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Itinerary ideas for family holiday to Canada

(23 Posts)
ChiChiRaRa Fri 09-Jan-15 21:27:00

Am looking for inspiration for a 10-12 day holiday to Canada for 2 adults and 1.5yr old. Flying from New York - first visit to Canada. Have been considering 2/3 days in Toronto, a visit to Niagara, 3-4 days relaxing in a cabin on a lake (any recommendations?) and finishing with a few days in Montreal. But open to other ideas? Thanks in advance

CLJ52 Fri 09-Jan-15 21:40:41

There's a lot to pack in to a few days in Toronto - I think you might want to stretch that.

There's the downtown stuff like the CN tower and Ontario Place but just hanging out at the waterfront is good. Toronto Island is well worth a day - there's an old-fashioned theme park as well as some beaches (and fab photo opportunities with Toronto as a back drop). Black Creek Pioneer Village is a great day out.

Niagara Falls is great but the town is tacky. Niagara on the Lake is a few miles away and gorgeous (think little house on the prairie!) and worth a visit. There is a good animal park nearby but can't think of the name of it.

I'd recommend a couple of days in Ellora which is a beautiful old town and in easy reach of Stratford with open air and theatre plays - all very family friendly.

Canada's Wonderland won't have much for such a small child but it's a good theme park. The Woodbine Mall is good for very young kids - indoor play area.

I'd also add in Ottawa and Quebec City to your Montreal trip. Ottawa is a stunning city and Quebec city is just beautiful.

Have a great time!

iseenodust Fri 09-Jan-15 21:47:42

Agree Niagara on the lake is cute & Niagara town tacky but the falls are impressive. We stayed in a lovely B&B on the lake a few years ago. It depends on if you want to spend time in the city with a toddler? We drove north to the Algonquin national park for a few nights and saw some amazing wildlife. There is only one small resort actually in the park but a few dotted outside. Beware midges depending on the time of year.

ChiChiRaRa Sat 10-Jan-15 10:32:40

Thank you both - some great suggestions! Have you been to any other parts of Canada that you would recommend rather than the Ontario plan or is that a good place for a first visit?

iseenodust Sat 10-Jan-15 22:29:45

We've also been to the other side! Vancouver is equally as interesting. We took DS at 10 months and spent over a week touring Vancouver Island which is still one of my favourite holidays. We stayed in Victoria for a couple of days then moved up the east coast to Parksville for a few days and then across to Tofino on the Atlantic coast [ TinWis hotel beautiful location]. DS even came whale-watching on a sedate boat. It worked well due to the American style of hotel bedrooms with sitting & kitchenette areas though we did eat out too.

I've also been to Banff/Lake Louise but that was skiing so not helpful but liked the area again !

marshmallowpies Sat 10-Jan-15 22:44:47

I loved Toronto & imo you could have a more family friendly holiday there than Montreal - Montreal felt more urban/crowded to me, less open space & some very steep hills.

Toronto was much easier to get around, great museums & the boat trip out to the lake islands which has loads of family friendly stuff, a mini farm, boating lake, playgrounds etc, and really easy to walk around with boardwalks along the side of the lake.

Niagara definitely worth the trip too, but the town really is bonkers . Weirdest place I've ever been.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 10-Jan-15 22:49:16

I live on the other side of Canada. Vancouver and Victoria/Vancouver Island is lovely. We have 'good' weather most of the year. Not too hot or cold. When are you going.

I will be the voice of dissent and say that I LOVE Niagara. It's like a massive, crappy seaside town. Complete with penny falls and awful attractions. You have to take it in the spirit it is intended.

cookiefiend Sat 10-Jan-15 23:36:12

I would say that as an adult niagara is cool though tacky, but as a child I loved it- still remember my first visit aged about 6. Go on the maid of the mist. Nearby is marine land which I enjoyed as a child, but now a bit worried about killer whales in captivity. Toronto is great and I would second the islands for kids. Also the royal Ontario museum is kid friendly. The CN tower is another I remember fondly from childhood and Ontario place if that is still open. Any pioneer village- just google as there will no doubt be one in your route. Quebec City js stunning- whereas Montreal feels almost like any other North American city (except in French) although it does have a few nice things to see. There are a few places near Quebec City for whale watching.

In Toronto too you could cycle along the boardwalk if you rent bikes- the beaches are nice. And see if there is a national park on your route. Canada is a beautiful country, but HUGE so I would say the only downside is that there is a lengthy drive or train between Toronto and Montreal and even further to Quebec City so just careful about being to ambitious with kids in the car.

cookiefiend Sat 10-Jan-15 23:39:44

Just realised you said 1.5 not 5! Sorry perhaps she won't remebrr these things as an adult. He he. Yeah careful about the distance then- my 15month old probably would not enjoy too much time stuck travelling.

ggirl Sun 11-Jan-15 00:08:23

hmm I think Toronto is pretty dull tbh
wouldn't be my choice for a holiday
A 1.5 yr old will be happy anywhere really , if I were you I'd go to the Rockies and spend some time in Vancouver and the island

ChiChiRaRa Sun 11-Jan-15 18:26:40

Thanks again everyone - really useful info. I think on this occasion we will stick to the Ontario area and save Vancouver area until the baby is a bit older, as there are so many more adventurous activities to do with older children. We are hoping to book a lovely cabin / cottage for a couple of days near to Algonquin park / a nice town we could visit - anyone any suggestions on the best way to do that or locations? I've looked at a couple of the resorts (Elmhirst / Killnarey) but would prefer our own place and a bit of flexibility re meals etc

ChiChiRaRa Sun 11-Jan-15 18:27:35

Sorry, to answer an earlier question we are hoping to go mid-end July this year

ChiChiRaRa Sun 11-Jan-15 18:28:32

Also, would you recommend Quebec rather than Montreal for a couple of nights? Quebec does look stunning!

ISeeShapes Mon 12-Jan-15 04:14:40

Bear in mind that late July in Toronto can be pretty hot and humid. The islands are a good way to escape the worst of it and it is cooler in up north and in Algonquin.

Also the Pan Am games are in Toronto from 10th to 26th July this year which might have an impact on hotels and how busy things are - but there should be a lot going on.

Towards Algonquin we have stayed near Huntsville which has a good number if restaurants, supermarkets etc. There are a lot of "cottages" (basically houses on/near lakes) for rent although July is peak season so you might struggle to get less than a week

Also Algonquin is beautiful but you can't get to much of it without serious walking or canoeing which I can't imagine with a 1.5 year old.

How would you get to Montreal/Quebec City? Montreal is about 5 or 6 hours drive and I think Quebec City is another 3 or so from there. One option might be to look for a place to stay in Prince Edward County which is between Toronto and Montreal if you are driving.

MooseBeTimeForSnow Mon 12-Jan-15 05:18:07

Doesn't the Maid of the Mist only run from the U.S. side now?

marshmallowpies Mon 12-Jan-15 07:57:54

@ Moose - I caught it from the Canadian side in 2009 but just looked on Wikipedia & there is no reference to being able to catch it in Canada on there! Weird as the Canada side looked far more built up & touristy to me.

ChiChiRaRa Mon 12-Jan-15 09:05:12

Ah good points re Toronto - hmm, perhaps a different area would be better and save Toronto for another visit outside of peak season? Thanks again - I'll have another look, it all looks so beautiful!

ISeeShapes Mon 12-Jan-15 11:27:14

Looks as if the Maid of the Must stopped running from Canada in 2013 but someone else has taken it over.

Last Maid of Mist from Canada

Bear Tue 20-Jan-15 17:19:22

Sorry to hijack, but can anyone advise on the best way to visit Niagara Falls for a day while staying in Toronto. We're trying to weight up train vs coach package vs hiring a car for the day and doing it ourselves. We'd be staying on the Canadian side and probably taking a HornBlower cruise (as opposed to Maid of the Mist)

ChiChiRaRa Thu 22-Jan-15 10:03:02

Hi Bear - hijack away! We obviously haven't gone on our holiday yet (close to booking though whoop!) but we are planning on hiring a car and driving from Toronto to Niagara. Apparently it's a 90 min drive each way and a few people have told us the drive is an easy one - not too much traffic

haggisaggis Thu 22-Jan-15 10:14:17

We have been to Toronto twice with the dc - first time they were 3 and 6, 2nd time 5 and 8. Both times it would be end June - hot but not unbearable. There is plenty to do - a boat trip on the lake is fun, as is the CN tower (although queues can be enormous - but there's a good restaurant where you can sit at the window and look out on the lake - this amused the dc enough for us to have a meal in comparative peace!) We rented a car and drove to Niagara. We did the walk under the falls thing - they give you waterproofs. dh and I liked it but the kids didn't like getting wet.
We have also stayed in Montreal - I did not enjoy it as much as Toronto although the Botanic Gardens are good as is the Biodome.

Bear Thu 22-Jan-15 11:52:57

Thanks ChiChiRaRa - based on Trip Advisor recommendations I'm thinking of booking with BG Tours - let someone else do the driving, unless anyone on here has a horror story about them.

2fedup Mon 26-Jan-15 22:27:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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