Tick Tock. December 25th is getting closer every day, need holiday gift ideas? We’d like to propose you consider giving experiences instead of things this Christmas. And we’ve compiled 15 incredible experiences that are all here in our home province of Ontario!

15 Amazing Ontario Experiences You Can Gift This Christmas

  • A Niagara Falls Adventure Pass. A trip to Niagara Falls can be full of romance, family fun, adventure, or natural beauty – it’s all up to you! Gifting a loved one a Niagara Falls Adventure Pass means you’re providing multiple experiences – a boat cruise, Journey Behind the Falls, and the White Water Walk to name a few. Tickets last for a full season (May through November 8, 2020) so you’ll have lots of flexibility to book your gifted getaway.
  • Indoor Skydiving. Looking to buy a gift for a thrill seeker? iFly Indoor Skydiving is a great option. With locations in both Whitby and Oakville, and packages offering between two to ten iFly experiences, your loved one can experience the thrill of skydiving in a controlled, safe, and indoor environment – a perfect way to pass those chilly winter weekends.
  • A Cooking Class. This is a gifted experience with options galore. Simmer some seasonal produce at a Niagara winery, cook up diverse dishes in Toronto, or seek out one of the many other culinary experiences that pepper this province (no pun intended). Cooking classes combine a learning experience, social event, and dinner date all into one. Bon appetit!
  •  Go-Karting and Arcade Day Out. Looking to make childhood memories with your Christmas present? Plan a fun-filled day of racetracks, games, and laughter! While most outdoor racetracks (including the famed Niagara Speedway) are available seasonally, tucking a handmade voucher for a day of fun come summer into a game or car-themed gift will be sure to excite someone on your list.
  • Metalworking class. Want to gift an experience and have something tangible to show for it? Look no further! Metalworking classes, such as Toronto Blacksmith’s axe-making experience or increasingly popular ring making workshops are a great way to create something memorable. The price tag on these gifts is a bit higher, given the length and materials for the experience, but it could be a worthwhile option for that special someone.
  • A wine or beer tour. As a Niagara attraction, we would be remiss to leave out the many tantalizing wine, beer, and foodie tours available in our region and throughout the province. Whether you book a ticket for a day-long wine tour, make reservations to tour a local distillery, or arrange your own route to discover local craft breweries, a day of tasting and sightseeing is a fabulous and unique gift.

  • An Outdoor winter adventure. When the snow starts falling, seasonal experiences become plentiful in Ontario. There are dogsled tours in cottage country, ski resorts, guided snowshoe walks, and ice rinks galore throughout the province. Whether you treat your loved one to an afternoon of fun or a full weekend getaway, there is nothing like making the most of winter to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
  • A ghost tour. Want a spook-tastic gift experience? The Haunted Walk offers gift cards to its popular in Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto ghost tours. Local historical societies and sites may also run candlelit tours close to your home. Pair vouchers for a tour with a fun dinner reservation for a winning night out on the town.
  • A Spa Day. Vouchers for spa services are a popular experience gift, and for good reason – a few hours or even a full day of pampering is the perfect option for a busy person who needs “me” time. Ontario has some great options for those looking for a super special gift, such as:
    • St. Anne’s Spa in Grafton Ontario – with a luxurious fieldstone grotto, outdoor pool, and dozens of, this spa consistently tops lists of the best spas in Canada;
    • Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain – this unique experience provides thermal baths and relaxing treatment amidst beautiful blue mountain forests;
    • Stirling Inn & Spa in Niagara Falls –  Combine a calming spa treatment with an overnight stay in the heart of Niagara Falls, with multiple packages available for couples and individuals
  • A hot air balloon ride.You may be surprised by just how many hot air balloon companies are operating in Ontario. Sure, cities like Toronto and Ottawa have their share of companies, there are also experiences in Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo, Elora, Richmond Hill, and beyond. Hot air balloon experiences tend to be located near scenic outdoor vistas, allowing for beautiful views and an unforgettable experience.
  • Sports game tickets. Tickets to an NHL or NBA game are always a winning option for the sports fan on your list, but you don’t have to go straight to the big leagues for this experience gift. Lacrosse, baseball, University teams – there are plenty of options available for Christmas shoppers looking to make a sports fan smile. Most notably, OHL teams often sell holiday “flex packs” so your recipient can pick the games that best fit their schedule – the Ice Dogs have a great package with six seats, a free add-in ticket, and a toque available this year.

  • An evening cruise. We mentioned the Niagara Parks Adventure Pass at the start of this list, but nightlife lovers might find an evening cruise to be even more appealing. Hornblower Niagara Cruises offers the Falls Fireworks Cruise each year – tickets are not available for next season yet, but a snazzy looking invite to a cruise later in the year will make your recipient feel extra special. Dinner cruises are also available on a variety of other water bodies in Ontario, including the Rideau Canal, Lake Ontario, the Grand River, and Gananoque. A unique present for that special someone!
  • Comedy tickets. Have a person on your list that loves to laugh? Comedy shows are plentiful in Ontario theatres, with some cities and towns even boasting comedy clubs hosting standup talent each week. Help your loved one press pause on all their favourite comedy Netflix specials and enjoy some live entertainment with tickets or a gift certificate for a show,
  • Ride the rails. Scenic train tours are a special experience in Canada. Railroad tracks can take people through almost untouched parts of the province, while specially outfitted trains can provide a cosy and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone aboard. From the famous Agawa Canyon Tour Train in Sault Ste. Marie to the Waterloo Central Railway, there are plenty of experiences to choose from. And, if you’re headed to Northern Ontario, let’s not forget the Polar Express! A full listing of train experiences in Ontario is available here.
  • A family photo shoot. There is always one person missing from holiday photos…the one behind the camera! Make sure you have pictures your whole family can enjoy (yes, even the shutterbug) by booking a family photo session with a local photographer as a Christmas gift. This is a great gift for new parents, growing families, or just those who haven’t taken a great group shot lately.

Have a unique experience gift idea? When in doubt, ask the vendor!

If you want to gift an experience but don’t see a “gift” option on the vendor’s website, do not fret! Plenty of companies (Hornblower included!) are happy to help put together a gift card or special voucher to fill a special holiday wish. 
If you are interested in giving a boat cruise as a gift this year, or want any information about our 2020 season, do not hesitate to reach out to us through the chatbot on this screen or by visiting the contact page on our website. Happy holidays and we hope to see you soon!