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Halifax / Montréal / Toronto - how many days in each?

Halifax / Montréal / Toronto - how many days in each?

Old Aug 15th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Halifax / Montréal / Toronto - how many days in each?

Hi all,
We fly into Halifax and out of Toronto, in early October. 15 nights in total.

Initial thoughts are to catch 'The Ocean' train from Halifax to Montréal, where we rent a car to drive to Toronto, possibly via Algonquin Nat'l Park.

I've spent time in Toronto before, but my partner hasn't, so we'll be visiting Niagara Falls etc and doing some exploring.

In terms of countryside, we like scenery and gentle hikes. In cities, we like to wander about, taking in some form of culture (be it movies or museums) and are not going to have a huge budget for fine dining!

I know this is all rather vague, but I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on how we should divide our time? We are both in our early 30s.

Thanks very much,

Claire
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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There are so many ways you can split this up, it's not even funny.

Nova Scotia & around is great for scenery & gentle hikes. You could potentially take the Ocean to Charny, on the outskirts of Quebec City (buses wait to take you into the town). I think that might be an idea; rent a car in QC, which you'll want to visit, then you won't be backtracking.

Halifax itself: 2 days
rent a car to visit:
(South Shore, Nova Scotia): 1 day
(or maybe Cape Breton Isl.): 2-3 days
(or maybe PEI): 2-3 days
Ocean train: 1 day
Quebec City: 2 days
Charlevoix area N of QC (hiking): 1 day
Montreal: 3 days
Ottawa: 1 day
Toronto w/1 day in Niagara: 3 days


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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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Sorry hit post my reply too soon. Anyhow, these are just some suggestions and there certainly are other side trips you could consider (esp. in Maritimes); I haven't been to Cape Breton or PEI, so that part is going by hearsay.

Enjoy! DAN

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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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I would spend 3 nights in Halifax, 4 in Montreal and 4 in Toronto. With an overnight on the train, that's 12 nights.

I think that it's a great idea to travel to Toronto through Algonquin Park. In early October the colours of the leaves will be spectacular, and this will give you a sense of the vast Canadian Shield.

For the remaining 3 nights, I would urge you to spend two in Ottawa, which has some great attractions, and the third enroute from Ottawa to Toronto in Muskoka--look at places such as Huntsville, Bracebridge or Gravenhurst.

Here's some further information on Ottawa, Algonquin Park and Muskoka:

http://www.capcan.ca/bins/ncc_web_co...d=16297&lang=1

http://www.ottawatourism.ca/forms/index.asp?intSite=1

http://www.muskoka-tourism.on.ca/

http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/

Enjoy your visit
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 05:53 AM
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That's brilliant - thanks so much for replying

I hadn't thought about QC, will investigate! - and I forgot to mention I've already been to Ottawa, so we might skip that this time...I'm really enjoying planning this trip. Trying to strike a balance between seeing as much as possible, without tearing around and driving miles each day.

We flew into Calgary and home from Vancouver in Oct 2005 and loved everything about the trip - but are trying to plan a slightly more relaxed one this time.

Although I keep thinking 'sleep when you're dead' ;-)

Claire
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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i'd spend 3-4 nights in halifax. rent a car for one day and travel around to peggy's cove, lunenburg, mahone bay, etc. i stayed at the waverley inn there and it was a great location. just blocks from the cn station so would be easy to get to your train.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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Hi Claire,

Isn't planning fun? Here's another thought if you don't want to go back to Ottawa and want shorter drives each day. If you get off "the Ocean" train in Quebec City, it's a 3-hr. drive to Montreal (headed toward Ontario); after Montreal you could drive 3 hours west to Kingston, a small city (large town?) smack between MTL and TO. I find it charming, friendly and nice-for-strolling with some nice water views (where Saint Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario).

Another hiking idea would be the Laurentians north of Montreal... quite lovely in parts.

BTW trains run regularly between QC & Montreal, and Montreal, Kingston & Toronto, so this is always an option if you wanted to ditch the rental car at one point.

Enjoy the planning! DAN
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Halifax to Montreal to Ottawa to Algonquin Park to Huntsville area to Toronto. (Huntsville is very near Algonquin)

Day trip from Toronto to Niagara and back.

Ottawa is worth a night

BAK
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Old Aug 18th, 2006, 04:43 AM
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We found the area around Halifax much more interesting than the City itself. I would rent a car in Halifax and drive north or south (Peggy's Cove), exploring the coast. Keep the car and drive from Halifax to the Bay of Fundy area (between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Pick up the train in MOncton (about a 3 hour drive from Halifax). Moncton is near Hopewell Rocks and other areas on the Bay of Fundy where you can see the enormous tidal changes. There are lots of places where you could spend a night before and picking up the train there. The train departs Moncton at 5:20 PM (departs Halifax around noon). Hertz has a booth right in the Moncton train station - but there's also an Avis in town.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Hello all,
Thanks so much for all your input, it's much appreciated.

I'm about to book the train, but we're wobbling about visiting QC! And wobbling slightly about the cost of a bedroom on the train. It's more than double the cost of a non-sleeping compartment trip (non-sleeping prob being exactly what will happen if we don't get a bed, I imagine?!)

QC wobbles
We are considering getting off the train at Charny and then the bus into QC. Spend that day and one night in QC and then catch a bus to Montréal, earlyish the following morning.

Questions:
We can buy a ticket from Viarail that includes the add on bus from Charny -> QC, is that going to be easiest or is there another bus service we could consider?

What should we do at 05.15 in QC?! We plan to store our luggage (pre-check-in)at whichever hotel we stay at, so we are free to explore, but I figure 05.15 might be rather early for that!

Looking into QC->Montréal transport, the train is slightly cheaper (by about $2CDN!)- but sold out at the time we would want to go. The Orleans Express bus looks like a good option, it's $49CDN with regular departures. Does that sound like a good idea?

Overall, is going to QC a good idea, for us? I know that's a really ambiguous question. Without wanting to compare 2 cities like QC & Montréal (much like comparing London & Manchester to a non-Brit, I suspect), would we have a vastly different experience of French Canada if we went to both rather than just Montréal?

Train wobbles
The cost v accommodations - that's it.

Question:
We like the idea of the sleep+privacy factors that a bedroom would allow. I would just love some reassurance that Comfort class = really bad idea if you can stretch to sleeper
Comfort Sleeper class = woah, so much better and worth the cost!!

Thanks again!

Claire
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Hi Claire,

Consider a berth if you're concerned about cost. Comfy beds with privacy at night with a button-up curtain. It's a good compromise IMO. Comfort Class I think would be tough for such a long distance.

Yes, go to Quebec City, you won't regret! Yes take Orleans Express; it's as fast as the train, not scenic, reasonably comfortable as far as buses go but only 3 hrs and the price is right. Take the add-on bus from Charny-QC; quickest, easiest way.

Enjoy! DAN
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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We took the train from Montreal and Halifax via the sleeper cars and throughly enjoyed it. I, too, was taken aback by the cost but chalked it up to a once in a lifetime experience. Chatting with fellow passengers in the observation car, the 3 course dinner, the clever design of the compartment... it all added up to a wonderful trip. In the interest of full disclosure, we didn't sleep that well in the berths. They are 5'10" long so big people would be challenged. Also, the train starts and stops at night which woke me a few times. But despite the complaints, we all must have managed to sleep because we awoke to the "last call for breakfast"!
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Thanks so much, Dan & keymom I really appreciate your responses.

Well, we've booked our passage on the Ocean! And we're going to Quebec City!

Dan, the whole train accommodations thing was a bit baffling at first as they don't seem to offer the same classes on all VIA trains. The Ocean doesn't seem to have the berth-with-curtain options - at least not on the train on the particular day we're travelling. So after wobbling and realising all the double bedrooms had sold out (eek!) we had to upgrade(!) slightly, to a 'deluxe double bedroom', which is the same but has a shower - and the cost was only very slightly more, so that was ok.

ltt - we're booked in at the Waverley, which looks like a nice change from the places we normally stay at, thanks for that tip - and renting a car for the day to visit Peggy's Cove/Lunenburg/Mahone Bay looks very likely.

Which reminds me, I need to remember to brush up on my road rules, unlike last year's arrival in Banff, finding myself at a 4-way stop going 'oh no! I can't remember what to do!'

Claire
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