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Ottawa, Montreal, or Quebec??

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Jan 18th, 2013, 05:36 PM
  #1
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Ottawa, Montreal, or Quebec??

I'm planning my first driving trip to Canada for this summer 2013 and will start in Toronto to visit friends, but will then drive east stopping in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. I've been reading travel books but want to get another perspective. Question: which city should I spend more time in?? I like history, food, nature, parks, beer pubs, scenic views [I'm a photographer], music. I also like exploring other cultures and vibrant neighborhoods & waterfronts, etc.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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What's your time frame? I'd ballpark spending half your non-Toronto time in Montreal and dividing the remainder between Ottawa and Quebec (maybe favouring Quebec). Is there room for Kingston in your plans? Certainly, it has the history covered with Fort Henry

u
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Jan 19th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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UTour

Thanks for your response. My timeline is 2 or more days in each city.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 06:06 AM
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UTour Thanks for your response. My timeline is 2 or more days in each city.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 07:45 AM
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2 or more? What does more mean exactly? up to 10 days? 20 days?

Not sure how much time you have but for the CITIES I'd suggest 2/3 days in Ottawa, 4 days in Quebec and 4 days in Montreal.
As it's a road trip and you want to photograph scenery won't you want to spend more time outside the cities too?
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Jan 19th, 2013, 08:01 AM
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Hi utrechtman,

I was more getting at whether there was an overall timeframe you have post-Toronto?

You can drive Toronto-Ottawa in about 5-6 hours highway driving along the 401/416 combination. While time-effective, like all major highways it's kind of dry. Personally, I'd split it up with Kingston as a break point, taking the Loyalist Parkway through Prince Edward County along this route:

http://bit.ly/Toronto-Kingston

This has the added bonus of being a more scenic drive as well as having a number of well-regarded wineries which you can find more about here:

http://bit.ly/Wine-Country-PEC

Taking the old highway along the shore of the St. Lawrence from Kingston as far as Prescott is again more engaging and would only add about a half-hour to your drive time to Ottawa as opposed to going by way of the 401/416.

http://bit.ly/Kingston-Ottawa

Well worth visiting along that route are the Thousand Islands around Gananoque.

Ottawa itself isn't my strong suit and I'll stand correction but I think 2 days would be more than enough there (perhaps leaning toward a bit too much unless there's something specific you have in mind). The changing of the guard on Parliament Hill is always a sight to see.

Montreal could be done in two days though I think you'd be seriously shortchanging it to try to do so. OTTOMH, I'd say 4 days would give you a decent taste although (like Toronto) you'd just be scratching the surface. 3 days in Quebec City (old city) would be similar to Montreal as there's much in the surrounding area that's also worth visiting.

So, I would suggest an itinerary like this:

Day 1: Toronto-Kingston
Day 2: Kingston-Ottawa
Day 3: Ottawa-Montreal
Day 4: Montreal
Day 5: Montreal
Day 6: Montreal
Day 7: Montreal-Quebec City
Day 8: Quebec City
Day 9: Quebec City

Now the above is admittedly a slacker's schedule taking in the scenic drives. This schedule's a bit more direct:

Day 1: Toronto-Ottawa
Day 2: Ottawa-Montreal
Day 3: Montreal
Day 4: Montreal
Day 5: Montreal-Quebec City
Day 6: Quebec City

HTH
u
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Jan 19th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Very good advice from Utour. I am more enthusiastic about Ottawa because of the national art gallery and several museums. But all four cities can claim such attractions. All have appetizing restaurants and a growing taste for brewpubs and microbreweries.
In Quebec City the daily changing of the guard parade at the citadel on the Plains of Abraham is a colourful ceremony, but only operates when the weather is good (the soldiers' tall fur hats don't like getting wet.) I wish you a good time at all your destinations.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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All 3 cities are great, but they all have a different vibe, so it depends on what you want. In a nutshell:
Montreal is by far the biggest. It is a city noted for dining, shopping, ethnic neighborhoods, festivals, large European style markets, beautiful parks and great bike paths.
Ottawa is the city of museums, the parlament, the funky Byward market and also great bike/walking trails.
Quebec City is all about the spectacular views, and the 17th century European style architecture.
Since Montreal is so much larger, I would try and spend a little more time there.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 01:47 PM
  #9
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Thanks all for your suggestions. Much appreciated.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 11:28 AM
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If you want to photograph beautiful outdoor scenery then drive from Toronto to Ottawa on Highway 60 which cuts through Algonquin Provincial Park, stop at Killarney Lodge for lunch on Lake of Two Rivers. Once in Ottawa take a hike in Gatineau Park for more gorgeous scenery.
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