Tucked away on a peaceful expanse of the Mattagami River surrounded by Ontarian wilderness, Timmins is the ideal escape for couples who are after a vacation that’s equal parts adventurous, romantic, and memorable.
Whether you’re an active pair, the artsy type or are bonafide foodies, Timmins is loaded with romantic things to do. Sprawled across nearly 2,000 square miles of woodlands, lakes and a cozy downtown, it’s loaded with rural charm leaving loads of opportunities for creative dates on the trails or in hidden local gems like small local BBQ spots and charming tea houses.
Day One: Get lost with each other in the great outdoors
8 a.m.: Explore Ivanhoe Lake
With more than a dozen trails, countless lakes and rivers, and endless opportunities for kayaking, fishing, biking and ATVing, Timmins’ area offers a whole host of outdoor adventures.
Seize the day by heading out to Ivanhoe Lake and enjoying a morning of adventure out on the trails or on the lake. Opt for the Saw Lake Trail that leads over ground that once used to be swallowed by the mighty Ivanhoe Lake—keep an eye out for beaver lodges and pause to take in the views over the esker ridges.
If you aren’t up for walking, the two of you can recreate the iconic Notebook scene with an afternoon canoeing across the crystal clear waters of Ivanhoe Lake. Our top tip? Cap it off with an afternoon picnic.
3 p.m.: Cedar Meadows Wildlife Tour
After your picnic, spend the rest of your afternoon and evening getting to know Timmins’ local wildlife at Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa’s 100-acre (40-hectare) wildlife park. Weaving through the woods in a tractor-drawn wagon, you’ll be greeted by an array of bison, elk, fallow deer and more—it’ll feel like you and your special someone are in a woodland fairytale.
Live like a local tip: Tickets are doled out on a first-come, first-serve basis at 3 p.m. daily, so be sure to plan ahead. Tours last one hour.
4 p.m.: Relaxing Nordic Bath Session
Once you’re all wild-life’d out, take a dip in Cedar Meadow’s famous Nordic baths. It’s a perfect opportunity for you and your love to relax together and reset for an evening of great eats and more adventure.
6 p.m.: Burgers and Malts at Pine Dairy Bar
Few things are as nostalgic and atmospheric as a classic American diner. Slide into a retro booth at Pine Dairy Bar and dig into some classic burgers and malts to cap off the day.
8 p.m.: Stargazing at Hersey Lake
After dinner, head out to Hersey Lake. Thanks to Timmins’ remote location and low levels of light pollution, it boasts some of the best opportunities for stargazing in Northeastern Ontario. And what better place to take it all in than on the shores of Hersey Lake surrounded by jack pine forests?
Visiting in winter? Check the forecast for northern lights in Northeastern Ontario.
Day two: Museums, local eats and brews, and mural hunting
10 a.m.: Aline’s Tea Shop
Start your day with a stout cup of tea and made-with-love baked goods at Aline’s Tea Shop. This charming little tea room decked out in quirky teapots and more specialty teas than you can imagine is the perfect spot to fuel up before strolling Timmins’ museums hand in hand and taking the city by foot. Don’t skimp on the fresh baked cinnamon roll cake or banana bread, vegan and gluten free options are available as well.
10:30 a.m.: Timmins Museum
After you’ve finished at Aline’s, mosey your way a block and a half down 2nd Avenue toward Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center. This small local museum showcases the city’s rich mining history with a strong emphasis on the early days of the Porcupine Gold Rush.
Our favorite exhibit, however, is the permanent Where We Stand: Stories of the Land which tells the story of how Timmins came to be. Be sure to have a wonder through their Grey gallery, a rotating exhibition of traveling shows from all corners of Canada.
11:30 a.m.: Science Timmins
Make your way back up 2nd Ave before hooking a right on Pine Street and in a few blocks you’ll land at Science Timmins. Known for its hands-on exhibitions that spark a new curiosity for science in people of all ages, this museum is the perfect spot to bond by learning something new together. For example, what is the daily life of an owl like? And do you have what it takes to build a rocket? There’s no shortage of things to ponder in the world of science, and Science Timmins breaks it down in a way that’s easy and fun to experience together.
12:30 p.m.: Porcupine Art Club
Just three blocks up Pine Street you’ll find Porcupine Art Club. Set in a lush park, this quaint local club has been dedicated to art preservation in Timmins since 1947. They usually have an exhibit running, but if not, the park itself makes for a lovely afternoon stroll before lunch.
1 p.m.: Get Ribbed Smokehouse & BBQ Pit
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite all morning, it’s time to treat yourselves to our favorite BBQ joint: Get Ribbed Smokehouse & BBQ Pit. You’ll want to take a cab here, unless you’re up for an hour-long walk from Porcupine Art Club, either way it’s worth it. Opt for their finger-lickin’ good rib on a bun, an epic mashup of saucy ribs smothered in cheddar cheese and onions sandwiched into a hotdog bun.
Live like a local tip: request the sriracha BBQ sauce, trust us.
2 p.m.: Compass Brewing
Just 10 minutes by foot from Get Ribbed, you’ll find Compass Brewing. This beloved local brewery produces the best beer fit for miners, lumberjacks and visiting lovebirds alike. Sit for a flight of beer and don’t forget to ask about their seasonal brews like the Winter Blues, a blueberry Berliner Weisse, and the Anything Gose, a delectable dry hop with sea salt and coriander.
Our favorite of their regular collection is the Johnny Jones amber ale, a malty and lightly spiced brew in homage to local legend Johnny Jones who famously sled 400 miles in the brutal winter to rescue three American balloonists who found themselves stranded.
4 p.m.: Self-Guided Art Tour Through Timmins’ Murals
Once you’re filled to the gills on bbq and beer, trace your way across Timmins with an afternoon in search of the city’s best murals—many of which are painted by famed local artists under a recent initiative to brighten up the city with local indigenous art.
You can make your own self-guided Timmins art tour by beginning at Timmins City Hall where you’ll find a vibrant blue mural depicting an eagle feather near the main staircase. According to the local artist, Mique Michelle, the eagle’s feather is meant to wish health and happiness to all who walk beneath it. Once you’re done at City Hall, hop a block over to Timmins Flower Shop where you’ll find a local favorite of a moose adorned in colorful blooms.
Just a few minutes walk away is Gibby’s Tavern, here you’ll find another stunning mural by Mique Michelle. Other notable murals can be found at Porcupine Advance Printers, The Brick, and Timmins Chamber of Commerce.
7 p.m.: A Romantic Evening for Two at Siva’s
Head back to your accommodation to get ready for the night, it’s time to put on your Sunday best and get ready to wine and dine each other at Siva’s. For more than two decades this family owned restaurant has been the place for couples whether you’re marking a special occasion or just looking to enjoy a romantic evening together.
While Siva’s offers a variety of fares from burgers to stir frys, nothing screams “I love you!” quite like a classic Italian dinner for two with wine. Treat yourselves to any of their pastas like the classic spaghetti bolognese, seafood fettuccine, or oven baked cappelletti.
The Most Romantic Places to Stay in Timmins
Not only does Cedar Meadows boast Nordic baths and incredible wildlife, it’s also the most romantic spot to stay in Timmins. Situated on 175 acres (70 hectares) of serene wilderness, it’s the perfect spot to escape to during your vacation. Be sure to book their Upper Canada Suite complete with a fireplace, spacious living room, and jacuzzi.
Balsam Suites Boutique Inn
Tucked away on a quiet street in downtown Timmins, you’ll find Balsam Suites Boutique Inn. Their Executive King Suite complete with romantic accents like french doors, a fireplace and plush, luxury bedding make it a no-brainer for couples looking to cozy up in town.
Star Lake Cottage
Fifteen miles outside Timmins, tucked away in the heart of Northern Ontario, you’ll find Star Lake Cottage. Decked out with stunning lake views, a sauna, a canoe for two and a dense network of nearby trails, this rustic and charming cottage rental is the ultimate spot for couples who wish to experience the true wilderness of the area with Timmins still in reach.
Love may be in the air in Timmins, but that doesn’t mean solo travellers will be left out in the cold. Whether you’re visiting in summer, winter, spring, or fall, our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide will help you find plenty to do in the region.