scoping my trip to canada

Jan 30th, 2005, 02:10 PM
Original Poster
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scoping my trip to canada

hello all,
i am deciding on the limits on a 14 day trip to canada (2 days of which will be for transatlantic flights).

my initial idea is to spend the 12 days in toronto and montreal,staying in central budget locations.

NY also looks close to toronto.does it qualify as a day trip from toronto?by rail/plane? would you need a car there?how much travelling is there?

would vancouver make sense as a side trip?how long would it take to get there from toronto by plane/rail?

littilesthobo is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Vancouver is so far on the west coast that I'd advise you to limit yourself to the Montreal, Toronto itierary.

Quecbec city, Thousand Islands, Niagatra, Otttawa, Montreal are the major stops.

Depends on what you are most interested in whether you'd go outside the urban areas. If you aren't interested in the smaller villages or camping, use public transportation.

If you want a coastal experience, fly into Toronto, rent a car or RV and plan to fly out of St. John, New Brunswick or Halifax.
everittp is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Vancouver is a 5 hour flight from Toronto. (To give you a basis for comparison, London to Moscow is 4 hours.)

NYC is a 1.5 hour flight from Toronto. Still, once you'd caught a cab from your accommodation to the airport, checked in, flown, caught a cab to Manhattan, and then repeated the exercise on the way back, how much time would you actually have in NYC?

There is so much to see between Toronto and Quebec City, you'd have to be well organised to do even that much in 12 days.

You can look up the distances at


If you wanted to leave out smaller cities like Ottawa and Quebec City, you could do the 3 major cities of NYC, Montreal and Toronto in 12 days. The only way to make that feasible, IMO, would be to do open jaw flights, into NYC and out of Toronto (or vice versa).
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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With only 12 days I think you should stick with Toronto and Montreal, possibly adding Ottawa and/or Quebec. Western Canada deserves a separate trip. If your transatlantic flight is not booked, consider saving some time by flying open jaw, say into Toronto and out of Montreal (or Halifax or St. John's if want sample Atlantic Canada). Rail info can be found at , bus at , airlines at , and .

Technically NYC (I assume that is what you mean by NY) could be done as a flying day trip from Toronto but it is not practical in my opinion, especially since you mentioned the "budget" word. The train and driving is far too slow to do it as a day trip.

Another idea is to combine Vancouver with Toronto (or Montreal). Again the open jaw concept makes this more efficient. Toronto-Vancouver is about 5 hours in the air or 3 days by train. Only dedicated train buffs take this trip.
Gavin is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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I don't even like to go to New York City for a one-day business trip. while the flight is not all that long, the to and from airports eat up a lot of time.

It'a about a 10-12 hour train trip, I think, too. Each way.

Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, the the places inbetween, could eat up two weeks very enjoyably, including a one day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls and back.

Quebec City has its advocates; I think that on a fairly tight schedule, it's not worth the extra distance, since Montreal has lots of old buildings, a river, and excellent restaurants, too.

IGNORE THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: If you flew to Toronto, spent 4 days there (here, for me) and took a day trip to Niagara Falls (fifth day), you could then take the train to Ottawa, spend a couple of days there (days 6-7), then train to Montreal, for days ...


Are you prepared to rent a car to get around?

Stay in toronto without a car. After a few days, rent a car and go to Niagara Falls, either staying there overnight or returning to Toronto.

(A trip to Niagara Falls, the coity with the falls, should also include a visit to Niagara on the Lake, a nearby town with live theatre (a lot of GB Shaw) and wineries.)

the next day, drive north from Toronto into the Muskoka vacation country, and stay one night in Gravenhurst, Braceberidge, Huntsville, or elsewhere.

Then drive to ottawa, and spend a couple of days there.

Keep the car, and drive to Montreal, along the north shore of the Ottawa River, to Montreal. Keep the car for one more day, and visit the Laurentian Mountains, north of Montreal, return to Montreal, and return the car. Spend the next few days in Montreal, and you will have seen a lot of Canada, French and English (and many other) cultures, lots of nature (Muskoka, Laurentiens, Niagara Falls) and two of Canad'as three biggest cities, lots of history,
and, courtesy of Ottawa's museums, you'll have learned a lot about the rest of the country.

Or, if budget allows -- Toronto, Niagara Falls, then devote two days to a quick New York City by air visit, and then fly from NYCity to Ottawa. A couple of days, and train to Montreal, and fly home from there.

BAK is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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What kind of map are you looking at????? A day trip to New York City from Toronto? A "side trip" to Vancouver??? I don't think your map is giving you an accurate idea of the size of this continent!!
If you are coming from Europe, then the flight to Toronto could be the same length as a flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Yeah, you could do it as a side trip if you really, really enjoy spending a lot of time in the air... and think nothing of spending an extra $500 or so in airfare.

taggie is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 04:01 AM
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These days, the customs hassels kill any thought of a 0ne-day trip from Canada to the US. You may well stand in line for an hour just for this.

12 days in Toronto and Montreal is about 8 too many. I'ver always found Toronto dull as dishwater. Outside of Old Montreal in Montreal, there is really isn't that much there either. Quebec City is probably more interesting. There aren't any easy days trips from either, except perhaps for Niagrara Falls from Toronto and Quebec City from Montreal - and that's bit far.

Personally, I don't know why you want to do it. If I'm coming to Canada, I'd head out to Vancouver & Whistler and Alberta. Vancouvwer to Seattle. Better yet, go to New York and Boston, especially Boston. There is more to see and do in Boston than in Toronto and Montreal combined. Squared! Definately Boston over NY any day.

metellus is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Gee, Metellus, your posts seem to suggest that you've had to visit a lot of places you didn't enjoy. Do you want to travel, or do you have to?

Back to Canada: The others are right. NYC isn't manageable as a day trip. It is possible to do it as a two-day trip, especially on weekdays (where there are more early morning flights out of Toronto and late night flights back from NYC the next day). If you caught an 8 am flight to NYC, and an 8 pm flight home the next day, you could get a taste of NYC. But you will spend a lot of time at the airport in Toronto (you clear US Customs & Immigration in Canada; you'll need to arrive at the airport at least 2 1/2 hours before your flight leaves).

If you just wanted to shop in the US, you could drive to the Niagara Peninsula to see Niagara Falls and then continue to Buffalo for the shopping. I think a similar option is available near Montreal (you could drive to Burlington, Vermont, I think). (But we have most of the same shops in Canada that the US has, so it's not really worth the trip just for the shopping, unless you plan to hit the outlet malls.)

For a budget hotel option in Toronto, I'd recommend the Quality Hotel Midtown, on Bloor St West near Spadina. It's very close to both subway lines, it's in a vibrant university neighbourhood full of old houses, shops, cafes, etc, beside a very upscale shopping area and very close to the museums. You're within walking distance of Chinatown, Kensington Market, etc. You wouldn't need a car in Toronto or Montreal; in fact, it would be a hassle to have one (very expensive parking, if you can find it). But you might want to rent a car for a day or two if you want to explore the areas outside Toronto (eg if you wanted to go to Niagara Falls, which everyone seems to want to to). But you could also take a bus tour for this.
Kate_W is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2005, 05:50 AM
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"But we have most of the same shops in Canada that the US"

Duh, exactly! So why bother with Toronto.

Call me crazy, but when I travel, I'm looking for history and character, a sense of place and natural beauty. Toronto has none of these. A place like Boston has them all in great quantity.
metellus is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2005, 09:15 AM
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Well, we're all have our criteria for what makes a great city, but I think that if you were to stay in Boston for an extended period of time, you'd find the infrastructure/city planning in Boston is subpar, and that people attitudes here, overall, are quite frosty and insincere, particularly when you view how expensive everything is in Boston. I say this as a long-time, well-travelled resident. By all means, if post-colonial architecture and US History are your thing (and, of course, sports), Boston is great place. You should spend a few days here, as it is one of the USA's oldest cities. However, just realize that the people aren't as quaint as the buildings. Compare Boston vs Quebec City in this regard...
supaflyfellla is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2005, 06:43 PM
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I think Mettulus is one of those people who consider Canada 'America's waiting room'. Even in reccomending my city of Vancouver he feels one of it's attractions is it's proximity to Seattle - when in fact I've always felt the opposite is true. Fortunately people like him (or her)are very much in a minority but even if his opinions are fair it should be noted that littleshobo is inquiring about a trip to Canada not to the US except as a possible sidetrip. In which case let me add my voice to those reccomending confining your trip to the Toronto/ Niagara and Montreal/Ottawa/Quebec City areas. While they are very worthwhileSave Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies for another time.
GaryA is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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I'll try to restrain myself from stooping to the level of Metellus' "Duh" comment, but I can't help observing that, perhaps the reason Metellus finds so many places dull is because s/he is somewhat unobservant. Someone reading the thread carefully would have noticed that Littilesthobo (gee, that's a hard name to spell) wants to visit Canada and is considering a sidetrip to the United States. I was merely pointing out that, if the only reason for the US sidetrip was shopping, then there's very little reason to go. Of course, there are lots of reasons to visit the United States and, in fact, some people (including, apparently, Metellus) would prefer to visit the US than Canada. À chacun son goût.

I will admit that Toronto is somewhat lacking in ancient buildings (go to Quebec city instead) and thrilling scenery (Vancouver). But it has a wonderful multi-cultural vibe, great inexpensive restaurants, interesting walkable neighbourhoods, a few unique and quirky museums (Hockey Hall of Fame, Bata Shoe Museum), and excellent festivals (e.g. Fringe Theatre Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Caribana). Its appeal might lie a little deeper; but you'll find it if you look for it.
Kate_W is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 08:47 PM
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There is didley going in Boston.
Fanuil(sp) hall - a historic building turned into a tacky shopping arcade.
Bunker hill - a reminder of how ungratefull the Americans were of the cost the British incurred in defeating the French in the Seven Years war. Subway system is a joke and does not really go anywhere.

There are few places where the quality and variety of restaurants, theatre, art scene match that of Toronto - Boston is not one of those places.
HogtownJim is offline  
Feb 9th, 2005, 02:58 AM
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The fact that you tout Boston as THE ultimate place to visit removes a lot of credibility to your opinions, metellus but then again, these are public forums and you are entitled to your opinion. I like Boston but it's not on my list of places to return to over and over again.

I think I would suggest the 12 days split this way; flying into Montreal, first 48 hours recuperating and getting a feel for mtl,
drive to Quebec city for 2 nights, return to mtl
and explore for 2 days, fly or drive to nyc for 3 days, return to mtl, one day trip to the laurentians, countryside, mountains-
continue exploring montreal the last few days. Toronto would be worth a few days also but I don't know how energetic you are as a traveller- it could be a tight schedule with all the travelling back and forth to insert it in your itinerary.

mitchdesj is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 07:25 AM
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"but I think that if you were to stay in Boston for an extended period of time, you'd find the infrastructure/city planning"

Try again. I lived in Boston 5 years and love the place. Toronto is clearner, more organized and completely sanitized - that's why it is so boring.

You know, all the people who criticize me still haven't explained why a trip to Toronto is worthehile. It has restaurants, shopping and moviers. All big cities have restaurants, shopping and movies. There isn't a big city in North American that doesn't have exactly the same ethnic areas. It is flat featureless very much like a clean version of Cleveland. The biggest tourist attraction in Toronto is the Easton Cenre, a shopping mall. My goodness, that about says it all.

" Its appeal might lie a little deeper; but you'll find it if you look for it."

You could say the same for Cleveland and that's the point. Toronto isn't the worst place in the world but it is hardly worth driving out of your way for, let alone crossing the ocean.

"Boston is great place. You should spend a few days here, as it is one of the USA's oldest cities. However, just realize that the people aren't as quaint as the buildings."

At least people in Boston will be rude and arrogant you when you speak English to them. Serious, Quebec City is fine, but it's a small place. You can't begin to compare it to Boston.

It isn't just that the city of Boston has so much, it is the entire New England area. With 1-2 hours of Boston, you also have Newport RI, Tanglewood, Newburyport, Cape Ann, Cape Cod, Lexington & Concord, Nantucket, Cambridge, Matha's Vineyard, Kennebunkport Maine, and I could go on and on.

In Toronto you can drive to Niagra Falls. Then what? Oh yeah, I fogot - there's always Square One Mississuagua.

To compare Toronto and Southern Ontario to this is ridiculous.

metellus is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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I have to put in a plug for Ottawa. If you are doing Toronto and Montreal - definitely add Ottawa. You can travel between these three cities by train or car easily. Ottawa is a tourist delight, it is compact, walkable and has a huge number of museums and "places of interest" to visit. Although I do think Toronto has something to offer, I would probably recommend Ottawa over Toronto, if time was tight - especially in the summer.
Feb 16th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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If your plans are still open and you are obviously coming from somewhere other than the U.S. can I recommend you take advantage of what Canada has that many other countries don't - wide open space. For a combination of cities I would recommend Montreal and Halifax Nova Scotia. A day trip with a rental car outside each would be a good idea, maybe two days and one night. The Laurentian mountains, the St. Lawrence seaway, northern Nova Scotia have some great parks. Toronto is a world class city, don't get me wrong, especially for diversity, but to see Canada as compared to a more generic big city, I would choose Montreal with another part of Canada. Enjoy planning your trip!
laurie_ann is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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Mettellus sez:

"Message: "but I think that if you were to stay in Boston for an extended period of time, you'd find the infrastructure/city planning"

Try again. I lived in Boston 5 years and love the place. Toronto is clearner, more organized and completely sanitized - that's why it is so boring. "

I will 'try again': Boston's infrastructure is really weak; for a town full of citizens who have it together, the way local government runs things here is at best shoddy. So you enjoyed showing up to work 1/2 hour late because traffic is impossible and an inefficient public transit system can't/won't pick up the slack? This is what keeps a town from being boring for you? Odd. Maybe you find inconveniences like that interesting and charming, but I'd rather be in a town that has its act together.
supaflyfellla is offline  
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