Advice needed Canada In The Summertime

Slalom

Part of the Furniture
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Hi All,

Just starting to put a plan in place to visit Canada in August 2019, during their Summer.
Would love to get some advice and hear from others that have travelled during this period.
We appreciate that we'll likely encounter some crowds given the time of year and that pricing will be higher.
Below is a rough itinerary that I've started to piece together.
Any hotel recommendations, things to do, things to avoid, changes to route, too long, too short, etc, will be much appreciated.

Day 1/2: Melb - SF (flying this option to make use of Qantas points)
Day 2: SF - Montreal (fly)
Day 3/4: Montreal (2 nights)
Day 5/6: Drive or train to Quebec City (2 nights)
Day 6/7/8: Drive or train back to Toronto (2 nights)
Day 9: Toronto - Calgary (fly)
Day 10/11/12: Hire car - head to Banff (3 nights)
Day 13: Lake Louise (1 night)
Day 14/15/16: Icefields Parkway to Jasper (3 nights)
Day 17: Head towards Vancouver (overnight somewhere - maybe Revelstoke)
Day 18/19/20/21: Vancouver/Vancouver Island (4 nights)
Day 21: Vancouver - SF (fly)
Day 22: Potentially a day or so in SF or fly back to Melb.

All up anywhere between 21-24 days. We can be reasonably flexible and are not locked down to specific dates.

Montreal: Notre Dame Basilica/Mont Royal lookouts, general sightseeing
Quebec City: General sightseeing tours
Toronto: Niagara Falls/CN Tower
Banff/LL/Jasper: National parks/Gondola's - Tram car/Icefields Parkway/Mt Norquay hike
Vancouver: Stanley Park/Gastown/Sea to Sky Gondola/Capilano bridge/Vancouver Island/Butchart Gardens/Victoria

Thanks in advance.
 

Beerman

One of Us
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Have done the west coast and across to Calgary that time of year. I highly recommend the lakes around Jasper and Banff, there are plenty to choose from, with Moraine and Peto being 2 good ones.
Banff and Jasper still gets cold once the sun sets, negative temps are not uncommon, daytime temps are low to mid 20's in the rockies that time of year

You'll have a good time
 
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Chowder11

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Few ideas for your time in Toronto
Day trip to Niagara falls, My tip, if your comfortable driving, hire a car so you are on your own schedule. Then drive to a little town called Niagara on the lake about 20 min drive down the river and have lunch there, it is a beautiful little town and a stunning drive through wineries and some amazing period real estate.
Also when in Toronto if the schedule allows go to a Blue Jays game, great fun day out.
Catch the ferry over to the Toronto Islands.
Catch the red tourist bus which does a big lap around the city, its honestly a great way to see Downtown and you can jump on and off as you please.
P.s. I wouldn't worry to much about the CN Tower, the view from skydeck isn't all that special because Sth.Ontario is as flat as flat can be so not a heap to look at apart from a massive sprawling urban city. There is better ways to spend $60.
Head to the distillery district East of the city, some amazing restaurants and boutiques., Mill street brewery does a great typical Canadian/American pub feed with more beer varieties you could ever want.
Or stroll up and down Queen St West, kinda like a chapel st on steroids, best shopping Downtown and get bars and restaurants all along, also has some great coffee cafes if you are a coffee snob like I am. If you do, go for a walk around TrinityBellwoods park and see if you can see the elusive and famous Albino Squirrel.

Toronto is an under rated city with a lot to do.
I recently just spent 18 months there so feel free to msg me if you want any more info.
 

sly_karma

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Dec 12, 2005
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Appears you intend to move fast and often, see the highlights of Canada. You're leaving out the Maritime provinces, but three-and-a-bit weeks is very short for a country large enough to need six time zones. Something left for the next trip! I think the basic trip structure is sound.

The trains are good in the central Canada corridor (Quebec city to Windsor); outside that there is next to nothing. From downtown Montreal to downtown Toronto, the train takes about the same time as flying once you factor in travel between airports and CBDs, security/baggage claim, etc. And of course you see more from the train.

The route from Jasper to Vancouver doesn't go through Revelstoke unless you take a four hour detour (each way). Approx halfway point is Kamloops, but it's a pretty ordinary regional centre/small city sitting at a key transport junction (two rivers, two highways, two railways). Perhaps of more interest would be nearby Sun Peaks, 30 minutes off the main highway. The village is very active in summer with almost all shops, bars and restaurants open. There's scenic chair rides, excellent lift-served mountain bike park, 18 hole golf course, hiking trails, guided fly fishing and so on. The only other stops between Jasper and the Lower Rainland are small villages with a petrol station and a nondescript motel or two. Other possibilities would be to overnight at one of the many fishing lodges located on the lakes scattered around the lower Cariboo and North Thompson regions, or camp in one of the numerous provincial parks along the way.

Toronto is an under rated city with a lot to do.
I recently just spent 18 months there so feel free to msg me if you want any more info.

I've only done the Toronto/Montreal trip once, but my original opinion still holds: Toronto is like Melbourne, overrated by its residents, underrated by everyone else.
 

Slalom

Part of the Furniture
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Jun 17, 2013
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Melbourne
Few ideas for your time in Toronto
Day trip to Niagara falls, My tip, if your comfortable driving, hire a car so you are on your own schedule. Then drive to a little town called Niagara on the lake about 20 min drive down the river and have lunch there, it is a beautiful little town and a stunning drive through wineries and some amazing period real estate.
Also when in Toronto if the schedule allows go to a Blue Jays game, great fun day out.
Catch the ferry over to the Toronto Islands.
Catch the red tourist bus which does a big lap around the city, its honestly a great way to see Downtown and you can jump on and off as you please.
P.s. I wouldn't worry to much about the CN Tower, the view from skydeck isn't all that special because Sth.Ontario is as flat as flat can be so not a heap to look at apart from a massive sprawling urban city. There is better ways to spend $60.
Head to the distillery district East of the city, some amazing restaurants and boutiques., Mill street brewery does a great typical Canadian/American pub feed with more beer varieties you could ever want.
Or stroll up and down Queen St West, kinda like a chapel st on steroids, best shopping Downtown and get bars and restaurants all along, also has some great coffee cafes if you are a coffee snob like I am. If you do, go for a walk around TrinityBellwoods park and see if you can see the elusive and famous Albino Squirrel.

Toronto is an under rated city with a lot to do.
I recently just spent 18 months there so feel free to msg me if you want any more info.
Thanks @Chowder11 Some great stuff to consider there.
Appreciate the tip re: CN. Also I hadn't really considered any sporting events at this stage so that was a good reminder to try and fit it in the schedule. Just had a look at their home game fixture for 2019 and it looks like it's a viable option.
The good Wife's not a huge wrap for bus tours so holding on to the car is the most likely scenario to get around a bit.
 
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Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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Jan 17, 2014
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The good Wife's not a huge wrap for bus tours so holding on to the car is the most likely scenario to get around a bit.
I used to be the same about buses. Then I took a hop on hop off tour of San Francisco. They are a great way to get a feel for the layout of a city and a look at the main tourist traps. I don't think I would do it if I was only in a place for a day or so, but as a day 1 choice for a multi day stay they are a great option. Driving in a strange city means the driver sees nothing except traffic in strange places, and a passenger spends half their time panicking and the other half navigating.
 

Slalom

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Appears you intend to move fast and often, see the highlights of Canada. You're leaving out the Maritime provinces, but three-and-a-bit weeks is very short for a country large enough to need six time zones. Something left for the next trip! I think the basic trip structure is sound.

The trains are good in the central Canada corridor (Quebec city to Windsor); outside that there is next to nothing. From downtown Montreal to downtown Toronto, the train takes about the same time as flying once you factor in travel between airports and CBDs, security/baggage claim, etc. And of course you see more from the train.

The route from Jasper to Vancouver doesn't go through Revelstoke unless you take a four hour detour (each way). Approx halfway point is Kamloops, but it's a pretty ordinary regional centre/small city sitting at a key transport junction (two rivers, two highways, two railways). Perhaps of more interest would be nearby Sun Peaks, 30 minutes off the main highway. The village is very active in summer with almost all shops, bars and restaurants open. There's scenic chair rides, excellent lift-served mountain bike park, 18 hole golf course, hiking trails, guided fly fishing and so on. The only other stops between Jasper and the Lower Rainland are small villages with a petrol station and a nondescript motel or two. Other possibilities would be to overnight at one of the many fishing lodges located on the lakes scattered around the lower Cariboo and North Thompson regions, or camp in one of the numerous provincial parks along the way.



I've only done the Toronto/Montreal trip once, but my original opinion still holds: Toronto is like Melbourne, overrated by its residents, underrated by everyone else.
Thanks @sly_karma
As much as we would love to see other areas of the country, as you say, it's just so huge. Can probably only max out about that much time off work in one hit. Will certainly consider another trip in future years.
The Revelstoke option was really only because we are thinking of doing the Icefields Parkway in both directions so we can both really enjoy the views. And it might also give us the choice to bypass places of interest on the first pass if crowds are out of control. Had read that Kamloops was pretty boring so was looking at other options. Sun peaks will be added to the list. Thanks.
 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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Jan 17, 2014
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Coastal suburban boonies.
Thanks @sly_karma
As much as we would love to see other areas of the country, as you say, it's just so huge. Can probably only max out about that much time off work in one hit. Will certainly consider another trip in future years.
The Revelstoke option was really only because we are thinking of doing the Icefields Parkway in both directions so we can both really enjoy the views. And it might also give us the choice to bypass places of interest on the first pass if crowds are out of control. Had read that Kamloops was pretty boring so was looking at other options. Sun peaks will be added to the list. Thanks.
I haven't tracked your itinerary, so don't know how it would fit, but Kelowna (IMO) is a much nicer town than Kamloops.
 
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Slalom

Part of the Furniture
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I used to be the same about buses. Then I took a hop on hop off tour of San Francisco. They are a great way to get a feel for the layout of a city and a look at the main tourist traps. I don't think I would do it if I was only in a place for a day or so, but as a day 1 choice for a multi day stay they are a great option. Driving in a strange city means the driver sees nothing except traffic in strange places, and a passenger spends half their time panicking and the other half navigating.
Don't mind the hop on hop off buses, it is more so something like a 10hour all day tour type setup that she's adverse to.
Funny you mention the SF one. We did that last year, the ones with the real guides as opposed to a recorded version were so much better.
 
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