Driving from Vancouver to Saint John

Jun 4th, 2011, 09:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3
Driving from Vancouver to Saint John

My husband and I are making our first drive across Canada in early July. We're travelling from Vancouver, BC to Saint John, NB and we are wondering what people would recommend we see along the way? Approximately how many days would you give yourself to complete this drive?
Any suggestions would be helpful.
We're looking forward to seeing our beautiful country by car!
ChrissySwan is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,145
Yes you do have a beautiful country. Your section of the Rockies may be more beautiful than the US section.
I am concerned with the price of gasoline/petrol in Canada.
Once you get over the Canadian Rockies, I would think about crossing over to the US south of Lethbridge Alberta to Shelby Montana. Take US Route 2 east all the way to Bemidgi Minnesota and take US 71 to International Falls Minnesota to get back on the TransCanada at Fort Frances Ontario. The prarries look pretty much the same in the US as Canada. Depending on time constraints, I would take 9-10 days to drive all the way. Are you coming back to Vancouver or moving to eastern Canada?
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Wow, there is a world of opportunity there, although I'd be let-down at going so far, seeing so much, and not going beyond Saint John to Nova Scotia.

Firstly, is this a one-way trip?

If so, then you're simply going to have to prioritize what means most to you in some of the provinces, as you can't be on a 'northern-ish route' and a 'southern-ish' route at the same time.

Also, let us know how much time you can take.

I just imagined myself on the trip, while staring at a map, and plotted 16-ish nights in semi-unrushed mode. While that averages out to just 200-ish miles a day, I was envisioning staying 2 nights in some general areas and then covering possibly 500-600 miles a day in other areas.

The north shore of Lake Superior will feel like it spanned 3 generations of your family tree just to get it in the rear view mirror for good.

Some of your choices depend on whether you've been to any of the major spots in eastern Canada before.

MAYBE it is a good idea for you to work BACKWARD FROM Saint John to get a better sense for some of your itinerary.


Quebec, QC to Saint John takes just over 7 hours... (of pure driving time)... and I think Quebec City is worth 2 nights.

Montreal is likely worth at least 2 nights as well.

(here's where what you may have done in the past comes into play - IF you have previously (flown) to Toronto (perhaps), then you could justify skipping it for two reasons:

(a) time
(b) the path there isn't very direct

Thunder Bay to Montreal is nearly 1000 miles, so you'd need at least one night somewhere in between those (IF skipping Toronto).

(still 'thinking east-to-west') Winnipeg is a sensible spot for a night west of Thunder Bay.

Before that, maybe choose between Saskatoon or Regina, and the same with Edmonton or Calgary in Alberta.

IF your intent is to haul *ss to get there, then obviously you'd pinpoint your stops a bit more precisely, and demand much more of your car and your patience each day.

Furthermore, if wanting to REALLY take-in a lot more, you could add a whole extra week to MY previously (guessed) 16-nights and take occasional side-trips to the north, and spend time in Toronto too.

The best answers people can offer here will come after you give some small guidelines for what you want out of your trip.

I'm sure that, in some spots along the way, it will be obvious why the fastest and shortest paths between Vancouver and Saint John both take you through the USA for most of the trip.

People here will be happy to inspire you further once you share a sense for things you "know you want to see". (even if it is just 3 random things, including dinner with your aunt in Yorkton, Saskatchewan or something like that...)
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3
Thanks for the input. Much appreciated.

We are actually moving to New Brunswick (Saint John) so it will be a 1-way trip. We've been to Nova Scotia and lived in Halifax as well, so we are familiar with NS already.

We were thinking that we'd like to take about 10-13 days to do the drive...it would depend on where we wanted to stop and what we wanted to take in along the way. I know going through the U.S would be faster but I think its a great opportunity/time to see Canada, so we may stick with all Canadian roads.
ChrissySwan is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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@NorthwestMale - we haven't really made a bucket list of things to do other than get a visit in to some of the wineries in Okanagan, seeing the Banff area, and visiting friends in Kingston, Ont. Most of our friends live in Ontario (Toronto & Ottawa) and while it would be great to see all of them thats probably not going to be easy. We may not have 16 days to do the trip and will likely try for under two weeks.
Your suggestions so far have been great. Thanks so much.
ChrissySwan is offline  
Jun 5th, 2011, 04:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Dinosaurs in Drumheller.

Moose Mountain park in Southern Saskatchewan.

Canadian Warplane Heritagemuseum at Hamilton airport.

The Parliament Buildings, and at least one museum in Ottawa.

Distillery District in Toronto because you will see it in movies.

BAK is offline  
Jun 5th, 2011, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 470
I haven't spent a lot of time in the prairies, but here are a few other destinations I've particularly enjoyed (repeating some ideas from others above):
- Rocky Mountain Parks of course
- Drumheller area including Royal Tyrell Museum, badlands and Dinosaur Provincial Park
- Lake Superior Provincial Park
- Algonquin Provincial Park
- Ottawa
- Montreal
- Quebec City
If you want to include Toronto (also worthwhile) and Kingston (nearby Thousand Islands are very scenic), you may have to skip Algonquin and/or Ottawa depending on your time limits (but you might then fit in an overnight side-trip to Niagara Falls and Niagara wine country).
mat54 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2011, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Saint John is a wonderful city to move to, you will find the people very friendly. When you get here there are plenty of places where you can enjoy your free time. If you are looking for a relaxing night out, there are plenty of unique styled restaurants uptown, as well as plenty of chain restaurants around the other parts o0f the city. There are a tonne of attractions around the city if you would like to explore around the city as soon as you get settled into your new home. There are attractions like the New Brunswick Museum, the City Market, King Square, the Irving Nature Park, Rockwood Park and the Reversing Rapids.
cdcg_99 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
This year (2014) my wife and I also will be driving from Richmond, BC, to Saint John, NB, for our trans-continental move. I would be most interested to know of your experiences.
GeorgesRex is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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The chances of Chrissy Swan returning to Fodors during 2014, after 2 1/2+ years, for what would be just her 2nd-ever day here, are approximately zero.
NorthwestMale is offline  

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