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Have you been to Canada or do you want to visit Canada.

Have you been to Canada or do you want to visit Canada.

Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Have you been to Canada or do you want to visit Canada.

Happy New Year

Would Ausralians/New Zealanders like to tell us about visitng Canada or wanting to visit Canada. So many people here express the desire to visit Australia. Fewer have actually visited. It's a wonderful country.

When did you come, where did you go, how did you travel, and what did you like and not like. How did you find Canadians and anything you'd like to tell us.

Like Australia, this is a vast country with so much regional diversity. It's multicultural-Toronto may be the most multicultural city in the world. I believe Australia and Canada are the only two countries that have multicultural policies. Am I right?

Anyway if you're interested in this question, I'm interested in your answers.



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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Well Michi as you know we are Americans who've visited Australia as well as Canada and we want to come back to Canada because:

you've signed the Kyoto Accords
you've outlawed capitol punishment
you have a $70 B trade surplus
you have strict gun control
you've not run a national deficit since 1996-97
you devote a relatively small portion of your GNP to your defense forces
and
a relatively large portion to your health services
there are no longer dicriminatory marriage laws for 85% of your population
you have no troops in Iraq
the UN always rates Canda as the best place to live
Canadians are a friendly, helpful and entertaining group of people
the scenery is spectacular
the food is good
one can practice French and generally get by in English
the climate is bracing

AndrewDavid
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 04:14 PM
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Hi michi.Some years ago we travelled to the East of Canada...the usual tourist route I guess.Flew into Vancouver and went straight over to Victoria where we stayed a few days ( beautiful, especially the Burchardt Gardens ),then we caught the ferry up to ? (Was it Prince Rupert? Port Hardy?..not sure.This was a disappointment as we were looking forward to the scenic part of the trip but unfortunately it was bound by fog the whole way and we saw nothing!Then travelled overland by bus through the most beautiful scenery imaginable.Went to see my cousin who lives in Calgary (we were impressed by the indoor garden!), then to Banff,Lake Louise and my favourite place Jasper ( all of them were beautiful)and we finished up in Vancouver . Again we were impressed with that lovely city, especially Stanley Park.I have eaten at restaurants all over the world but my favourite remains the Four Seasons Vancouver. Lovely decor,good food and great service and we don't usually eat in hotel restaurants!We liked the friendly Canadian people too. So the only down side I can recall was the weather on that Inside Passage trip but who can help those things? We would both love to go back to the same areas and then add on the East side..we went to Niagara Falls once but that is all we have seen of the East.So that's this Aussies opinion of your country! Cheers!ps..I am not sure if we are the only two countries with multicultural policies but we do and it works pretty well and makes for diversity!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Hi Michi,
my husband and I visited Canada about 4 years ago in June/July. I remember it was much colder than we had been led to expect, particularly in Jasper, and the first thing we bought were warm polar fleeces. We had 5 weeks holiday but also spent time across the border in the USA. We flew from Melbourne to Vancouver via Honolulu - a heck of a long way but we've done worse! That's the thing about Australia, great place to live but a long way from lots of countries. We had 5 days of rain in Vancouver so not a great start but things got better. Had a hire car and drove to Jasper and down through Banff, down to Waterton Glacier Nat Park where we went through immigration to the USA. It felt strange going through passport control in the middle of a national park. Drove down to Jackson and Yellowstone then up to Port Angeles and caught the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Ferry back then stayed in Seattle and back to Vancouver for the flight home.
The best part of the trip was seeing all the wild animals. We went out of our way to find them, driving along quiet roads at dusk etc and saw 3 bears over the 5 weeks which was very exciting. Saw loads of other animals in the wild too.
Impressions of Canada was it was clean, uncluttered with not many billboards etc, people were friendly, helpful and polite, lots of very attractive people - why is that?? Customer service was excellent, such a contrast to Australia where often people in the service industry don't care. Maybe something to do with tips - in Australia tipping is not common.
We would like to visit Canada again one day but perhaps the east coast next time.
Best wishes
Kay
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Michi,
We visited Canada in September several years ago - we flew via Honolulu and San Francisco and then took trains from there to Vancouver. We loved Vancouver and found everything about it to be very friendly and certainly worth seeing.
We then took the Rocky Mountaineer train - which again was wonderful and we could not have enjoyed it more.
However, the day after arriving in Banff we woke to the horrors of September 11.
We managed to get to Calgary and were firmly stuck there for about 4 days.
It was a horrible time to be travelling and all we wanted to do was return home to Australia - but that was not possible.
When air services were finally restored we joined a queue at Calgary Airport at 9 am - and boarded a flight to Chicago about 5 pm. I have never forgotten the time spent in that queue - it was all a bit surreal but as you tend to do in those circumstances we made friends with people from all over the world that day - and they really were from all over - and all walks of life.
Therefore our Canadian visit was hardly as we had planned - but we fully intend to come back one day and take up where we left off.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Michi,

I'm biased, because all my relatives are Canadian! btw, that would be ENGLISH Canuks!

The thing I always feel when visiting is how Canadians are so much nicer than anywhere else I travel - except for New Zealand...where..they remind me of CANADIANS!

Why else would the State Department of the US advise you to cop to being Canadian if you find yourself in a hostile environment?

Melodie
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 08:00 PM
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Yes to both parts of your question. We have had a few holidays in Canada and would love to have more. Last time we visited Tofino and fell in love - next time (there's always a next time for people with the travel bug) we would like to spend more time on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver is such a beautiful city and easy to get around. We absolutely fell in love with Quebec and I itch to visit there again. We were terrified with the traffic in Toronto - the worst driving experience in my life - even worse than driving in LA. Niagara Falls - so spectacular. We got badly lost late in the day in Brampton and were saved by a very kind off-duty policeman who helped us find a motel for the night.
And as for the scenery - there aren't enough words to describe it! So many beautiful lakes and mountains.
Apart from the long, long trip, there's nothing to dislike about Canada - just wish you were closer.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:25 PM
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So far, we've only been as far as Toronto/Niagara, as an "allowed" diversion on the America Greyhound Pass.... but if we ever get enough money together to go overseas again, Canada (east coast) would be our number one destination (as long as I can stop over in New York both ways... I love that city!), as we have a long-standing (since the Sydney Olympics in 2000) offer of free accommodation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Actually, we were all set to take up the offer back in 2001.... our flight was to New York (from where we were to travel to Nova Scotia by a series of buses), arriving in New York on September 12. Well, Osama Bin Laden really fouled that one up! That's one we owe him, personally.

Qantas were very nice and offered to fly us out about two weeks later, but our attitude was (a bit like the tsunami areas right now) that if you couldn't be of any help, you'd be better off staying out of New York for a couple of months (imagine walking down 6th Avenue on September 30, asking passers-by where to find that great big hole in the ground that used to be the WTC!). We finally flew out in mid-December, but, scared of the Canadian winter (AndrewDavid's comment that "the climate is bracing" is something of an understatement for us Aussies!), we decided to head south of New York rather than north. So, Nova Scotia remains, four years later, on the list of places we really must see. If AndrewDavid migrates there, as promised (threatened?), that will be two places to call in on!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for the checklist, AD - I thought it would be interesting to see how Australia stacks up:

"you've signed the Kyoto Accords"
- Sorry, no, we have our marching orders and we're going to stick to them. Or maybe not quite, as the government is now starting to make conciliatory noises.

"you've outlawed capitol punishment"
- Ditto, last execution was in early '60s and led to abolition.

"you have a $70 B trade surplus"
- We have a bloody big current account deficit.

"you have strict gun control"
- Ditto, result of Port Arthur massacre. Despite the claims of gun nuts our constitution doesn't give citizens any right to keep and bear arms, and there's never been much of a hunting culture here, possibly because native animals are relatively inedible. (Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911" made the point that gun ownership is actually quite high in Canada, but the Canadians don't use them to shoot each other very often.)

"you've not run a national deficit
since 1996-97"
- Our federal budget has been in surplus for quite a few years, largely the result of once-only Commonwealth asset sales and introduction of a 10% goods & services tax.

"you devote a relatively small portion of your GNP to your defense forces"
- Likewise. In all fairness this may be why we needed US logistical support to manage a relatively small-scale intervention in East Timor. On the other hand, for all its spending the Iraq commitment is stretching the US military.

"and a relatively large portion to your health services"
- Actually the US spends much more per capita than Australia (and I suspect Canada) - it just gets lousy value for money.

"there are no longer dicriminatory marriage laws for 85% of your population"
- Fail grade.

"you have no troops in Iraq"
- Fail grade again. We have our marching orders, etc.

"the UN always rates Canada as the best place to live"
- The last survey I saw had certain Canadian, Australian and New Zealand cities all in the top 10.

"Canadians are a friendly, helpful and entertaining group of people"
- It would be immodest to comment.

"the scenery is spectacular"
- Ditto, I guess.

"the food is good"
- Ditto, I guess, if you ignore Adelaide's pie floaters.

"one can practice French and generally get by in English"
- We only meet the second criterion.

"the climate is bracing"
- Excellent euphemism. We don't match Canada in this regard.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 09:32 PM
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michi, before AD got me off on that track I meant to say that no, I haven't visited Canada, but it's on the list for our next trip, looking like (your) autumn next year. We're looking at driving the US Pacific Northwest from SFO to Victoria and Vancouver, heading east as far as Calgary and then back across the border into Montana and then looping back to San Francisco, route to be decided.

Unfortunately this won't allow us to reach your neck of the woods, but we figure that for 4-5 weeks this is a realistic itinerary that won't leave us too rushed. Like Alan I'd love to get back to NYC, but you can only do so much. Maybe when we (finally) get to Europe we'll buy round-the-world tickets and kill several birds with one stone.

I'll be lurking around the Canada and US forums from now on, which if nothing else will give the regulars on the Europe forum a break.

I noticed a post that talked about getting from Seattle to Victoria by ferry (well, two ferries) and am interested to research that option further - but would we miss a lot on the road route between Seattle and Vancouver, I wonder? Must do some research.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:11 PM
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That's excellent news, Neil. See you over at the Canada forum in due course.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Neil, The high speed ferry Seattle to Victoria is 2 or .5 hours depending on whether it stops in the San Juan Islands. I believe it is just passenger. We'll be taking it for one of our exploratory trips in March. I'm not sure if there is a car ferry directly from Seattle

The other ferry to Victoria from Washington State is from Anacortes through and stopping in the San Juans before reaching Victoria and that is car and foot passenger.

The scenery from Seattle to Vancouver is OK, and you would see most of it from the water. The ferries, both Washington State and BC are a great way to explore the area

and happy sails to you

A/D


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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Michi,

After going off point both politically and ferry wise I should answer your original query:

I started out young. My first plane trip was to Montreal from LaGuardia. I swear the airplane had picture windows. We drove up to the Laurentians to ski. One night it was 55 below (F). Great ski instructors ;I leraned how to snow plow. It was my first time on skiis.

Was up for a few weeks visiting the World's Fair in '68. Got to sleep w/ many friendly Canadians as friends and I camped our way from Montreal back into Maine.

Spent many happy trips visiting draft dodging friends who immigrated to Nova Scotia. Everyone was very welcoming and supprtive.

Took the Trans Canadian Railway from Vancouver to Montreal in the early 70's and stopped off at various place for a day or two. I had a cool fold down corridor berth w/ curtains to the aisle. I was treated to quite a few beers by Canadian fellow travellers.

Spent 4 gorgeous days in Vancouver 2 summers ago. Almost the whole time on my bicycle. Vancouver is great for bicycle touring and I hit 4 sunny hot days, so everyone took a vacation . English Bay was almost tropical. Ate plenty of good thai food on Denman. The locals were very welcoming.

Off on the 16th instant for a week in wintertime Vancouver and Victoria, looking for a marriage proposal. We'll see how friendly they really are. Maybe Melodie will point me toward some of her relatives.

AndrewDavid
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 06:32 PM
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Michi

2005 is with us and I'm looking for a place to go!

Canada - hadn't considered it - but if AD is considering migrating there it must have something going for it - apart from your good selves!

It's the "bracing" climate I can't cope with. Looks pretty in pix though, and totally different to Oz.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 10:50 PM
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I lived in Edmonton, Alta for 2 cold years and spent my time in the basement of the University, number crunching for the University Pension Plan Division - far from exciting. Have spent a lot of time in the Rockies, BC, Vancouver Island, the Badlands etc.
The Rockies between Banff and Jasper is one of the World's "must see and drive" areas and should be on the top ten things one should do before they die - after making your will that is.
I am sorry that I did not drive up through the NW Territories to the Yukon as I have since been there from the inside passage and it was wonderful.
Banff however has been spoilt because of all the tourist trappings but if you go out of high season it is much better. Peytoe Lake (sp??) remains in my mind as one of the prettiest places I have ever seen.
Also Glacier National Park in Alta is a great place and perhaps better than the Banff region because it is quieter and less travelled. Many hidden treasures as well there.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Neil, please, please, please consider visiting Yellowstone! I grew up in Arizona, was bored by the Grand Canyon at 10, hiked beautiful Havasupai Canyon (at the Grand Canyon) when I was 13?, and of course saw all of the "educational documentaries" about Yellowstone at school. I was expecting a mundane camping vacation. I was absolutely floored! I am not easily impressed, but the alien world of geysers and sulphur left a huge impression. Add in the beautiful forests, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the wildlife... Try to stay at the Old Faithful Inn (reserve early), or at least visit the lobby. BTW, a buffalo is as big as a VW bug, and they don't fit thru doorways even though they can get on the porch. And that's the closest to Canada I've been.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 01:59 PM
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NEIL:
Whatever you do please listen to stormytrooper about Yellowstone. When I lived in Canada we all did a 6 week camping tour of the NW of the USA starting at Glacier National park then to Yellowstone - followed the Snake River and the Oregon trail through to Oregon ( which should not be missed in my opinion ) to the spot that the first pioneers arrived at - up then into Washington State, around the Olympic National Park area over to Spokane, then up to Cour de lain ( cannot remember the spelling but remember the beauty of the place ) across the border into the Okanagan area of BC through Banff, up the Icefields highway to Jasper then over back to Edmonton. A trip of a lifetime and cannot push too much the amazing features of that trip. Yellowstone, is magnificent and we stayed at the hot springs camp -area. The park rangers can run rings around any other rangers I have come across in the world and took the children for talks and walks both day and night. The parks were run with the utmost efficiency and it was an absolute treat to stay there. We then followed the Snake River across Idaho and through the "Craters Of the Moon" National park which is as it's name. I thought it would be as boring as hell but it was very interesting especially if you took time to look around. There were not many places to stay along that route so we camped in a road-side lay-over to wake up and find that about 50 other people had done the same and we were woken up by the Greyhound bus driver blowing his horn and calling out "breakfast time, coffee time" as he drove in.
The countryside of Oregon as you drive into it from the east is nothing short of magestic and the same can be said for the rest of the trip actually.
When I was over in the USA in December taking the " 16 hour around the USA flight from LA to Atlanta I flew over Denver, Aspen then over Utah and remembered why I find the countryside of the USA one of the most fascinating in the world. I was conjuring up in my mind another driving trip through Bryce Canyon and an adventure around the 4 corners area again, which would also include a trip to Yogi Bear country on the way back.
In fact I am now starting to put together a trip from Alaska to Terra del Fuego but wondering just how to get from Panama to Columbia with a car - I am sure it is doable but the logistics will have to have great care taken with them.
The road route from Seattle to Vancouver is a lovely one Neil but there is nothing there that should stop you from taking the ferry from Seatac to Vancouver Island as that is a wonderful trip through some beautiful scenic areas.
I personally was disappointed with Vancouver Island. It is pleasant but not fantastic and certainly does not have the dramatic landscape of the mainland.
If anyone is thinking of a driving holiday in Canada or the USA do yourself a favour and buy on line a Rand McNally Road Atlas of Canada and the USA - you will not be sorry.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Hi Michi

I have visited your beautiful cities of Montreal (twice) and Quebec (1) and truly look forward to visiting a lot more of your country!!

Ottawa (as your capitol) and Toronto appear to be marvelous, cosmopolitan cities just waiting to be discovered.

My favorite destination would be to tour the Canadian Rockies by train and visit those fantastic mountains and the Banff area.

It's good touching base with someone who loves Australia as much as we do!!
Ellen
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Liz and stormytrooper, thanks for whetting my appetite and giving me some great ideas. It may sound wimpy, but I don't sleep anywhere that doesn't have a power supply and hot shower, so I guess that rules out all but the most luxurious camping arrangements. Also, I'm terrified of large carnivorous animals, read bears...
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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'lo Neil, The camping sites, motels, hotels, B&B all have running water with hot showers EVERYWHERE - just that I chose to camp on the side of the road because I had been driving for a long time and it was time to stop!
Bears - I looked and looked for them the whole time ( 2 years ) I was there. In the mountains, in Nationals parks and the like and never found even one. Have been back to areas with bears several times including Alaska and still am yet to see one. But let me tell you that the little Gophers around Banff probably are still in love with Corn Flakes but the chipmunks were pesky when I was trying to fish one day - I would get the bait on the hook, get the line ready and the little pests would run down and take off the bait before I had time to swing the line! Did manage to catch a trout on a sardine though - which was all that was left after the attack of the chipmunks.

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