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brian_mobbs Jan 19th, 2006 04:46 PM

Hi folks,we are planning to visit Canada from the UK on or about 3rd June for 3 weeks.We thought 2 weeks for Calgary-Vancouver then fly to Toronto for 3rd week.Now for the questions you kind people seem to have all the answers for.It will be our first fly drive to Canada. Is it necessary to pre book accomodation, or are there plenty of places where we can just turn up for a night or two?Which parts on my sketchy itinary must we not miss?In our short timeframe will we be able to whale watch on a daytrip from Vancouver? We are not big walkers so sightseeing will need to be accessable by car.I do hope someone can help.

Sam_Salmon Jan 19th, 2006 08:51 PM

Well Yes you can do a Whale Watching trip from downtown Vancouver but if you're not in good physical shape be advised that it can be <b>a very rough ride</b> in an open boat.

BAK Jan 19th, 2006 08:59 PM

Tell us more about yourselves and your interests, and we can be more specific.

In June, Vancouver is very busy, Calgary is almost very busy, and Toronto is very busy, so you'd be well advised to book some accomodation in advance, at least for your first night in each city.

Are you driving from Vancouver to Calgary?

For the two-weeks devoted to the west, you probably should stay overnight in at least three or four different places.

Vancouver, Victoria, somewhere in the middle of the mountains (Kelowna, Kamloops, etc.) Banff or Lake Louise, and Calgary.

In Toronto,you might want to spend a night in either Niagara Falls or Niagara on the Lake, although it's easy enough to go to and from Niagara from toronto in one day.


brian_mobbs Jan 20th, 2006 02:37 AM

Hi, thanks sam don't fancy an open boat on rough water, is there anything a bit bigger? BAK, We are in our mid 50's.Our interests lie in the direction of scenic photography, of which canada has some of the most dramatic and beautiful from what I have seen on travel programs etc. Tourism by car, as I said we are not backpackers.Dining out also features highly. Love the mountains as much as the coast.

saltymuffin Jan 20th, 2006 05:24 AM

How are your transatlantic flights arranged? Fly into Vancouver and out of Toronto?

You will be able to find all sorts of itineraries on this site for two weeks covering Vancouver/Victoria and Rockies/Calgary. You can easily see many fantastic sites from the car, and with short walks from parking lots in the Rockies. Most people see the Mountain parks this way.

Have you already priced the one way Vancouver - Calgary car rental? It is worth shopping around, rates vary dramatically for one way rentals.

Your week for Toronto/Niagara could be squeezed by a day or two to give a bit more time for your western stint if need be.

PXYca Jan 20th, 2006 06:37 AM

Hello there -

For sight seeing do not miss lake louise - it is absolutely stunning. We did a one week drive/sightsee trip from calgary to edmonton through jasper, the icefields, lake louise and it was wonderful! Bring at least one heavy cardigan as even in the summer the mountains can be chilly (it snowed on July 4th on our trip).

Toronto will be warm and for a good view consider a nice lunch at the CN tower. If you go to the 360 Restaurant you by-pass the hordes lined up for the traditional view and will enjoy a really nice meal and a panoramic view of Toronto and the surrounding area. This is not to be missed - we took our UK relatives this past summer for lunch and it was a highlight of their trip.

If there is anything in the Toronto area of particular interest - do let me know and hopefully I can provide more info - Niagara is another must see.

Judy_in_Calgary Jan 20th, 2006 07:20 AM

Hello brian_mobbs,

Check out the suggested 12-day Calgary to Vancouver itinerary on my web site:

That itinerary is written up as a trip starting in Calgary and ending in Vancouver. If you were going to do it the other way round, you'd need to reverse the directions.

I agree with saltymuffin's question about your starting and ending points. Unless there's a logical reason that I don't know about, it seems odd to land in Calgary and then drive <b>away</b> from Toronto towards Vancouver before flying to Toronto. If you landed in Vancouver and drove to Calgary, you'd be driving towards Toronto. Okay, flying from Calgary to Toronto instead of Vancouver to Toronto would save you only 1.5 hours of flying time, but every little bit helps.

Another thing to consider is starting in Toronto, flying to Calgary and then driving through the mountains to Vancouver. The reason I say that is that, if you started in Calgary on June 3rd, you'd probably reach Moraine Lake (14 km from Lake Louise) before the lake was looking its turquoise best. I think there would be merit in trying to reach that lake closer to the middle of June. If you started in Vancouver on June 3rd, that would get you to Moraine Lake a few days later than a June 3rd start from Calgary, and that would be better. But by starting your trip in Toronto, you'd nudge your arrival at Moraine Lake to a date that was a couple of days later still, and that would be even more ideal in my opinion.

If you're already committed to your flights and cannot change them, then I suggest landing in Calgary, seeing Banff and Jasper first, and then visiting Moraine Lake as the last thing you do before heading out of the Alberta Rockies towards Vancouver.

You may think it's a bit weird to plan a whole itinerary around your arrival date at one lake. But, for what my opinion is worth, I believe the juggling of your itinerary to achieve that goal would be worth it, all the more so because you care about photography.

The TIPS section of my web site has links to practical information like weather, what to pack, national park entry fees, a driving distance and time web site (note, you can change the default setting on that site from miles to kilometres), etc.

Hope that helps.

brian_mobbs Jan 21st, 2006 09:26 AM

Hi to all, thanks for taking the time to answer what must appear vague questions on an itinary not yet firmed up.We thought fly into Calgary drive to Vancouver,not knowing where and how long to spend in any one place, hence the query about just turning up in places to stay one or two nights,not prebooking accomodation to give maximum flexibility.Fly to Toronto visit Niagra before returning home.But as Judy points out, it makes more sense to arrive in Vancouver and journey eastwards all the way.One way car hire, not yet looked into the cost of this element of the trip.PXYca I have now added the 360 to the list of places to vist.Judy I take your point about Moraine Lake and we will now most likely fly into Vancouver and I will check out your website.Many thanks once again for all the help.

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