St Raphaels Ruins

These castle-like ruins in Ontario are an explorer's paradise

If you've had medieval castles on the brain ever since the return of Game of Thrones this spring, these spectacular castle-like ruins in Ontario might just be the perfect day trip for you and your bestie to explore.

What you'll find here, hidden amongst the farmer's fields and rolling hills of Williamstown 20 minutes east of Cornwall, are the massive cathedral ruins of St. Raphaels.

This European-inspired cathedral, built entirely out of stone, was one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English-speaking Canada when it was finished being built in 1821. Unfortunately, due to a devastating fire that overtook the church in 1970, its haunting siloutette is all that remains today. 

After the fire destroyed the entire roof, steeple and interior, the parishioners of the church decided to preserve the ruins, and build a small church against the southwest corner. What you'll see today is an impressive site that beautifully links the past and present.

In 1999, St. Raphael's Ruins was declared a National Historic Site, and is now one of the most impressive and historically important tourist attractions of eastern Ontario. 

Today, St. Raphael's is a hot spot to say "I do," or simply have wedding photos shot, and it has even been the backdrop to concerts over the years.

 The ruins are open to visitors year-round, and there is no fee to enter. 

Lead photo by

Will


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