Lauren Yakiwchuk and Justin Ceksters are travel writers, photographers, and videographers from Mississauga. Justin and Lauren love outdoor adventures, discovering stunning nature, and being eco-friendly responsible travellers. When they're not traveling to far-flung destinations like Italy, Kenya, or Iceland, this travelling couple is exploring their own backyard around Ontario. They both follow a vegan lifestyle — seeking plant-based meals wherever they go. Here are their best-kept Ontario secrets you can use to impress friends and family during this summer.



For adrenaline junkies

Whitewater rafting down the Ottawa River is an electrifying adventure. There’s nothing like the thrill of paddling through rushing water, not knowing what will happen next. We went on a full day excursion with RiverRun Rafting where we maneuvered across several rapids and cliff jumped into the river. We navigated swiftly down the river, with our raft twisting and churning through the whitewater. We were thrown from the raft as it flipped around — even upside-down!


For couples

Spend a romantic and relaxing day at Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain. It’s a rejuvenating retreat to unwind in soothing waters amidst a tranquil forest. The baths use traditional methods established at Nordic spas in Europe. By rotating between hot baths, cold plunges, saunas and steam rooms, you enjoy many therapeutic benefits. For an enhanced experience, treat yourselves to an invigorating couples massage.


For outdoor enthusiasts

Scenic Caves is a thrilling destination at Blue Mountain, where visitors gain new perspectives on the natural wonders of Ontario. The Eco Adventure Tour is a guided treetop canopy walk with two zip lines, and a tour of their famous caverns. Experience the enchanting forest as you walk across the swaying, wooden platforms suspended high in the air. Cool down as you descend into the caves, carved out millions of years ago by glacial ice. It’s a memorable activity that shouldn’t be missed this summer.



For nature-lovers

We can't resist the beauty of  Webster's Falls in the town of Dundas — Lauren's hometown. Admire the waterfall from up top and down below, venturing into the water if you please. Continue to hike along the trail to Spencer Gorge, Tews Falls, and the Dundas Peak. To extend your stay, go hunting for more waterfalls on the Bruce Trail throughout Hamilton — there are over 100 in total!


For foodies

In its 33rd year, the Toronto Veg Food Fest at the Harbourfront Centre takes place on the second weekend of September. It’s the largest vegetarian food festival in North America. And, it’s not just for vegans or vegetarians. Most of the attendees are people who simply love eating, and you’re guaranteed to go home with a full belly. From product samples to cooking demos, it’s a celebration of mouth-watering food. It’s free to attend and not to be missed.


For animal lovers

If you love animals, visiting an animal sanctuary is a rewarding experience. One of my favorites is the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph. The donkeys are rescued from abuse or neglect, and now live peacefully on the farm. There are so many wonderful animal organizations all over Ontario: Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary (London), Happily Ever Esther (Campbellville), Wishing Well Sanctuary (Bradford), and Ralphy’s Retreat (Norfolk County), to name a few.