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fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

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England
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fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

we would like to travel from Edmonton to Winnepeg and then onto Toronto.

any advice as to which mode of transport would be best. we hope to travel around the first week in june, this is part of a three month trip to Canada. We would have visited the Rockies and Vancouver and would be driving from Jasper to Edmonton.

We are keen to see as much of Canada as possible.

Thank you for any advice.

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1. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

Elsa

I suspect you'll get varied opinions on this one. A thing that's important to know is distances. Edmonton to Winnipeg is 1300 km. Winnipeg to Toronto is 2200 km (if driving through USA). I have taken train once, flown many times.

Since you've got the time and are keen to see much of Canada, you may want to take Via from Edmonton to Toronto. I'd recommend breaking up the trip - perhaps at Winnipeg.

Victoria, B.C.
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2. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

Consider

1. Driving from Edmonton to Winnipeg - on the Yellowhead (Hwy #16) - would be a great opportunity to see this part of the country. And using #16 shows a different side to the Prairies - quite a few "rolling hills" sections (not just "vast stretches of flat land" as it seems when using Hwy #1).

2. Train from Winnipeg to Toronto - since it's a *long* stretch, as ABtraveller indicated, plus the views are great from the train's observation car :-).

Reasons for my suggested transport methods:

1. There are a lot of small towns & pretty sights along the Yellowhead.

2. Lake Winnipeg is worth an overnight. Likely so is the City of Winnipeg, but I admit to not knowing much about the city.

3. Train reservations - if you include either a berth, 'roomette' (for one & private but very tight) or, ideally, a bedroom - likely would be difficult to arrange unless you do a "straight thru" from Edmonton to Toronto .... which would be a shame since you'd miss so much of the country.

Last FYI - you really do not want to take the train without sleeping arrangements. Did it one-way from Toronto to Moncton, and it was *not* comfortable. Arranged for a roomette on the way back!

Hope you have a wonderful trip!

England
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3. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

Thank you both for your advice, it really helps to hear from people who have done the trip.

Can I ask do you think we would miss alot if we drove to Winnepeg as suggested and then flew to Toronto?

Victoria, B.C.
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4. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

In view of the significant cost, even though I love trains :-) and that part of the country, scenery/trip just isn't wonderful enough to merit the $ difference :-(.

Re flying - consider Westjet ( http://www.westjet.ca ). Their best prices are for booked-well-in-advance flights that leave on Tues., Wed., Thurs. For example, I input June 13 and, for two, total one-way fare is only $314.00 right now - but as seats fill up, the price goes up.

Canada
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5. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

I have driven Edmonton to the east (Quebec and the maritimes) about a dozen times in the last dozen years or so. Both the Yellowhead and Transcanada (through Saskatoon and then Regina) are interesting drives. The drive from Winnipeg to Toronto is pretty interesting, especially the stretch from Thunder Bay to Sault St. Marie. I highly recommend that. If I had to choose only one leg (Ed-Winnipeg, or Wpg-Toronto) I would choose the latter mostly because there is more varied scenery and the Lake Superior stretch is truly spectacular. Even better, is if you can do both.

Air Canada and Westjet offer identical fares these days on most routes, so check both airline fares via their websites.

England
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6. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

Thank you for all the great advice, we have decided to hire a car and drive. We have driven vast distances before in Australia and New Zealand, and feel considering your advice it would be a great way to see more of the less comercialised areas of Canada.

From Winnepeg we will have 8 weeks until we return to the uk.

do you think it is viable to drive from Winnepeg to Toronto- Niagara- Montreal - Quebec city - Quebec - Halifax- St John then back to Toronto for our return flight.

Any advice on routes or places not to be missed - amount of time to spend in each area greatly appreciated.

Thanks again your information it is really helping us to arrange the second half of our trip.

Hope I am not asking for too much info.

Alberta, Canada
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7. Re: fly/ drive or VIA to Winnepeg

If you have eight weeks from Winnipeg until you leave from Toronto, then you can fit in a trip all the way to Halifax, although so you don't feel rushed, you may want to fly back to Toronto. I have driven from Edmonton to Ottawa (through Winnipeg) three times...I have bypassed Toronto and have gone through Toronto, but you really should make sure you see Toronto and give yourself plenty of time. It's a very neat city and there are so many things to do there. You may want to consider this type of itinerary:

Winnipeg to Toronto will take you two days - you'll stop in Sault Ste. Marie on the way. You can get there through the States, which is the way I've always gone as it's a bit faster, but i hear the northern route is much prettier...just watch out for moose! It's only a two lane highway and quite curvy, but also very beautiful. The Sault (pronounced Soo) is on the Lake and supposedly also quite nice in the summer. You'll come down to Toronto through what Ontarians call Cottage Country, so the drive will be gorgeous and there are hundreds of lakes and small towns. You may want to even spend a day or two getting down to Toronto.

You should plan to spend about a week in Toronto and surrounding areas. Spend a couple of days in the big city and then another couple of days down in Niagara. I would suggest staying in Niagara on the Lake as opposed to Niagara Falls. The former is a charming, quaint, little town. It's quiet and laid back with nice shops and good dining. The latter, while a sight to be seen, is a bit tacky tourist and I don't recommend staying there. Parking is a pain in the neck and once you've seen the Falls, unless you're much for casinos, I would retreat back to Niagara on the Lake.

Driving up the 401 (which is the Transcanada) you should stop at least for an afternoon in Picton in Prince Edward County and then even consider a night in Kingston. Kingston was the capital of Upper Canada before Queen Victoria picked Ottawa. Ottawa is not to be missed and although it's out of the way as between Montreal and Toronto, it's one of my favourite places in Canada - 2 nights is sufficient to see everything. If you have some extra time, poke around the towns of Merrickville off Hwy 416 and Perth. You may even want to take Hwy 17 up from Kingston and drive through the back roads. The main highway 416 off the 401 will get you there faster, but there's not much on it.

From there I would spend a week or two in Montreal and Quebec City. Make sure that you stop in the town of Hudson on your way to Montreal. Great antique shops and a neat antique market - no real bargains, but great stuff.

I have been to Montreal many times and really loved shopping there when I was living in Ottawa. There's lots to see, amazing places to eat and great hotels. It's is one of the great cities of North America.

Vieux Quebec, the Old City, is so amazing and it doesn't quite feel like you're in Canada - you feel like you're in France. Very cool...particularly when you're from the prairies. The last time I was there we had two nights, but I had wished I had at least three or four.

Haven't driven to Halifax from Ontario or Quebec, so can't really comment, but the flight is short and there are direct flights from Toronto all the time for reasonable prices - check Westjet - so you may want to fly back.

Toronto to Niagara depending on traffic can take up to three hours.

Toronto to Kingston is 2 hours

Kingston to Ottawa without stopping is 2 hours

Ottawa to Montreal direct is just under 2 hours

Montreal to Quebec City is four hours.

If you can avoid travelling to Toronto on a weekend then do so. Everyone leaves the city on weekends and goes back on Sundays so traffic is a nightmare. A hour drive can take three or four. Going into Ottawa on a Sunday is not nearly so bad.

Whew! That was a lot of information. Sorry to go on like that.