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How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Washington DC...
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How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Hi,

I'll make a trip to Canada for 10 days. I'd like to start my trip from Niagara falls, and then to Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec city. How should I allocate my time for each city? I'm from NYC, so I'm more interested in European culture, architecture, and also beautiful scenery.

I'll travel alone and I can't speak French. Is it a problem?

Thank you.

London, Canada
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1. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

I would suggest that you stay one night in Niagara Falls-Maybe on your first night?. See the sites, check out Niagara-on the-lake, stop at some wineries on the way.

Drive to Toronto (2 hours max)- Stay one or two nights there depending on what you want to see.

On your way to Montreal from Toronto, maybe stop at 1000 Islands area, very plesant.

Drive to Montreal (6 hours) stay 2 or 3 nights there. Some European feel there, old port area, historic sites, great food.(Smoke meat sandwich, Bagels, Poutine ect- typical Quebec treats)

Drive to Quebec City 3 hours. Stay 3 nights there to truly enjoy the beauty of this city. Maybe stay at a B&B or small other inn within the fortified walls of Old Quebec. Great little bistros, terrasses. Buskers in old quebec are fun to watch too. Explore the Lower town, the civilization mueum, old port, cruises, whale watching, ect.

If you want scenery, drive north of quebec city to Charlevoix region near Baie-st-Paul, Malbaie and Tadoussac(where the whale watching tours are). Georgeous views of the St-Lawrence, mountains, valleys ect..

No worries about no speaking french, most people will help you and most speak english unless you are outside the big cities and main roads. Maybe bring a small english french dictionnary with you just in case- it could be fun and educational too.

Bon voyage!

Surrey, Canada
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2. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

I ttotally agree with Canuckgirl's suggestions above.European culture and architecture: it screems Québec City, so 3 nights here certainly won't be too much.

Beautiful scenery: You may take a cruise through the 1000 islands from the little town of Gananoque, or at least drive on the 1000 Islands Parkway. You will see the exit from Hwy 401 - a bold green panel with yellow characters.

In and around Qc City, scenerywise: do not miss the Plaines d'Abraham / Plaines d'Abraham (Battlefields), great to walk/jog/run through, and a splendid spot for a picnic. Take the ferry going to Lévis, on the south shore. There is one every ½ hour during the day, and 1 per hr at night, the crossing only takes 10 minutes (you may stay on the ferry) - stunning view over Qc City's skyline, best done early AM (sun reflects on the Château Frontenac and Cape Diamant), or at sunset/dusk. Also, if you drive Mtl-Qc City through Hwy 20, you MUST exit at Laporte bridge, and immediately at the end of the crossing, exit right and take "Boul. Champlain", that's the most scenic entrance to the city you may dream of. If your hotel / B&B is in Lower Town, start checking your directions once you will have passed the ferry terminal (the boulevard turns 90º to the right and then to the left, 2 sets of lights, can't miss it); if you're staying in Upper Town, exit on your left at "Côte Gilmour / Gilmour Hill" roughly 7 miles if I recall correctly east of your exit from the bridge. You will drive uphill and see a bit of the Plaines d'Abraham already, turn right every time you can, you will pass the National Museum, a roundabout, and will reach Grande-Allée St, near the Loew's Le Concorde Hotel - the Parliament and thewalls are not very far then.

Charlevoix county (the quaint little town of Baie-St-Paul, Île-aux-Coudres / Island [free ferry], St-Irénée) is mountainous and within relatively short distance driving. The St Laurent river is so wide there you cannot see the south shore.

Being interested in architecture, European culture and scenery, I would not allocate a long time to Toronto (like: 1 day? 2 days max), I'd spend 1 day at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Falls and wineries, and would reserve the biggest chunk to Mtl (2 days), Qc City (2 or 3 days) and Charlevoix county.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Thanks Canuckgirl.

I forgot to tell you that I won't drive to Canada. I'm thinking about flying to Niagara falls and then take a bus or train to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec city. I found that there're buses and trains between these three cities. Is it convenient? However, I think it's pretty inconvenient without a car from Niagara falls to Niagara on the lake or wineries. Should I rent a car while I stay at Niagara falls or I just skip these two places? Thanks.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Thanks for your suggestion Eirelover. How can I follow your suggestion without a car? I don't want to drive coz I easily get lost in a new city. Maybe I have to skip Charlevoix county. If I don't visit Charlevoix county, how should I allocate my 10 days?

Are there any bus to 1000 islands?

Thanks a lot.

northern Ontario
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5. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Hello.

If you like European culture you are on the right path by choosing the three cities you mentioned. You might want to consider taking the train between the three destinations...I think it would be a nice trip.

www.viarail.ca/trains/en_trai_queb_moch.html

As far as Niagara Falls ...It is worth seeing the sites there (especially take the trip on the Maid of the Mist). You can do both Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake in one day. You can take a cab to NOTL from the Falls (approx.15 min ride).

As far as the other three cities you could easily split the time equally between the three. There is a lot of great architecture in Toronto (check out the Toronto inside pages, go lists and forums on the T/A site). I am not as familiar with Montreal... have been there a few times and know there is a lot to see there as well. Quebec City in my opinion is the most European of all three. Beautiful city with plenty to do and easy to get around. Hope this helps a little.

You will be fine with the language...not to worry about that.

Good luck.

Surrey, Canada
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6. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Hi again

No car .... hmmm do you have strict budget limitations?

If you absolutely want to see the Falls and are ready to fly to it, then do so, and actually, yes, not having a car will reduce to almost zero (there might be winery tours I am not aware of) your chances of touring the wineries. Niagara-on-the-Lake really is worth a visit though, so you could follow N/deco's suggestion of a cab between NF and NOTL. You could easily spend ½ day enjoying this pretty town, and its tentalizing cute little shops ... So let's imagine there are some kinds of tours through the wineries, you could count 2 days for seeing the Falls, tour some wineries, and see NOTL. 2 days for Toronto, including transportation time to it. The same for Mtl (sightseeing and transportation to it). 2 full days for Qc City, then rent a car for 2 full days. If you ever choose to skip Niagara (Falls and Lake) and decided to fly in To, and out of Mtl, you could allocate these 2 days to drive further east in Charlevoix county and see the whales. Your choice.

The train between Toronto and Mtl is pleasant to take, and if you may buy your ticket long enough ahead of time, you might be lucky and get one of the discounted seats there are on every journey. But Mtl-Qc City, IMO, is best done using the intercity bus [see www.orleansexpress.com) - there are departures from both cities every hour, and it will only take 2H45 from downtown to downtown (remember: get off at the SECOND stop in Qc City, called "Gare du Palais). The train is much less frequent than the bus. Buses and bus terminals are clean, safe, A/C, comfy and pleasant.

I understand you may get easily lost in cities, but I would strongly advise you to rent a car, would it be for 2-3 days only, to go to Charlevoix county. Myself, I get lost very easily (which did not stop me from travelling solo for the last 22 years ... I guess there must be only 1 or 2 smal small places in Europe where I haven't got lost : ) I could always find my way back at night and back home ...) - but once the car is rented, you buy a provincial map, you get yourself a basic map at the car rental office and ask for the easiest directions out, telling you want to go to Charlevoix, and you will see it is VERY easy. You basically follow the river, and directions to "Malbaie", until you drive up a serious hill, and that's it: you just can't get lost anymore, because all the rest is either little quaint town, or small villages! The scenery is truly worth the effort, believe me.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Thanks Northerndecorator and Eirelover.

I'm thinking about taking a cab to Niagara on the lake but skip a winery tour. I plan to allocate 1 full day for Niagara fall+Niagara on the lake. Is it enough? I don't want to cut Niagara falls from my trip, so I plan to stay in Toronto only for 1 full day. What should I see there for the limited time besides CN tower and Toronto Island?

Surrey, Canada
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8. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

While some may find it's too short a time alloted to bag in the 3 destinations, in my opinion you're making a good choice. Falls + Niagara-on-the-Lake 1 one day is perfectly doable. 1 day / Toronto: well for a 1st visit you can do with it, and then evaluate if you like the city buzz enough to come back and spend more time. I am sure N/deco will help you with suggestions about Toronto. St Lawrence Market , and the nearby Distillery district (which is like 1 block altogether); Kensington Market and the Victorian houses in its neighbourhood; Chinatown; the City Hall. Going to Toronto Islands will eat a significant portion of your day in the city: up to you to decide on the spot if you feel like vacationing on the islands and see 1 or 2 things of the city itself, or rather see the most you can in the city, and the rest of the day (if there is time left!) for a short trip to T. Island.

Washington DC...
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9. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Erielover, thanks again. Your suggestion is very helpful. I'm thinking about taking a ferry to Toronto Island to see the view of Toronto city during sunset and then coming back to the city. I know I don't have time to explore the island. As you suggested, this time I might just roughly explore everything and then evaluate whether I like this city. Since it's close to NY, I can come back later if I like it.

northern Ontario
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10. Re: How should I allocate 10 days in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec?

Hello akikoakiko.

Excellent suggestions from Eire regarding Toronto. If you hit any rain while in Toronto I would recommend the St.Lawrence Market...nice day then Kensington Market. Not to repeat the recommendations from Eire so besides those ...a few others you may want to consider are Casa Loma, Bata Shoe Museum. Royal Ontario Museum (try to fit this is to see the new Crystal). You mentioned you like architecture so the ROM will greatly interest you.

http://www.rom.on.ca/crystal/index.php

CN Tower is now lit up every night so try and catch that.

As far as shopping, for a good mall in downtown Toronto check out The Eaton Centre....again as far as malls go and if you like architecture the inside has a beautiful design....time permitting take the enclosed walkway over to the Hudson's Bay Store.

For unique items and latest fashion trends - Queen Street West.

Upscale shopping...Bloor Street and Yorkville.

A very good Italian restaurant with reasonable prices is Terroni. Fancier but more expensive...Donatello. There are endless restaurants in Toronto. If you have a favorite type of food check out the Toronto forum there is a lot of info there.

Of course you will not be able to see even a fraction of the above due to time limits. I would suggest you type in anything that sounds intereting to you (as far as your time in Toronto) into the Trip Advisor search bar and read up to decide which attractions appeal to you most of all.

I agree with Eire, one day for Niagara Falls and NOTL will do just fine.

Have a great trip!