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Atlantic Canada - Newfoundland & Labrador in Particular

Atlantic Canada - Newfoundland & Labrador in Particular

Jan 16th, 2019, 07:17 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2019
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Atlantic Canada - Newfoundland & Labrador in Particular

Advice needed on Atlantic Canada travel. Leaving Ottawa on May 19 with a fellow Photographer, returning to Montreal on June 6 (for Canadian Grand Prix), I have 17 days for a road trip of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, (maybe a bit of Labrador), and Prince Edward Island.

While I have much of the route somewhat planned, I would really welcome any advice or suggestions. If warranted, I like to spend more than just one night at stops to get to know the area more completely.

The big question: while I love the thought of Red Bay and Battle Harbor in Labrador, the fact is, it's a long way North and would consume much time, plus I can't find much information on any note-worthy sites along the way. I am already feeling I may not have enough time and fear this would stretch it even more. Is it worth it?

Thanks so much,

roarin is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 03:18 AM
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I think it might help if you posted your rough itinerary. My gut instinct is saying that you are stretching it a bridge, actually a ferry or two too far - and that's without Newfoundland, let alone Labrador, in the mix at all.. Do you want to photograph something specific? Because even with 'just' Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI, you have quite a lot to occupy 17 days. I would aspire even on an aggressive itinerary to drive no more than an average of 3 hours a day, or in other words, you need to work the math quite carefully and consult 'Google maps' a lot for driving times.

Word of warning, May is not spring in Atlantic Canada for anything except the black flies (you're from Ontario, you must surely know the breed so you will know all about 'bug hats' and jackets that sports fishermen wear in the spring.)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 03:20 AM
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Just for fun:

Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 12:56 PM
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Rough itinerary:
  1. leaving Ottawa on a long day of driving, making the first night's stop at Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, on the St Lawrence River
  2. continuing on the Trans-Canada Hwy to Fredericton, NB - spend a couple of nights
  3. on to Saint John for at least one more night
  4. ferry to Digby, NS and a couple of nights in Lunenburg/Halifax
  5. through Sherbrooke to Port Hastings/Margaree Forks/Baddeck for at least three nights doing Cape Breton
  6. then over to North Sydney to catch a ferry to Newfoundland
...it was about at this point that I started to become concerned with time available vs needed and thought it best to seek advise!

@Sue_xx_yy - now I am concerned about "Black Flys" - and I am not from Ontario - more like 25 miles east of San Francisco - so what can you tell me about Bug Hats & Jackets?

roarin is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 03:14 PM
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Ah, I have the picture now. Lovely part of the world, San Francisco.

In most parts of Atlantic Canada spring is slow to arrive. In May the snow is gone for the most part, temperatures ARE rising, the grass is green, small shrubs are in leaf and usually flowering, but deciduous trees will not come into leaf until late May or even in some parts almost June. Newfoundland is a bit behind NB and NS, especially the northern areas and Labrador. Coastal areas tend to be cooler than inland areas. The average temperature for the month of May in Charlottetown PEI is a high of 14 and a low of 5 - in Fahrenheit, that's about 60 degrees F as a high and a low of about 40 or 41. The average has a lot of variance. You could get a day with a high of 8 (about 46 degrees F) or one of 20 (about 68 F). It could rain and be foggy or balmy sunshine. Corner Brook, NL will be cooler than Charlottetown. In short, May is a bit of an 'in between' month.

Black flies arrive as the weather starts to get up into the 15 degree C range. They are less a problem along the coastal areas because there is usually a breeze to discourage them, nor are they much a problem in urban areas as there are fewer trees (and few rivers or brooks.) But inland in forested areas as the temperatures start to rise in the spring, they can be a nuisance. Since you say you are a photographer, I had visions of you standing with your tripod propped in the woods trying to photograph a moose or sometthing. Depending on the weather, that's when you might be bothered. A 'bug hat' or jacket is just a light hat or jacket with a 'net' attached to help protect you.


You might never need the thing, just depends where you plan to photograph and what the temperatures are in the given area.Or you just use a good insect repellent. Not trying to frighten you, just a word of warning.

Last edited by Sue_xx_yy; Jan 17th, 2019 at 03:17 PM.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 03:49 PM
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Re your itinerary. Whenever I plan an itinerary, I check to see what the bus tours do. Where do they take their customers, how fast do they try to go? If my draft itinerary is more aggressive than the typical bus tour, I know I am going too fast.

Here's how Globus designed their Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI itinerary from Boston:


The distance from Quebec city to Saint John is in driving time about 6.5 to 7 hours, excl stops, roughly the same as the distance from Boston to Saint John. As you can see they've added a night in between Boston and Saint John in both directions, to keep the day's drive to about 3, 3.5 hours. In between Ottawa and Riviere du Loup is Quebec City which is a lovely city, worth at least a stop of a couple of nights. My personal preference is to avoid ferries when possible, you have to time your arrival to their schedule, and they are subject to delays.

Newfoundland ferry to Port aux Basques is a 6 or 7 hour ferry ride, with mandatory minimum 2 hour check in time. Driving distances are long. This is why unless you have your heart set on photographing icebergs or something, you might want to rethink Nfld.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 04:02 PM
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Perhaps I am misunderstanding but I suspect to get to Battle Harbour you will be passing right through Gros Morne national park on the west coast of Newfoundland. Definitely a very pretty place.

I think your trip will be a bit rushed. But I am reluctant to recommend giving up Gros Morne.
xcountry is offline  
Jan 21st, 2019, 01:25 PM
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Thank You so much for the replies
@Sue_xx_yy - especially the Black Flies YouTube! It has been passed around a bit...
@xcountry - after such wonderful input, my itinerary had changed dramatically - Newfoundland is out I'm sorry to say! Next time I will fly into Saint John's and just do NL properly!

Latest Thinking:

drive from Ottawa to Quebec City on May 20 (spend 2 nights)
to Fredericton, NB (1 night)
to Saint John (2 nights)
ferry to Digby, NS (2 nights)
to Lunenburg (2 nights)
to Halifax (1 night)
to Cape Breton (Margaree Forks?? Cape North?? Baddeck - 1 night each) Any help here?
to Pictou (1 night)
to Alma, NB (2 nights)
Rivière-du-Loup (1 night)
to Montreal arriving June 6

As always, any help or suggestions are most welcome!
All the best,
roarin is offline  
Jan 21st, 2019, 03:40 PM
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Hello Thom - I think that is a wise decision. We live in Ottawa but made a habit for a few years of flying to St John's and hiking on the East Coast Trail. You can get some marvelous scenery along the coast without having to hike very far. Then having a few days around Gros Morne will be well worth it.

Your trip sounds fine to me. I see you have left out Prince Edward Island, which I think is another good decision. It is a marvellous place to relax for a week or more. But I probably would not drive over for a night or two. One thing you might want to consider is taking the north shore highway (138) east of Quebec City and then crossing the St Lawrence on the Rivière-du-Loup – Saint-Siméon ferry. The north shore is very scenic. You could do this coming or going.

I would also be tempted to stay in just one place on the Cabot Trail but that is completely a personal view.

xcountry is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2019, 09:25 PM
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@xcountry: "I would also be tempted to stay in just one place on the Cabot Trail but that is completely a personal view"

I was finding accommodations more difficult than expected. It appears I'm one or two days early and many establishments are not opening until June 1. So, recalling your comment, I am now looking at three nights in Baddeck. Is there a different location you might suggest?

Also cut back to one night in Lunenburg to allow two nights in Halifax. The itinerary seems to be a bit fluid until reservations are made!

roarin is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2019, 08:55 AM
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Thom if you were an avid golfer I must suggest staying on the other side near Inverness but Baddeck is a very good choice. You might run into a bit of fog so having one place from which to venture out in good photographic conditions should work out. I spent some time in Palo Alto - it seemed every morning we got fog and then it would dissipate right on schedule. The fog in Cape Breton might be more stubborn or it may not exist at all.

My wife has been to 1000 places and her global favourite is Lunenburg. But again it is all very subjective. The landscape and people and spirit of the entire area make it difficult to pick a poor destination.
xcountry is offline  
Feb 1st, 2019, 06:01 AM
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Baddeck is lovely and a good place for visiting Cape Breton. About a future visit to Newfoundland, fly into either St John's or to Deer Lake and return from the the place you didn't fly into. Yes there is a charge to drop the car somewhere different but it is much less than driving back across the province to your fly in airport and gives you more time to sight see, Newfoundland is stunning, we found areas that look like many other places we have visited for instance Wyoming, and the Irish loop is completely flat and looks like the northern prairies.
Driving back across roads you have already traveled is not the best use of valuable travel time
wanderingcanadian is offline  
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