Toronto to Kingston-any suggestions?

May 28th, 2001, 12:25 PM
  #1  
Debbie
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Toronto to Kingston-any suggestions?

We are going out from Chicago to Kingston,Ontario to take my son to Queens University's orientation(fly into Toronto and rent a car a the airport to Kingston and back). Any suggestions on places to stop on the way that you have enjoyed?Family of four with two teenagers(16 and 18).Thanks for your help! Debbie
 
May 28th, 2001, 01:04 PM
  #2  
Brian Kilgore
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There ain't much for big teenagers on the way. Totonto Zoo on the way out of Toronto is interesting.

Once you get east of Toront you could turn off highway 401 and go to Port Hope, and then head est toward Kingston on highway 2. You'll go thought intereting old towns with nice architecture (I shot pix for a book about some of these towns) but I can't imagine teenagers would much care.

When you get near Trenton, there's an interesting air force museum adjacent the military base there. And you could cross into Prince Edward County, which is an island, and go toward Glenora. From there, there's a short car-ferry ride back to the mainland.

And, if you stay near the lake, you come close to a prison museum as you drive into Kingston.

Once you get to Kingston, there's Old Fort Henry, and you can take an interesting boat tour of the Thousand Islands.

If you've got more time, it's a couple of hours from Kingston to Ottawa, which is a great city for bright big kids. An aviation museum, the Royal Canadian Mint, a war museum, giant art gallery, excellent photography gallery, museum of science and technology, and more.

BAK
 
May 30th, 2001, 07:11 AM
  #3  
Debbie
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Would you recommend flying into Ottawa to drive to Kingston instead of Toronto?Our time limit is about 5/6 days amd we want to spend sveral days in Kingston?
Anyone have a preference as to which hotel they like the best for a family on Kingston? Thanks-Debbie
 
May 30th, 2001, 08:15 AM
  #4  
hm
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Hi
I have lived and grown up in Kingston as well as my parents and grandparents.. I am now a grandmother... so guess there is some things to keep us here. Yes I would recommend the Ottawa flight it is only a 2 hr drive to kingston., Toronto can be 2 hrs to get out of depending what time of day.
We have a large hotel The Ambassador, which is owned by a kingston family, family oriented, indoor pool with water slide 2 restaurants, hairdresser etc
It is easy directions to the Queens campus area..
 
May 30th, 2001, 09:53 AM
  #5  
Daniel Williams
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If there are no direct flights from Chicago to Ottawa, you may want to consider flying into Montreal instead. Kingston is about half-way between Montreal and Toronto. Although the western end of Montreal island where Dorval airport is located has only a few things to recommend itself (Ste. Anne de Bellevue), you'll be further west than most of Montreal's worst traffic and will be driving west towards Kingston. You also might enjoy experiencing French-speaking Quebec .
 
May 30th, 2001, 06:38 PM
  #6  
Jim Rosenberg
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Debbie, I agree with Brian Kilgore that Ottawa would be my first choice to fly into and stay for a couple of nights. It's built on a very human scale and it's a very interesting city. I regard it as one of the most underrated destinations in North America. Air service to Ottawa is dominated by Air Canada and as a result, you may find that flying into Toronto is a far more cost-effective choice. Montreal is a wonderful city to visit as well, but I find T.O. more attractive and easier to figure out for a short visit. A final option to investigate might be VIA Rail, which would get you to Kingston from either the Toronto or Montreal directions. I've only driven to Kingston from Toronto and that drive is uneventful. (From Montreal Dorval, I've only driven east.) Canadians view the traffic in both Toronto and Montreal as horrendous. But as a point of comparison, Chicago is far worse, in my view, because the drivers generally tend to be far more aggressive. Happy trails!
 
May 31st, 2001, 07:54 AM
  #7  
Daniel Williams
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Jim-

I'm surprised you find Toronto easier to figure out and more attractive than Montreal. If I had to say one city was more attractive, it would actually be Montreal with Ile Ste. Helene and Parc Mont Royal being its trump cards. Although neither one is what I would call one of the world's most beautiful cities. Heading to Kingston from Montreal Dorval should not be difficult I would argue; just follow signs saying Toronto (or Vaudreuil). I find little difference in terms of difficulty getting around in Montreal vs. Toronto. If Debbie were to come in on VIA Rail, subways in both cities are well-marked and not confusing.

Anyhow, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal would all be good choices, as all 3 are amazing places. Enjoy. DAN



 
May 31st, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #8  
Debbie
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Thanks for everyone's input on our upcomig trip.Keep the suggestions coming as we really appreciate your help.Debbie
 
May 31st, 2001, 05:45 PM
  #9  
Jim Rosenberg
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Dan --

Can't disagree with you at all. I don't know either very city well, but T.O. just seemed to flow easily. That is simply an observation about navigation and nothing to do with the cities themselves.
 
Jun 1st, 2001, 03:35 AM
  #10  
anne
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If you can get a direct flight to Ottawa, that would be my recommendation. The airport is situated so that you won't really have the traffic congestion you can encounter at both Pearson and Dorval and you can start your vacation in a far more relaxed frame of mind. Depending on the time of your flight the Pearson traffic can be a bit? chaotic and getting over the top of TO east from the airport can be an experience for the uninitiated .. and even for those of us who drive it regularly. From Ottawa you'll have a far more relaxed drive to Kingston on the 416 which was almost? finished all the way to 401 last fall. There are also several alternate routes through the Rideau valley which can be scenic but a bit slower. The Kingston/Ottawa area has a multitude of excellent tourism possibilities. There are other recent posts on this board listing to-dos in both Kingston and Ottawa. Enjoy!
 
Jun 2nd, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #11  
rob
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Going to Queen's... Yes!!!

As a Queen's alumnus I can tell you that your son is going to the finest university in the world (no hyperbole here). I mean, what other school has a fight song in Gaelic?

What's he taking? Also, if you're American, why did he choose to go to a Canadian school?

Frosh week at Queen's is a blast, and I would pay money to see the looks on your family's faces when they see their first purpled and mohawked engineer...

If you have any questions about Queen's just post them here and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Rob
 
Jun 3rd, 2001, 09:41 AM
  #12  
Daniel Williams
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Rob-

Considering that so many Canadians go to American schools for various reasons, I'm surprised you seem puzzled that it occurs in the reverse as well, particularly going to a top-notch university such as Queen's.

I'm US citizen and got my Ph.D. at McGill University in Montreal. Why? Well, for one, McGill like Queens is a highly-respected university. Two, Montreal is simply one of the most fabulous cities in North America, and a big plus for a graduate student, happens to be one of the most affordable. Kingston I've heard is also quite reasonable particularly with $US; since university is getting more and more expensive in this country...renowned Canadian universities even with international student rates can be in comparison quite a bargain. Plus, Kingston is rather vibrant, isn't it? Three, I wanted to live somewhere to get non-American perspectives and improve my French.

I'm surprised more Americans don't choose Canadian universities!

My $0.02.

Long live Canada! Vive le Canada! DAN

 
Jun 3rd, 2001, 12:38 PM
  #13  
rob
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Daniel,

I'm not in any way trying to question the quality of Canada's universities. Let me say that I did my undergrad and grad work at Queen's and thought the quality of both was excellent. I will say this, I did notice more foreign students (esp. Americans) in graduate programs. This did not surprise me in the least given that the school one chooses for grad work is more often a matter of wanting to study with a particular prof or department. In other words, you go where the expertise is.

Americans doing their undergrad in Canada does, however, suprise me somewhat for a number of reasons:
1. The quality of the US system is good.
2. Most Canadian schools are an unknown quantity to many outside of Canada.
3. Canada is an unknown quantity to many outside of Canada.

Believe me, I applaud this young man's decision. I think he will get as good an education in Canada as he would at any quality American school -- and probably for considerably less money.

On the other hand, do major US companies recognize this?

Just a thought.

Rob
 
Jun 3rd, 2001, 01:07 PM
  #14  
Daniel williams
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Hi Rob-

Interesting thoughts. At McGill, I did meet more than a few undergraduate Americans...but McGill for numerous reasons attracts more (United States of) Americans than any other Canadian university.

I agree that way too many Americans are regrettably poorly informed about their largest neighbor and trading partner. (My own Phi Beta Kappa mother who visited me 5 times in Montreal could not name Jean Chr?tien as prime minister!) However, I've met numerous doctors and scientists with Canadian university credentials in my professional experience. I got a position at Johns Hopkins with my McGill credentials, and one of my coworkers here went to McMaster. I think there are enough people in-the-know that diplomas from top Canadian universities can fare quite well outside of Canada (as they should!). In fact when a job opening came up, my supervisor told me, if you know people at McGill looking for this position, send them my way.

Possibly Queen's does not seem to have the same name recognition as McGill, although it should and I suspect that enough people are aware of Queen's that employment will be forthcoming.

Best wishes, DAN

PS Sorry to have diverged off the travel topic folks.
 
Jun 6th, 2001, 07:42 AM
  #15  
Debbie
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I love this site! Thanks to all for their opinions on Canadian universities.)Yes,our family is American.)
My son researched Queens in Kingston over a year ago.I took him up for a visit last fall and fell in love wih the university AND Kingston.For those who have never visited the Kingston area-it is a best kept secret.Located on the northern shores of Lake Ontario in the 1,000 Island area that meets the St. Lawrence Seaway-gorgeous area with lots to do and see!
It was the first capital of Canada and was basically founded by the Loyalists who came over from our area to get away from the War of 1812. Fort Henry is located high over the city of about 130,000 people .The town has fabulous restaurants,stores and outdoor activities-sailing capital of North America,etc.Our family is from the Chicago area and I felt from the moment I walked on the campus that my son might go there.In the mean time,he applied to american schools;received several scholarships,tc. but we knew he was hoping to go to Queens.He was accepted in April and we are very happy for him. For those who will have college age students-the prices are great with the value of Canadian dollars. The academics at the major"Canadian Ivies"-University of Toronto,Queens University and McGill University are on par with the best of the USA or better.As for why my son is going to a Canadian university-global diversity in today's world might be better learned or experienced out of the country(but somewhat nearby),different atmosphere than a USA big 10 state school,cost and the uniqueness of attending something different than everyone else in your high school class.And-the chance to study at St. Andrews in Scotland during hisjunior year.
As for Rob-any chance that I could have you email me off this board for some questions about Queens. Thanks!
 
Jun 6th, 2001, 09:52 AM
  #16  
Brian Kilgore
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I'm not sure I actually suggested flying into ottawa, but it is not a bad idea, as long as you don't have to change planes in Toronto or Montreal.

If you need to hang around the Toronto airport for an hour, and then fly to Ottawa, and then drive to Kingston, you might as well just drive from Toronto.

As for flying to Toronto or Montreal; if Toronto is cheaper, and if you don't go to downtown Montreal before you leave to come to Kingston, skip Montreal.

But, for the same money, and if you want to spend a night in Montreal before leaving for Kingston, the idea has significant appeal.

If you've never been to Montereal, it's a treat. I spent a couple of years recently living concurrently in both cities, and Montreal has lots to see for a day or two. The drive from Montreal to Kingston is even more boring (if you stick to the highway) than from Toronto to Kingston.

You might consider flying into Montreal and out of Toronto (or the other way around)

BAK
 
Jun 6th, 2001, 11:44 AM
  #17  
Mark
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Debbie-

As far as Kingston lodgings go, if I were you I'd consider one of two hotels right on the water in Kingston. They are the Holiday Inn and the Ramada. Both are in the historic downtown area, and closest to everything there is to see in Kingston and the surrounding area.

Having stayed in both, I'd suggest the Ramada (much more comfortable and better-furnished than the Holiday Inn at a comparable price). The Ramada has views of the water from all its rooms (although the Confederation Park/City Hall side is preferable, so you might specify that if you choose to make a reservation. Ramada offers a B&B plan, but if I were you, I'd skip it as we found the food to be mediocre. I've never stayed in the Ambassador, but it is located in a decidedly commercial (strip mall) part of town.
 
Jun 6th, 2001, 04:11 PM
  #18  
Debbie
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Thanks one and all for the suggestions on hotels and how we can fly up there.We originally thought we could use some "miles" on Comair out of CVG but now that they are still on strike and may not ever come back-I quess we will try the price wars of American,United and Air Canada.In checking the Air Canada site-there is not much in the way of nonstops to Ottawa(I wonder why?).
Anyone ever taken one of the 1,000 island cruises and which company did you use? Any favorite places to eat in Kingston? thanks for your help! Debbie
 
Jun 6th, 2001, 05:29 PM
  #19  
Jim Rosenberg
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Debbie -- also add Northwest Airlines to your search, since you can sometimes pick up a deal. You would be connecting in Detroit.
 
Jun 7th, 2001, 08:51 AM
  #20  
rob
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Eating in Kingston is a great treat.

Depending on what level you're looking for, there's a little something for every taste.

If you're looking for something nice (though not very expensive, especially when you've got US dollars) try:'
1. Chez Piggy -- perhaps the best restaurant in town, food is incredible, and most of the entrees are in the CDN$20 range, I believe. Nonetheless, you'd pay far more than that in a major North American city.
2. Casa Domenico -- Same as Chez Piggy pretty much.
3. Woodenheads -- Gourmet, stone-baked pizza, et al. Cheaper than the previous two, but the quality is also top notch (they've got a mushroom salad app that is fabulous).
4. Clark's on King(??) -- Perhaps the priciest of this lot, but I've heard excellent things about the food.

More casual ideas:
1. Lone Star Cafe -- great patio, great food (try the fajitas and the margaritas), and a good family place. Also the place I worked while I went to Queen's.
2. Luke's -- Best Caesar salad and smoked chicken I've ever tasted. Very cheap.

For the students:
1. Lino's -- Where you go at 2am when you've had too much to drink. All the students go here for poutine after a night at the bars.
2. Pita Pit -- Great pitas and a great price.

If you find yourself in the 1000 Islands, namely Gananoque, I've heard incredible raves about a place called Cook Not Mad -- apparently a little pricey, but I've heard the veggies and produce are normally pulled from the garden when you place your order.

Any other questions?

Rob
 

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