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One week trip to Toronto, Niagara falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City - Advice

One week trip to Toronto, Niagara falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City - Advice

Old May 17, 19, 6:07 pm
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One week trip to Toronto, Niagara falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City - Advice

Hi All,

I want to check in with the informed folks here for any last minutes tips for my upcoming trip from 05/26 to 06/02.

Toronto 05/26
Niagara Fall 05/27
Montreal 05/28 - 05/29
Quebec City 05/30
Ottawa 05/31
Toronto 06/01

I tried to coincide my stays with events in these cities whenver I can. So "Doors Open Toronto" on 05/26 and "Doors Open Ottawa" on 06/01. Not aware of other major events. I am a diehard tennis and Formula 1 fan, no event taking place during the week of my visit.

I got a car rental and will be doing all the driving. My friend suggested to take in the view of Lake Ontario while going from Toronto to Montreal. Is it a worthwhile view? Any vista point I should keep in mind?

Realizing it will be a long drive, is there any old, cultural town to stop by in between? Any point of interest off the beaten path would be great even though I think all the touristy stuff will take up 90% of time.

Please pour in your recommendation! Thanks!
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Old May 17, 19, 9:37 pm
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That's a lot of ground to cover in a week. You may find that you spend more time driving than seeing the sights. Especially the Niagara-Montreal drive, though the Quebec City-Ottawa drive and the Ottawa-Toronto drive are both well over four hours.

I hope that you are not the type that gets very tired after driving for five or six hours. I could do that sort of trip in my 20s, but now that I'm in my 40s I'd be so tired that I would just want to crash in a hotel room after driving most of the day.

I would skip the scenery on Lake Ontario and just stick to the 401, but I live in Nova Scotia where we have real scenery. Maybe I'm a bit biased.

As for things to do in each city, it depends on your interests.
For me, I would
Toronto: CN Tower, watch the Blue Jays lose, Toronto Islands
Niagara Falls: The falls of course
Montreal: wander around old Montreal, not sure what else, I haven't visited to Montreal since 1988, because I'm much more interested in
Quebec City: Old town area, fortifications, I did a cool boat tour last spring, Mont Morency falls are impressive. You can really just wander around the old city forever.
Ottawa: Parliament, Museum of Civilization

But if you want some scenery, plan a different trip to just go to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia and drive the Cabot Trail. It is breathtaking. Or one of many amazing places along the Fundy Shore. Or hit the New Brunswick side of the bay and go to Grand Manan or the Fundy Trail. Or anywhere at all in Newfoundland. All of them have much nicer scenery than anything I've ever seen in Ontario (though the Niagara Falls are impressive).

Have a great trip
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Old May 18, 19, 6:41 am
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I would not attempt this trip. You will be touring Canadian highways rather than cities. But if you insist, how to make it better?

You can do Niagara Falls as a day trip from Toronto. The Falls is worth a visit, but the town of Niagara Falls is not. Niagara-on-the-Lake is picturesque. I suggest visiting the Falls in the morning, and then returning to Toronto or starting your drive to Montreal. You could overnight in Prince Edward County (near Belleville) or Kingston to break up the drive. Both are on Lake Ontario.

Smallmj has made some good suggestions. Note Museum of Civilization in Ottawa is now called the Museum of History. There is enough to see and do in Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa that any two of them could easily fill a week.
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Old May 18, 19, 7:56 pm
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Thank you for the great recommendations. I love scenery! I've already heard plenty of amazing thing about Newfoundland. Nova Scotia will be on my future list to visit for sure.

About Montmorency falls, we are thinking of skipping it, simply because we are afraid the chance to come away underwhelmed after visiting Niagara Falls just a couple days earlier.

Skipping Lake Ontario? Okay. Probably not what my friends want to hear but hey you guys are more informed.

Also, we don't speak french and we've heard that Quebec City may not be the friendliest place to non-french speaking visitors.
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Old May 18, 19, 8:14 pm
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The drive from Toronto to Montreal on the 401 parallels Lake Ontario and then the St Laurence seaway. Stop for a meal in Kingston or Prince Edward County so you can get right down to the water. I would not bother stopping again just to see the water.

Quebec city will be fine for anglophone tourists as you're not likely to stray too far from the tourist areas given the short time you'll be in town.

As was said before, I would not do this tour. You'll barely have any time to see the anything but highways and roadside stops. There is very little to see in between the cities themselves on the 400 series highways or autoroutes and your tight timetable prohibits taking secondary highways.
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Old May 18, 19, 8:47 pm
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If we are going to give up on one city it would be Quebec City or Ottawa.

Quebec City since it's the furthest from Toronto. Ottawa simply because it's on the way back to Toronto.

I've done similar trip before but I do agree one less city might be better.
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Old May 18, 19, 10:30 pm
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As others have said, you are really spending most of the time driving. I would cut Quebec City out.
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Old May 19, 19, 12:12 pm
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Do you have to start and end in Toronto? I’m guessing you’ve probably already booked flights etc, but it would really have given you a better “doing things” vs “driving” ratio if you’d flown into Toronto and then returned from Montreal or Ottawa instead of having to drive all the way back to Toronto.

I strongly second the suggestions to forget about Quebec City - too far to fit into this itinerary.

The 401 from Toronto to Montreal is a mind-numbingly boring 5-6h drive. As pointed out, the alternatives (the old Highway 2 closer to the lake, or Highway 7 further north) take much longer. But if you’re interested in seeing things along the way and are willing to make a longer, slower drive of it, it might be worth taking HW2 from Toronto about as far as Belleville or Kingston, possibly staying overnight somewhere in Prince Edward County or Kingston just to break up all the driving. It's not especially scenic beyond a general "being out in the countryside" kind of way, but there are some cute little towns along that part of the route - better than the truck stops along the 401, if the weather is nice and you’re not in a hurry. Prince Edward County has a number of wineries and apparently some good restaurants (a lot of urbanites have summer houses there). There is less to see between Kingston and Montreal so you might as well just stick to the 401 for that part.

As for Lake Ontario itself, you can see it from Toronto, and in my experience it looks pretty much the same wherever else you’re viewing it from (big, flat, damp).
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Old May 20, 19, 3:14 pm
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Just talked to my friends. Unfortunately, not really going to trim any city this time around although we talk about doing a short stop in Ottawa to allow more time in Toronto. It really depends on how much we like Ottawa after we get there.

So we enjoy good cheap food (< $20US per person) and point of interests that may not be as popular.

Also, what's the best way to get around each cities? Metro? Car? What about parking? We will be staying Toronto Downtown on the night of 05/26, I am really hoping not to spend a fortune for overnight parking.
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Old May 21, 19, 5:54 am
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Toronto: streetcar, subway, bus
Montreal: metro
Quebec City: walk
Ottawa: car
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Old May 21, 19, 7:21 am
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Originally Posted by lakersgo View Post
What about parking? We will be staying Toronto Downtown on the night of 05/26, I am really hoping not to spend a fortune for overnight parking.
The parking garage at Nathan Phillips Square is only $8/day on Saturday or Sunday (until 7am Monday).
https://en.parkopedia.ca/parking/und...g=201905211030
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Old May 21, 19, 11:54 pm
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Maybe fly from Toronto YTZ (not YYZ) and Montreal to save time? Besides, this is flyertalk.com, not drivertalk.com.What do people think of a few day's trip to Toronto then flying to Ottawa, staying overnight, then flying home or returning to Toronto? Worth a flight to Ottawa?
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Old May 22, 19, 3:10 pm
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Perhaps not a hugely popular view, but if you're looking to save funds and time/trouble, why not fly into Toronto, immediately drive to Niagara Falls, then stop into Toronto on your way through for a day visit to see the CN tower, etc instead of staying dt overnight? I don't find Toronto that exciting of a city and you've already said you don't want to spend a lot on parking or food. Ottawa/Montreal/Niagara Falls tend to be a lot cheaper and easier to navigate when time is short. Montreal smoked meat can be had for your price range, as well as several places in the Byward Market in Ottawa.

I'm not sure about the love of Lake Ontario, but IMO the best 'viewing' of it would probably be from a patio restaurant in dt Kingston.
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Old May 22, 19, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by YZF_Elite View Post
Perhaps not a hugely popular view, but if you're looking to save funds and time/trouble, why not fly into Toronto, immediately drive to Niagara Falls, then stop into Toronto on your way through for a day visit to see the CN tower, etc instead of staying dt overnight? I don't find Toronto that exciting of a city and you've already said you don't want to spend a lot on parking or food. Ottawa/Montreal/Niagara Falls tend to be a lot cheaper and easier to navigate when time is short. Montreal smoked meat can be had for your price range, as well as several places in the Byward Market in Ottawa.

I'm not sure about the love of Lake Ontario, but IMO the best 'viewing' of it would probably be from a patio restaurant in dt Kingston.
I second this.
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Old May 22, 19, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
Maybe fly from Toronto YTZ (not YYZ) and Montreal to save time? Besides, this is flyertalk.com, not drivertalk.com.What do people think of a few day's trip to Toronto then flying to Ottawa, staying overnight, then flying home or retitle this to Toronto? Worth a flight to Ottawa?
maybe we should re-title this thread to One week trip of the 400 series highways?
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