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Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Greater London
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Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Hi,

First post and am I'm not sure I'm posting it in exactly the right place to post it:

I am looking to get some advice about the best way of going about a 3 (possibly 4) week trip to Canada (estimated cost anywhere between £3,000 - £5,000 dependent upon options) and covering quite a few cities whilst I'm there. I'm thinking to cover multiple areas perhaps the easiest way of doing it would be to start in Vancouver and head east and fly back to the UK out of Toronto?

The background; my line of work in the UK is looking increasingly insecure, I'm a dual national and I know there is work that I would qualify for in Canada with my background. The issue is that I don't know if I'd want to live out there (my parents left when I was 4 so I have no adult experience of the country). I also haven't traveled much - my last 7 day holiday out of the country was at least 6-7 years ago (hence why I can afford to do this).

In short I know I can get work in Winnipeg, but ideally would also like to at least spend some time in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. I've little interest in doing the tourist parts (I've been back to Toronto once 13 or 14 years ago - and did all of the usual suspects, but would probably check out the odd museum or landmark) but I am just generally keen to get a feel of the cities and maybe catch a sports game (CFL or maybe some hockey as I know there are a lot of leagues). I'm just very keen to get a feel for each of the cities and their suburbs and hopefully have a bit of fun on the way.

I'm just genuinely not sure what's the best way of going about this and would appreciate some advice. I'm thinking a possible option is to fly to Vancouver and do 3-4 days there and rent a car and do the Trans-Canada Highway which will pick up some of the cities I'm interested in? (but I've noted the driving distances between some of these cities isn't a 1 or in some cases 2 day drive).

Thanks for any comments.

usa
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1. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Hi,

I just came back from Vancouver and it's a great city. However, you do have a language barrier to overcome. So I will tell you how the Canadians count:

One eh, two eh, three eh, four eh, five eh, and so on. Got it?

All jokings aside, I think going west to east is a fine idea if you are not doing it in winter. I have been to toronto and Halifax and they are quite different. Vancouver is VERY expensive in housing in and around the downtown. We did some RE looking while there and getting 1000 cad plus quotes for a square foot. Aycaramba! I assume further out is more reasonable.

Vancouver has really good foods and everyone seems to be into healthy living. People are friendly and polite and laid back but this is true of all Canada. And you know the weather....

There is one thing I noticed. Population is not extremely diverse from an American POV. It's mostly white, good size Asian group, taxi drivers are mostly Continental Indians it would seem. Not good or bad, just an observation.

Now that I think of it, did not see a lot of churches, synagogues, or temples. Maybe they are in suburbs?

Hitchin, United...
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2. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Greater London? If it's the UK London, you're probably not far from me. :-)

I've done Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Ottawa and a few other cities but most of them were with work and I flew between them. Holiday wise I've driven from Vancouver into the Rockies but yes, as you're seeing, it's a bloody long way especially by tiny old UK standards.

Hopefully the Vancouver regulars will forgive me for chipping in, but I think driving Vancouver - Toronto and all points in between is just a little crazy... one way fees will kill you for a start. (Circular routes are king, but if the budget stretches to it, well, it's not impossible). Tiredness will play a massive part however.

The bus is one option. You can get a rover ticket on Greyhound which covers you (unimited) for a month, and any town you stop in has a Greyhound stop. It's not glamourous but it's one option and at least you get your head down between towns, and you see plenty of places. It's called (IIRC) the discovery pass Canada. I think it's about $500 for a whole month.

SE Ontario
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3. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

I wouldn't bother paying attention to TapUSA's comments - he/she obviously wanders around with blinders on. Canada is probably one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world. And most people do not use the "eh" phrase, although you will also hear the more American "huh?".

Moving west to east would be very logical, hitting the larger cities as you go. And while driving across would be a grand adventure, and give you the opportunity to see the varied and beautiful landscapes of the country, it isn't too feasible. Canada being the second largest country in the world, the distances are indeed vast. Taking the bus would be cheapest, although somewhat uncomfortable. VIA - Canada's passenger train service would also be an option, although it does not run through Calgary (rather it stops in Edmonton). VIA service in the central part of the nation (Ontario & Quebec) tends to be more regular and convenient. Flying between the cities you choose is the best option, although it can be expensive. In the major cities, you would not need a car - you can travel about by public transit, except if you want to get out into the country around the city. Spending 3-4 days in each at least would give you an idea of how these cities differ from each other, and what each has to offer. If you come in the fall, you will likely be able to experience both hockey and football.

Edited: 30 July 2011, 00:59
Port Moody, Canada
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4. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

First when are you thinking of coming? This will make a huge difference. September would be ideal. I'd also look at adding Saskatooon to your list of cities. Saskatchewan is booming and if you are thinking of bearing a Winnipeg winter then Saskatoon is also doable.

I'd rent a car and check into the oneway drop fees in Winnipeg..then fly Winnipeg to Toronto.

Day 1-5 Vancouver and environs

day 6 drive Vancouver to Revelstoke o/n and enjoy a bit of the Rockies

Day 7 drive to Calgary..a booming city with lots of great architecture

day 8,9,10 Calgary

Day 11 drive to Saskatoon..it's about a 7 hour drive (just did it 2 weeks ago the other way)

day 12,13 Saskatoon..it's much smaller than Vancouver and Calgary so even one day may be enough

Day 14 drive to Winnipeg..an 8 hour drive this time

day 15,16 Winnipeg

day 17 drop car and fly to Toronto

day 18,19,20

day 21 take train to Ottawa..spend 2 days..then either fly or train back to To and fly home.

The above will give you a chance to check out the vibe of each city, maybe take in a museum or art gallery, check out a few restaurants. September will be okay for weather in all places. ( no snow possibly a bit of frost in the mornings in Saskatoon and Winnipeg)

Cost.. plan on about $130 cdn per night for a reasonable hotel..usually with continental breakfast.

Gas..we just drove 5000kms in a large SUV and fuel costs were $750 cdn..your distance would be a bit less.

Meals per day.. figure about $8 for lunch and $35 for dinner..so about $175 per day for accommodation and meals...these are definitely variable..could be cheaper could be much more but this would be an average.

check with companies like nova car, avis, thrifty, ect for rental with lower drop fee.

Finally I think tapUSA's comments are appropriate to Vancouver..while there is a variety of ethnicities it's a European/Asian predominance.....meaning everything from Italian, to Portuguese, to Norwegian, to Ukrainian...to Chinese, to Korean...you get the picture. Calgary will have more of an "American" feel in some ways. Saskatoon has a very small ethnic population (meaning people who are distinctly people of colour) but a lot of native/aborginal peoples. Winnipeg is much the same as Saskatoon.

Toronto has probably the most diverse mix and adds in people who have come from the Caribbean, Somalia, Sri Lanka as well.

Can't comment on Ottawa as have not visited there.

Have spent lots of time in Calgary, Winnipeg and Saskatoon...I'd pick Calgary over the other two but that's just my preference...and I'd aick Vancouver over all of the other cities!!!

I think you could have quite an enjoyable "taste of Canada" this way.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Since you posted on the Vancouver forum you will probably get more votes for Vancouver as the place to live. Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are probably the mose expensive of the places mentioned so far. Coming from the U.K. you will find the ethnic mix here different but no less diverse. In fact Toronto is considered one of if not the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. From WIKI.

"The demographics of Toronto make Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Data released by Statistics Canada as part of the 2006 census indicates that Toronto is more ethnically diverse than Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. 49.9% of Toronto's population is foreign-born.[1]"

Vancouver has a different ethnic mix than Toronto but no less interesting.

tapUSA, Vancouverites apparently have one of the lowest church attendance in North America. Unlike Toronto and Montreal which seem to have churches etc on every corner Vancouver has only a handful of churches downtown. Mosques, synagogues etc exist all over the lower mainland with Richmond being well know for a street that has temples,mosques. I think it's mainly newer immigrants that still hold stronger religious beliefs than many locals and therefore put money and time into building places of worship, hence outside of the downtown where it's just too expensive. Here's a little video of one of the buddisht temples in Richmond. Quite a place. Next time , I know you're coming back :) check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGMiNbN-Vqg

Edited: 30 July 2011, 03:14
usa
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6. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

I sincerely apologize if some have misunderstood my comments about population "diversities". My comments were only for Vancouver, not applicable to entire Canada. I have been to Toronto and it's as diverse as you can get. So perhaps Vancouver was a surprise to me. Van has many ethnic groups for sure, but a couple of large groups are noticeably less. This is reflected in an answer I got when asked for a recommendation for Spanish or Mexican restaurant:"We do a lot of cuisines well here but not those". The concierge was lost for ideas for those. And there were few people of color (hopefully that's the PC term to use). Again, I do not try to infer any judgement, it's just a visitors observation, and not meant to be good or bad. This would depend on your POV, is it not?

On lighter note, Vancouver is a good sports town. Plus OP is probably a single male so where you decide to stay is probably more flexible than my relative. I can tell you that overall the Vancouver ladies I saw were quite attractive ;-). Maybe the most attractive of the places in Canada I've visited. And I don't think I had my blinders on at those times. Forgot to mention I visited Calgary/Banff also. Incredibly beautiful place, but Vancouver would win as a place to live. Tortonto is not that pretty but it does have wonderful city things, the kinds you see in NY or London say.

Thanks Traveller47 and Rustproof for your comments. I will return and check out those churches and temples and more.

Greater London
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7. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Hi All,

Firstly thanks to everyone for their comments. This is really helpful. If there had been a general Canada forum I would have posted it there but there wasn't so I figured on posting where I was thinking of starting.

I will be looking to go in September (either in the first week or the third week) or if work takes a turn for the worse - possibly sooner. I'm not the best with flying (two flights in the last 10 years) but I realise I've got to do this - as I have an option out of the UK and may need to take it. I'm figuring I may take the rail option where driving isn't on (I'd already figured VIA goes via Edmonton and not Calgary but thanks for the heads up!!).

I'll get an idea on distances and times for the rail links as I should imagine at least one of my legs would be an overnight kind of distance?

Traveller47 thanks for the suggested itinerary there is some really helpful information there.

Just out of interest I take it that it is possible to hire Sat-Nav's (or an equivalent) or is the road network well signposted?

On the two other things, living across London, UK for my adult life, diversity is no issue for me (just sometimes the segregation that communities bring on themselves causes issues - some parts of London are not especially welcoming after dark/or during the day for that matter). Also sports are quite important to me which explains some of my picks for cities (all have NHL teams and some have CFL and others).

Thanks again.

Edited: 30 July 2011, 11:54
Vancouver, B.C.
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8. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

Toronto is most like London with it's diverse culture and population size. While we do have areas of Metro Vancouver that have a concentration of certain groups, we don't have the segregation problem that seems to plague Europe.

Every major Canadian city has a NHL team except Quebec City and Regina. I think you should do a bit more research on the distances between city. Flying from Vancouver to Toronto is 4.5 hours. There is only one highway, the Trans Canada Hwy that goes across the whole country.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Canada_Highway

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

tapUSA, I wasn't offended and I hope you didn't think my Toronto comments were directed at you. I was just pointing out to the OP in my bumbling way that Canada is quite diverse and welcoming. I understood your points about Vancouver and didn't really know how to say what you just posted about there being less black people in Vancouver, since people of colour might be touchy. We have a huge East Indian ( what you refer to as Continental Indian) population as well as Asian, as said just a different mix because of historical differences than Toronto or Montreal, another diverse place.

Interesting thing I saw on T.V. last week, after the horrible tragedy in Norway about multiculturism. Canada was the first country in the world to adopt it as offical policy and because of various reasons, one being Canada a country of immigrants to begin with, it seems to work here for the most part. Issues exist of course but on the whole we all get along pretty well and hope and pray that whatever we are doing right continues.

Hmmm. Gee kind of got off topic here for the OP, but maybe not so much. Canada is a great place to live, Vancouver especially, as long as you don't have rose coloured glasses on and realize it's a real place with real issues etc.

Port Moody, Canada
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10. Re: Looking at going partly going across Canada from Vancouver

You can hire sat nav but not really needed.. the roads are well marked and also few ..if you're on gravel you're off the main roads. ;) A good old pper map will be sufficient and much cheaper than renting a gps.

Try for early September.. after the 3rd week you're into October and into winter in some places.