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Family Holiday to Canada

(34 Posts)
Loopyloo97 Sun 21-Jan-18 14:40:12

Hi, we've booked flights to Toronto in July with our 12 year old , we are planning to also go through Trail finders to hire a care & arrange an itinerary this is what we thought of doing
Fly into Toronto see Niagra falls is it worth staying two days her?
Vancouver, Whistler, Clear Water, Jasper, Saskathewan, Lake louise , Banff then flying back from Calgary to the UK
Has anyone done this route? any advice please ?

CraftyGin Sun 21-Jan-18 15:02:18

Niagara Falls: IMO, based on the rest of your itinerary, it is not worth spending a lot of time here.

We have been to NF many times, basically passing through from Toronto to the USA, and have typically spent 1 - 3 hours.

Last summer, we decided to treat ourselves and stay 24 hours. We arrived around 11am and stayed in the Fallsview Embassy Suites (the hotel closest to the Falls visitor centre. Beyond the Falls themselves, and tourist shows to do with them, Niagara Falls is a very tacky North American tourist pit. It has the usual tee-shirt shops, arcades, silly “museums”, casinos.

The overall region has lots of camping spots, wineries and outlet malls, which don’t make a lot of sense in the context of a grand tour.

The Falls are definitely worth it though, and not too far a detour off your main East-West route.

Loopyloo97 Mon 22-Jan-18 17:11:54

Thankyou for your reply Craftygin, did you go up the Seine tower ? What’s the best way to book excursions , my daughter would love to go whale watching but it seems pricey ,

CraftyGin Mon 22-Jan-18 17:58:28

We’ve been up the CN Tower a couple of times - it’s something to but not amazing, IMO.

How long do you plan to spend in Toronto? We don’t do a lot of touristy things when we are there as we are mostly hanging out with family.

The various Tourist websites tell you what there is to do and you can make your own mind up. It all depends on what kind of things you like to do. As a city, Toronto is a typical North American city, so lots of shopping and eating opportunities. There are the usual range of museums and parks. There’s a good theme park called Canada’s Wonderland.

If you want to experience Canadian culture, go to a Ball Game (baseball) downtown, or see if you can see a synchronised skating show.

Depending on what else you are planning on your trip, consider a few days in the Muskoka region to a nice resort such as www.clevelandshouse.com .

putputput Mon 22-Jan-18 18:19:14

How long are you going for? That's an awful lot to fit in- distances are huge. I would skip Whistler (great for skiing but not much else) and Lake Louise only needs a day trip from Banff (and there are lots of prettier and less touristy lakes.)
Vancouver is a brilliant city - Stanley park is fab for kids, especially the aquarium and bike hire.
If you have a few days spare then go to Vancouver island, or some of the surrounding smaller islands.
Jasper and Banff are very set up for travellers and you're spoilt for choice with activities.

nooka Mon 22-Jan-18 18:40:05

Personally I'd skip Toronto entirely as I think it's a pretty standard North American city and not very exciting. But then I live on the west coast so am biased grin. It's a long flight from Toronto to Vancouver where it's just an extra two hours on the flight from the UK direct if you go straight to Vancouver. The falls are quite impressive but they are in the middle of a tacky tourist town which (to me) really takes away from their impact. Niagara on the Lake is a pretty town nearby, not sure if that would be of much interest to a 12 year old. Vancouver to Calgary is a very standard tourist route, you'll see lots of beautiful British Columbia (including some wonderful waterfalls if you really like them, Bridal Veil, Helmcken, Athabasca, Shannon and Takakkaw all look doable from your itinery). It will be busy though, peak holiday season and you might hit wildfires too, although hopefully the fires this summer too out most of the easily combustible material and next year won't be so bad.

I'm a bit muddled at your reference to Saskathewan. Did you mean Saskatchewan? That's a province and a long drive from Jasper

nooka Mon 22-Jan-18 18:41:53

Oh yes, OP how long are you going for?

HappySpade Mon 22-Jan-18 18:49:55

It's about 46 hours of driving from Toronto to Vancouver, 20 hours just to cross the province of Ontario! You'll spend your whole holiday in a car and it won't be much fun.

Maybe try Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and Quebec City

QuietlyPondering Mon 22-Jan-18 18:58:21

We spent our honeymoon travelling Canada. Started in Toronto, we did an organised day trip to Niagara Falls which also included a trip to Niagara on the Lake. It's definitely worth a day trip.

We then flew to Saskatchewan, but only because I have a friend living there. Spent a fabulous week in a cabin on a lake, but it's really not on the tourist trail.

We then flew to Calgary, hired a car and spent a week travelling through the Rockies. Started at Canmore (a little boring) then Jasper and finishing in Banff. The drive between Banff and Jasper is stunning and you can tie in Lake Louise on route. I'm jealous, I can't wait to go back to Canada. It's such a welcoming and great place to visit!

captainjackandjill Mon 22-Jan-18 19:12:39

There used to be an amazing science centre in Toronto, and Ontario Place was pretty cool as well. But I was there many many years ago, so not sure if they still exist. Montreal (Old Montreal) was gorgeous if you get a chance to do Quebec. Vancouver is fun (great food!), another science centre there as well as Stanley Park, as mentioned earlier. Vancouver Island is an hour and a half ferry ride from Vancouver and it is gorgeous too - kind of Canada's year round summer place (mostly rain in the winter), no harsh winters. Options for whale watching in both Vancouver and Victoria. Hope you have a great trip!!

nooka Mon 22-Jan-18 20:42:53

We drove from New York to the west coast. Took almost three weeks and was quite the adventure, but we only did it because we were making a permanent move and needed to take the car with us. Driving from Toronto to Vancouver would not be a good holiday, most of it would be through the prairies and very boring (we were amazed at the American prairies, so big, so flat, so featureless and so very very different to anything in the UK but landscape the same for hours and hours isn't really holiday stuff).

SweetChickadee Mon 22-Jan-18 20:48:29

I'm thinking she must mean Saskatchewan River Crossing?

It's a petrol station between Jasper and Lake Louise, on the Icefields parkway grin

nooka Mon 22-Jan-18 22:26:16

Ah I looked on google maps and didn't see anything obvious but that would make sense. Might be where the glacier tour goes from perhaps.

SJane45S Tue 23-Jan-18 16:39:30

I used to live in Toronto & love the city but have to admit it's easy to right it off as a standard N American city on a short visit. The CN Tower is worth going up to say you've done it but won't blow your mind. Keep your trip to Niagara as short as possible (agree with the others it's a tacky town and to be honest, once you've seen the falls there's not much else!). Take a ferry out the islands and go off the beaten track in Toronto - Etienne Brule Park is a nice stroll! A cottage on one of the lakes in Ontario would be nice for a couple of days. Agree an East Coast train trip (or car) would be a good one - wouldn't bother with Ottawa though personally! Montreal and Quebec City are worth going too. Alternatively go West Coast. Trying to 'do' the country in one trip would probably be too much!

verystressedmum Tue 23-Jan-18 16:45:38

Are you driving from Toronto to Vancouver? It’s a long long way.
Yes niagra not much to do there see the falls (beautiful) and go on the boat. That’s all I did.
I didn’t find Toronto a great tourist city but I’m sure you’ll find things to do.

nonfatnofoamlatte Tue 23-Jan-18 19:46:17

Western Canadian here. Could you possibly make it to Calgary during the Stampede (July 6-15)? It's quite fun as Calgary really knows how to party as everyone dresses up as cowboys (or they used to, I haven't been back home for some time). But, please don't attempt to drive from Toronto to Calgary. It is a very, very long drive - about 3 days (8 hours per day). Jasper is beautiful as is Lake Louise.
Vancouver and Victoria are lovely. I would also give Whistler a miss - it's okay but not worth the 2-1/2 hour drive to it.
I hope you have a lot of fun!

nooka Tue 23-Jan-18 23:54:00

Sea to Sky is a great drive though, beautiful scenery.

SweetChickadee Wed 24-Jan-18 14:33:17

I can confirm everyone still dresses up as cowboys for Stampede grin

whyismykid Sat 27-Jan-18 09:07:22

I think I would agree with not driving from Toronto to Vancouver. How about a few days in Toronto as you have already booked the flights, I have been to Niagra Falls and I’m glad I did but it’s v touristy. Then I would fly to Calagary, and spend time in Banff and Jasper NPs - such great hiking, and really beautiful lakes, and whilst full of tourists, it’s still got a nice outdoorsy feel. We then drove to Vancouver- which is a 12 hour ish pretty dull drive - think we stayed overnight on the way - then had a few days in Vancouver which we loved, and then five days ish on Vancouver Island - which was the best bit - we camped at Telegraph Cove and saw Orcas on a boat trip, Bears from the campground and went Kayaking and saw Otters, Porpoises, a Golden Eagle flew over our heads....

HollyBollyBooBoo Sat 27-Jan-18 09:20:01

Toronto is lovely but nothing amazing (loved there for a year), don't get too excited by it, all on quite a small scale.

Niagra Falls is an amazing sight but set in the equivalent of Blackpool, it's horribly tacky. Park up spend 2 hours there and drive on!

Niagra on the Lake is the most beautiful little town I've ever come across and that's worth a visit but again a day max including a leisurely lunch.

Loopyloo97 Sat 27-Jan-18 21:33:26

Thankyou all so much for the helpful informative info , we have decided to use Trail finders for hotels and car hire , has anyone experience with them please?

nooka Sat 27-Jan-18 22:21:34

I'd just book direct, everything will be online.

Shesaysso Sat 27-Jan-18 22:28:03

It's a hell of a long way from Toronto to the West Coast. I'd spend a few days in Toronto, have a day trip to Niagara - like someone said up thread two hours there is enough. I'd then fly to Vancouver and you can then drive and do Whistler, Jasper, Banff and fly out of Calgary.

Vernazza Sat 27-Jan-18 22:38:35

confused OP have you got about a month for this holiday? Driving across Canada (second largest country in the world) even just from Toronto in central Canada to Vancouver on the west coast is about 5000 km.

Loopyloo97 Sun 28-Jan-18 07:56:59

We’re going in July for 14 days flying to Toronto and staying one night , we’ll then fly to Vancouver the following day. Someone suggested giving Whistler a miss ??
What’s the best way to book excursions ?

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