October Trip to Toronto & Montreal

Jul 28th, 2011, 01:40 PM
  #1  
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October Trip to Toronto & Montreal

Although I am a long time Fodorite, this is my first posting in the Canada Forum. Flying into Toronto in October and plan to spend about two weeks in Canada with a stop in Kingston for a day or two on the way to Montreal on Via.

At this time I am asking you to look over my Toronto trip outline which is flexible.

First full day in Toronto is Saturday. We plan to visit St. Lawrence Market, Harbourfront Center & Music Garden, CN Tower, St. James Cathederal and the Historic Distillery District. We like to walk the cities we visit but also use public transit and taxis when nesessary.

Sunday takes us to Kensington Market, Chinatown, a stroll on Spadina Street and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The next day is Thanksgiving Day. We are taking the Ward Ferry to Toronto Islands, back to Union Station, Dundas Square, St. Michaels Cathederal, McKenzie House, Eaton Center, City Hall and Allen Gardens. This seems to be a lot to do one one day but in some instances we are just walking by rather than actually visiting.

Tuesday our plan is Fort York, PATH, Desigh Exchange, TD Center and the First Post Office.

Wednesday to the Royal Ontario Museum, Queens Park, Ontario Legislative Building, University of Toronto, Art Center and Hart House and Casa Loma.

Thursday to the Ontario Science Center, Edwards Gardens plus Greektown and Little India.

Friday to the Zoo.

Saturday can be a day to catch the things we missed or it can be a day of just wandering.

Have not considered hotels yet but seen to favor the downtown area which seems quite large. Also we hope to see some leaf color but this is not the main reason for this trip. It would be a nice bonus if there is some color though. We would also like to fit more neighborhood flavor into our visit for instance, Little Italy, Yorkville, Annex and/or Cabbagetown.

Our schedule is flexible in Toronto as it is for the remainder of our trip. Please give me you ideas and suggestions. I will be back for more advice on Kingston and Montreal.
MSheinberg is offline  
Jul 28th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Wow, you have certainly done your homework. I think your itinerary looks fine. As you say, much of it is walking, and you can always adjust the itinerary as you go.

I would include a walk along Bloor St from Avenue Road to Yonge , and also the section of the Path under this area. For sure go to Yorkville.

Have fun.
kodi is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 07:01 AM
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Thank you Kodi for your comments.

Where are you other Canadians? Does anyone live in Toronto?
MSheinberg is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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I'd say you're trying to do too much on the Wednesday and Thursday but aside from that, you're doing pretty well.
knickerbocker is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Here I am....I'm a native Torontonian!

You can check http://www.toronto.com/thingstodo closer to your travel date.

Casa Loma, the Art Gallery and the Museum ARE a lot in one day unless you plan not to go in?

The Design Exchange is in the PATH and it also connects to the Eaton Centre (Dundas Square is across the road from the Eaton Centre), City Hall, the bus station, Union Station, The Bay, 3 subway stations, 8 or nine food courts, pubs, pricey restaurants, etc etc...a few hotels, too...The Sheraton, The Royal York, The Hilton - the Strathcona is almost part of it. Tourists are always getting lost in there ...but you won't starve!

Ward's Island has a restaurant called The Rectory - it has a patio among the trees facing the Lake - it might be warm enough in October to sit out there but I'd take a jacket to the island in October even if you just want to walk from Ward's to Centre Island or Hanlan's Point...there is bike rental but I'm not sure it'll be operating in October. There's Bixi bikes for rent in the central part of the city https://toronto.bixi.com/

The Distillery is east of the Market and has a good coffee shop called Balzac's - you can walk to it from the Market, St. James Cathedral is just north of the Market. Then go to Harbourfront and the Music Garden; if you walk to the Lake via Sherbourne Street, you'll pass two new parks called Sherbourne Commons and Sugar Beach. There's a walking path at the foot of the Commons which partly gets you to Harbourfront but Redpath Sugar gets in the way.

Besides Little Italy on College Street, there's Corso Italia on St. Clair West, west of Dufferin - it's the more Italian of the two.

Are you going to Allan Gardens to visit the Greenhouses? Carlton Street is the north end of the park nearest to the greenhouses - Carlton leads east to Cabbagetown - it comprises "the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America", according to the Cabbagetown Preservation Association. Riverdale Park in Cabbagetown has a small farm.

October the leaves will be changing - take the subway across the Bloor Viaduct (or walk it) between Castle Frank station and Broadview. High Park should have lots of colour by then, too. http://www.highpark.org/GIF,%20JPG%2...p_highpark.pdf but trees all over the city will be changing. The zoo should be colourful, too.

There's a free bus outside Broadview Subway Station which will take you down to the Brickworks - http://ebw.evergreen.ca/ - Sundays there's an antique market but I'm not sure it'll be running in October so check the website. Saturdays there's a market which should be busy the weekend of Thanksgiving.

You like to walk so if you feel like joining a local walking group check http://www.torontofieldnaturalists.org/v-walks.htm (free) or the Bruce Trail which has free walks in the city, too. https://media6.magma.ca/www.torontob...indexhttps.php. Too bad that ROM and Heritage Toronto free walks are over for the year by October.

The Ontario Legislature is called Queen's Park - there is a park but it's nothing special...it's very near the Museum.

I wonder if Edwards Gardens is worth the trip in October?

Starting at City Hall, you could walk west along Queen - lots of shops and people watching along that route - you can keep going as far as High Park but you'd have to start early. It's an interesting walk though.
Morningglory47 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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I agree with Knickerbocker. On Wed you could get hung up at the museum for quite awhile, which would be ok.. and you could also spend a lot of time at Casa Loma.

On Thurs, you'd have to have an early start at the Science centre, and try to get at Edwards Gardens by mid afternoon. I could spend hours there. So perhaps plan on Greektown for supper and early evening.

I've already mentioned Yorkville, but I want to add Cabbagetown. I agree with trying to add it in. It would be my choice.

I really do think you've done an excellent job in researching. I don't live in Toronto anymore, but I'm not far from it.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.
kodi is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 07:58 PM
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Good stuff people. This is the kind of information I am looking for. I can now do some fine tuning and that free Saturday will now be used.

I still have time to complete my itinerary, select a hotel, etc before October. Right now I am trying to determine time frames so we can book flights.

How far in advance do I have to purchase train tickets to go Montreal? Is this something I can do at the last minute as it will give me more flexibility with our plan.

Thanks again, and keep the comments coming.
MSheinberg is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 08:05 PM
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Curious as to why you have decdied to take the train. Why not fly Toronto/Montreal on Air Canada or West Jet or Porter?
OceanBreeze1 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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MSheinberg--I've been able to get tickets on the Toronto-Montreal train purchased the day before, even the day of travel. Do be aware though that the closer one gets to the travel date, the more expensive it can be. However, I don't think I'd chance a last-minute purchase if it happens to be on a busy travel day (Friday of Labour Day weekend for example). It's a lovely ride, especially for the first half on your way to your first stop Kingston--enjoy! (If you feel like splurging, I've enjoyed being coddled on VIA1... with a several course meal .)

Cheers, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Jul 30th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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As a born and bred Torontonian, I am impressed! You have certainly done your homework. If you are interested in live theatre, there is certainly lots of it in Toronto. You may be interested in attending a show. Of course there are lots of sporting events as well. Just check online to see what is available. I hope you enjoy our city.
prinret is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 05:21 PM
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Agree with Daniel about VIA 1 - it's often sold out so a good idea to purchase early.
Morningglory47 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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Taking the train for several reasons. One is that we thought we would see more of the Canadian countryside on the train rather than from the air. Also, the train eliminates the airport hassles.

We are also thinking of stopping in Kingston for a day or so in order to see 1000 Lakes Region. Not much info on the net about this area. I have a library stop scheduled in the next day or two to gather some information. Can anyone out there give me some help on this. Do we need a car, where to stay, is it really worth the time?
MSheinberg is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 05:50 AM
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Hi - It's 1000 Islands, not lakes - http://www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/

Kingston, IMHO, is an okay place for an overnight stop.
Morningglory47 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 08:22 AM
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Thanks mornimgglory47, I did see this site but thought that it is not very informative. Any other suggestios? Have you been to Kingston, do we need a car to enjoy the area?
MSheinberg is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 09:11 AM
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MSheinberg-- I went to Kingston without a car for a day trip and had a good time; the center of town is quite compact and there are buses/taxis that can get you there from the train station. There's a good bit to see within walking distance (fort, John A. McDonald House, Queen's campus, waterfront). However, if you wish to explore *the area* more fully than what central Kingston has to offer, a car I suspect would be necessary.
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Jul 31st, 2011, 06:28 PM
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Hi MSheinberg,
We just returned from a trip to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa & Thousand Islands. I plan on writing a trip report, hopefully tomorrow. We only spent 2 days in Toronto, one day was visiting relatives & the other day was sightseeing on the Hop On/Hop Off bus, which I recommend as a good way to see a lot of the city in one day & then you can decide where you want to return & spend more time. We took the boat tour of the Harbour Islands, had lunch in the Historic Distillery district, & had a tour of Casa Loma, which we love!! It is beautiful!!!

Can you rent a car to drive to Montreal? We had our car, & took a detour through Prince Edward County & Kingston on our way to Ottaway. In Kingston, we toured Fort Henry, which we enjoyed immensely. We then spent 4 nights in Ottawa, then spent our last night in Gananoque on the St. Lawrence River. We took the 2 1/2 hour boat cruise of the Thousand Islands, which are beautiful. We saw a play at the Thousand Island Playhouse in Gananoque, Lend me a Tenor, which was hilarious. We stayed at the Victoria Rose Inn, which is lovely. Kingston is only 30 minutes away, so you could combine both places, if you wish.
Kwoo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 07:12 PM
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I don't drive so mostly walked in Kingston - although I think maybe there was a hop on, hop off bus...or maybe I took regular transit to Sir John A's home but walked back downtown. Took a one or two hour river cruise, too.

A place you might like to eat - Zal Yanovsky http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zal_Yanovsky, of the '60s group the Lovin' Spoonful, owned a restaurant in Kingston; his daughter runs it now - it's Chez Piggy...there's a bakery, too. http://www.chezpiggy.com/about/
Morningglory47 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 07:33 PM
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The bakery that's the sister of Chez Piggy is a great place for lunch. We didn't have reservations but it was just a short wait and the shop is interesting to browse in. There are some lovely B&Bs in Kingston. Here's a website: http://www.historicinnskingston.com/index.cfm?page=inns

We stayed at the Secret Garden Inn which was charming but I hear the Frontenac Club is lovely.

Re train or plane to Montreal, I'd suggest Porter Airlines. The train trip isn't all that interesting, view-wise, and by taking Porter (which is a lovely airline) you'll leave from the Island Airport (now called Billy Bishop Airport) and avoid the hassle at Pearson. It's really worth having the extra time in Montreal.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 07:51 PM
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Thank you everyone. Lot's of good information.
MSheinberg is offline  
Aug 1st, 2011, 07:38 AM
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I believe the bakery/restaurant sister restaurant goddesstogo refers to is Pan Chancho, whose tasty brunch and charming ambience put me in good spirits for my day of exploring in Kingston.
Daniel_Williams is online now  

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