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1 week in Canada...

New York Area
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1 week in Canada...

Hey all!

Next year, I am planning on traveling to the great white north! Yay!

The issue is where should I go. I am planning on traveling with family on this trip, but we are quite interested in two places, Toronto and Vancouver (going transcontinental will be expensive). That does not mean we will consider traveling to other places like Montreal, Calgary, and Quebec City. We are limited to two to three cities in Canada. I am starting from the NYC area so here are my questions

1) What are the three must see cities in all of Canada?

2) If we are limited to three cities in Ontario and Quebec, what three cities would be best to travel to?

3) Would one with absolutely no knowledge of French be able to tour around Quebec?

4) If two of these cities are located close to each other (like Toronto and Ottawa), what would be the best way to travel there while not paying a fortune? Train, Bus, Car, Plane??

5) Is there a way to squeeze in a day trip to Niagara Falls while if Toronto will be one of our locations?

6) Can one travel across the border with a rental car (just for the day trip to Niagara)?

We are planning to travel either in April or July of 2015 (most likely April for Spring Break).

Sorry that this is in the wrong forum, there is somehow no forum dealing with the country as a whole -__-

Edited: 15 July 2014, 00:40
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Hi there ~

lolol. You've heard of the Lower 48, right? Well when you talk to a Canadian about the Great White North, you're talking about North of 60. Unless you mean the endearing Bob and Doug McKenzie!

You've posted on a good forum. The Canada Forum is a lame duck.

With 2 weeks, you could defo do a week in the Toronto area and a week in the Vancouver area, with a flight between. And April will be lovely ..... in Vancouver, at least. :-))

Yes, you could and should get to NF for a day or even an overnight. Not sure why you would want to cross the border, the Canadian side is better.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Vancouver is a completely different experience than Toronto....Toronto is a smaller, cleaner and nicer version of NYC, IMO....I'd hit up Toronto if you want to include Ottawa and Montreal as well...Vancouver is more outdoorsy and you may want to fly into Seattle to make it cheaper and then also see Seattle....you will be fine for someone who does not speak French in Montreal....

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Welcome to Canada. Your first question was the must see cities, in my opinion:

1-Quebec City, 2-Vancouver, 3-Montreal, 4-Ottawa, 5-Toronto

As to seeing both ends of the country, it's expensive to fly in Canada, suggest you stay at one end

Toronto is no different than most large American cities except it's relatively crime free and clean.

My recommendation is drive from NY and do the trianble of Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec.

On the other hand if you could make it out west in July then land in Calgary for the Calgary stampeed, drive through the rockies (Banf, Lake Louise, Colona, etc) and come out from Vancouver.

Have a good vacation

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Hi J0N... I'll try and answer your questions directly...

1) with all due respect it's kind of like asking, "what are the 3 must cities in the US?"... even though Canada is 1/10th the population, there are dozens of cities in this very, very diverse country... so that's quite a tricky question to answer.

2) Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City are the big 4... you will have to research and fine-tune your itinerary from that.

3) No problem at all... but learning to say please, thank-you and another phrase or 2 will go a looooooong way on your travels.

4) Bus is absolutely cheapest... train is slightly more expensive but MUCH more comfortable.

5) This is non-optional. You MUST go to Niagara Falls for at least a day trip... overnight if it works for you.

6) Yes... but seriously consider what you want to do there with a car. You can easily walk across (much faster and easier) to see the attractions on the American side..

Have fun planning :)

SE Ontario
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5. Re: 1 week in Canada...

I would start by considering what your primary interest is for this trip - do you want to spend most of your time in an urban environment, or in natural settings? Vancouver is a boring city set in a spectacularly beautiful setting. Toronto and Montreal are diverse, fascinating cities, similar to American cities (yet at the same time quite different) set in relatively uninteresting natural settings. Quebec City has a bit of both - the only walled city north of Mexico, one of the oldest urban environments in North America. To truly experience the western cities and environment the best method of travel is by vehicle. here on the eastern side of the country a car is beneficial if you want to see the countryside between the cities, but train travel is easy and convenient.

Ottawa is a small pleasant city - the nation's capital, so home to national museums and Parliament.

New York Area
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6. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Jon here!

Thanks for all of these suggestions! Of course, we will need a lot more than this as we have never been to Canada and there is so much to see in Canada, so keep them coming.

Some of you were asking our interests in regards to sightseeing. We live in the city, so we are interested in that form of sightseeing (one reason why Toronto we one place we were really considering). Vancouver caught our eye due to it's scenery and natural beauty... :)

We tend to get quite bored if the only thing that is interesting to do is look at buildings (basically what I did in Houston one time). We are also not big with museums.

One thing I though about is doing a road trip on the east side of Canada. I'll probably fly to Quebec or Toronto and drive and explore Montreal, Ottowa, and either Toronto or Quebec (whichever one I don't land in) before traveling out west (or use my own car and stay on the east and go back home).

Quick question, is Canada's Wonderland usually open in April? (We are big roller coaster fans)

Edited: 15 July 2014, 05:40
Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: 1 week in Canada...

St. John's, Newfoundland. Halifax, Nova Scotia (ok, I haven't actually been to Halifax yet, just around Cape Breton, but I think its at the top of my list of Canadian cities I want to see.) Yes, agree that Quebec City is quite something, and Charlottetown has its charms as well.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Here's what a week would look like if you arrived in Toronto and flew out of Montréal, travelling by car. The train would have schedules to keep to:

1 night Toronto, drive 1.5 hours to ...

1 night NF, drive 5.5 hours to ...

1 night Ottawa, drive 4.5 hours to ...

2 nights Québec City, drive 2.5 hours to ...

1 night Montréal

----

Leaving 1 night to add where you like.

Map for this itinerary: http://goo.gl/maps/SAuLQ

SE Ontario
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9. Re: 1 week in Canada...

Canada's Wonderland will not be open in April. April can be a transition month weather-wise here - it is mostly spring so no snow, but can be rainy and grey. If you think of the weather where you live in NY area, assume that Toronto, Montreal, etc. will be about 2 weeks "behind" that.For example, I am usually in NYC in April, and the trees, plants, etc are always a few weeks ahead of my own garden here.

Can you clarify for us how many days/nights you have for this trip? That will make it easier to set a route/itinerary for you.

New York Area
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10. Re: 1 week in Canada...

We dont have a firm number of days and nights as this is way ahead of the day, but lets try 10 days, 9 nights as that is how long my spring break is.