It depends on what you're interested in doing and seeing. Montreal is a bigger city than Ottawa but if you've been in Toronto for a week and want something more manageable, Ottawa has a smaller, more manageable feel to it than Toronto--easier to get around, more walkable. Can you be more specific on what kind of things you're looking to do?
A bit confused about your post. Ok, not any more, just read your other post. Anyways, Montreal, while a big city, is quite different than Toronto--the most obvious difference being the language spoken although you can get by easily in english. Old Montreal and the whole area by the river are great and kid friendly. The key if you only have a day in Montreal is not to try to do too many things, especially with such a young child. Yu can have a great day/afternoon just hanging around Old Montreal ---very different than anything you'll find in Toronto or any other North American city for that matter. Ottawa is nice, certaily quieter and great if you're into museums but I have not spent much time there so will not comment further.
Hope that helps...a little.
I'm a New Yawker who's hopped across the border to both many times. I've taken my children when they were very young to both. Ottawa was a hit, Montreal was a disaster - each time!
Ottawa has the changing of the guard - v.v. cool for a kid. Mounties are v. friendly - unlike their British peers. They'll pose for photos with your child. How cool is that! Incredible children's museum (v. cheap), great Natural Museum, and now has the War museum (for your big kid - your spouse!). Almost always some outdoor concerts downtown. Suburbs have wave pools - v.v. big hit. Think D.C. but much more manageable. Just stay downtown within walking distance to everything - lot easier for a 2-year-old.
Montreal is v. difficult to get around, driving and parking signs are ONLY in French, so unless your French is more than what you learned in H.S., you'll have a problem. (And they're not too happy about speaking English). Plus, Montreal is v. dirty, v. expensive, everyone smokes and they can be rude (they're French!), city is visibly dangerous looking in parts (known haven for criminals looking to hop over the border).
Ottawa is clean, almost no smoking, and v.v. safe.
I completely agree with the above poster. Ottawa has lots to see and do, on a quaint small scale. Parliament hill and changing of the guard is a must. As is a trip to the market - you will always find a busker or two, several nice outdoor restaurants to dine in.The museum of science and technology has wonderful exhibits for children - lots of pressing buttons etc. for the little ones. There is always something going on in the city - a festival or something - be sure to check your dates to see what's on when you're here.... the buskers festival would be great for your two year old. The museum of civilization has an entire area for children - with an international market kitchen, a big boat to play on etc. etc.
Your child would also likely like a trip on the double decker busses or a the canal boats or even a horse drawn carriage ride through the market. If you're coming for a week, you might want to take a quick jaunt to Montreal- I'd recommend Old Montreal, as it's more quaint with cobblestone streets, shops and restaurants. Not nearly as much to do with little ones however. Hope that helps a little bit !!
BTW, if you're looking for a hotel, I highly recommend the Minto Suites with a little one - they are lovely suites with a living area, washer/dryer, kitchenette, pool etc..... Just my own personal preference.......
"known haven for criminals looking to hop over the border"? someone watches "24" too much ;)
I cannot believe the post about Montreal being a known haven for criminals - Montreal is great city, people are super polite, and the language is not an issue. It has so much character and charm.
Parking signs are not all in French (another ridiculous comment). Before people spam me for being biased, I live in Ottawa.
Ottawa is also a nice place but for a first time touristy visit I would definitely go to Montreal - they have the BioDome - great for kids.
i will be visiting montreal for 1 week from spain. am in 30s anyone knows how to get montreal nice girl to keep me company and may be more of long term ....... lol
Having been to both, I found both cities had a charm of their own, but Montreal...unsafe and dirty? I must differ, we found it lovely, both the people and the place and by the way, Britain doesn't have Mounties, if the person who mentiond them , meant the Guards, they aren't "unfriendly" they are simply not allowed to move or speak while they are on duty except to protect the palace if need be.
I have been to both cities many times and they are equally wonderful and I have always enjoyed taking my family there. Both are clean, safe (all cities have places you don't want to go), and the people are always friendly. But my own opinion is that we enjoy Montreal and Ottawa now that the kids are older but Ottawa was better with little ones. It's smaller, less crowded and most things you can walk to and there seems to be lots of suite accomodations in Ottawa which was way better with little ones than a regular hotel room. We have stayed at Les Suites, Minto Place, and the Delta. Wait a few years and then definitely take them to Montreal, they'll have a blast.
Ottawa is in Ontario, Quebec is just over the bridge. Ottawa is a beautiful place to bring kids. I agree with the post above, when your kids are older, Montreal would be great. La Ronde is a great Amusement Park, Biodome, etc. Better for an older child.
You could really do both if you want, though. From Toronto you take the 401 to Ottawa (4.5-5 hour drive). Then after
Ottawa, you take the 417 to Montreal (1.5-2 hour drive).
Have fun no matter where you choose. Both are lovely, friendly cities.