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Niagara/Toronto to Quebec & Maybe Montreal--need advice

Niagara/Toronto to Quebec & Maybe Montreal--need advice

Jul 19th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Niagara/Toronto to Quebec & Maybe Montreal--need advice

Warning: This will be long with lots of questions!

DH and I decided to take a last minute trip to Niagara Falls before school starts up in August. We have two boys(12 & 14) who would be seeing the falls for the first time. After several days of talking and researching various options, we finally arrived at the following rough itinerary:
Fly into Buffalo Fri night the 10th, spend the night. Sat am, rent a car & drive to Niagara Falls. I think we will stop first at the American Side so we can do Cave of the Wind, the state park & Maid of the Mist. Then we'll cross over to the Canadian side to see the view there as I've heard it is nicer.

We will drive on to Toronto that afternoon (Sat), maybe taking a detour through some of the wineries/orchards or NOTL. It depends on how long it takes to do the Niagara stuff.

Get to Toronto on Saturday evening. Spend all day Sun in Toronto.

Monday can be another day in Toronto or we can board the train for Quebec City.

Tuesday will either be the train to QC or a day spent in QC

We will ultimately end up renting a car in QC and driving to NYC where we will catch a flight back home on Saturday the 18th. It looks like we will have 7 full days, but one of them will be spent on the train from Toronto to QC. We'll get to QC in time to have dinner and walk around a bit but not do anything major.

A little bit about us and our interests: DH and I are very intrigued by all of the ethnic areas in Toronto, especially the food. Our boys are a little picky but always manage to find something they will eat. They love Indian, Thai, Chinese & Sushi. DH and I love museums, history, art, architecture, & cultural attractions. The boys do pretty well getting dragged to all of that and even enjoy it a bit but they can't go as long as we can. We need to plan for down time and just hanging out. We're not rugged outdoors types but we do enjoy scenic parks and I love touring botanical gardens.

Niagara and QC are the two must do places and we're pretty flexible in between.

Question 1: Will 1 full day be enough to do Niagara Falls?
Question 2: How many days should we allow in Toronto? 1 day? 2 days?
Q3: How many days in QC? 2 or 3?
Q4: Should I try to fit in Montreal? Or perhaps skip Toronto and do Montreal instead?

Any suggestions are welcome!
raleighjayne is offline  
Jul 19th, 2012, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I can speak for Montreal. You will definitely be very pleased with the ethnic districts. China town, little Italy, le plateau district has little of everything in European style district. Old Montreal and the old port. Is more french oriented and you will find lot of history.Wonderful choice of museums such as the museum of fine arts and so many more, look them up on line. If you have children the Imax Science Centre at the old port is always a favorite. You could even see le cirque du soliel at the old port. The botanical garden in Montreal located by the Olympic park is very pretty! And for the boys the Biodome which is very close by is something you should look into. You could visit the underground city or walk around St.Catherine St. where you could see old and new architecture sharing the same place. Personally, Toronto is not one of my favorite places. Quebec city is very pretty maybe two days.it a little bit of Europe in Canada. Maybe even visit Chateau or go to a ice wind vineyard. Ottawa is a one maybe two day stop. You could visit the market and parliament hill. I like Ottawa but there isn't all that much to do. You do have a choice of museums and history, so I would choose a tour, go to the
market and move on. I would look up the different places I mentioned and pick and choose what would
interest your family. Hope this helps
Maria_Giraldi is offline  
Jul 19th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Oh sorry I meant to say visit an ice wine vineyard in Quebec city
Maria_Giraldi is offline  
Jul 19th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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There are several "kinks" in your plan...

#1. when you fly into Buffalo, you are only 30 minutes from Niagara Falls... you should go to the falls when you arrive, especially since Fridays offer concerts and fireworks at 10pm...get a room on the Canadian side... Saturday, I would walk across the Rainbow bridge to Maid of the Mist and Goat Island for Cave of the Winds (this is the Nature of the Falls)

2. You will not be able to rent a car at Buffalo airport and leave it in Canada, and at the end of the trip rent in QC and leave it in NYC... You could get a car service from the airport to the Falls and possibly rent in the Falls and leave the car in Toronto OR take the train from Niagara to Toronto(better choice)...

3 if you want to see a great botanical garden, its along the Niagara Parkway on the way to Niagara on the Lake... you could use the peoplemover busses ...

4 the best attraction at Niagara on the lake(especially for teens) is the Whirlpool Jet Boats... be sure to include this into your plan... don't skip this, it will be the highlight of your entire trip...

Since this may be confusing, let me suggest a slightly different itinerary...

Friday 8/10... arrive Buffalo... car service to Niagara hotel on Canadian side... concert and fireworks

Saturday 8/11 ...hotel Bfast... walk across rainbow bridge... buy Niagara Discovery Passes for Maid of the Mist,peoplemover and Cave of the Winds... gawk at Falls ... lunch and wander back across bridge to Hotel.... Take tour to Niagara on the Lake(bus or private car) and include Whirlpool Jet Boat for entire Family(don't miss this).. you could also include a stop at the botanical garden and two wineries... return to hotel for evening events and more fireworks...

Sunday 8/12 ... Hotel Bfast and board train to Toronto... check into Hotel... use public transportation in Toronto(family pass is $10.50 on Sunday) ... CN Tower, waterfront, neighborhoods

Now the big difference

Monday 8/13... TRAIN Toronto to montreal Hotel and balance of Monday in Montreal

Tuesday 8/14 day in Montreal until boarding of BUS to QC (try a later bus and late check-in in QC)

Wed 8/15 and Thur 8/16 Quebec City

Friday 8/17... Travel day BUS QC to MONTREAL... train to Niagara

Sat 8/18... fly home from Buffalo

NOTE: the trip from QC to NYC (besides not being able to cross country drop a car) is grueling... The NYC airports are impossible compared to Buffalo... it may be cheaper to fly round trip Buffalo and never rent a car than your current plan...

when we did this trip, we had a travel company do the train,hotels, bus, Montreal/QC portion as a 5-day package including city tours and some meals in those cities... all we had to do was show up..

Think about it...
garyt22 is online now  
Jul 19th, 2012, 02:00 PM
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Gary, thanks for the advice. I talked to somebody at Avis and it appears that I can do the rental car in Buffalo and leave it in Toronto, but not from Quebec to the US. I was a bit afraid of that. I think the Buffalo to Toronto is probably a pretty common request so perhaps that's why the do that one.

We were trying to avoid having to spend an entire day getting back to Buffalo but I will obviously have to rethink. There is a train from Montreal to NYC so I will have to check that out as well. Or from Montreal to Albany then to Buffalo. I guess at the very least we'd have different scenery to look at. lol

Off to do some more research and I may pick your brain again!
raleighjayne is offline  
Jul 19th, 2012, 04:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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that may work better for you to have a car for Buffalo, Niagara, Niagara on the Lake and then leave it parked at the rental agency in Toronto(maybe for free) and then round trip to QC... then return, get the car and drive it back to Buffalo... also as I said Buffalo/RDU is much easier...

(we did 5 years BUF/RDU for our son's NC State dream)

good luck planning...
garyt22 is online now  
Jul 21st, 2012, 04:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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You are planning a trip that needs 10 days to two weeks minimum. Considering the distances involved and the complications of crossing borders, I suggest some realistic pruning of your ambitions. To start, you might discard Quebec City (great destination, but too far to travel.) Flying home from Montreal makes sense. The plane fare will likely be more than from Buffalo, but Montreal-Buffalo by land will cost you a day's travel.
Another idea: Go straight to your Canadian hotel from the Buffalo airport. You can do the Maid of the Mist from that side of the falls. If you still want to visit the Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries, you won't have time for anything else in the area.
Southam is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:37 AM
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You might also check airfare home from Burlington VT instead of Montreal. It is usually less expensive. There are buses that go from the city to the Burlington airport.

I am another person who would pick Montreal over Toronto. There are many good ethnic restaurants there, too and many good museums plus a botanical garden.

Why is Quebec City a must for you?
Vttraveler is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2012, 06:33 AM
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southam--yes, you're right. We ended up dropping Montreal & Quebec out of the trip. I spent a month in QC and Montreal in college and have been wanting to get back there for years. It was wishful thinking to tack it on to a trip to Niagara. Another trip.

We booked a flight into Buffalo and out of NYC and we will take the train from Buffalo to NYC. We'll spend a few days in Niagara Falls, a few in Toronto and then the rest of the time in NYC. I think we will just hit a few things in Toronto--CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame and a neighborhood or two.

Gary--hope your son enjoyed his time at NC State. The Triangle is a really great place to be. And thanks for the Whirlpool Jet Boat suggestion--we're definitely going to do that.
raleighjayne is offline  
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