Cruising Lake Ontario

From Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto, a guide to the ports of call on a must-see boating adventure.

If boaters were to summarize their experiences on Lake Ontario, it would be described as diverse. Lake Ontario offers a wide range of Canadian boating destinations, from top-notch marinas in the centre of quiet historical towns and villages or in the heart of the city night life. It offers quiet anchorages away from it all or just around the corner from the action. Visitors to Lake Ontario can enjoy a day of sampling the fruits of Ontario’s renowned vineyards or stroll along the many miles of Waterfront Trail. Lake Ontario has so much to offer, it's a must-visit destination for your next boating adventure.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the Ports-of-call from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto.

If Niagara-on-the-Lake is the first destination to visit, white buildings with red tops will come into view as you approach the entrance to the Niagara River. These are the well known lighthouses on the west bank that form the front and rear of the range. On the east bank, boaters can enjoy the views of the restored buildings of Old Fort Niagara. Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club is a full service marina that offers transient docking. This is a popular destination; advanced reservations are strongly recommended.  This sailing club is also an easy walk or ride to several attractions of historic Niagara-on-the-Lake.   Boaters can stroll back through time and enjoy world-class theatre, fine dining, shopping, estate wineries, farm markets and many more historical sites.

Travelling southwest Port Dalhousie (part of the city of St. Catharines), is the next port-of-call. While here, you can enjoy a short walk to town from the Port Dalhousie Pier Marina along the Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway or you can cruise right into town, passing the retired lighthouse onto the Dalhousie Yacht Club that offers public docks.  

Sailing on Lake Ontario
Sailing on Lake Ontario

Continuing west from St. Catharines approximately 17 miles will bring you to Fifty Point, passing by Jordan Harbour and Grimsby. The marina is part of the Fifty Point Conservation Area on Lake Ontario, a magnificent 80-hectare park in Stoney Creek. The marina boasts of having one of the warmest and cleanest beaches on western Lake Ontario. Change rooms are conveniently located at the nearby beach house, and visitors can also enjoy a fabulous lakefront view by walking the promenade or relaxing at conveniently located benches and shaded areas.

The next stop is often overlooked by boaters, perhaps due to the initial industrial appearance of its harbour. But don’t let that deter you from making a stop at Hamilton Harbour. As you make your approach from the southwest, you will see two high-level Skyway Bridges and a lower lift bridge. Here, Harbour-West Marina is a full-service facility that can accommodate most. A short walk from the marina is the Parks Canada Discovery Centre, a state-of-the-art, interactive facility that allows visitors a virtual glimpse of Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.

Bronte Harbour in Oakville is another port-of-call you won’t want to miss. As you approach the village of Bronte, you will pass by several marinas that offer provisions. This quaint stop is a great place to enjoy picnics in the park, a stroll along the boardwalk, or on the trails. Not far from Bronte, you will find Oakville Harbour, noted to be one of the prettiest harbours on Lake Ontario. It reflects heritage neighbourhoods and an historic downtown just a short walk from the transient docks. Oakville offers great entertainment with a variety of restaurants, summer theatre, and excellent shopping along Lakeshore Road.

Next, we will come to Port Credit that always offers an abundance of things to see and do. Credit Village Marina is located on the Waterfront Trail and is surrounded by parks. The marina has nicknamed itself the “dock and walk” marina for its ideal location along the redeveloped waterfront. Snug Harbour Restaurant is also located here. This is a popular onsite waterfront destination for boaters and city dwellers alike.

Onward to Toronto; the capital of Ontario and Canada’s largest city is naturally one of Lake Ontario’s premier cruising destinations. Ontario Place is a popular stop, with very accessible docking. Ontario Place has a picturesque park setting, offering visitors hours of fun activities that can include the waterslides in the water park, floating bumper boats, featured stage shows, or an IMAX film in the Cinesphere. If you haven't visited Toronto, this is a great place to spend a couple of days and nights. 

toronto waterfront in the the summer
Toronto offers boaters day and evening entertainment.

Although this is just a very brief overview of the Port-of-calls from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto but if you are interested in learning more, a complete story on Lake Ontario and all it has to offer has been provided by Lifestyle Integrated. This is one article that has been provided in conjunction with the DVD cruising series.

About Cynthia Hodgson

No stranger to motorsports, Cynthia Hodgson has been involved in the recreational boating industry and those of similar nature for many years. Cynthia is currently the Marketing Manager for the provincial recreational boating association Boating Ontario. She has experience with all facets of the media world. She has previously worked in radio, been a freelance writer and periodically she can be seen on PowerBoat Television and Canadian Sportfishing Television. 

Related Articles

Boating Events in Ontario: A Complete Guide to Summer 2023

From poker runs to free concerts, Ontario boating events are your go-to source of fun this summer! Here's everything to add to your calendar.

Renting a Boat in Ontario: What You Need to Know

9 places to rent a boat this summer for the perfect Ontario getaway.

A Guide to Getting your Ontario Boating Card

Get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) and then get out on the water!

The Jewel of Ontario

A beginner's guide to Georgian Bay's North Channel

Cruise the Trent Severn Waterway in Style

5 Big Water Destinations

For Seasoned PWC Riders Only!

Where to Rent Personal Watercraft in Ontario

The Complete List

Ever been to a concert *in* a lake?

This free summer concert north of Sudbury is boat access only.

How to Choose a Trailer for your PWC

From suspension to safety chains to security, we break down what you need to know when choosing a trailer for your PWC.

Free Passage on the Trent-Severn

Parks Canada announces another free lockage day

Montreal to Ottawa by PWC

Cruising the Lower Ottawa River

Find Your Way: Using a chartplotter on your PWC

Make It Personal

PWC Riding in Ontario's Parks

Where to Float Your Boat

The Big List of All Major Waterways in Ontario

Capital Cruising

Boating in and around Ottawa

For the Boater in Your family

5 Fathers Day Gift Ideas

I Sailed the New Viking Octantis and Here's What It Was Like

Discover the Great Lakes aboard this brand new Northern Ontario cruise.

Boating in Ontario

The Complete Guide

The Boatless Boater

6 Ways to Be a Boater Without Being A Boat Owner

Best Boat Launches

Where to start your PWC day trips