Al (SHe/Her) & Pat (He/Him)
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Elope in Ontario?
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions about Eloping in Ontario
- 2.1 Accommodation – Staycation Ontario Credit 2022
- 2.2 Vendors
- 2.3 Getting to Ontario
- 2.4 What’s the best time of year to elope in Ontario?
- 3 Best places to elope in Ontario
- 4 Where can I elope in Ontario?
- 4.1 Best Places to Elope in Central Ontario
- 4.1.1 Bon Echo Provincial Park
- 4.1.2 Hardy Lake Provincial Park
- 4.1.3 The Baltic Luxury Treehouse, Minden Hills
- 4.1.4 Whispering Springs, Grafton
- 4.1.5 Luxury Camping at Glen Oro Farm
- 4.1.6 Chandos Lake, Kawartha Lakes
- 4.1.7 Best Places to Elope in Prince Edward County
- 4.1.8 Sandbanks Provincial Park
- 4.1.9 The Edward’s Skyward Cabin, Prince Edward County
- 4.1.10 Cressy House, Prince Edward County
- 4.1.11 The Cape, Prince Edward County
- 4.1.12 North Beach Provincial Park
- 4.2 Best Places to Elope in Eastern Ontario
- 4.3 Best Places to Elope in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
- 4.3.1 Scarborough Bluffs, Scarborough
- 4.3.2 Lion’s Lookout, Huntsville
- 4.3.3 Pine Reeve Co., Varney
- 4.3.4 Kortright Center for Conservation, Woodbridge
- 4.3.5 The Distillery District, Toronto
- 4.3.6 Mint Room Studios, Toronto
- 4.3.7 Preto Loft, Toronto
- 4.3.8 Sol Atelier, Toronto
- 4.3.9 Best Places to Elope in Muskoka
- 4.3.10 Northridge Inn, Muskoka
- 4.3.11 Muskoka A-Frame, Muskoka
- 4.3.12 Whitestone Lakehouse, Muskoka
- 4.3.13 Huckleberry Rockcut, Muskoka
- 4.4 Best Places to Elope in Northern Ontario
- 4.4.1 The Crack, Killarney
- 4.4.2 Killarney Lighthouse, Killarney
- 4.4.3 The Lookout, Algonquin Provincial Park
- 4.4.4 Spruce Bog, Algonquin Provincial Park
- 4.4.5 Manitor Miikana, Pukaskwa Trail
- 4.4.6 BathTub Island, Lake Superior Provincial Park
- 4.4.7 Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island
- 4.4.8 Bridal Veil Falls, Manitoulin Island
- 4.4.9 Tobermory Grotto, Bruce Peninsula National Park
- 4.4.10 Top of the Giant’s Trail, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
- 4.4.11 Agawa Canyon, Sault Ste. Marie
- 4.4.12 Kakabecka Falls, Thunder Bay
- 4.4.13 Eau Claire Gorge, Mattawa
- 4.4.14 French River Suspension Bridge & Provincial Park
- 4.4.15 Killbear Provincial Park, Nobel
- 4.4.16 Lighthouse Point Trail, Killbear Provincial Park
- 4.4.17 The Loraine Club, Georgian Bay
- 4.4.18 The Lodge at Pine Cove, French River
- 4.5 Best Places to Elope in Southwestern Ontario
- 4.5.1 Bayfield, Ontario
- 4.5.2 Elora Gorge | Elora Mill
- 4.5.3 Niagara Glen, Niagara Falls
- 4.5.4 Hornblower Boat Ride, Niagara Falls
- 4.5.5 Dundas Peak, Hamilton
- 4.5.6 Big Bend Lookout, Arrowhead Provincial Park, Huntsville
- 4.5.7 Butterfly Conservatory, Niagara Botanical Gardens
- 4.5.8 Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario
- 4.5.9 Kurtz Orchard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
- 4.5.10 Goldie Mill Park & Ruins, Guelph
- 4.1 Best Places to Elope in Central Ontario
Why Elope in Ontario?
Maybe you’re ready to marry your person but are overwhelmed by the prospect of planning a big wedding. Maybe you want to have a celebration that is more sustainable and produces less waste. Maybe you want to prioritize and experience with your person over everything else. Whatever your reason you are not alone, since Covid started wreaking havoc on the wedding industry we have shot numerous elopements throughout Ontario. Our elopement couples say the experience of choosing exactly what they wanted to do/see/eat/drink was their main reason for choosing to elope in Ontario.
An elopement in Ontario is two people, in love, wanting to make a commitment to each other in marriage, an officiant, and two witnesses (that can be us!). You can choose this very intimate elopement style, or include a few more people (typically 10 or less) and make it a micro-wedding. You can choose to share a celebration with your extended family and friends before or after your elopement, or not at all. That’s the beauty of an elopement, everything is up to you!
If this sounds like your jam, keep reading this comprehensive guide on How to Elope in Ontario.
Frequently Asked Questions about Eloping in Ontario
How much does it cost to elope in Ontario?
It totally depends!
It will cost at least:
- $160 CAD for your marriage license (see here for more details)
- $15 for your marriage certificate (see Service Ontario for details)
- $250 – $650 CAD for your registered officiant (see Service Ontario for details)
- $2000 – $10,000 for your photographer
The rest depends on how you want to celebrate! Costs for what you wear, what you choose to do, and who you hire to make it all happen vary. When you hire us as your elopement photographers we’ll help you plan your timeline, vet locations, and sign as your witnesses (yes working with a photography duo is super helpful in this regard). If you’d like to keep things simple it really can be this easy, if you’d like to make it a bit more elaborate we can absolutely recommend some amazing Ontario wedding vendors, based on the location you choose (hair/makeup, florals, planners, musicians).
Accommodation – Staycation Ontario Credit 2022
Residents of Ontario who stay at an approved accommodation in 2022 are eligible for the Ontario Staycation Credit on their 2022 personal tax return. Ontario residents can claim 20% of qualified accommodation expenses for vacations taken between January 1-December 31, 2022 in Ontario, up to a maximum of $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family. This means when you stay at an Ontario accommodation before or after your elopement you will receive a savings of $200 or $400, respectively. Sign me up for money back from the government, while investing in our local small businesses!
An officiant for your Ontario elopement is a legal must, though some couples choose to get legally married in a civil service first and then do an epic vow exchange (since convincing an officiant to hike to your location can be a challenge). Most of our couples book hair/make-up artists, florist, and a cafe/restaurant/winery tour as a minimum. This is where working with an Ontario elopement photographer is especially helpful, we can recommend vendors that match your design aesthetic, personality and compliment the whole vibe of your day.
- Hair / Make-up Artist
- Food (reservation, to-go picnic, on-site chef, etc)
Who do I invite to my Ontario elopement?
An elopement in Ontario is two people, in love, wanting to make a commitment to each other in marriage, an officiant, and two witnesses (that can be us!). You can choose this very intimate elopement style, or include a few more people (typically 10 or less) and make it a micro-wedding.
Who do you envision standing by your side as you make your vows? Elopements can be just the two of you, or you can include your pet or child/children, or you can take it a step further and include a few close friends or family members. We’ve worked with couples who choose to elope completely on their own with only us and an officiant, and couples who have incorporated a few friends and family members. It comes down to you, who do you want to be there? This is your opportunity to be very intentional, how do you want to feel on your elopement day? Who is vital to helping you feel that way? You can choose to share a celebration with your extended family and friends before or after your elopement, or not at all. That’s the beauty of an elopement, everything is up to you!
What do I need to legally get married in Ontario?
To legally get married in Ontario you need to apply for and obtain a marriage license, a registered officiant to perform the ceremony, and two witnesses to sign (that can be us!). After your elopement, you will need to apply for your marriage certificate. All of the links are provided in How much does it cost to elope (above).
Getting to Ontario
Whether you’re coming from abroad, another province, or just down the highway The Destination Ontario website provides all the information you need to get to Ontario safely. Ontario has 7 international airports but most air traffic comes through Toronto (Toronto Pearson International Airport- YYZ) and Ottawa (Ottawa International Airport- YOW). From there you can access the rest of the province of Ontario by domestic airports, train, or by car. Keep in mind Ontario is a large province, it takes 24 hours to drive all the way from east to west on Ontario’s HWY 17. If you’re coming from Europe don’t expect the high-speed trains that you’re used to in Ontario. The GO train which is predominately based in the GTA is the most consistent, Via Train (which connects Ottawa to Toronto) is delayed or canceled more often than I’d like to admit.
What’s the best time of year to elope in Ontario?
Ontario has four full seasons, temperatures can range from highs of 35 degrees celsius in the summertime to lows of -40 degrees celsius in the wintertime. Weather can be drastically different from one side of the province to the other so the season you choose will be directly related to the location you choose to elope in. Do you want to be secluded and have the space to yourself, or are you happy to have strangers walking by? Are you hoping for a delicate barely-there dress, or happy to incorporate a layer (jean jacket, oversize knit)? The high season in most places in Ontario is late-June to early September (peak school holiday period). During this time you will find that all businesses are open, and are pretty booked up! Early June and late September can make for beautiful weather, and fewer crowds, especially if you book midweek.
Summer in Ontario means most of us flock to cottage country whenever possible. The water in the lakes (big and small) slowly warms up and we are 100% taking advantage of it. The Ontario Provincial Parks open up for camping and day use, providing endless opportunities for hiking, watersports, and your golden hour elopement.
Months | June- September
Activities | Hiking, Watersports (swimming, canoeing, paddleboarding), Berry Picking
The MOST beautiful time of year in Ontario. Mornings are brisk but daytime temperatures are still warm, the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow and the sun starts to set a bit earlier (making sunrise and sunset elopements easier on those who prioritize their sleep).
Months | September – November
Activities | Hiking, Paddleboarding, Apple Picking, Grapes Harvest
Snow, sleet, freezing rain, anything is possible during the winter in Ontario. Up north your favourite locations may be well under the snow, while down South you’re often treated to sunny days that hit highs over 0 degrees celsius. Plan to cozy up inside with a warm drink and a fire after your winter elopement in Ontario.
Months | November – March
Activities | Snowshoeing, Skiing, Skating
The most unpredictable of all the seasons in Ontario. Your elopement could fall on a bright and sunny day that feels like summer, or it could snow several inches. The closer you get to June the more predictable the daytime highs and lows are. There is something really special about the way the Ontario wilderness comes to life in the Spring. I’ll take my chances with the weather to be out in the fields of wildflowers any day.
Months | March – June
Activities | Snowshoeing, Maple Syrup, Hiking
Reasons to consider a weekday elopement
2022 is currently being pegged as the busiest wedding season yet. Due to all things Covid (postponements from 2020 and 2021, being over Covid, being desperate to celebrate with friends and family) couples are FINALLY getting hitched in 2022. Many wedding vendors have been booked solid for 2022 for a year or more. In addition, most people haven’t traveled much in the last two years so expect even more people to travel to all the beautiful destinations Ontario has to offer. Opting for a midweek elopement in Ontario gives you the opportunity to have fewer people around when you say your vows. See more about why you should elope midweek here.
Best places to elope in Ontario
How to find your perfect Ontario Elopement Location
It’s gut-check time. Where would you spend your ideal Saturday? If you had the option to go anywhere, do anything, where would it be? Would you explore the teal waters at Tobermory? Would you hike up to The Crack in Killarney, or would you prefer to be closer to a city center so you can go out for brunch after your nuptials? We can brainstorm with you, based on your preferences and find the perfect place for you to elope in Ontario.
Where can I elope in Ontario?
You can elope in most public places in Ontario without having to obtain a permit. We always recommend working with the Provincial Parks directly if you choose to elope in one, contacting them ahead of time and informing them of your plans makes everything run that much smoother. Provincial Parks require an advance booking (bookings open 5 days in advance) and these bookings sell out regularly from June – to September so plan ahead and make sure you log in early.
Many small, midsize, and even large wedding venues also offer their grounds for elopements for a fee. If you have your eye on a particular venue, contacting them to request a midweek, or offpeak date is a great idea- to be clear, don’t expect a Saturday in July at 3 PM for your elopement unless you’re willing to pay for the full wedding cost at a wedding venue.
Best Places to Elope in Central Ontario
Consider a canoe ride (bring your own or rent one at the Lagoon), exploring the petroglyphs on Mazinaw rock, one of Canada’s largest visible collections of Indigenous pictographs. Dock your canoe (make sure you have a rope) and hike up to the lookout to exchange your vows with an epic view(Clifftop Trail). Open May – October, the best time to visit is midweek.
Hardy Lake Provincial Park is technically a non-operational provincial park which means there is parking available but no other visitor amenities. This also means there are no opening/closing times – hello sunrise/sunset elopement lovers, and no need to register in advance to go. Hardy Lake trails offer lakeside views, rocky outcrops, and several boardwalks for your intimate Ontario elopement.
The Baltic Luxury Treehouse, Minden Hills
Imagine all the luxuries of a boutique hotel, while you’re fully immersed in nature, snuggled up in the trees. With windows on all sides, you’ll be able to take in the evergreens and mixed hardwood forests from a completely new perspective. Start your elopement day with a shower in the custom rain shower (built for two), make your breakfast in the full kitchen (Chemex included), throw a record on, and get ready to say your vows. Celebrate and then finish off your day with a soak in the hot tub. Ontario Forest Elopement Bliss. You will need to contact Lauren the host for your elopement rate and contract (you can’t just book on Airbnb and then host your event).
Whispering Springs, Grafton
Looking for an outdoorsy elopement, with all the details taken care of for you? Whispering Springs is a family-run wilderness retreat that aims to bridge the gap between camping and the desire for comfort – think glamping – hotel-style amenities in the wilderness. They offer elopement experiences that include the use of La Petite Chapel for your ceremony, a two-night stay in their Bell Tent Honeymoon Suite, accommodations for 10 guests, your decor & florals, their in-house officiant, an outdoor dining area with catered meal & dessert, and coordination.
With a focus on sustainability and connecting with your loved ones, Glen Oro has luxury retreats that will tick all the boxes of your luxurious glamping elopement dreams. Choose to stay in the Stargazer Dome or Explorer’s tent and spend your night stargazing from the comfort of your king-size bed. Both options include an ensuite bathroom and mini-kitchen with the essentials for cooking “camp meals”. Amp up the luxury by hiring their private chef, Chef Paul of Laforet Catering, to prepare a meal from locally sourced ingredients, prepared from scratch and cooked over an open fire. Brunch boxes, charcuterie platters, and dinner options are also available to be delivered by “Chopped Canada” Champion Chef Melanie Robinson, local resident and owner of The Eclectic Cafe.
Chandos Lake, Kawartha Lakes
Rent a cottage (like this one) or use your own. Take a dip in the lake at sunrise (July/August/September), get ready, and exchange your vows while the sun is low in the sky, then host an intimate Canadian brunch with mimosas, bacon, eggs, pancakes, and maple syrup. Yes please, I will take all the intimate Kawartha Lakes elopements!
Best Places to Elope in Prince Edward County
It’s no surprise that we have tons of places for you to elope in Prince Edward County, from the sandy beaches to the epic bluffs and more wineries, cideries, and breweries than you can count, there is truly something for everyone. You can check out our in-depth Prince Edward County Elopement Guide here.
Sandbanks Dune Beach is the most iconic beach in Prince Edward County. With sweeping dunes reaching down to the water this beach fills up very quickly during the busy season of June – September. The park marshals restrict entrance once capacity is reached so it works best as an early morning ceremony site, or sunset midweek unless you’re planning for off-season May/October. Keep in mind opening times, which vary throughout the season. Check out this Sandbanks Elopement from 2021 for inspiration.
The Edward’s Skyward Cabin, Prince Edward County
Our lovely friends at The Edward created The Skyward Cabin to offer a nature immersion experience. With a glass roof and no distractions, this little cabin presents a unique opportunity to take in the night sky, minus the creepy crawlies. Elope in the woods, share the starry sky, then wake up to a special outdoor breakfast treat to cook over the open fire.
Cressy House, Prince Edward County
Owned by Chef Grant van Gameren, this estate features a converted barn and guesthouse. The estate is available for whole-estate bookings (accommodates 16 people) or the barn and guesthouse separately, depending on the season. Surrounded by a vineyard, a lavender field and 500 feet of waterfront this estate is the perfect place to host your intimate elopement. Book a private dinner, personally prepared by Chef Grant van Gameren and wine tasting on-site or at local vineyards. For a complete list of the best accommodations in Prince Edward County check out our Where to Stay in PEC post.
The Cape, Prince Edward County
Luxurious suites, a grand staircase, salons, a veranda, and your own fairytale ballroom. This historical landmark in Picton has been elegantly restored and is available for elopements and micro weddings. They consider elopements up to 8 people and micro weddings over 8 people. They offer personalized assistance in planning your elopement from one of their Event Planners, day-of coordination, and boutique accommodation. Check out our Prince Edward County Wedding Venue post for more.
The North Beach Provincial Park is Sandbanks’ lesser-known but equally beautiful sibling. Over one kilometer of sand shelters tiny North Beach from Lake Ontario. Arrive as the park opens, say your vows and spend some time in the Dunes then head to Chef Jamie Kennedy’s for a laid back post-vow chippy.
Best Places to Elope in Eastern Ontario
Rock Dunder, Thousand Islands
The summit loop at Rock Dunder Nature Reserve takes you on a 4km hike through forests and rocky cliffs. At the summit, you have a panoramic view over the Rideau Waterway, epic Ontario elopement dreams. The reserve is open from sunrise to sunset and a hiking pass is $5 per person. In the high season (especially weekends in July-August) the small parking lot fills up fast so plan to go early in the morning. The views are beautiful from Spring-Fall (Summer pictured above) but the changing leaves in the Autumn are really stunning. Visiting midweek is a must in the Autumn if you’d like the space to yourselves.
Eagles Nest Lookout, Calabogie
The Eagles Nest lookout, located along the 3km Lookout Trail, is approximately 120 meters up overlooking Eagle’s Nest pond. Parking and entrance to the trail are both free. There are no amenities (toilets, food) so make sure you are well prepared and take everything you brought with you when you leave. The main loop can be very busy during the high season so visiting in the early morning and early evening are recommended – you are well aware by now that we recommend these times for elopements anyway! The lookout faces west which means you have full views of the golden sunset.
St Raphael Ruins, Williamstown
St Raphael was one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English-speaking Canada. In 1970 a fire consumed everything but the exterior stone walls. The ruins have an old-world feel and provide a unique backdrop for your alternative Ontario elopement. To elope at the ruins please contact the curator here. The site is open 7 days a week and is free of charge to visit.
Best Places to Elope in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Scarborough Bluffs, Scarborough
Bluffers Park Beach is the most popular spot for engagement and wedding photos but there are plenty of quiet spots along the bluffs for your intimate elopement. Try Cudia Park where you can follow a trail out to an epic view of the Bluffs. Note: follow all regulations for visiting the Bluffs as the edge can be very unstable as noted on the City of Toronto website.
Lion’s Lookout, Huntsville
You can hike up to Lion’s Lookout via the Lion’s Lookout Trail. The trail is 1.5 km long with some steep inclines. Alternatively, you can drive straight up to the top of the hill. The Lookout gives you panoramic views of Muskoka, especially beautiful in the Fall when the leaves change colors. Perfect for your Autumn elopement vision. This site is free to enter and easily accessible so expect it to be busy on weekends during the Spring/Summer/Fall season.
Pine Reeve Co., Varney
Pine Reeve Co is a Scandinavian-inspired A-frame Airbnb located in the small town of Varney, Ontario. Nestled alongside a burbling creek this cabin has all the amenities you need for laid-back adventure elopement. Spend the day hiking the trails, get ready together and exchange your vows on the forest floor.
Kortright Center for Conservation, Woodbridge
Iconic pine tree forest, located close to Toronto. Kortright Center is an all-inclusive wedding venue that charges ~$175 – 205 per person, however, they also offer midweek and off-season pricing for smaller events, you can contact them here for information. If the whimsical pine tree backdrop is what you are looking for this is your location near Toronto (see The Meadows, for a forest ceremony option further east).
The Distillery District, Toronto
Elope in the city, with none of the traditional City Hall vibes. In the Distillery District, you’ll be surrounded by historic Toronto architecture and the feel of a cozy European city center. Choose from one of The Distillery Events locations and work with their team, or go rogue with an intimate ceremony elsewhere (e.g. Corktown Commons) and portraits in the Distillery District.
Mint Room Studios, Toronto
Located in the Junction area in Toronto, Mint Room Studios offers 9 different studio rooms with 15 ft ceilings and ample natural light. Each space includes carefully curated furniture and accents, creating individual but complementary atmospheres. Think beautiful light, clean backgrounds, and the privacy to host your intimate elopement – irrespective of the weather. Bookings for photoshoots are $95/hr and events are $250/hr.
Preto Loft, Toronto
A creative space from the team behind Mint Room Studios, Preto Loft is located in a historical building in the Toronto Junction area. The three different rooms (East Side, West Side, and Solarium) provide different but complementary aesthetic experiences. Each space features 17ft tall ceilings, large factory windows, exposed metal trusses, vintage hardwood floors, and textured walls. Curated furniture pieces, props, and plants adorn each space. Unique to Preto is a service kitchen that can be utilized for events, providing on-site catering that is carefully prepared out of sight.
Sol Atelier, Toronto
This “vintage-meets-modern” studio space is located in Corktown in Toronto. With south-facing factory windows, 14 ft ceilings, and exposed brick walls, this space is perfect for your industrial elopement vision. You can rent this natural light space for $90/hr, two hours minimum.
Best Places to Elope in Muskoka
Northridge Inn, Muskoka
Well known for all-out wedding weekends, with everything from fireworks and bonfires to paddle boarding and lawn games, this boutique inn also offers glamping style accommodations and a vintage airstream that would fit an intimate elopement weekend perfectly. This is the traditional Canadian long weekend elopement dream location.
Muskoka A-Frame, Muskoka
The Muskoka A-Frame is a reimagined 70’s A-frame Chalet in Muskoka, Ontario. This chalet makes the perfect backdrop for your intimate elopement in any season. With a cozy gas fireplace, you can definitely make this a winter elopement venue, while the neighborhood beach is a huge plus for a summer elopement. The architecture and interiors of this A-Frame can play the lead for your decor and you have the added bonus of being able to get ready, get married and honeymoon in one spot – shoot I’m sold, take us with you!
Whitestone Lakehouse, Muskoka
If your elopement vision includes a small group of family and friends, and exclusivity is important Whitestone Lakehouse may be the perfect place. This lakehouse sits on 55 acres of forests with a waterfront hot tub, sauna, and non-motorized watersports (canoe, kayak, paddleboard). Choose to elope with your closest friends and family in this exclusive Muskoka lakehouse.
Huckleberry Rockcut, Muskoka
Interested in hiking some of the oldest rocks in the world? Huckleberry Rockcut features rock that is over a billion years old. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful places in Muskoka to catch the sunset. Plan to elope here in the offseason, or midweek to avoid the crowds that descend on this beautiful spot on the weekends in the high season. Start your hike at the Trailhead off Milford Bay Rd, there is free parking on-site. The Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is a 2.9 km easy loop trail, the lookout is approximately 1 km from the trailhead.
Best Places to Elope in Northern Ontario
The Crack, Killarney
Described as Killarney’s toughest trail, The Crack is for you if you love hiking and enjoy the challenge of scrambling over some boulders. This will require hiking attire + elopement attire so make sure you pack and prepare wisely. To access The Crack pick up your $15.50 permit at the Office then park at the trailhead. The trail to get to the Crack is on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Killarney Provincial Park. It is approximately 4 km. It is not a loop (follow the red signs back the way you came once you reach the lookout point).
Killarney Lighthouse, Killarney
This hike from the town of Killarney out to the East Lighthouse gives you views of Georgian Bay, red and orange cliffs, and turquoise coastal water. This is the place for you if you want East Coast elopement feels, right in Ontario. To access this trail you can park for free at the Killarney Mountain Lodge. The trail is well marked but there are no facilities so ensure you have everything you need before leaving the town of Killarney and take everything back with you! The total distance out and back is under 5km but budget a bit of extra time for climbing over the rock faces.
The Lookout, Algonquin Provincial Park
The Lookout Trail at Algonquin Provincial Park is a 2.1 km loop (with a stunning viewpoint at about 1 km – the famous “Lookout”). Especially popular in the Fall because of the changing colors in the trees, the Lookout is a fairly large area that is able to accommodate plenty of visitors though we always recommend going for early morning or early evening to work with the best light. The parking lot for the Lookout Trail is located at the 39.7km mark on Highway 60. You will need a Day Use permit to access Algonquin Park so make sure you reserve ahead of time (reservations open 5 days early).
Spruce Bog, Algonquin Provincial Park
For an eerie, quiet sunrise elopement this is your place. The Spruce Bog boardwalk is a flat, 1.5km loop trail that takes you through towering pine trees and two interesting bogs, if you visit at sunrise you may be treated to fog rolling over the trail. This short loop is less busy than some of the other Algonquin Trails and has ample parking at the trailhead (use the East Gate during high season to avoid traffic). You will need a Day Use permit to access Algonquin Park so make sure you reserve ahead of time (reservations open 5 days early).
Manitor Miikana, Pukaskwa Trail
A truly epic, very remote, stunningly beautiful hike. Manitou Miikana, “the Spirit Trail” gives you glimpses of a rocky ravine as you climb up for panoramic views of Lake Superior and the Pic River Dunes. It is a 2km extension to the Beach Trail in the Pukaskwa National Park. Either of the two viewing decks along the trail would make for perfect elopement ceremony spots. Given that Pukaskwa National Park is so remote you will need to plan ahead for accommodations. Hattie Cove Campground is open May 15 to October 15 but they do not take reservations, the campground is first come first stay with 67 campsites available. oTENTik campsites are available for reservations – a cross between a tent and rustic cabin, these campsites are perfect if you want to camp, but sleep in a bed! You’re going to want an epic elopement photographer for this one!
BathTub Island, Lake Superior Provincial Park
Bathtub Island is the not-so-hidden gem of Northern Ontario. A natural “bathtub” formed of stone, which results in much warmer water than the surrounding water of Lake Superior. While it’s not officially marked on any provincial park maps if you ask the park personnel they will direct you to this stunning spot. You will need a valid day pass or camping permit for Lake Superior Provincial Park. Plan to rise early and head out for a sunrise elopement if you’d like some peace and quiet. The sunsets here are incredible but you will definitely have more people around.
Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island
The Cup & Saucer Trail is part of the Niagara escarpment, with cliffs over 70m high for over 2 km. The main trail is ~4km long and winds through the forest and gives you some of the best views on Manitoulin Island. The cliffside is an epic location for your adventure elopement. The trailhead is approximately ~20km west of Little Current on Highway 540 (it’s changed locations a few times so ensure you check the website for up-to-date location information). Consider staying at Batman’s Cottages and Campground, which is located only 20 minutes from the Cup and Saucer Trail.
Bridal Veil Falls, Manitoulin Island
Bridal Veil Falls is a large waterfall on Manitoulin Island. Thinking you’d like to elope under the falls, with the water crashing all around you? Plan to go early in the morning and bring your swimsuit. The hiking paths around the Falls are flat and well maintained, just make sure you stay on them as there are signs for poison ivy on the sides of the trails.
Tobermory Grotto, Bruce Peninsula National Park
A little slice of the Caribbean in Northern Ontario. With clear turquoise water and dramatic rocky shorelines, the Tobermory Grotto is the perfect place for your adventure elopement in Ontario. You must make your reservation ahead of time as it is consistently sold out through the July-August high season (reservations are for 4-hour time slots). I’d recommend camping midweek in one of the Yurts at Cyprus Lake campground so you can fully experience the area. Make it an offseason mini-moon and stay at The Hea Frame in Mar, Ontario with your own private lake access, trails, and sauna.
Top of the Giant’s Trail, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Top of the Giant’s Trail is for the very adventurous souls, willing to spend the whole day eloping. The vista is nothing short of exceptional. This 23 km trail in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is for true hikers, you will need to be fully kitted out with gear and with vendors who value the adventure in addition to the destination. This would be such a romantic elopement for just the two of you and photographers, or with a small adventurous group – have a friend who can officiate? We can be your witnesses – perfection!
Agawa Canyon, Sault Ste. Marie
A truly unique elopement experience. Imagine yourself waking up Sault Ste Marie then boarding the train to the canyon at 8 AM. Get ready on the train, tuck in for a lovely breakfast and watch the views of Northern Ontario unfold before you. Once you arrive at the Canyon we’ll venture through the Lookout Trail, Bridal Veil Falls, and if there’s time North and South Black Beaver Falls. After 90 minutes we’ll return back to the train for some bubbly and a post elopement lunch. Feel the unique Canadian history as you immortalize your elopement in the views made famous by the Group of Seven painters.
Kakabecka Falls, Thunder Bay
The second-largest waterfall in Canada, after Niagara Falls, Kakabecka Falls can be accessed by hiking the 1.1 km Mountain Portage Trail. You could camp onsite at the Provincial Park, and host an intimate elopement ceremony by the big falls, or at the little falls, along the 2.5 km Little Falls Trail. The Falls are located 25 minutes outside of Thunder Bay.
Eau Claire Gorge, Mattawa
Hike through the red pine forest down by the rushing waterfall, and have your intimate elopement by the wild water. A moderate 3.1km hike with few visitors on a weekday, the Eau Claire Gorge is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts. Visit in the Fall when there are fewer bugs and the leaves are turning colors.
French River Suspension Bridge & Provincial Park
Hike the Recollet Falls Trail, 4km round trip, moderate difficulty or choose a canoe/kayak adventure and paddle your way through the French River Delta. For backcountry enthusiasts, this is your Ontario epic elopement dream location! For those wanting the epic backcountry views with less adventure, check out The Lodge at Pine Cove (below).
Killbear Provincial Park, Nobel
With kilometers of rugged rocky shoreline and windswept trees, Killbear Provincial Park has endless opportunities for your intimate elopement. The iconic windswept tree at Beaver Dams campground near campsite 320 makes the perfect backdrop to exchange your vows. Wander the shoreline at golden hour and take in the sunset over Georgian Bay, or rise with the sun and have the shore to yourself. Remember to buy your park pass in advance here.
Lighthouse Point Trail, Killbear Provincial Park
As above, the rugged rocky shoreline of Killbear Provincial Park is stunning. Take the Lighthouse Point Trail, an easy 1 km trail that gives you all the views and is just the right amount of hiking for a relaxing elopement morning or evening.
The Loraine Club, Georgian Bay
The Loraine Club sits on top of a typical Georgian Bay Rock, with windswept trees, and 200-degree views of the Bay. With eleven acres of private land on a forty-acre island (the rest of the island is Crown Land), The Loraine Club is perfect for your exclusive intimate elopement. You and 12-14 of your people can spend a couple of days soaking up the views and exploring the water by canoe and kayak.
The Lodge at Pine Cove, French River
Like going to an exclusive backcountry summer camp- book Toni Harting Cottage at Pine Cove and have your sunset elopement ceremony along the majestic bank of the French River. Share a meal at their Brûlé restaurant or make your own in your cabin kitchen.
Best Places to Elope in Southwestern Ontario
Known as the quieter sibling to Grand Bend, Bayfield is home to 3 beautiful sandy beaches along Lake Huron. Pioneer Park sits on the edge of a bluff, offering stunning views of Lake Huron. Take the wooden stairs down to the beach in the early morning and exchange your vows by the water, then celebrate with a picnic on the beach or back up in the park.
Elora Gorge is famous for views from the Gorge floor. Perched on the rocks in the river you’ll have the backdrop of a beautiful bridge or the 22-meter high cliffs. Go to Victoria Park and take in the views from the lookout point, then head down to the floor of the Gorge to exchange your vows amidst the epic cliff faces. Make it luxurious by booking in at the Elora Mill to get ready and celebrate your elopement with an exceptional meal or book in at one of the adorable restaurants along Main Street.
Niagara Glen, Niagara Falls
Hike down to the River Trail at Niagara Glen, a moderate 1.6km trail that follows the Niagara River. You can park easily at the trailhead and the entrance to the Glen is free. We will easily find a quiet spot by the water for your intimate elopement, then explore the trails. The best time of year is mid-summer to fall as it can be quite buggy in the forest.
Hornblower Boat Ride, Niagara Falls
Opt for a Jim & Pam (The Office) elopement adventure on the Hornblower – a 20-minute Voyage to the Falls boat tour. Reserve your ticket for the last trip of the evening and make the most of the glowy light pre-boat tour and the fireworks whilst on the boat. Come prepared to get wet (recyclable ponchos provided by the tour), and embrace this wild adventure.
Dundas Peak , Hamilton
Dundas Peak is at the mouth of the Spencer Gorge, giving you panoramic views of the epic rock faces, on a clear day you can see Hamilton Harbor in the distance. The best time of year to visit Dundas Peak is Autumn as the leaves change color from green to rusty reds, oranges, and yellows. Unfortunately, you can no longer go to Peak of this beautiful lookout as it is fenced off.
Big Bend Lookout, Arrowhead Provincial Park, Huntsville
A short walk from the parking lot on Roe Campground Road leads to a panoramic view of the meandering Big East River – think Horseshoe Bend in Arizona vibes. Exchange your vows here and then opt for a canoe paddle through the river (just be sure to stay off the slopes as this contributes to accelerated erosion).
Butterfly Conservatory, Niagara Botanical Gardens
Book your exclusive access to the Butterfly Conservatory at the Niagara Botanical Gardens and exchange your vows immersed in the lush tropical gardens, without worrying about the weather. Be prepared for beautiful butterflies fluttering around you, perching on your shoulder, and generally making this experience unlike any other. Check out Adam and Elizabeth’s intimate wedding at The Niagara Butterfly Conservatory featured on So This Is Love here.
Lake Gazebo, located in Queen’s Royal Park is a beautiful place on the water, in the town of Niagara on the Lake. Stroll through the picturesque downtown, stop off for a toast at one of the many wineries, then exchange your vows at the Gazebo at sunset. The options for accommodation are endless and this can easily be made into a long weekend or mini-moon spot.
Kurtz Orchard is an outdoor elopement venue located in the middle of an orchard and vineyard. Perfect for Spring and Summer elopements, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, flowering gardens, and views of the orchards.
Goldie Mill Park & Ruins, Guelph
Goldie Mill Park and Ruins is a three-story limestone ruin in the heart of Guelph, Ontario. Originally constructed in 1866, the Mill is no longer in use and the ruins are maintained by the Grand River Conservation Authority. You can rent the space for 2 hours for just over $100 CAD. The Mill is located at 70 Norwich Street East, Guelph, Ontario – in Goldie Mill Park at the northeast corner of Cardigan and Norwich street and on the West Bank of the Speed River.