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Really Naive Person about Canada needs driving suggestion

Really Naive Person about Canada needs driving suggestion

Old May 26th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Really Naive Person about Canada needs driving suggestion

My two kids (5 & 7) and hubby are thinking of landing in Toronto in July...and taking eight or so days to drive between there & Montreal...stopping in family lodges, lakes, wherever. As a person who's never visited Canada, is this a decent idea? Are there nice places to stop along the way? We're big hikers, big eaters (my children are rare birds in that they'll eat anything) and keen outdoor lovers. Well, any thoughts welcomed...as you can tell, I'm starting from scratch.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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You can do a lot in 8 days, and you're venture beyond the areas between Toronto and Montreal.

But in between, you can easily spend some time in the Kingston/1000 Island areas, as well as a couple of days in Ottawa.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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Yes, it is a good idea.

You could drive in a circle, from Toronto along the shore of Lake ontario to Kingston, then alongt the St., Lawrence to Montreal, then back orth-west to ottawa, and then west from there through Algonquin park and cottage country to Huntsville, and then back south to Toronto and bback home again.

Lots of good things for little kids to do, from visiting Toronto Illand to swimming at Sandbank Provincial Park to exploring Montreal in a horse-drawn carriage to spending time in the kids' museum in Ottawa, plus lots of hiking along the way.

BAK
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Thanks for your replies. This sounds like a good route! I was reading in a guide book last night that this part of canada is the most populated...does that mean congestion & sprawl...I live right in the middle of that here on the east coast of U.S....or is canadian congestion a whole different beast than U.S. congestion? (embarassing that I've literally traveled the world yet know nothing about the country right next door).
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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The Canadian definition of congested is the same as the US definition. I find Toronto to be one of the most sprawled out cities I have ever seen (don't get me wrong, I love Toronto). It is just as traffic ridden and congested as anywhere on the US east coast.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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Toronto and Montreal (and their suburbs) are bad, but between it's still very rural. Driving the "corridor" between the two metropolitans is NOTHING like going from Baltimore to Boston, where it's all built up; instead it's more like going between Chicago and St. Louis; or Houston/New Orleans. [I chose those examples, as they are all about 350 miles.]

But I agree about Toronto traffic (as well as Montreal) are just as bad as any major US cities.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 12:57 PM
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BAK's Montreal-Ottawa-ALgonquin Park-Toronto route is a great suggestion. Definitely no urban sprawl from Ottawa to Algonquin Park via highway 60. This "northern" route is very scenic. Stop at the Bonnechere Caves near Eganville. Highway 7 between Ottawa and Peterborough is also scenic. The least scenic route is to stick to highway 401. It will take you a lot longer when going to Montreal but I recommend old Highway 2 from Toronto to Montreal. It passes through lots of pretty little towns.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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JMM - Does the old Highway 2 take you right from TO to Montreal? How long would it take (est)? Thanks.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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With two children of young age, a stop at a beach might be a good idea. Cobourg is 75 minutes from Toronto and has an excellent small beach, ideal for a lunch stop. Presquile Provincial Park has a huge beach and would also make a great place for some down time. It is about two hours from Toronto. If you like history, Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg is very interesting. It is closer to the Quebec boundary.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Re>Does the old Highway 2 take you right from TO to Montreal? How long would it take (est)? Thanks<

Yes, pretty much, but there are times it is better to get off highway 2.

The Toronto-Montreal trip on highway would be reasonable in two days, allowing for stops at the beach, fort Henry in Kingston, etc.

Near Trernton and Belleville, get off highway to and ointo Prince Edward County and take the ferry from Glenmora back to the mainland and then follow that road into Kingston.

And, east of Kingston, take the Thousand Island Parkway, not highway 401 and not highway 2, along the shore of the St. Lawrence River.

BAK
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Old May 31st, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Garvin222, Will you bring camping gear? Canadian Parks offer awesome camping.

I think the route already mentioned by BAK is splendid. I'd like to toss in a suggestion to visit Gatineau Provincial Park as well. This park is in Quebec, just across the Rideau river and a short drive (very short drive... just minutes)from Ottawa.

There is a great hike through Lusk Caverns which we did with our son when he was about that age. He just loved it and it was such an adventure for him. Bring old shoes and a small flashlight. http://www.capitaleducanada.gc.ca/ga...s/hiking_e.asp

There was another tremendous hike we did at Gatineau: I can't remember the trail name, but it took us to the MacKenzie King estate and there was a small place where we ordered wonderful scones and jam. Yummy. Then, we explored the MacKenzie King estate and hiked back. (Our trip was years ago, so I don't know if the tea room is still there.)

Gatineau Provincial Park has terrific camping, scenery and swimming.

Kids would love the tremendous, world-class Civilization museum in Hull, Quebec, just across the Rideau River from Ottawa. (You cross the river: Ottawa, Ontario is on one side of the river and Hull, Quebec is on the other side of the river. The museum has amazing activities for children to get them involved and they will develop a sense of Canada's history. http://www.civilization.ca/

Isn't there a Legoland just outside of Toronto? That might be fun for the kids.

Enjoy!
-Sharon

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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 08:42 AM
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Since highway 2 has been mentioned by a couple of people, it is perhaps worth noting that highway 2 as a provincial highway ("The King's Highway") ceased to exist in 1998. Responsibility was transferred to various local authorities so what you have now is a series of connected county roads, all numbered 2. Hastings Co.Rd 2, Lennox & Addington Co. Rd 2, etc.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 09:53 AM
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Just a quibble. Gatineau Park is neither a provincial or national park, but a National Capital Commission park. As Sharon points out it's a wonderful resource, right on the doorstep of Ottawa and Gatineau (the new name for Hull).Here's its website: http://www.capcan.ca/gatineau/index_e.asp

Unless you're camping there's no accommodation in the park, but you might want to look at a B&B or inn in Wakefield or Old Chelsea, right on the edge of the park. However Ottawa is only minutes away from the park entrance.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 10:17 AM
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Laverendrye - thanks for the corrections. Like I said, it was years and years ago when I was there. My son is now 20 and off to college. So, it was maybe a dozen or more years ago. Good to know the sister city's name change and the right park name. I'd hate for Garvin222 or anyone else to go on a wild goose chase for cities and parks that don't exist!

- Sharon
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