first time in Canada

Feb 29th, 2004, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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first time in Canada

Hello,
please shed some light for me. I'm planning 7 days vacation to Canada, would love to visit two cities: Montreal and Quebeck. I'm looking for a suite/appartment with kitchen. 3 adults and 1 very well behaved 7 yrs old kid. June 12, 2004 for 6-7 nights. Questions:

?Which city to stay, Quebeck or Montreal? (from Minneapolis where I live to Montreal is non-stop flight, 2.5 hours vs MSP to Quebeck - at least one stop and 5 hrs flight)

?How long does it take to get from Montreal to Quebeck by train?

?Is it agood idea to stay at Montreal and have day-long side trips to Quebeck and Mont-Tremblant?

? "not-to-miss" sights in these cities in mid-june.

Thank you!
Igor
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Feb 29th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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First, Quebec is spelled without the "k".

Second, I think you should plan your stay at Montreal. It's a larger city with more stuff to do. You can do day trip, or better yet, an overnight trip to Quebec City. It's 3 hours by train or by bus. About 2.5 by car.
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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Hi, no offence - I know how to spell Quebec, it was a typo. Thanks for your advice.
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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5 times in a row is a typo?
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:37 PM
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wow
 
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5?
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Feb 29th, 2004, 06:40 PM
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wow
 
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rkkwan: You're faster than I am! I was counting while you were posting! I meant the same as you did!
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Feb 29th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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Cripes. You guys or gals sound like the European Forum editorial goon squad. Cut some slack.

Igor, I think Quebec City is worth more than a day trip. The city is quite historical, and there are some sights to see outside of town. The Chutes Montmorency is/are one of the most spectacular waterfalls I have visited.
(Niagra is a special case of course because of the huge volume of water.
Kakabeka Falls is another one in Canada that is spectacular as well.)
There area is developed with viewing areas; a footbridge goes directly over the brink of the falls. No place for someone afraid of heights, but it is a spectacular view: straight down to the brink and plunge basin.

The old town part of the city is a neat place to tour, and the Plains of Abraham Battlefield is worth a tour. The multimedia description of the battle presented in the visitor center is well worth attending. It is in English as well as French.

The cathedral down river at Ste. Anne de Beaupre is interesting. Some feel it is not all that impressive, but it is a historical entity non the less.

Give a Quebec a little more than a look see for 4 hours; I think it is worth it.
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Feb 29th, 2004, 07:18 PM
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Thank you! I appreciate your time to answer. I'm reading a travel guide right now, I think you're right, I should plan more time to visit QUEBEC.

Igor
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Mar 1st, 2004, 03:40 AM
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Looking for lodging in Montreal, the Springhill Suites Old Montreal has micro., fridge., sink in all their suites and plenty of room for 3.
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Mar 1st, 2004, 05:40 AM
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I too think you should maybe spend more time in Quebec. It's touristy - but in a fun kind of way. To me the obvious place to stay is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.

In Montreal the 2 places we really like are the Biodome http://www.biodome.qc.ca/

and the botanical garden
http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/menu.htm

Rent a car and drive between the two cities. We've been to Mont Tremblant in the winter but not in the summer, although it looks like it would be fun in the summer too.

 
Mar 1st, 2004, 08:51 AM
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I would suggest 4-5 nights in Montreal, 1-2 nights in Quebec City. Montreal is a very big, lively city, Quebec City is smaller, but very scenic and much like an old French city.
In Montreal the child will love the Biodome and the Olympic Park. On the waterfront at the old city, you can rent a family sized pedal cart and tour the long prominade, with many things to see on the piers. You can also take a boat ride on the St. Laurence river. You should also check to see if any festivals are happening while you are there - Montreal has some kind of festival nearly every week.
As for Quebec City, just walking around the very old streets and stopping at an outdoor cafe is fun. The Plains of Abraham is a beautiful park just outside the city walls, and you can visit the old fort located there. If it is a rainy day, visit the Musueum of Civilization in the lower city. This museum is a VERY interesting science and history museum that your child will love.
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Mar 1st, 2004, 05:51 PM
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Thank you much!
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Mar 1st, 2004, 06:21 PM
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Well, I'd skip Quebec City.

My advice is to fly to Montreal, and after a few days there, rent a car or take the train, and go to Ottawa.

From the point of view of american tourists, there is no real difference between visiting Old Montreal and visiting Quebec City, except for the fun of a ride on the funicular in QC, which is sort of an angled elevator that goes from upper town Quebec City to lower town.

In both places, you walk around, look at old buildings, get entertained by street performers, eat good food, and see a river. In Quebec City you can take a ferry boat ride.

But if you skip Quebec City and go to Ottawa, first of all, you get to see the capital city of Canda. Ottawa is full of many museums, including the museum of civilization, which has a great children's section the severn-year old will enjoy. There's a military museum and an aviation museum, and several more museyums, too, most with kid-friendly exhibits.

In Ottawa you can take a boat trip on the Ottawa River, and there are urban parks that kids enjoy.

Ottawa is a great city for children, and for adults, too.

Five days Montreal and two Ottawa, or four and three, would be my suggestion.

In Montreal, the bug museum (insectarium) is a place the child will enjoy. Bring a magnifying glass with you. You can get a multi-ticket to the biodome and insectarium.

BAK
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Mar 2nd, 2004, 04:46 AM
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BAK, I disagree about Quebec City. The old city in Montreal is from the same time period as Quebec City, but is much smaller, and is not nearly as scenic as Quebec City. Quebec City, in my opinion, is the most beautiful city in North America.
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Mar 2nd, 2004, 08:43 AM
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Re>old city in Montreal is from the same time period as Quebec City, but is much smaller, and is not nearly as scenic as Quebec City<

I don't think a seven year old would care, so why should the kid get subjected to even more old buildings when all the kid-friendly attractions of Ottawa beckon?
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Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:15 PM
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It's my first visit to Canada, not the last. I'm sure I'll visit both cities, either this time or next. Thank you both!
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:28 PM
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We enjoyed Quebec more than Montreal, as it has much more character. Montmorency Falls are spectacular, and you could spend an entire day driving the loop around Isle D'Orleans, an island 20 minutes from Quebec City full of scenic farm villages, quaint shops, and roadside vendors selling the sweetest strawberries you'll ever taste! Montreal is okay, but just another big city in my book. The same goes for Vancouver; we much prefer smaller Victoria to the west with its slower pace and English charm.
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Mar 16th, 2004, 04:24 AM
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I'm going to revive this thread!
BAK did you have a particularly bad experience in Quebec City, or do you just not know the city very well? I could argue Quebec's merits with you, but will leave it to the experts instead:
To those with children who read this forum and are travelling with children, you should know that Quebec city was chosen the *best* place in Canada to raise a family by Today's Parent, in part because of the parks, museums, and and activities available to families. To any travellers visiting Quebec, you should know that Conde Nast readers voted Quebec City the *No1* tourist destination in North America last year. Sure, I am biased: my friends and family adore living here - and all of our visitors love it as well. It is a safe, charming, beautiful, friendly, historic, fascinating city - without the rush, pollution, noise, and hassles of the big city.

Have a great trip, Igor, wherever you decide to go.

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Mar 16th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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Quebec City is fine for rich people who want to spend a fortune on food, but you can do that in Montreal, too.

And it's fine for people who want to walk around and look at old buildings, but you can do that in Montreal, too.

And maybe it's a good place to raise a family, but that's not why tourists are there.

It's not a bad place for non-rich people to eat, either, but not as good a place as Montreal, home of Schwartz', and Ottawa, home of Zak's.

And there are a few good hotels, and a kid would love the castle-like Chateau F. But there are lots of good hotels in Montreal, too.

You can leave Quebec City and go visit a nice falls; you can leave Montreal and go visit nice mountains.

Quebec City is a fine place; I lost an expensive pen there once, but that's as bad an experience as I've ever had. I've been warmly welcomed at Laval, and warmly welcomed at the Chateau, and eaten many great meals there.

The problem, in this case, is that the travellers have limited time, a kid who is seven and not going to find joy in the subtle differences between Hochelaga and Stadacona, and would have more fun, more easily, in Montreal and Ottawa, than in Montreal and Quebec City.

For a seven year old, there's nothing important in Quebec City the kid can't enjoy equally well in Montreal, and Ottawa offers the bonus of the Museum of Civilization and the Aviation Museum.

Plus Montreal has the insectarium.

There's nothing wrong with Quebec City as a tourist destination, on an absolute basis. It's on a relative basis, compared to other options and taking into account a kid's interests, that makes it less than optimum.

BAK
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Mar 16th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Just to add a little unnecessary backup to what BAK is saying, I regard Ottawa as one of the most undersold, underrated destinations in North America. Like Old Quebec City, it is wonderfully walkable. While it has plenty of amenities for visitors, it remains very affordable and it is not quite as dominated by tourism, in my view.

Ottawa's Byward Market is one of the more well-integrated street markets I've visited in terms of its harmony with the other permanent retail and I consider it a pretty decent case study in how to do things right in that department. The museums provide some interesting diversions and Parliament Hill adds a special ambiance, along with the stately Chateau Laurier.

Check out the manually operated locks on the Rideau Canal or meet a genuine RCMP member in full dress uniform. Catch the morning parade up Parliament Hill and then enjoy a performance by the band on the lawn. Take an evening ghost tour that begins on the Sparks Street pedestrian mall.

I have to agree that for a kid (and even me), Ottawa would be my pick if I had to choose between that and QC -- but both are great and both are worth more than a day trip, too.
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