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Driving around Manitoba-Saskatchewan or around Ontario

Driving around Manitoba-Saskatchewan or around Ontario

Old Aug 9th, 2001, 12:24 PM
The Comptons
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Driving around Manitoba-Saskatchewan or around Ontario

We've started planning for next year. Purpose: Scenery and unusual topography, perhaps 1 or 2 special attractions a day. Time is flexible.

We've mapped out two trips but would like ideas about what we're trying to cover . . .

Winnipeg west to Yorkton to Regina to Swift Current. North to Meadow Lake Prov. Park. East and south to Prince Albert. South to Saskatoon. East to Yorkton and back to Winnipeg. Our figure is about 4600 km (about 2800 miles).

Toronto to Niagara Falls, northwest to Kitchener, east to Goderich (Lake Huron), north to Tobermory, east around Georgian Bay, north to Sudbury, west to Thunder Bay, return east on Rt. 11 which goes into North Bay, south to Huntsville, east through Algonquin Prov. Park to Arnprior, south to Kingston, west to Toronto. Our figure is about 4,000 km (about 2400 miles).

Which has the most unusual scenery? Any tips you can give us?

Old Aug 9th, 2001, 03:50 PM
Former Prairie Girl
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I grew up on the prairies and I think they're pretty interesting (flat mind you). Winnipeg is great city for restaurants, the arts, etc., and although I haven't been to Regina or Saskatoon in years, I understand that the parks along the rivers have been beautifully developed. Have you checked out the provincial government websites for tourist info: www.gov.mb.ca and www.gov.sk.ca? They might give you some idea of the topography.

Of course, it's hard to beat Niagara Falls ...
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 05:30 PM
Brian Kilgore
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If you pick the west, make sure you get south of Swift Current, toward Maple Creek, and into the badlands.

If you pick Ontario, skip Sudbury to Thunder Bay, and include Ottawa. make sure you go a bit east of Kingston, and see the thousand islands in the St. Lawrence River.

The Man-Sask trip will have a lot of boring parts, but interesting sights once you get there. Ontario will be more "urban" if this makes a (positive or negative) difference.

If I was a landscape photographer, I know I'd come back with better pictures from the western trip. Big skies, wide vists, twisting river valleys, cowboy country, etc.


Old Aug 10th, 2001, 08:01 AM
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Actually if you're into great scenery and topography I disagree with the above post about skipping Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay which probably has the best and most dramatic scenery in Ontario.

Frankly I find the most interesting areas of the prairies, (ie between CAlgary/Edmonton to the Manitoba/Ontario border to be the Badlands of Alberta and the almost moon like topography east of Winnipeg as the Canadian Shield makes itself known. Otherwise it's just Kansas.

Southern and Eastern Ontario is Canada's Heartland and to those who live there it's the Centre of the Universe. There is some nice scenery but for the most part it is very civilized and densely populated and other than 'Cottage Country' north of Toronto and Niagara Falls there's not much in the way of unusual topography though I wouldn't be surprised to hear differing views. I am after all a West Coaster and only an occaisional visitor to Ontario.
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 07:40 AM
The Comptons
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Thanx for the tips. Didn't even think of the southwest corner of Saskatchewan. For this kind of trip, we do prefer the wide open spaces and back roads (if they're paved). Any more suggestions?
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 08:59 AM
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I agree about visiting the badlands. It is like something you will never see elsewhere. If you are near the Alberta border in Sask. stop by at the Cypress Hills. Into Alberta, you could visit Drumheller and the badlands there and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (sp?). Good luck and have fun.
Old Aug 17th, 2001, 06:49 PM
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I'll only respond about the Ontario trip, since I'm not that familiar with Man. & Sask. I'm assuming you aren't from Ontario, or familiar with the area - if you are, my apologies!

For the Ontario trip, you've certainly choosen a different sort of route. As I'm sure you're aware, you're doubling back on yourself in a number of instances.

The Toronto-Niagara Falls trip will not have much in the way of topography. Toronto-Hamilton will be pretty much solid urban centres. As you get farther away from Hamilton, towards Niagara Falls, you'll get into many apple orchards and other fruit trees - very pretty in the spring when they flower. Niagara on the Lake is cute, and worth a visit.

The trip up to Kitchener, and across to Goderich will be pretty much flat farmland, and without offending anyone I hope, not terribly scenic compared to other parts.

Tobermory and the Bruce Penninsula is quite pretty, and the National Park, and the National Marine Park attached to it is definitely worth a visit.

I would strongly recommend that rather than double back, and going around Georgian Bay, that you instead take the car ferry across to Manitoulin Island. The trip is nice, and the Island is very scenic and unspoiled. Some great hiking/walking there. Sudbury is interesting in its own way - in a very industrial/mining way. Not particularly scenic I'm afraid.

If you do go to Manitoulin, you can then cross over to the mainland, and go West to Sault St. Marie. It's along a major highway, but fairly scenic. At the Sault, the Agawa Canyon train is a day trip definitely worth taking - fantastic wildenerness and great topography - tons of very, very old hills, valleys, lakes, all shrouded in forest- very beautiful.

The drive up to Thunder Bay is quite long, but Lake Superior is increadibly scenic, and rugged. Lake Superior Park just north of Sault St. Marie is quite nice, and worth a visit, as are a number of other locations along the way. It's a long haul though!

Thunder Bay is nice, but not spectacular (at least from a scenery/topography perspective). Don't know about the drive along 11 back to North Bay, but it could be interesting to go through Northern Ontario.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard anyone say much that's nice about North Bay, so you may want to just give it a quite peek. The Muskoka area around Hunstville is the heart of Toronto's cottage country. If you've come Northern Ontario, I'm sure the contrast will be quite noticeable!

The drive through Algonquin is very nice, and the Park is definitely worth a visit, hiking, canoeing, etc.

Once you get a ways pas the park, the drive gets less interesting, and there's not much interesting from Arnprior down to Ottawa.

Since you're in the neighbourhood, I would suggest a stop off in Ottawa. As the capital, there's lots to see and do.

The drive down to Kingston is nothing special at all, esp. compared to your earlier itinerary. Kingston itself is quite nice.

The drive to TO is absolutely unremarkable. As someone said, the 401 is a device intended to convey large number of vehicles as quickly as possible from one place to another (although on long weekends it fails miserably!). That will be your most dreary drive, and a huge difference from Northern Ontario! It will only be 2-3 hours, however, so not so bad.

Good Luck!

Old Aug 19th, 2001, 03:36 PM
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One comment:
If Gary thinks the scenery in Ontario is boring - he has obviously never been to the Bruce Peninsula or driven along Lake Superior. The Bruce Peninsula national Park has spectacular, interesting scenery and hiking trails - Cliffs,Grottos, Caves, Flowerpots ( a geological formation found in very few places), enormous clean, clear Georgian bay - best snorkeling and diving north of the caribbean - amazing visibility,shipwrecks, huge underwater boulders, underwater caves (but COLD- wet suit absolutely necessary for divers, I will snorkel without one in August but not before). Previous poster was correct - if you go up the Bruce - take ferry to Manitoulin, the drive north from Manitoulin through the LaCloche Mountains is lovely and you chances of seeing wildlife are very good (we saw a bear and a deer and 2 moose) I am from Sudbury - feel free to drive right though it - Algonquin Park is scenic and animal viewing opportunities are good (Saw 4 moose last time I was there). From Kingston - DO NOT take the 401 - BORING - instead take old Highway 2 which runs along the Lake through some cute little towns - it will take you longer but the drive will be so much more pleasant.
Re: Niagara Falls - total tourist trap but the Falls are still quite amazing.
Re: your other proposed tour - I love the area around Saskatoon - river and rolling hills but really the prairies are for the most part quite FLAT with no interesting topography to speak of. However if you like big skies and wheat fields and rivers this is where to find them.
So it all depends on what you want to see in terms of scenery - I would do some more research. I can assure you your plan for Ontario (especially if you make the change to take the ferry to Manitoulin) is doable and will take you through a variety of interesting scenery and wilderness areas and some lovely small towns. In the Toronto area you will certainly encounter urbanization to excess but once you are north of the city, the world changes.
Old Aug 19th, 2001, 05:36 PM
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Excuse me JMN - I said the area SOUTH of Cottage Country was not terribly interesting topographically speaking. The area NORTH of Cottage Country, (which is where the Bruce Peninsula and Lake Huron lies) is certainly beautiful and very interesting although I still maintain that the north shore of Lake Superior is one of the most primitively beautiful regions in the world. It is 180 degrees from Southern Ontario in every imaginable way and it would certainly be a great combination trip for just that reason.

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