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Canada: Recommendations in Toronto, Whistler, Calgary or Vancouver/Vancouver Island?

(46 Posts)
wheresmymojo Sun 26-May-19 19:35:22


We're doing a big trip in Canada for DH's birthday in a couple of months.

A few days in Toronto before flying to Calgary for a few days. We pick up a car while in Calgary and are going to drive to Vancouver stopping at Whistler, Kamloops, Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Does anyone have any recommendations for sights, day trips, restaurants that we should check out?

SconNotScone Sun 26-May-19 19:57:11

In Toronto, we did all the usual touristy stuff. A day trip to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, a hop on/hop off bus tour round the city (which I actually really rated, as it allowed us a chance to get a feel for places we liked, then head back to explore further the next day), a trip up the CN Tower. We spent 4 days in Toronto and really enjoyed it, would definitely go back, as I feel we could have explored further.

DustOffYourHighestHopes Sun 26-May-19 20:04:42

Vancouver: Hire bikes and cycle aeound Stanley Park - bring a bike lock, swimsuit and towel and stop at the beach/lido whenever you like.

Victoria: dinner al fresco on Fisherman’s Wharf was lovely. Whale watching too!

HermioneWeasley Sun 26-May-19 20:09:51

Eat breakfast at a “cora’s” whenever you see one

HermioneWeasley Sun 26-May-19 20:11:47

Oh, and dinner at Earl’s. Especially on Margarita Monday

AnnaBegins Sun 26-May-19 20:20:30

On Vancouver island, go to Duncan and eat at the garage cafe/bakery.

HappySpade Mon 27-May-19 18:54:05

For Vancouver, Sandbar restaurant on Granville Island is lovely. If you want views of Vancouver, try Salmon House in West Vancouver or Seasons in the Park in the centre of Vancouver. See Capliano Suspension Bridge or the less touristy Lynn Canyon bridge.

Beebumble2 Tue 28-May-19 07:46:56

What a fantastic trip, DH and I did it a few years back. I assume your going through the Ice Fields National Park. It’s amazing, but cold when you get out of the car. Take a fleece.if you can, on your way to Vancouver drive through the Oakanagan Valley and stop at Harrison Hot Springs. It’s a Lake with hot geysers, has a beach and a little seaside feel. Lots of lively restaurants/ cafes.
It’s only about an hour from Vancouver, but worth an overnight stop.
Loads of things to do in Vancouver, as already mentioned. In Whistler we ate at Araxi a couple of times. Not cheap, but very good especially if you want a special occasion holiday meal.
Have a great time, I’m envious as it was my most memorable holiday.

BubblesBuddy Wed 29-May-19 07:49:08

Lonely Planet has a great guide on this area. We are going to Vancouver in September. So interested in what else we can do there as we have been before. Lots of neighbourhoods look interesting!

DustOffYourHighestHopes Wed 29-May-19 22:30:29

Capilano was, I think, fun but overrated.

On a similar route from whistler to Vancouver is the Sea To Sky gondola - beautiful views and breathtaking experience. Much better (albeit v different) to Capilano.

wheresmymojo Thu 30-May-19 05:25:27

Thanks everyone! I'll spend a happy evening tonight researching these.

Love getting travel tips on Mumsnet - they always turn out to be great smile

Knitclubchatter Thu 30-May-19 05:48:45

Hello from Kamloops! How much time are you spending here (driving through or overnight) any children or just the two adults?

wheresmymojo Wed 19-Jun-19 19:19:08

Sorry @Knitclubchatter I just saw your response.

Two adults

Our itinerary is a couple of days in Toronto (DH wants to go to some geeky convention, I will amuse myself, we've both been to Toronto a couple of times before).

Calgary for 4 nights - we're picking up the car when we land, plan is to use it as a base for exploring Lake Louise/Banff. We're also going to a Wolfdog sanctuary.

Whistler for 3 nights - already booked a trip to see bears, planning to do the sea 2 sky gondala/Whistler mountain/zipwire.

Might book Araxi for DH's actual birthday dinner and then have booked Vallea Lumina (like an interactive storytelling thing with lights in the forest) after.

Revelstoke for 1 night - stopping point en route to Vancouver

Vancouver for 3 nights - will go to the Richmond night market.

Victoria for 3 nights - have booked whale watching.

Userplusnumbers Wed 19-Jun-19 19:21:51

OP - I'd look at staying in Canmore rather than Calgary - about 90 minutes drive from Calgary, and closer to Lake Louise, Banff etc, plus stunning views!

BestIsWest Fri 21-Jun-19 14:55:35

Agree with PP, stay in Canmore or Banff rather than Calgary. It is a long drive on top of where you want to be in the park.

VetOnCall Mon 24-Jun-19 05:06:13

I live in Calgary, it's an awesome city but unless you're going to be here in the week of the Stampede, then given your time constraints I'd recommend staying in Canmore too. It's only an hour west of here, extremely scenic and around 20 minutes from Banff.

Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are pretty much permanently rammed at the moment. The Moraine Lake car park is filling up by 6.30am most days, and then they close the road in and it's one in one out if you're lucky. There's a shuttle from an overflow car park a km or so down the highway - use this! Even that is filling up early though - from tomorrow they're adding extra services starting at 6am.

Yamnuska wolfdog sanctuary is a cool place to visit, it's between Calgary and Canmore.

Have breakfast at Tooloulou's in Banff, a drink/food at the Waldhaus pub on the patio and an ice cream from Cow's!

You probably know this but just going on the order of the itinerary you typed above, Revelstoke is between Calgary and Kamloops/the Okanagan, not between Whistler and Vancouver. From east-west it goes Calgary - Canmore - Banff - Revelstoke - Okanagan - Whistler - Vancouver. To go Calgary - Whistler - Revvy you'd be driving (a long way!) back on yourself. Keep the distances here in mind, it's a truly huge country; we drove from Calgary to the Okanagan last weekend and it was 8 hours each way. You can spend entire days getting from one place to another.

You'll need a park pass, they're valid for all the National Parks in Canada. You can buy it as you drive into Banff NP a few km on from Canmore, you can't miss the booths, they're in the middle of the road. The pass is mandatory if you're going to stop in any of the National Parks, so if you're going into Banff town, up to Lake Louise etc. you have to pay. We pay $136 for an annual pass but you can get short-term passes - it's about $20/day.

If you do decide to stay in Calgary or want any more info I'd be happy to help!

VetOnCall Mon 24-Jun-19 05:25:59

Just adding to the above, I think your best bet would be to stay one night here in Calgary then go to Yamnuska wolfdog sanctuary the next day en route to Canmore/Banff (finding accommodation in the mountains can be anything from tricky to impossible at this time of year but Canmore may be marginally easier and slightly less $$$ than Banff).

There are TONS of restaurants in Calgary, we're spoilt for choice here. If you say what kind of food you like I can give recommendations. If you like ice cream a trip to Made By Marcus on 17th Avenue is essential!

MooseBeTimeForSummer Mon 24-Jun-19 06:03:24

Lots of serviced apartments in Canmore - full kitchens and laundry. Places like Rundle Cliffs, Solara, Stone Ridge, Copperstone.

There’s a new hotel called The Malcolm.

Canmore has clamped down hard on Airbnb etc. Town and individual condo bylaws don’t allow short term lets in certain areas but owners tried to ignore them.

mummymeister Mon 24-Jun-19 12:24:47

We stayed in Golden and it was the highlight of our holiday. we also stayed in Sechelt which was very pretty and not too touristy. In golden you can hire bikes and do downhill trails. book rafting trips on the kicking horse river and a float trip as well if you can.

BestIsWest Mon 24-Jun-19 16:53:34

I second the rec for Touloulous too, we had dinner there too.

Tentomidnight Mon 01-Jul-19 09:03:37

If you decide to stay in Calgary, the heritage park on the outskirts is a good family day out.

Beebumble2 Mon 01-Jul-19 19:09:05

Do book Araxi in Whistler, fab restaurant. If you’ve time stop of at Harrison Hot Springs in the Fraser valley BC, en route to Vancouver. It’s like the seaside in the Mountains.

afrikat Mon 01-Jul-19 20:37:31

Following this thread, we have decided to go to canada next summer for 3 weeks and v excited!

Knitclubchatter Mon 01-Jul-19 23:51:22

kamloops is very small and fine for a lunch, tiny main street section with a nearby waterfront park (riverside park).
judging by your destination hotspots i presume kamloops will be a pit stop at a gas station with a quick drive through.
if i'm off the mark on this check out the dates of music in the park (riverside) for free music in the evening as well as ribfest (spare ribs of all sorts).

thisiswhathappened Tue 02-Jul-19 00:00:28

In Victoria you must see the Fairmont Empress and have food and cocktails there.

And of course there is Butchart Gardens.

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