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Traveling to Eastern Canada


DanielGMask
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Hey guys, I’m planning a travel to Canada at the end of this July. I’ll arrive to Ontario and have 6 days total for my trip. What should I do and visit? My first impression from surfing through TripAdvisor and the likes it’s to stay in Toronto for a couple of days and visit the falls, then drive to Montreal and stay for a couple of days and then Quebec. Maybe a stop in Kingston. Is that a good plan?

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That is a lot of driving for a 6 day trip, imo. Toronto to Niagara Falls is 2 hours each way, plus at least 5 hours to Montreal and then 2.5-3 hours to Quebec City. I'd probably pick less things and do them more thoroughly, but that may be a matter of personal preference.

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Yeah, born and raised in southern Ontario here.  I think bizaro is right, that's too much for 6 days.  I would choose either Ottawa (you didn't mention it but there is a ton to do in Ottawa/Gatineau)/Montreal/Quebec City or Niagara/Toronto.

 

If you've never been then Montreal and Toronto could be a couple to a few days each.

 

Edit: there's not much to do in Kingston other that to tour the old prison and maybe do a scenic drive along the St Lawrence.

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Whether you ultimately elect to visit Ottawa or Montreal, you should definitely consider a half-day stop in Gananoque to take a boat tour of the Thousand Islands.  The cruises are about 3 hours in length and on a nice, sunny day it's a great way to see a beautiful part of the world.

 

 

SJ

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+1 for Toronto & Montreal as highlights for a visit.

Toronto is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with great coffee shops, restaurants, theatre.

Montreal is different than anywhere in N. America - it is full of joie de vivre, totally happening, bustling; equally if not more vibrant restaurant scene, great walking city - worth checking out.

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Definitely recommend Montreal. Great restaurants, reasonable on the cost side compared to big cities, so clean it blows your mind, especially if coming from a shit hole like NYC, people are welcoming and friendly, hardly any homeless people, and everyone loves hockey. Oh yea, world class strip clubs too.

 

I remember seeing someone rush across the street to pick up and throw out a soda can and thinking, we need more of these people in US cities. People bump into you on the sidewalk? "I'm so sorry" is often the response. Not the "what are you looking at" stuff you get from the savages in NYC/Chicago/etc.

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The Niagara College Teaching Winery is a really cool stop - they also make beer and developing whiskey.

 

Don't worry about the duty tax if you want to stock up. U.S. border patrol probably won't ask you to pay a duty, and even if they do it's pretty reasonable. Ontario's 15% sales tax, however, is not so reasonable, but it's basically a wash after you account for the cheaper Canadian dollar.

 

Traffic in Toronto is terrible. You'll want to plan around that. My vote would be to focus on Ottawa and Montreal instead. That said, my favorite thing about Ontario are the provincial parks, but they're a few hours out of your way :)

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In Montreal or Toronto, I recommend doing a bike tour of the city.  I just got back from Montreal a few days ago and I highly recommend the  "Aura" light show at Notre Dame Basilica.  It's like those synched light/music displays you see at Christmas, but it's inside the church, with laser lights and music. It's at night after the basilica has closed for visitors. About $25 Canadian if I recall correctly.

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I stayed 2 hours north of QC for a couple of weeks in La Malbaie--the views over the river were gorgeous, and land seemed really cheap (< $100k for amazing views), around 1 acre.  Is this common in not-close-to-city Canada?

 

How big a piece of land? Not-close-to-a-city makes a pretty big difference to land values in Canada, and QC has historically been cheaper.

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I stayed 2 hours north of QC for a couple of weeks in La Malbaie--the views over the river were gorgeous, and land seemed really cheap (< $100k for amazing views), around 1 acre.  Is this common in not-close-to-city Canada?

 

 

It's common in the peripheral regions of the province.  As you get closer to the major cities it gets expensive. 

 

In the distant past, there were large numbers of English speaking people who maintained summer houses north and east of Quebec City.  Now, the English people are largely a thing of the past.

 

 

SJ

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Well first off you are not really talking about Eastern Canada. Ontario & Quebec are considered Central Canada.

 

If you really want to have an interesting visit, you really should go to Eastern Canada - the Atlantic Provinces and/or the Maritimes. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and you will see a lot of beautiful  scenery, some of the world's best beaches and some of the best food in the country.

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Well first off you are not really talking about Eastern Canada. Ontario & Quebec are considered Central Canada.

 

If you really want to have an interesting visit, you really should go to Eastern Canada - the Atlantic Provinces and/or the Maritimes. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and you will see a lot of beautiful  scenery, some of the world's best beaches and some of the best food in the country.

 

Please expand on this land of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI.  I love seafood and places close to the water in general. 

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If you go to Montreal, have a dinner at Pastel (if budget allows). Best restaurant in the city!

 

Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't find a place but I have reservations for Toqué and Damas. Are those ok? I also have reservations for Cafe Boloud and Bar Isabel in Toronto and Riviera in Ottawa. I wanted to try Joe Beef in Montreal but there was no availability online. Where do you recommend to have breakfast?

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If you go to Montreal, have a dinner at Pastel (if budget allows). Best restaurant in the city!

 

Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't find a place but I have reservations for Toqué and Damas. Are those ok? I also have reservations for Cafe Boloud and Bar Isabel in Toronto and Riviera in Ottawa. I wanted to try Joe Beef in Montreal but there was no availability online. Where do you recommend to have breakfast?

Toqué is fancy and sometimes it's hard to eat what appears on the plate because it 'looks' so good. I have heard good things about Damas which is situated in a nice and quiet neighborhood. Joe Beef needs advance reservations especially as it has been identified with the place your ex-president and my present prime minister hang out together. My favorite restaurant in the Montreal area is Europea.

Are you traveling with children?

I don't have time to show you around as we are preparing a large family reunion but you can send me a private message describing what you are looking for. The big challenge these days is physical displacement as we are in the middle of a large upgrade to road infrastructures.

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If you go to Montreal, have a dinner at Pastel (if budget allows). Best restaurant in the city!

 

Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't find a place but I have reservations for Toqué and Damas. Are those ok? I also have reservations for Cafe Boloud and Bar Isabel in Toronto and Riviera in Ottawa. I wanted to try Joe Beef in Montreal but there was no availability online. Where do you recommend to have breakfast?

Toqué is fancy and sometimes it's hard to eat what appears on the plate because it 'looks' so good. I have heard good things about Damas which is situated in a nice and quiet neighborhood. Joe Beef needs advance reservations especially as it has been identified with the place your ex-president and my present prime minister hang out together. My favorite restaurant in the Montreal area is Europea.

Are you traveling with children?

I don't have time to show you around as we are preparing a large family reunion but you can send me a private message describing what you are looking for. The big challenge these days is physical displacement as we are in the middle of a large upgrade to road infrastructures.

 

I'll go with your recommendation! I just cancelled my reservation at Toqué and made a new one for the same date at Europea. I'm traveling with the wife no kids. I'll be in Montreal for 3 days and already have tickets for Cirque du Soleil - Les Cowboys Fringants and a 1 hour water tour at Le Bateu Mouche. I also have dinner reservations at Europea and Damas. I'm planning to lunch at Schwartz Deli and have a hot chocolate at Juliette et Chocolat. I think we'll visit Notre Dame, the Financial District and see the underground city (not sure where to get in and what to see!). What do you think? By the way, I have a similar busy schedule for Toronto.

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If you go to Montreal, have a dinner at Pastel (if budget allows). Best restaurant in the city!

 

Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't find a place but I have reservations for Toqué and Damas. Are those ok? I also have reservations for Cafe Boloud and Bar Isabel in Toronto and Riviera in Ottawa. I wanted to try Joe Beef in Montreal but there was no availability online. Where do you recommend to have breakfast?

Toqué is fancy and sometimes it's hard to eat what appears on the plate because it 'looks' so good. I have heard good things about Damas which is situated in a nice and quiet neighborhood. Joe Beef needs advance reservations especially as it has been identified with the place your ex-president and my present prime minister hang out together. My favorite restaurant in the Montreal area is Europea.

Are you traveling with children?

I don't have time to show you around as we are preparing a large family reunion but you can send me a private message describing what you are looking for. The big challenge these days is physical displacement as we are in the middle of a large upgrade to road infrastructures.

 

I'll go with your recommendation! I just cancelled my reservation at Toqué and made a new one for the same date at Europea. I'm traveling with the wife no kids. I'll be in Montreal for 3 days and already have tickets for Cirque du Soleil - Les Cowboys Fringants and a 1 hour water tour at Le Bateu Mouche. I also have dinner reservations at Europea and Damas. I'm planning to lunch at Schwartz Deli and have a hot chocolate at Juliette et Chocolat. I think we'll visit Notre Dame, the Financial District and see the underground city (not sure where to get in and what to see!). What do you think? By the way, I have a similar busy schedule for Toronto.

Sounds like you have a good plan.

If you go underground, part of what you may want to do is to combine visiting and shopping and it's probably best to prepare an itinerary.

The following is in French but that's part of the charm:

https://voyage-montreal.com/montreal-souterrain

 

If the weather is nice you may want to take a walk at the top of the mountain (Mont-Royal), which is centrally located.

Enjoy!

 

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If you go to Montreal, have a dinner at Pastel (if budget allows). Best restaurant in the city!

 

Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't find a place but I have reservations for Toqué and Damas. Are those ok? I also have reservations for Cafe Boloud and Bar Isabel in Toronto and Riviera in Ottawa. I wanted to try Joe Beef in Montreal but there was no availability online. Where do you recommend to have breakfast?

Hi Dan,

We ate at toque, pastel , and joe beef (we had some friends who got us in last minute). I thought pastel was best. I am glad you cancelled your reservation at toque as I felt it was underwhelming. The best thing about the meal was the service. Although I will say the wine list looked good.

 

Pastel was hilarious. Head chef kept talking all kinds of shit and was a general mess of a human being. Loved it. Try calling - they may be able to squeeze you in if you are so inclined.

 

Let us know how damas is, it was on our list but we didn't have time (or energy). You can also hit up liverpool house which is the same guys from joe beef and same location.

 

Schwartz's is a necessity of life. Medium sandwich, I go fries a pickle and a cherry coke. Others believe the slaw is necessary, or a non-cherry soda. These poor souls have been misled and you should give them no mind. It;s cash only and there's a line if you go during normal human lunch hours. Nobody has ever said it wasn't worth it.

 

Personally I like to walk the neighborhoods when I visit. Plateau, old port, and griffintown are all incredible. The city, particularly the central area, is very walkable. Old port has tons of construction going on so it is a bit more crowded on the sidewalks. I love walking St laurent, shopping in the boutiques. Mt Royal is also beautiful as cigarbutt mentioned but it's a walk - it depends how active you like to be on your holiday.

 

Two other more affordable/cozy spots are breizh cafe for crepes in the morning, and lola rosa (the one in the mcgill ghetto) for vegetarian lunch and goblets of sangria ;).

 

Just take everything I say with a grain of salt, I prefer a "grittier" experience than most, my nights wind up drinking cheap beer @ biftek (a student dive bar on st laurent) for three hours, eating 2 dollar peanut noodles across the street at 2 am, smoking too many cigarettes, and passing out until noon. Barfly is another gritty dive bar if you like that.

 

Actually there is another nice spot called le majesqitue right across the street from barfly that is yummy.

 

Le distillery (i think its renamed distillery no. 1) is a cool spot for mason-jar cocktails. Again a little grittier.

 

Bar Furco is a nice trendy spot, there are other similar trendy bars east of peel and south of sherbrooke. If I am drunk late and have been wondering I wind up in this area. The french party late. West of peel (again below sherbrooke) you have places like brutopia, this area is a little more anglo-friendly and has more of the pub vibe vs the cocktail vibe when you go further east.

 

Let us know where you go and how you liked it!

 

I keep remembering stuff. Patati patata is great poutine. Beauty's diner for a morning bagel (beauty special) and coffee.

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Schwartz's is a necessity of life........ Nobody has ever said it wasn't worth it.

 

I said it.

 

I was so underwhelmed and really had no idea why it's so popular.  To me it was just a sandwich and I do love Montreal smoked meat.  That and the fact they seat you at a table with other people was a bit weird.  My wife and I were at a table for 6 (with 4 other people we didn't know obviously) and we were across from each other in the middle seats. 

 

It just struck me as a place tourists go to say they've been and local go because it's a Montreal institution.......

 

 

As for going to Mont Royal, we always recommend the double decker tour bus.  You can either hop off, look around a get on a later one or the bus stops at one of the scenic lookouts so you can take some pictures or just look out over the city.

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Schwartz's is a necessity of life........ Nobody has ever said it wasn't worth it.

 

I said it.

 

I was so underwhelmed and really had no idea why it's so popular.  To me it was just a sandwich and I do love Montreal smoked meat.  That and the fact they seat you at a table with other people was a bit weird.  My wife and I were at a table for 6 (with 4 other people we didn't know obviously) and we were across from each other in the middle seats. 

 

It just struck me as a place tourists go to say they've been and local go because it's a Montreal institution.......

 

 

As for going to Mont Royal, we always recommend the double decker tour bus.  You can either hop off, look around a get on a later one or the bus stops at one of the scenic lookouts so you can take some pictures or just look out over the city.

 

 

I don't bother with Shwartz's unless I happen to pass on a rare occasion when there is no line-up outside.  I think that has happened perhaps once in the past 10 years.  I have found that I am happier going across the street to The Main instead.  It's a good Jewish deli where you can actually get a table. 

 

Now, parking on St Lawrence is yet another challenge.

 

 

SJ

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