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Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

Orewa Beach, NZ
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Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

Hi all! Didn't know where exactly to place this post as its for all areas! However, my husband and I are planning a big round the world trip. Lots of changes have happened from our original plan (we were going to be working in Canada for 3 months) and now we are only going to have time to holiday there - for 10 days!

Our flights are booked into Vancouver and out of Toronto. We want to see as much as possible but also not be stressed the whole way! Could we roadtrip from Vancouver to Toronto in 10 days or is this just dreaming? We'd particularly like to stop off at Jasper, Banff and Winnipeg. Any suggestions on such a short time frame would be great! Also, any help on good car rental or Motorhome rental companies. Thanking you in advance!

rocky mountains
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1. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

You'd probably end up paying a hefty drop-off charge if you were thinking of driving all the way from Vancouver to Toronto - especially with a motorhome. Also, so much time would be soent driving , you wouldn't get to see much along the way (unless you like the praires).

Much better to concentrate on Vancouver to Jasper/Banff, then fly from Calgary to Toronto.

Ottawa, Ontario...
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2. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

Bunny81 -

I agree with mountainman - the distances here in Canada are just huge! To drive from Vancouver to Toronto is over 4500km - even if you average 1000km/day as I usually do for long road trips, you're still looking at 5 days of just driving.

The suggestion of driving through the Rockies to Calgary and then flying to Toronto is a good one, but even that's a bit ambitious in 10 days. There would also be hefty rental car drop-off charges to leave a Vancouver rental in Calgary. Think about the things you really want to see. I would suggest something like this:

Days 1-2: Tour Vancouver

Day 3: Drive Vancouver > Banff (842km, 9 1/2 hours)

Days 4-5: Tour Banff National Park

Day 6: Drive Banff > Calgary (126km, 1 3/4 hours)

Day 7: Tour Calgary, evening flight to Toronto (3 3/4 hours)

Day 8: Drive Toronto > Niagara Falls, tour Niagara Falls (139km, 1 3/4 hours)

Day 9: Drive Niagara Falls > Toronto, tour Toronto

Day 10: Tour Toronto, Depart Canada


Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you've got bucks to burn, then I'd recommend Vancouver to Calgary via the Rocky Mountaineer Railtour; a two day excursion, travelling during daylight only, through some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere (realizing, of course, that being from NZ, you've got more than your share of that, too). Then, you can fly from Calgary to Winnipeg, and from Winnipeg to Toronto. Aside from the Vancouver-Calgary leg, I wouldn't recommend ground travel for any other part of the country (except the Maritimes), unless you've got loads of time.

If you don't have the $$ for the Rocky Mountaineer, you can still do a version of that trip by booking daylight bus runs, from Vancouver to Kamloops one day, then from Kamloops to Calgary the next day.

So here's my recommendation:

Days 1-3: Vancouver

Days 4-5: Vancouver to Calgary via train or bus

Days 6-7 Calgary

Day 8: Winnipeg

Days 9-10: Toronto

London, Canada
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4. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)


How exciting!!

If one of your "must do's" is Jasper ( and I concur) then I would take mountain man's advice and concentrate on the Alberta/BC aspect of the trip rather than worry about Toronto or Niagara Falls at all this time.

I've done the drive between Calgary and Toronto in 3 days with the Canadian route, and each of the days were about 15 hrs a day in the car.....probably not what you have in mind for a vacation.

If there is a significant reason why you want to see Winnipeg you could look at flights with West Jet that might allow long layovers in Winnipeg with your flight from Calgary to Toronto. Otherwise I really don't think Winnipeg is worth a visit in the grand scheme of a Canadian 10 day trip.

Good luck with the plans!

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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5. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)


If you have your heart set on a RV rental with a one-way drop off, check out Cruise Canada.


Very reputable company, with offices all over North America. I know that you can't rent in Canada and drop off in US (or vice versa), but plenty of people pick up in one spot and drop off at a different spot within the same country.

It's definitely possible, I'm just not sure what they would charge you.

With only 10 days, you don't have time to drive from Vancouver to Toronto, though. Unless all you want to do is drive.

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6. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

I would agree with NOELK's touring plan, but skip the Niagara Falls section to see the Winnipeg section that you specifically said you wanted (fly Calgary to Winnipeg, then Winnipeg to Toronto). There is lots to see and do in Winnipeg. I'm tired of people putting us down! The Prairies offers an incredibly different viewpoint from the mountains and hills of both the Western and Eastern parts of the country. Open your eyes and enjoy the vast flatness and stunningly beautiful, blue sky (can't see blue sky in Toronto or Ottawa - I've been there). The pace of life here is much slower and quieter - Real People live here! We have one of the most beautiful beach areas in the country just a one hour drive north of Winnipeg (Grand Beach). There are lots of historical sites in and around Winnipeg, beautiful parks(Assiniboine Park has zoo and English gardens, Kildonan Park has live theatre in August at Rainbow Stage), The Forks has converted rail shops turned into shops and restaurants and walkways along both the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, boat tours of the river, etc. There are many festivals going on all summer - The Folk Festival, Folkorama, Fringe Festival, etc. We're also known as Friendly Manitoba and many tourists comment on the fact that they find this to be very true. Please do take time in your holiday to visit us.

Kamloops, Canada
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7. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

Another suggestion may be the train. VIA rail leaves Vancouver and heads to Jasper and then through the prairies to Toronto. I believe that you can buy a pass that you may be able to get off and on for a day or two if you want at specific cities. Here is the link


Worry free travelling as our country is large and travel can be long.

Enjoy your stay.

London, Canada
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8. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)


Sorry to ruffle your feathers! And so good of you to let everyone know all that Winnipeg has to offer a visitor.

It's not that I don't appreciate the prairie....I'm a Red Deer girl myself and my parents are both from Sask.....But with ONLY 10 days and flights already booked, I felt a holiday for Bunny should be relaxing and enjoyable, rather than involving lots of driving, or stress with travelling in and out of airports.

Nothing personally against Winnipeg....really! You'll notice I didn't think Toronto or Niagara was worth any time either. ;)

Kamloops, BC...
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9. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

Bunny -

I've driven trans-Canada a number of times in each direction, and while I think the entire country is beautiful, there are some areas that may be more signicant than others for your tour.

I'm a British Columbian so my first recommendation is from the Pacific to Calgary. My second recommendation is the Canadian Shield - Winnipeg to Toronto. Those two segments will make you marvel at the courage of our forebears.

I'm sorry that you won't have time for the Maritimes, but that will give you a great incentive to come back to see us again.

BTW - if you can manage it, the Calgary Stampede, the largest rodeo in the world, runs during the first two weeks of July. If you can fit that into your schedule you'll be a guest at the best party you'll ever attend, run by the most hospitable hosts you'll ever meet.

Good luck.

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10. Re: Trans-Canada road trip - am i dreaming? ;-)

I think mooseboy's suggestion for VIA Rail is excellent (all the other suggestions are great too, by the way). 10 days is not much time for what you want to get done, but the train will allow you to see lots without the stress of the long drives. You could potentially take the train to Jasper and then rent a car and drive to Banff and Calgary. From there, fly Westjet or Air Canada (both sell one way fares) to Winnipeg and then hop on the train again to Toronto. Someone mentioned the Winniped-Toronto drive, which I have done many many times, and I have to agree that the scenery around Lake Superior is spectacular. The train would also give you some of that scenery.

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