Thirteen businesses were awarded the designation of “Best Bicycle Friendly Business” during the inaugural Bicycle Friendly Business Awards, held in conjunction with the Cycle Tourism Conference Canada hosted in Toronto on March 1st.
Each of the 13 award recipients was invited to the conference to share their experience serving the cycle tourist market to over 150 cycling and tourism professionals in attendance. They also had a chance to learn from an impressive line-up of international experts presenting their experience and best practices from around the world. Hosted by Ontario By Bike, a program of not-for-profit organization Transportation Options, representatives from top cycling destinations around the world including Germany, Italy, the United States and Australia joined speakers from across Canada and Ontario.
The awards were presented by Ontario By Bike, who manages a network of over 1,500 certified bicycle friendly tourism businesses across the province. The certification program has criteria that helps ensure cyclists are welcomed at businesses they choose to stop at whether it be as a cycle tourist, on a longer trip, or while biking closer to home. The Network is free for businesses to participate in and the information on the each location and much more about cycle tourism in the region is easily accessible online.
These are the 2019 Best Bicycle Friendly Award recipients, one representing each of the 13 Tourism Regions in Ontario:
Ontario’s Southwest / RTO1
- Jack’s Gastropub – The owners of this restaurant / accommodation have actually certified a number of other businesses in Kingsville, Essex County and have created a cluster of services catering to cyclists including accommodations, cafes and restaurants and a brewery! Forming a recreational bike club (yes, rides start/end at the brewery), offering free bikes to guests at the inn, supporting local cycling advocates and bike shops as well as creating routes and resources for local residents and visitors really solidify that they’re one of the best bicycle friendly businesses in Ontario!
Niagara Region / RTO2
- A Yellow Door Bed & Breakfast – Located a short spin from the white sand of Crystal Beach and the 24km paved and off-road Friendship Trail, this quaint B&B in Niagara offers detailed cycling information, bike storage, complimentary metal water bottles and luggage transportation to other accommodations along 140km Greater Niagara Circle Route. The owner, Diedre, understands the needs of cyclists offering a variety of complimentary services and has even driven a group of tired cyclists out to local restaurants after a long day of riding!
Hamilton Halton Brant / RTO3
- Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast – Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast was ranked the 14th best bed & breakfast in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017. They also take catering to cyclists seriously and have been a certified bicycle friendly accommodation in the Ontario By Bike Network for over 5 years. Located in Ancaster, Hamilton on two acres surrounded by rolling fields in the Greenbelt, Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast offers cyclists an ideal sojourn on their ride along the Greenbelt Route or on one of the other trails or road routes in the Hamilton/Ancaster area.
Huron, Perth, Waterloo & Wellington / RTO4
- Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory – One of Waterloo Region’s top attractions, the Butterfly Conservatory has been a certified bicycle friendly attraction in the Ontario By Bike Network since 2015. With ample parking, access to bike maintenance tools, washrooms, water and cycling information, the next time you’re planning a day out cycling in Waterloo Region, consider starting and ending a ride at the Conservatory. Post-ride venues don’t get much better than the Chrysalis Cafe, a greenhouse with thousands of free-flying butterflies and a delicious menu!
Greater Toronto Area / RTO5
- Residence & Conference Centre – Brampton – Cyclists looking to stay at bicycle friendly accommodations near Brampton, will find all their needs met here. Comfortable and spacious rooms, bike storage and many more amenities make the Brampton location, which also serves as Sheridan College student accommodations, an easy choice for cycling groups, small and large. With 19 locations around Ontario, you are never far from a stay at RCC. See page 25 of our Cycling in Ontario guide for 10% off promo code, making these affordable accommodations, even more attractive.
York Durham Headwaters / RTO6
- Nexus Coffee Company – A cyclists mecca and coffee hot spot in downtown Uxbridge. Whether you are just off the trails in nearby Durham Forest, or refuelling after a long road ride, don’t miss out. Enjoy tasty treats, caffeine and energy bars that are fully stocked and ready to consume in the cafe or while riding. With comfy surroundings, free water fill ups, and a floor that is well suited to cycling shoes, cyclists of all types will feel a special welcome here and can often be found lingering about the cafe exchanging bike stories and comparing ride notes.
BruceGreySimcoe / RTO7
- Em’s Cafe – Since its launch in 2015, the café’s mission has been to serve the community and create a space that would be the best part of someone’s day! Located in the centre of Coldwater, a cute little town in Simcoe County, Em’s offers a variety of healthy food options, homemade gourmet desserts and freshly brewed coffee. Stop by after a ride, or mid-ride for a snack, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere and friendly service that instantly makes you feel like home. With both indoor and outdoor seating and bike racks to secure your bike, it has become a favorite of many cyclists in the area. Make sure you are not missing out on this little gem.
Kawarthas Northumberland / RTO8
- Elmhirst’s Resort – After a long day of cycling there is no better way of ending the day than relaxing in a nice country style cottage with waterfront access. The family owned resort sits right at the shores of beautiful Rice Lake and is the perfect location for cyclists in Kawarthas Northumberland. Whether you want to enjoy a nice meal at the restaurant, have a barbecue at your fully furnished cabin, or just enjoy the outdoors, there is always something to do. Easy access to the Trans Canada Trail nearby and plenty of quiet country backroads, Elmhirst is a top spot to make cyclist’s dreams come true.
South Eastern Ontario / RTO9
- Drake Devonshire – If you are planning to cycle Prince Edward County this summer, this is the perfect accommodation for you. The beautiful 13-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar is located right at Lake Ontario. Close to Sandbanks Provincial Park, the hotel boasts awesome biking, fishing, golf, yoga studios, and water sports. Bicycles are also available for rent. After a long day of cycling, have a glass of local PEC wine, and sample the offerings from different farm fresh and lake-to-table menus.
Ottawa & Countryside / RTO10
- Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites – Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Ottawa and only minutes away from Museum of Nature, Parliament Hill and all of the capital city’s top attractions, this hotel is ideally located for your next Ottawa trip. Apart from secured underground parking, bike storage and spacious rooms, the hotel offers a variety of amenities that makes it suitable for cyclists. There is a bike lane directly in front of the hotel providing easy access to the city’s numerous bike paths.
Ontario’s Highlands / RTO11
- Bonnechere Caves – Only an hour and 20 minutes west of Ottawa, lies the small town of Eganville. Known as the Ordovician fossil capital of Canada, it serves as the gateway to some of Canada’s most spectacular cave systems, the Bonnechere Caves. Located under a hill of limestone, the caves were the bottom of a tropical sea 500 million years ago. Explore this magical underground system with a guided tour or even book a special dinning experience in the cave. Cyclists are welcome to park and ride.
Explorers’ Edge / RTO12
- Four Ninety Bed & Breakfast – Conveniently located in Gravenhurst beside Gull Lake, this little intimate, boutique bed and breakfast with three unique guest rooms offers everything the modern cyclist could ask for. This includes breakfast menu choices for active bikers, enclosed and secure bike storage, a bicycle washing station, basic repair kits and more. If you want a break from cycling you can use the canoe and safety equipment on site or relax in the new therapeutic, chemical free, O3 Oxygen hot tub.
Northern Ontario / RTO13
- Maja’s Organic Bakery – Our last of the 13 bicycle-friendly business awards went to Maja’s Organic Bakery. This Artisan bakery in the heart of Manitoulin Island, offers freshly made bread, cakes, cookies and more. During the summer this buzzing and vibrant place also organizes a variety of bike events, bike tours, workshops, concerts and tea-party lunches all topped by local products that can be purchased right from their garden. Make sure you stop by for a break on your cycling trip and treat yourself with a tasty snack or learn more about biodiversity and organic gardening. Maja’s is also home to the Manitoulin Cycling Advocates, who have developed the routes around the island, host bike tours and coordinate the annual Manitoulin Passage Ride.
See our 2020 Best Bicycle Friendly Business Award Winners HERE.