destination’s namesake, Kawartha Lakes, often draws visitors who take interest in outdoor recreation. Winter recreation is fairly popular in Toronto as the city offers opportunities for skiing, ice skating, and tobogganing.[9] The lowest temperatures of the year in Kawartha Lakes typically occur during the month of January as temperatures drop to an average of around 10.71 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures generally rise to their highest point in July with an average of about 78.12 degrees Fahrenheit.[6] A specific site in Toronto that receives a high quantity of tourists annually is the CN Tower (Canadian National Tower). There, people can dine at the 360 Restaurant located at the top of the 1,815-foot tall building.[5]

What Toronto is known for

The Kawartha Lakes Destination can be found in the southeastern coastal regions of Ontario, Canada. Situated in the eastern portion of the destination, Kawartha Lakes—the destination’s namesake—is the second-largest single-tier municipality by land area in Ontario.[2] As of 2020, Kawartha Lakes has an estimated total population of 81,042 people, a difference of nearly 0.8% since the last census that recorded 75,420 residents in 2016. Roughly 50.6% of the total population is female, while the remaining 49.4% is male.[1] Communities in Kawartha Lakes such as Lindsay, Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, Omemee, and Woodville reportedly contain the majority of the population divided among each of them.[2]

Prominent cities within the Kawartha Lakes Destination include Toronto, Markham, Vaughan, Oshawa, and Barrie. Toronto, in particular, is the capital of the province of Ontario and is notably the most populous city in Canada. The metropolitan area of Toronto is home to approximately 5,583,064 inhabitants as of 2021.[3] Moreover, the city is ranked the fourth most populous city in North America. Several entertainment industries such as music, theater, television production, and motion picture production significantly contribute to the economy. Major national broadcast networks can also be found in Toronto. Over 43 million tourists visit the city annually, many of which come for the national historic sites, museums, galleries, entertainment districts, festivals, public events, and sports recreation.[4]

A fairly unique aspect of Toronto is its high-rising buildings and skyscrapers, the main one being the CN Tower (Canadian National Tower) which is the tallest free-standing structure on land outside of Asia.[4] The CN Tower reaches a height of 1,815 feet and contains a restaurant known as the 360 Restaurant at the very top. A popular draw for thrill seekers who visit the CN Tower is the EdgeWalk which allows visitors to walk along the side of the tower above the city in strapped safety harnesses. This activity is led by a guide and typically lasts about 1.5 hours.[5] Other tourist sites in Toronto include the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Toronto Zoo, the Toronto Botanical Garden, and the Bata Shoe Museum. Outdoor activities, more particularly winter recreation, also draw a number of tourists annually. Skating, skiing, tobogganing, and cross-country skiing are a few popular activities that many people engage in at Toronto.[9]


Urban cities and communities constitute the majority of the Kawartha Lake Destination’s southern area, in contrast to the north which is characteristic of woodland expanses and a considerable number of lakes and ponds. Excluding portions of Lake Huron and Lake Ontario along the destination’s northwestern and southeastern borders, the largest lake in the Kawartha Lakes Destination is Lake Simcoe, situated between Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario. Located across Lake Ontario outside the perimeter of the destination is a natural landmark and notable tourist draw known as Niagara Falls which is about a three-hour drive from the destination’s namesake, Kawartha Lakes. With regard to the urban areas, the city of Toronto—as well as other cities such as Mississauga and Oshawa—occupies land along the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario along the border between Canada and the United States. 

Kawartha Lakes is affected by a humid continental warm summer climate with no dry season. Throughout roughly 47.64 days of rainfall over the course of the year, the city receives about 1.37 inches of precipitation annually. April is generally the wettest month, averaging about 1.84 inches of precipitation each year. The warmest month of the year in Kawartha Lakes tends to be July with an approximate average high of 78.12 degrees Fahrenheit. As for the coldest month, January, temperatures drop to around 10.71 degrees Fahrenheit on average.[6]

A considerable amount of wildlife can be found in Kawartha Lakes including several species of mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Some of the species that are native to Kawartha Lakes and the general area are long-tailed duck, massasauga, northern amber bumble bee, evening grosbeak, and Canada darner. A wide range of fish species additionally resides in the lakes of the Kawartha Lakes Destination. Bluegill, brook trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, creek chub, northern sunfish, and northern pike are a few types of fish among several others that can be found living in the destination’s natural aquatic habitats. Aside from Kawartha Lakes’ animals, an abundance of plant life grows throughout the destination as well. Native plant species include guelder-rose, field goldenrod, hedge bindweed, and prickly tree-clubmoss.[7]


The Kawartha Lakes Destination’s namesake, Kawartha Lakes, derives its name from an anglicization of “Ka-wa-tha,” translated from the Anishinaabe language to English as “land of reflections.” These origins of the city’s name were reported in 1895 by an individual known as Martha Whetung of the Curve Lake First Nations. Years later, the name was changed to Kawartha by tourism promoters, which means “bright waters and happy lands.” Before the restructuring that entailed Kawartha’s process of becoming a city, the settlement was referred to as Victoria County. It wasn’t until the year 2001 that Victoria County (Kawartha Lakes) was officially classified as a city. Many of the city’s constituent municipalities were amalgamated and titled “City of Kawartha Lakes.” In 2003, the citizens of Kawartha Lakes opposed this amalgamation and voted to de-amalgamate during a local plebiscite, however, no further action was taken concerning the amalgamation.[2]

Toronto’s earliest settlers to arrive in the area were the Iroquoians who established semi-permanent settlements in the land. Fast forward to the year 1793 when the city that is now known as Toronto was then referred to as York, named by Lieutenant Governor John Grave Simcoe. That same year, Simcoe designated York to be the capital of Upper Canada. Simcoe’s initial plans for the settlement were to utilize the land as a military post and to eventually move the capital of Upper Canada to be in London, Ontario. These plans were cast aside, and York was named the permanent capital in 1796. In 1834, the city of York was incorporated and renamed Toronto. Throughout the 19th century, businesses in Toronto developed, most significantly in the meat packaging industry, which, in turn, led to Toronto’s nickname, “Hogtown.” As a result of World War II, a large influx of immigrants came to the region, ultimately leading to the creation of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954, a metropolitan government that encompasses Toronto and its suburban districts.[8]