View Full Version : O/T Brit visiting Canada hoping for some advice from you guys!
09-09-2011, 01:56 AM
My DS is desperate to visit Canada. We are a family of two adults and two teenagers and have limited time now for family trips due to exams and teenage schedules :rolleyes1
Options are really only 7 or 10 days either in August or late October next year.
I have Toronto or Vancouver on my shortlist and would love opinions about which location and month would belet us see most in our short timescale.
We are used to man made attractions (Disney Parks :lmao:) and although we enjoy walking we are not really hardy outdoor types ;)!
Any help would be very much appreciated :goodvibes
09-09-2011, 10:24 AM
Toronto in August or October can be really nice. If you come during the summer you can visit Canada's Wonderland and the CNE (depending on when you are here). Also there is Niagara Falls just 1.5 hrs from Toronto. Lots of things to see in Toronto and tonnes of food and shopping. My friend from France came this past June and LOVED it.
09-09-2011, 11:06 AM
First of all, I'm glad you didn't say "We've got 7 days to see all of Canada, what's the highlights?" :laughing:
I'd suggest Vancouver. Nothing like the mountains to give you a sense of the vastness of mother nature, and Vancouver is great mix of people. Shopping is great and you might have time for a day trip to Whistler, Victoria, or a tour into the interior.
If you had more time, I'd suggest doing a tour through the Rockies (Calgary-Banff-Jasper-Edmonton), there's a number of tour companies that offer that now and you'd get to stop at West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in the world ... and it has a Disney Store too (actually, we have two here in Edmonton) :thumbsup2
Good luck, when I have more time I'll try to write up a bit more if someone else doesn't beat me to it!
09-09-2011, 11:47 AM
If you go to Toronto in October and it will be a weekend you should take your teens to Canada's Wonderland. They do a Halloween haunt. It's an amusement park with rollercoasters etc but they have zombies and monsters that will chase you. Really fun for teens. I recommend getting a City Pass too. You can see all the major places of iterest for the price of only 1 or 2 attractions. The whole downtown area is connected by the PATH which is an underground network of tunnels and shops which can be great is its raining or chilly
09-09-2011, 11:55 AM
My first thought was to the logistics. Vancouver is an additional 5 hours of flying time past Toronto. Add that up both ways, and it will cost you a half day of visit time.
I've visited both cities as a tourist and on business. IMO, Vancouver is more about the outdoors than it is about "man made attractions". There are a couple of those there too, but it is about hiking, biking, skiing, and watersports for me. Toronto has more for the attractions type person (galleries, amusement parks, museums) than outdoor activities (but it has those too).
Weather - both cities are nice in August, but the weather is likely somewhat milder in October in Van.
BTW - I live in the nation's capital, and it has the best of both worlds on a smaller, more accessible scale. :goodvibes
09-09-2011, 12:23 PM
What about Montreal? Just throwing that out as an additional option because it's situated nicely between Ottawa (2 hours) and Quebec City (3 hours) so you would have the option to see quite a bit on a 10 day trip if you don't mind moving around a bit. It's also a beautiful culturally diverse city. If your kids want an amusement park La Ronde in Montreal is the second largest in Canada after Wonderland.
09-09-2011, 03:44 PM
I concur with PP that Toronto and Vancouver in a single 7-10 day trip is a bit too ambitions. A more reasonable tour would be Toronto (including Niagara Falls), Ottawa and Montreal with a possible side-trip to Quebec City. That's easily doable by bus and/or train within that timeframe. Or if you want to rent ("hire" for the Brits) a car, it's all within 5 hours of driving (which may seem like a long drive for you, but for us Canadians is a short trip)
- take in a baseball game in August or a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game in October (you'll see this as a theme - everyone needs to see at least one NHL hockey game in a Canadian city in their life)
- CN Tower
- Centreville Islands (especiall in August)
- In August there will be all sorts of festivals around the city
- Theatre, restaurants, etc.
- Canada's Wonderland amusement park
- Winery tours
- See the falls
- Spend a day in Niagara on the Lake, a very scenic town on the lake with a first-rate theatre company
- Lots of tourist-trap activities
- Parliament buildings tours
- Many museums and festivals (I recommend the Museum of Civiliatoin for first-time out of town guests)
- in October, the fall colours are probabably out so you can take a bus tour through Gatineau Park
- boat tour along the Rideau Canal
- in October, take in an Ottawa Senators hockey game
- white water rafting
- Touring around Old Montreal
- Restaurants like you won't find anywhere else in Canada
- in October, take in a Montreal Canadiens hockey game
- Day trip to Quebec City
- If you want to see mountains, take a day trip to Mont Tremblant, about 2 hours North of Montreal. It's the largest ski resort East of the Rocky Mountains and has many outdoors activities in the summer including hiking, zip lining, gondola rides to the summit, etc.
Could also do a stop in Upper Canada Village which is right in the middle between Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. It's a great recreation of the original settling of Canada.
If you'd prefer the West Coast/Vancouver, a suitable 7-10 day itinerary would include:
- Aquarium/Stanley Park
- Vancouver Canucks hockey game in October
- Capalano bridge
- Grouse Mountain
- largest ski resort in North America, tons to do all year round
- hiking, gondola ride to the summit (usually above the clouds), zip lining, white water rafting, etc.
- a short ferry ride to Vancouver Island
- most "British" city in Canada where you can get afternoon tea the Empress Hotel
- whale watching excursions
- scenic harbour front
09-09-2011, 05:04 PM
I concur with those who suggested sticking to the Eastern part of Canada for ease of travel (5 hours less) although BC, and Vancouver, are spectacular! I would try to get a multi-city ticket and fly into Montreal (2 days) and then train to Ottawa (2 days) and train again to Toronto (3-4 days) and surrounding areas (Niagara, Stratford, Muskoka) and fly out of Toronto. I know that Airtransat let us do that for no extra costs, although it is a charter airline so it wasn't fancy. If you keep an eye on the viarail.com site you can get some amazing deals on train fare and although not as quick as European rail still an interesting perspective on Canada, my family calls it seeing Canada one backyard at a time :).
09-11-2011, 04:06 PM
Thanks so much for the very helpful replies :)!
I didn't make it clear in my original post that I don't intend attempting Toronto & Vancouver - I know we would prefer one base and Montreal should also be in my posiibles list from what I see here.
Lots of ideas here and thats just what I need!
09-11-2011, 04:35 PM
The other idea is Calgary/Edmonton/Banff area. All easily driveable between them (short distances) where you can see lots.
09-11-2011, 05:01 PM
I would say, considering flight times and time zones etc your best bet would probably be Toronto. If you had 3 weeks I'd say go to the western part of the country but also, considering how you said you're not outdoors people (I believe was the wording), keep in mind everything in Vancouver is uphill both ways lol. Toronto you can see SO much within 90mins of driving including Niagara Falls. Also, makes for an easy long weekend trip to Montreal. Good luck in your planning!
09-12-2011, 12:24 AM
Just to so you know, Vancouver is only an extra 5 hours flying if you stop in Toronto, which would be silly and very expensive.
There are direct flights ....
London to Toronto is just over 7.5 hours
London to Edmonton is just under 9 hours
London to Vancouver is 9.5 hours
ccudmore gives a good rundown of places to see if you visit Central Canada or the West Coast if a more urban tour appeals to you.
If you're more interested in a nature/mountain tour with urban mix, then doing the Calgary-Banff-Lake Louise-Jasper-Edmonton tour is what I'd recommend. I'd suggest you do that in August though, as late October can be chilly with snow very likely ... and there's a zillion festivals in Edmonton in August (including the second largest Fringe Festival in the world ... largest being in Edinburgh)
I'm not sure if your choices are limited to either August or late October ... if it is then I'd highly suggest August being the better time to visit.
IF you can travel in September, then there are some incredible areas to explore with fall colours. The Banff-Lake Louise-Jasper route is absolutely breathtaking when the trees change colour. But so is the East Coast, which is why there are so many cruises (including DCL) that offer Canadian East Coast tours.
I think you'd best discuss with your family what kind of trip they'd like to make. We're such a diverse and beautiful country geography wise. The West Coast is completely different from the Prairies which are completely different from Central Canada which is completely different from the East Coast ... and then there's the Arctic which is unlike anything most people have ever seen.
Good luck and I hope you and your family have a fantastic trip to this colony :goodvibes
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