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Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

Evans, Georgia
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Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

Hello all,

We're thinking about visiting Montreal/Quebec City between Christmas and New Year's day.

We live in GA and plan to Amtrak (overnight train) to New York and rent a car and drive to Canada.

We have two kids (9y and 3y) who used to love or love the animation show, Caillou, which inspired us to experience a dog-sleigh, maple syrup toffee and winter.

As we can't feel the bitterness of a really cold weather from the animation, I wish to do a reality check here.

Would the winter weather permit us to do sightseeing and to try those activities we are dreaming of? Does anyone have suggestions for those activities?

Any suggestions related to where to stay?

How about driving? Would it be a bad idea for a person who's from South?

Thank you for any inputs!

Montreal, Canada
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for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
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1. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

Driving for a Southern Beau or Belle is dicey. Usually on the Canadian forums we don't recommend winter driving around if you don't already have serious experience ot bad conditions driving.

That is also true for the NYC to Mtl drive as you will go through two mountaineous zones that are prone to bad weather and almost right at the border you will hit the Plain of Saint-Lawrence which can be terrible for blizzards.

Unless you want to spend a few days in NYC, and whou wouldn't want at Christmas times, it would be much better to fly GA directly to Montréal and fly back from Québec City, not a problem usually, may be a slight overcharge but that's it.

The Amtrak train between NYC and Mtl is not recommended, you can just use the serach button at the top of this page and you will get more than you need bad opinions about that route. On the other hand the train between Mtl and Qc is very nice although there is like zilch scenery around. Also at some times of the year you can buy real cheap tickets but I doubt it during the Holidays. Bus service is also excellent (way better than any Greyhound trips that I did in the South), usually les expensive than train and with a good schedule of departures every hours from early morning to late night.

Where to stay? Well in Mtl in winter I tend to prefer downtown over Old Montréal but you could easily walk to get there from downtown on any nice winter day.

For Québec City you must stay in Old Town or really near. The city is divided in two by a 200' + cliff that extends to the whole city. So you want to stay in the historical parts of Lower (slow at night) or Upper Towns (see the topology top question on the Québec City forum) or in the near vicinity outside but close to the city walls which circle the historical section of Upper Town. If budget is not a problem then you should book at the iconic Fairmont Château Frontenac, the most photagraphed hotel in the world, your kids will just love it!

Maple taffy on snow is more of a seasonal thing, done when snow melts and maple sap starts running. But you will probably be able to find some at the Old Port in Mtl and at the farmers market in Qc.

Quebec, Canada
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2. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

Between Montreal and Quebec, there is a Sugar Shack open year round in Trois Rivieres ( a town just between Montreal and Quebec on the north shore of the St Lawrence , an hour and a half drive on hgw 40)


There you will taste maple taffy and traditionnal cuisine

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3. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

I agree that driving during that time of year is not the greatest idea... even for people who are used to icy road conditions...

Your rental from NY would probably not be equipped with winter tires, making it very hazardous to drive here. Winter tires are mandatory for cars registered in Quebec at that time of year... for a reason!

Consider flying here and renting a car if weather permits.... (At least, our rentals have winter tires.)

SE Ontario
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4. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

You might like to read what is one of my favorite Trip reports of all time, from an Aussie who visited Quebec City in the time period you are planning:


Destination Expert
for Montreal
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5. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

And just last year they started having dog sledding on the Islands in the middle of the river accessible by métro here in Montréal -- don't know if it was a success and they'll be back next year. Otherwise, you kinda have to go far out for dog sledding -- it requires countryside, not city streets. And that means driving of course :(

Actually, the real problem with driving here isn't that the roads are that bad: most of the time they are clear and dry, since we clear them quickly after a snowstorm and put down salt and stones which makes everything melt, even if it's not pretty. The real problem is that you never know when a snow storm will hit, and it takes a few days after for the roads to become clear and dry, or even a few more if there is the dreaded black ice which you don't see. So it may well be completely driveable and no different from what you know, really, or it could be whiteout conditions where even experienced drivers decide to stay put until it all clears away.

6. Re: Travel to Montreal and Quebec City around Christmas

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