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Suggestions for my first trip to Canada (New Year's Week)

Suggestions for my first trip to Canada (New Year's Week)

Oct 30th, 2002, 03:35 PM
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Suggestions for my first trip to Canada (New Year's Week)

I know that this is a really general question, but I'm just looking for your personal insights.
Here's the story: I was planning on Reykjavik for the New Year, but the flight schedule just wasn't working out. (Sigh)
I want to travel from Philadelphia on Dec 27 and return on January 1--due back to work Jan 2, and I was thinking about the possibilities of Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, etc. but I'm also open to more "nature oriented" suggestions. I love cities, love walking, appreciate good restaurants, and enjoy the outdoors. (er, sorry, not trying to sound like a personals ad.)
Soooooo....what would your suggestion be for the perfect Canadian destination for five days in the winter?
Oct 30th, 2002, 04:10 PM
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If you're into a walking city where there's a huge well-reputed restaurant scene going on, and where the stress is on nature oriented activities... it's probably the place for you.

You can also do a daytrip to Victoria, a 3 hour ferry ride & drive away on Vancouver Island. You could also take a quick getaway to Whistler, one of the top ski resorts an hour and a half drive north of Vancouver. There's a big restaurant scene in Whistler too, and enough to do there for a day even if you're not skiing.

Those are some ideas, obviously I'd elaborate on any specific questions.

If you're familiar with Seattle's climate, Vancouver shares the same climate. While January typically isn't the best month to visit Vancouver, it's not really the "best" month to visit anywhere else in Canada either. It will probably be much warmer than Philadelphia, Toronto, and Reykjavik. The days rarely go below freezing, but rain is quite likely. Saying that, we're going through another El Nino here, and this winter's supposed to be dry for the normal Vancouver we(s)t coast winter.
Oct 30th, 2002, 04:55 PM
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It does seem obvious that what you're looking for may be a very dark 'northern' type of winter vacation. I mean Reykjavik might have a max of 2 hours of daylightn in late December and if this is what you want then Southern Canada won't do it for you. Even Vancouver has over 8 hours of daylight at the Winter Solstice (sp?) and TO and Montreal have about 45 minutes more.

On the other hand if you're looking for 'cold' weather' there are many places in Canada that will freeze your ass off. Cities like Winnipeg or Edmonton come to mind and both have normal temperatures at that time of year that will make walking a truly memorable if not enjoyable experiance.

But the things you say you enjoy have nothing to do with darkness and/or cold so I then agree that the most enjoyable city to walk and enjoy the outdoors in would be my hometown of Vancouver. And if you want snow, etc. there are 5,000 foot mountains within the city that almost always have snow by mid December and the sity has an infinite number of nature walks. If you like good retaurants Vancouver is world famous for it's Asian cuisine most notably the many varieties of Chinese and East Indian foods as well as it's distinctive West Coast Cusine. As mentioned above the only drawback to Winter in Vancouver is the high liklihood of rain which can put a damper, (pun intended), on many vacations. So, although it may not be as close as TO or Montreal, Vancouver would appear to be the best choice.
Oct 30th, 2002, 06:13 PM
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Thanks so much for the help, Vancouverites! (Vancouverines?) Sounds really good.

One beginning question: how is the public transportation system? I'd rather not have to drive.

(And Reykjavik gets almost four whole hours of daylight then It's been my favorite spot of all the places I've been to, and I did want to experience it in winter, but it is about time that I visited Our Northern Neighbor, don't you think?)
Oct 30th, 2002, 06:39 PM
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Vancouverites enjoy a rasonably good public transportation system, (which is free New Years eve and morning by the by), with about 100 K's of Rapid transit and a pretty reliable bus system. Most of the areas you would want to visit are well served by public transit.

I hope your flight doesn't leave too early on the 1st because our annual English Bay New Year's Day swim is a real hoot and a great cure for hangovers. Thousands of bathers and spectators gather there in the Morning and around 10AM there is a mad dash into the ocean with prizes going to the ones staying in the longest. People come in all types of weird and outlandish costumes and as i said it's all great fun - something not to be missed.
Oct 31st, 2002, 06:42 PM
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Sounds truly fun!

The Wedgewood Hotel keeps popping up--I haven't seen any negatives on it, and it's located near a Lush store! (I know that may not be a big deal to Canadians, but do you know how much I spend on shipping for that stuff? A lot.)

Anyway, I'd like to hear the "ya gotta's " for Vancouver if anyone would like to volunteer; my "ya gotta" list for Philadelphia includes such things as "ya gotta go to the Reading Terminal Market" and "ya gotta visit the City Hall" and "ya gotta have a cheesesteak" but "ya also gotta go to the Fountain or Le Bec Fin." (not that anyone has asked about Philadelphia here, but just in case.)

Thanks again!
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Anna Akins
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