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View Full Version : Who has inc. Canada in their trips?


Ms. Shuttergirl
03-14-2010, 04:58 PM
I would love to hear from all of you who have done Canada as well on your Disney/US trips.

Where did you leave from, how did you get there, what cities did you visit, what sightseeing did you do, where did you stay?

Thanks everyone...

Mellby
03-14-2010, 08:17 PM
Hi

I included Canada at the start of my trip about 12 years ago.

We went to Toronto and drove with friends across to Montreal.

I loved Montreal, the closest thing to France without going there!

However I did stay with friends, so I cannot recommend anywhere to stay.

I do plan on going to the West Coast in 2011 (Vancouver)

After flying Melb - LAX - Toronto, I was exhausted

The Canadian people are like Aussies :thumbsup2

PrincessInOz
03-14-2010, 09:36 PM
We've included Canada about 3 times.
The first trip was about 20 years ago when we backpacked. We did a camping trip and drove from Los Angeles up north and went to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. We stayed in Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in most places. I recommend the campsites if you're young - but I wouldn't do it now :) The Canadian Rockies are just spectacularly rugged. It's a postcard everywhere you look.

The second trip was in 1997 when we went skiing in Whistler. I have an uncle that lives in Vancouver, so we stayed with him in Vancouver and we hired a house/condo in Whistler from his friend.

The third trip was in 2007. We flew from San Francisco into Toronto. We stayed at a hotel near the airport and hired a car. I think it was the MArriot at Missisuaga. We had a full day in Toronto and went to see the CN Tower, boat to Toronto Island and Chinatown. We drove to Niagara Falls. Stayed at the Hampton Inn for 2 nights. Both the Marriot and the Hampton Inn were okay - clean and included breakfast.

We then caught a plane from Toronto to Quebec City. From the airport, the taxies charged a flat rate of CAN$30 for anywhere into the Old Town area. If you're planning on going to QC, make sure you stay in the Old Town area. We stayed at Le Champlain Hotel. I highly recommed this place. We got a room on the 4th floor and had a sideview of the Chateau Frontenac. Fantastic at night!. We walked everywhere from the Champlain - about 15 minutes in any direction! We stayed 3 nights and this was more than sufficient to do lots of walking and to do a 2 hour boat ride down the St Laurence. The best food I've ever had in North America was in Quebec City. But it's expensive - plan on about CAN $120-180 for a French sit down meal for 4 people. If you go, one of the "must eats" is a chocolat crepe. YUM! The other place I contemplated staying at was Hotel Du Vieux. This one is much more centrally located and was booked out when I wanted to go.

We caught the train from Quebec City down to Montreal. It's about 3 - 4 hours and the Canadian trains are great. Much better than Amtrak. I can't remember how much we paid - but I think it was about $20 per adult for a one-way. We pre-booked our tickets 2 days in advance and this was one of the first things we did when we arrived at Quebec City. The walk down from our hotel to the QC train station is quite nice and we saw a different view of the old wall on the route we took.
We spent 1 night in a Montreal hotel that I won't recommend. It was clean - but not in a good location of town. We were there just before the Jazz Festival and there were lots of pre-festival activities and music happening in town. We saw Old Town, ChinaTown, walked everywhere through the underground passages, went to the Biosphere. We didn't have enough time to do Montreal justice.

All hotels in Eastern Canada were selected because of location and free breakfast :)

We caught the train from Montreal to NYC - scenery was great but it was a waste of 14 hours. Next time, I'll fly.

Canada is great - we enjoyed the East Coast because of the French influence. For us, the WEst Coast is all about the Rockies and the great outdoors. Vancouver almost seems like a mini Melbourne - just a little colder.

queenie82
03-15-2010, 06:22 AM
I love Canada and would suggest including it if you have the time and certainly if you are going to be travelling to the east coast as you can add short hop flights as part of driving holidays.

We are skiers and there is just no point skiing in Australia anymore. The cost of lift tickets and accommodation on the slopes in Canada is much much better value. We have skied Big White which is located at Kelowna in Alberta (10 glorious nights in a ski in ski out apartment blg) which was just fantastic.

We also skied Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine in Alberta [the last three are on the same lift ticket] as part of a trip which included driving along the Icefield Parkway. The road follows the train line much of the way and it is a far cheaper way to see this beautiful park of the world. Lake Louise in the Winter is even more beautiful than the summer. Walking on the Lake and getting to go into the mini ice castle they build on it was unforgettable.
We flew into Edmonton [location of one of those really really large malls with a themepark] and stayed there a couple nights. We actually left a night early as it isn't as exciting as it would seem [interesting and fun to visit but not requiring 3 nights] and drove south from there.


We have been to Montreal and Quebec city as part of an east coast trip driving up from the US through the Niagara Falls border. The Canadian side of Niagara is very tacky [there is a Ripleys believe it or not etc...] but it is the best side to stay on as we then walked down to the Falls. We didn't do the boat or anything [there was enough spray as we walked along the path] and still had a good time.

Montreal was beautiful but Eastern Canada can get VERY VERY cold in Winter. It was -30 wind chill factor. :eek: But QC and Montreal are beautiful cities to visit and if I had the opportunity I would go back.
Ottawa was nice to visit as well but we flew out of there and the airport staff were really really nasty pieces of work.

Back on the west side we drove through Seattle to Vancouver and Whistler and that was nice. Vancouver is mild weather and is equated with Sydney and San fran as it is also a coastal city but it is different. It certainly gets cooler and Stanley Park is very nice but not wildly exciting.


I like Canadians better than Americans generally. As Melby says they are like Australians. They are also metric [the cars have km in big and miles in small in the cars...it is the reverse in the US] And as they said in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony - we say ZED not ZEEEEEEEE ;)

Ms. Shuttergirl
03-15-2010, 04:20 PM
Thanks everyone, sounds like you have enjoyed some really great trips there. We definitely wouldn't be skiing, just sightseeing, with a main must do being Niagara Falls. I don't know much about what else there is to see and whilst I will definitely be doing some research on it, would love to hear some more about what you saw and loved.

Thanks again.

1rocky
03-16-2010, 11:28 PM
Canada is great. I went with apt tours to Canada for 21 days which included a seven day cruise to Alaska. If you get the opportunity go to Canada.
Vancouver is great visit Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium is great where you can get close to the Bulgur Whales. The Capilino Suspension Bridge. I had booked day tours before leaving Aus. and spent extra time in Vancouver. The Rocky Mountaineer gold class is another the trip is an overnight but fantastic.

queenie82
03-17-2010, 01:02 AM
Canada is great. I went with apt tours to Canada for 21 days which included a seven day cruise to Alaska. If you get the opportunity go to Canada.
Vancouver is great visit Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium is great where you can get close to the Bulgur Whales. The Capilino Suspension Bridge. I had booked day tours before leaving Aus. and spent extra time in Vancouver. The Rocky Mountaineer gold class is another the trip is an overnight but fantastic.Welcome to the boards :)
I'm assuming Bulgar = Beluga. Vancouver Aquarium also has the irresistible Sea otters. :lovestruc

Just wanted to say that apt tours is a great brochure to get about the kinds of things to see and do. In fact most tour brochures about Canada are a great start to see what ideas they have of what to see etc...and the order to do things...
BUT...you can do that stuff much much cheaper on your own. Driving around Canada is a breeze. Especially if it isn't winter. But even in Winter the main roads are kept well clear and all rental cars are fitted with snow tyres.

For eg the Rocky Mountaineer - One of the main routes is essentially a very very expensive train trip to see along the icefield parkway and the rockies
[http://www.icefieldsparkway.ca/]
These routes can be driven and the road follows the rail most of the way anyway.

I highly recommend getting brochures.
And incase you didn't know - you can go to http://www.isubscribe.com.au/travel-brochures.cfm
to order free brochures :thumbsup2:thumbsup2
It is great!

Kangarucci
03-17-2010, 03:25 AM
We, myself, husband and 2 daughters 8 and 10 yrs, travelled to Canada in 2005. We spent a couple of days in Vancouver- hired bikes to ride around Stanley Park, wandered around the city, took the Aquabus to Granville Island-a craft, food market/stores.

Took the ferry over to Vancouver Island and stayed in Victoria for a couple of nights. Tool the public bus to Butchart Gardens. Absolutely beautiful. We spent most of the day there and especially enjoyed the afternoon tea over looking the gardens. Also in Victoria is a great Bug Zoo, you can even hold a tarantula!. Fascinating insects. Both places we highly recommend.


Back to Vancouver where we hired a car and headed off to Whistler where we stayed in a B & B owned by an Australian woman. Very hospitable and a wonderful breakfast.

It is so easy to drive in Canada. Off Kamloops for an overnight stay then to Lake Louise. Beautiful. Spotted a chipmunk. Hired the canoes for a paddle.

Drove up the Icefield Parkway which is wonderful. So beautiful. Took the tour onto the glacier at the Columbia Icefield. Sooooo cold especially with the wind chill factor but very interesting.

Jasper wasn't anything special. Edmonton has the largest shopping mall with iceskating, hotel, cinemas, swimming pool and I think even some rides.

Travelled down to Calgary and on the way drove to a town which had a fantastic dinosaur museum. On to Banff which is beautiful and is full of Aussies working there. Afternoon tea at the Fairmount hotel, up the gondola to the top of the mountain.

Back to Vancouver the way we came.

Such beautiful landscape. Huge lakes and mountains. Hope this has helped.
One day we will go back as we all really enjoyed the trip. :yay:

PrincessInOz
03-17-2010, 06:09 AM
We were in Niagara for summer, so we bought an Adventure pass. It included the Maid of the Mist, Journey behind the Falls, Niagara River Rapids/Canyon walk, Entry to the Butterfly enclosure, Funicular, 2 days tickets on the Niagara transport/bus. From memory this was about $40 for an adult and was a saving of about 40% off the combined individual prices of the attractions. The Niagara bus was good and it meant that we didn't have to drive between the attractions.

Going behind the falls and walking along the gorge were two of the highlights for me. Maid of the Mist is great - but I enjoyed the other two much better.

When we were on the bus, we passed an amazing hotel - Great Wolf. It looked like the hotel was built around a water park!! It is a little bit out of the way, but if you had the bus pass, this wouldn't be an issue...assuming the price is right.

Let us know if you want any more detailed info on Quebec City.
We stayed in the Clifton Hill area of Canada and yes, it is a little tacky. There is at least 3 different wax museums, a ferris wheel, Ripley's believe or not, haunted house, at least 2 arcade places, mini golf, a casino and an indoor water park in amidst the souvenier shops. But the restaurants are there and there are heaps of accommodation options. We stayed at the top end of Clifton Hill, and around the corner. It took us about 10 - 15 minutes to walk to the bottom of Clifton Hill, where you could see the falls.

We also purchased a 5 attraction pass for the attractions on the Falls side of Clifton Hill. We got the ride on the ferris wheel, entry to a wax museum, use of an arcade, mini golf and something else I can't remember. It cost about $20 for an adult...but hey - we had to keep a 7 year old boy and a 71 year old grandmother entertained. To do the attractions on the other side of the street will cost around the same amount.

We also went to Niagara by the Lake - the town is small, but beautifully manicured.
The garden where the butterfly enclosure is looks pretty - but we didn't spend a lot of time there.
We also walked across Rainbow Bridge to the US side of Niagara - bring your passport and 25 cents per person to cross back from US to Canada.
We also timed our stay in Niagara to coincide with the fireworks (not long, about 5 minutes), which is on a Thursday?? and Sunday night.
They light up the American Falls at night and it's nice to coincide this with the fireworks.

We didn't see the Lundy Lane area as there was already heaps for us to do during the day, with the Adventure pass, and heaps to do at night in Clifton Hill.

Ms. Shuttergirl
03-17-2010, 07:28 AM
Wow so many of you have been, and clearly had a wonderful time. I definitely think we should try and include it on our next trip. Would love to visit Vancouver and the Rockies, however I think we will only be going to the East Coast of the US so will stick to that side of Canada most probably.

Thank you so much for all of the information. I definitely have more questions, but a little further down the planning track.

platypus67
04-14-2010, 04:17 AM
I was born and lived in Canada until I married my Aussie husband in 1990. I'm originally from Kingston which is on the eastern end of lake Ontario. I try to get "home" every two years, but lately we have been making it an annual trip. My favourite cities are Vancouver, Quebec City and Ottawa. I went to uni in Ottawa so lived there for awhile. I also like the Niagara area. The falls are spectacular both summer and winter. A favourite attraction there for our family is the buterfly farm. Quebec City is beautiful. Love the old city area. Vancouver is fantastic, so much to see and do and the climate is pretty good. I love Canada at Christmas time but I think my favourite time of year to visit would have to be in autumn.

Ms. Shuttergirl
05-04-2010, 04:51 PM
I've been looking into bus tours from NY to Canada and there really are some wonderful ones around. Only problem is - none of them appear to run over Dec/Jan. I can only assume that is because of the weather/snow, etc. What a bummer.

We could certainly organise transport and tours ourselves but I'm worried that if the bus tour companies aren't running then, are we going to run into trouble with the weather doing it ourselves?

Or should we skip Canada at that time of year?

disneymum2201
05-04-2010, 07:56 PM
We flew to Calgary then did a driving holiday to Banff, Lake louise, Icelands Parkway, Jasper then to Victoria and, Vancouver. We flew from Vancouver to LAX and visited Disneyland (5 days) before flying home.

DVCAustralia
05-04-2010, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by Ms. Shuttergirl

I've been looking into bus tours from NY to Canada and there really are some wonderful ones around. Only problem is - none of them appear to run over Dec/Jan. I can only assume that is because of the weather/snow, etc. What a bummer.

We could certainly organise transport and tours ourselves but I'm worried that if the bus tour companies aren't running then, are we going to run into trouble with the weather doing it ourselves?

Or should we skip Canada at that time of year?

You should definately not skip Canada at this time of year just because tours do not operate, this is a commercial decision based on demand and pay just as much on weather (the same happens in Europe). However you should obviously be aware of the weather in planning, for example Niagara Falls will have higher temperatures and less chance of snow then the cities further north such as Quebec City and Montreal, and of course if you went this past winter it would have been a bit harder.
You are right, there are some really wonderful tour itenaries around, we use them as the basis for our own driving holiday but amend as we want, for example going to Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont on the way north. We did our own driving circle through NY, Boston, Canada, Niagara Falls, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg, Washington DC etc. in December/January a few years ago and it was great despite a few days of very cold weather in Montreal and Ottawa (these cities are designed for it with Montreal having a massive underground network of pedestrian 'streets').

queenie82
05-04-2010, 08:57 PM
I've been looking into bus tours from NY to Canada and there really are some wonderful ones around. Only problem is - none of them appear to run over Dec/Jan. I can only assume that is because of the weather/snow, etc. What a bummer.

We could certainly organise transport and tours ourselves but I'm worried that if the bus tour companies aren't running then, are we going to run into trouble with the weather doing it ourselves?

Or should we skip Canada at that time of year?The weather can never be guaranteed.
We went at precisely that time of year and had a great trip.
I'm 99% sure The Maid of the Mist etc I doesn't run so if you want all of that then that isn't the time to go.
To me it is a pointless attraction that just makes you wet. We saw Niagara Falls from the viewing areas and got wet enough with that!

We drove ourselves everywhere and yes there IS snow and ice around.
The main roads are kept clear really well with salt etc. Smaller roads not so much but they are still pretty good.

Given you don't seem to like driving generally I probably couldn't advise this to you. We have quite a bit of experience driving in Snow etc and I believe it is worth putting up with. But this depends how far you are planning to go.
The cars you hire are fitted with snow tyres and there is none of this "take chains" crap that happens in Australia.

Montreal was the worst weather when we were there because it went down to -30 wind chill which isn't fun.
BUT...it was absolutely beautiful as I just adore winter and things covered in snow :cloud9:

In short I think it is fine, but depends on you...

Ms. Shuttergirl
05-04-2010, 09:33 PM
You should definately not skip Canada at this time of year just because tours do not operate, this is a commercial decision based on demand and pay just as much on weather (the same happens in Europe). However you should obviously be aware of the weather in planning, for example Niagara Falls will have higher temperatures and less chance of snow then the cities further north such as Quebec City and Montreal, and of course if you went this past winter it would have been a bit harder.
You are right, there are some really wonderful tour itenaries around, we use them as the basis for our own driving holiday but amend as we want, for example going to Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont on the way north. We did our own driving circle through NY, Boston, Canada, Niagara Falls, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg, Washington DC etc. in December/January a few years ago and it was great despite a few days of very cold weather in Montreal and Ottawa (these cities are designed for it with Montreal having a massive underground network of pedestrian 'streets').

The driving circle you did is very much like what we would wish to see.

Ms. Shuttergirl
05-04-2010, 09:37 PM
The weather can never be guaranteed.
We went at precisely that time of year and had a great trip.
I'm 99% sure The Maid of the Mist etc I doesn't run so if you want all of that then that isn't the time to go.
To me it is a pointless attraction that just makes you wet. We saw Niagara Falls from the viewing areas and got wet enough with that!

We drove ourselves everywhere and yes there IS snow and ice around.
The main roads are kept clear really well with salt etc. Smaller roads not so much but they are still pretty good.

Given you don't seem to like driving generally I probably couldn't advise this to you. We have quite a bit of experience driving in Snow etc and I believe it is worth putting up with. But this depends how far you are planning to go.
The cars you hire are fitted with snow tyres and there is none of this "take chains" crap that happens in Australia.

Montreal was the worst weather when we were there because it went down to -30 wind chill which isn't fun.
BUT...it was absolutely beautiful as I just adore winter and things covered in snow :cloud9:

In short I think it is fine, but depends on you...

You totally have me pegged Queenie, :lmao:. We definitely don't like the idea of driving. Driving in strange places makes my husband nervous and so it would be me that would probably drive and I have no experience driving in inclement weather and I definitely think I wouldn't enjoy the trip as much. With that said, I can totally see the benefits of driving yourself if you are confident. Being able to tailor your trip to your exact needs would be wonderful.

We probably don't need to do the Maid of the Mist part, like you I would be just as happy standing at a lookout spot for the falls. I guess I could start looking into the train system from New York up to Canada and how we would get ourselves around once there. It would be a shame to miss it.

platypus67
05-04-2010, 10:34 PM
I've been looking into bus tours from NY to Canada and there really are some wonderful ones around. Only problem is - none of them appear to run over Dec/Jan. I can only assume that is because of the weather/snow, etc. What a bummer.

We could certainly organise transport and tours ourselves but I'm worried that if the bus tour companies aren't running then, are we going to run into trouble with the weather doing it ourselves?

Or should we skip Canada at that time of year?

If you are visiting New York at that time of year, then the weather there will already be very similar to what you could experience across the border. There is always the chance of snow or bad weather but probably no more of a chance in the southern part of Canada than the northern US. Unless it is really a bad storm, the streets and roads are cleared pretty quickly. My hubby does most of the driving when we visit at Christmas and doesn't mind it at all, but it is definately a personal preference. The tours generally don't run because it is the off season. That being said there are still lots of things to see and do. I've done most of my trips in winter and have never had to deal with any major weather problems. Since you don't like driving yourself, have a look at Amtrak, we looked last year as it was just DD and myself travelling, also coach USA. I seem to remember looking at them as well. We were looking at going to NY City but ran out of time.

Saskiwi
05-16-2010, 05:23 PM
We lived in Toronto for 8 months and experiencing a Canadian winter is a a fantastic novelty for anyone coming from Aust and NZ (even in the South Island we don't get THAT much snow!) I'm sure if we'd stayed for another winter the novelty of 2 feet of snow would have started wearing thin....!
We drove down to Niagara Falls for the weekend once in Jan. and yes it was @#$%ing freezing, but an amazing sight, with the edges of the river frozen and massive icicles hanging over the Falls themselves. The towns on both sides of the border (Niagara U.S. and Niagara Canada) are cheesy tourist traps full of cheap honeymoon hotels and Vegas type attractions- so once you've seen the Falls there isn't THAT much else to do.
We have actually talked about going back to Canada one Christmas so our kids can experience a "white Christmas" - which was a highlight of our time there.
We rented a cabin at a lakeside resort north of Toronto - very cheap as it was off-season, but they had open fireplaces, horse-drawn sleighrides, snowshoe-ing, cross-country skiing- the whole winter wonderland thing goin on! I'd definitely love to do it again
Driving wasn't much of a drama, especially on highways and in urban areas. They are so used to massive snowfalls that they have very efficient snow ploughs, salt trucks, hot water sprayers etc. working, and as someone else said, all cars have snow tyres.

We visited Montreal in early spring, so no snow but still flipping cold - it is a gorgeous city and would look very Disney-esque under snow I can imagine. We then drove south through Vermont and New England to New York (and then just kept on driving to end up in Seattle four months later!) There is lots to see and do in that region also - Ben and Jerry's factory tour was fun!

I'd say don't let the snow put you off - hire a car and go for it!