Eastern Canada Help Please!

Mar 24th, 2004, 05:27 AM
  #1  
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Eastern Canada Help Please!

Okay, Canada experts, plan our vacation for us! We live in Virginia, and want to drive to Eastern Canada this summer. Have been to Halifax only. Thinking of Montreal, Quebec City, Cape Breton Island, PEI. Other ideas? Have 2 weeks. Interested in scenic beauty, hiking, swimming, possibly biking.
(Is the water too cold? Lakes fine). Not really into big cities, but mentioned above cities for cultural interest. Have 2 kids, ages 12 & 14. Scenic beauty most important factor.
Thanks! Linda
linda8 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 07:07 AM
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Linda,
Any particular time in the summer? Are you commited to a particular two weeks?

cheers

Jerry
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Mar 24th, 2004, 07:38 AM
  #3  
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Hi, Jerry.
Anytime between June 27 and Labor Day.
Thanks,
Linda
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Mar 24th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Anyone?
linda8 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Hi!
If I were you I would visit the following spots:
*Quebec city - Like an european city in North America, lots of cultural things to see.
*Gaspé (Gaspésie) - The area is beautiful, Provincial Parks, the Roché Percé, etc.
*New Brunswick - Nice because the sea water is warm enough to swim.

www.bonjourquebec.ca is the website for information on any tourism in the province of Quebec.

Je vous souhaite de belles vacances!
christellefv is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Thanks!
What does that last sentence (in French---no fair!) mean?
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Mar 24th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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You can't beat Cape Breton for scenic beauty. It's my favorite area of Atlantic Canada.

I'll also nominate Grand Manan Island off the coast of New Brunswick. It's peaceful, highly scenic, and has whale {endangered northern right whale} and puffin watching tours, birdwatching, and interesting geologic features.

Others may disagree, but I think that Parrsboro, NS if it works in your plans is an interesting off-the-beaten path stop, with fossil and rock tours, and a ship-theatre.

Your kids would probably love tidal bore rafting near Truro,NS,and you could view the tidal action, though the town itself doesn't have a lot to offer for more than a day IMO.

PEI is pretty and has the best bike trails,and warm-water beaches, and amusements for kids.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 07:42 PM
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If going to Quebec City, drive just outside the city limits to breathtaking Montmorency Falls and take a drive around the small Isle D'Orleans, full of quaint 19th century villages with roadside farm stands selling the sweetest strawberries you'll ever eat! Also on the island: a couple of restaurants serving typical Quebecois food from a century ago with lively music (2 or 3 men playing the fiddle, spoons, etc.) Lots of fun!
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Mar 25th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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Thanks!
linda8 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Je vous souhaite de belles vacances!

Something like...

I hope you have nice holidays!
christellefv is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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That's a lot of driving. Are you starting from Virginia, and does the getting from Virginia to Canada and from Canda back to Virginia, count in the two weeks?

Montreal is a great city, and worth a couple of days. Good things for kids, too.
then it's half a day to a one day drive to Quebec City, depending on where you stop along the way, like, perhaps, the Granby Zoo or the Railroad Museum.

Quebec City is probably worth a full day. Let's say you arrive in the late afternoon from Montreal. Book that night and the next night in QC, and then leave the morning after. that gets you two evenings in Quebec City, and the evenings are grat times tehre. Good dinner, strolling as the sun goes down, ...

Then it is a long day's drive to new Brunswick. NB is sort of square, andyou can go down one side or the other.

The near/west side is pastoral, along a beautiful, wide, peaceful river, to a semi-boring Fredericton (woith maybe an hour at an art gallery) and then to Saint John, which is OK.

The otehr choice is to drive further east in Quebec and then turn down the eastern shore of NB, through Campbellton and along the seashore, where there's a few beaches, seascapes to look at, with Moncton as your destination.

I've drive from Moncton to Fredericton to Quebec City, going fast and rarely stopping, from 10 am to 6 pm. I've driven many times from a little town two hours east on Quebec City to Moncton, at a more reasonable pace, from 8 am to 6 pm.

Moncton and the Parlee Beach area near Shediac(warm ocean water, whiich is rare and hard to find) is worth a day. And you might want to spend a day at the aprks from Campbellton to Moncton.

If you leave Moncton in the morning you can get to PEI, spend the night there, spend most of the next day there, and then come back to the mainland, in Nova Scotia that evening.

It's pretty much a day's drive at a relaxed pace from there to Cape Breton, and another day to drive around Cape Breton.

Do you want to go back to Halifax?

From Cape Breton,you can go back to NB, or down to Yarmouth and take a ferry back to Maine. Ifyou go back to NB, you can go to Fundy National Park, Saint John, and St Andrews by the Sea, on your way to Maine.

If you do this,you can get into the USA via ferry to Deer Island, then ferry to Camabello Island (US history there) and then bridge to Maine, and it is a lot more interesting that staying on the mainland highways.

Add up the days here, and you'll see a lot of driving and not very much walking around looking at things.You might consider skipping Montreal and Quebec City, or skipping NB, NS and PEI.

A two-week vacation to Montreal, Quebec City, the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal, ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls and back into the USA is a nice circular drive.

As is driving to Maine and taking the ferry to Yarmouth and then driving up to CApe Breton and around and back through Moncton and Funday Park, etc. through Maine again.

BAK
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Mar 25th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Thanks. The 2 weeks does include driving from Virginia. We would either do the Halifax / PEI / NB route, or Montreal / Quebec City. Not both, as we would probably kill each other from all the time in the car.
Thanks to you all!
Where on the Gaspe Penninsula would you go?
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Mar 25th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Re>Where on the Gaspe Penninsula would you go?<

Nowhere.

It's too far to visit on a Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa circle tour, and it's not that different from northern new Brunswick, so there's no real advantage in diring so far to see more of what you already see.

That said, if you insist, the place to see is Perce, on the very easternmost tip. Whale watching, among other things.
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Mar 25th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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Thanks, I don't want to do any more driving than needed!
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Mar 26th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Hi Linda,

I'm going to offer a different option for your 'Eastern Canada' trip [Actually, two options in two different postings].
You should note that both of them involve you driving from Virginia to North Sydney, near the tip of Cape Breton before your adventure actually begins.....quite a long drive.
My suggestion is Newfoundland - Canada's most easterly province just filled with spectacular coastal scenery and a unique culture deeply rooted in Ireland and Great Britain. Hiking opprtunities abound and wildlife can be abundant as well. This would be an excellent early to late-July trip.

Option #1 involves taking the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia on Eastern Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. This would involve some logistical work since this ferry does not run daily. This is a 14 hour 'ocean adventure'. Various levels of accomodation are available on the ferry which can be a good place to rest after your lengthy drive.

Near the Argentia ferry terminal is a former US military base which was opened in the World War 2 era. Just a few miles from the ferry is Castle Hill National Historic Site which has an interpretive centre, archeological dig, and restoration of an old [1700's] French fortress - and a splendid view out over Placentia Bay.

The nearby town of Placentia is celebrating it's French heritage this summer with a variety of concerts etc, although the area is currently totally english -speaking.

Then, for some wonderful scenery, take the 'Cape Shore Highway' south along the coast up and down through a series of valleys and tiny communities and beautiful, rugged coastal landscapes. The 'Hills of the Cape Shore' have been celebrated in story and song for good reason.

50 minutes south of Placentia is the community of St. Bride's. All of this area is predominantly of Irish heritage [as you will tell from the locals' accents and the Irish flags proudly flying...]. St. Bride's is a great spot to spend a night [or two] relaxing, enjoying the sea views, strolling the rocky beach and sheltered harbour and soaking in the local culture. I recommend the Bird Island Resort here for friendly ocean-side lodging.

You will now head east into the 'barrens' , a sub-arctic like environment caused by the wind and fog that often occur here. [July is generally quite pleasant weather - wise in this area...but that is not guaranteed...]. The visits here might remind you or the arctic or of a prairie -like setting....nothing like Virginia!

A few minutes from St. Bride's is one of Canada's natural treasures. Just a few miles from the highway along a decent paved road through the barrens are the cliffs of Cape St. Mary's. The view here on a day that is clear, or when the fog is drifting in and out, is amazing. The cliffs tower 300 feet from the ocean and are covered with nesting seabirds. The 'stars' here are 5500 pairs of Northern Gannets. They mostly nest on a sea-stack 30 feet or less from the cliff edge, a 30 minute , wonderfully scenic,hike from the Interpretive Centre. Picture 11,000 white, golden-headed, birds with 5 1/2 foot wingspans , seemingly almost at arms length at the colony, soaring overhead and plunge-diving into the ocean.It is an experience that you will long remember. The Interpretive Centre and naturalist program here are both very good, offering a glimpse into the eco-system and its challenges. This can also be a good place to see whales along the coast, although there are better places later on this trip.

Then travel east again, skirting St. Mary's Bay toward the 'southern shore' on the eastern side of the Avalon Peninsula. Most of this route traverses scrubby boreal forest and is a good region to spot moose. Stop anywhere along here to breathe in the pristine air and listen to some of the nesting songbirds. Point LaHaye lighthouse offers a scenic lookout just off the main road.

About 2 hours from St. Bride's is the village of St. Vincent's. Pass through the village until you come to a causeway separating the open Atlantic from Holyrood 'pond' [a large body of salt water]. On your right you will see a small paved parking area. Park here and walk the short boardwalk to St. Vincent's Beach. When capelin [little smelt-like fish] are spawning here on the shore this spot is alive with foraging seabirds.
This is also a prime whale watching location. Water here is very deep close to shore and if one is fortunate you might well see Humpback Whales very close by.
Whales, seabirds or not, this is one of our favourite places for a stroll to beachcomb and listen to the surf.

15 or 20 minutes drive from St. Vincent's is the side road to St. Shott's. Just a short way down this road you will see a small track road to Cape Pine. This is an excellent area to find some of the several thousand Woodland Caribou that roam this region. More than once we've had to stop our vehicles here as caribou sauntered down the road before us. Stop along here, get out and wander the barrens a bit.[Walking with the caribou....] Everything is dwarfed. Orchids grow 3 or 4 inches high and the small spruce that fill many of the depressions might be easily 200 years old. Insect -eating Pitcher Plants abound and the barrens are dotted with other tiny wildflowers. You might scare up a willow ptarmigan or get to watch the moth like flight of a short-eared owl hunting across the barrens.
The end of this fairly short road offers the historic Cape Pine lighthouse and more marvellous scenery.

I need to take a break now but will continue this later.
Note that the TOTAL driving time for the Newfoundland portion of this trip so far if done at one time is about FOUR HOURS. Of course then you would not have a chance to savour all of these wonderful places.

cheers
Jerry
Toronto
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Mar 26th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Wow, lots of great suggestions!
Thanks!
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