travel advice & savings
 
SAVE on RAIL PASSES LOWEST PRICES / FREE SHIPPING on orders over $449!
Now use the Trip Planner to:
  • Find and Buy Rail Passes
  • Find and Book Hostels
Already know which Rail Pass you need?
Click here and buy now!
Special Eurotrip Member Savings!
16 replies
Canada
Eurotripgal
Eurotripgal's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 26
Member: 5260
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 43 weeks ago.

Hey guys,
 
Just wondering if I could grab any useful info on travelling to Canada – all of Canada including Quebec. I am thinking of going in Feb, i know this is winter over there and will be snowing in most places, so great for snowboarding but does this kind of wreck the sightseeing of beautiful places like Lake Louise and wildlife sightings etc?? I suppose they would be in hibernation….Is this month just to uncomfortable to travel in?
 
Also, just after a few opinions on VIA rail…..accessibility, how far ahead to you need to book, prices across the country etc etc – have looked on the websites and ami bit confused.
 
I have travelled Europe and it seemed much easier!
 
Thanks for the help!

RE
RE's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 115
Member: 5852
Joined: 04/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 30 weeks ago.

I don’t think people really take the trains here, i think it’s mostly buses (which would be http://www.greyhound.com/). i could be giving you bad advice, but i’ve lived in canada all my life and it’s not something i’ve really heard of. if you take the bus, you don’t need to make reservations.

february is kind of a dreary month here in my opinion. but what the weather will be like really depends on where you are. temperatures can really vary across the country. where i live now (victoria BC), in february the weather can be spring-like with flowers blooming, no snow etc. however i’ve lived in other places in BC where in february it can get to -20 c and the ground will be frozen solid (really isn’t fun when the sidewalks are a solid sheet of ice). and if the snow has begun to thaw in some places than it will be a slushy ugly mess.

i’ve only ever travelled in canada in the spring/summers months as well as in december, so i don’t know about february. from my experience living in different places in canada i can tell you that most places here&nbsprobably won’t be very lively in february, and you’d probably be better putting it off until a later month.

but i could be wrong. hopefully someone more knowledgeable on the subject will have better advice for you!

Keleti
Keleti's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 187
Member: 4334
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 3 years 48 weeks ago.

I live in Canada and have traveled around the western part a lot and a little around the eastern end. Not so much in the middle.

1. February. Hmm. Any reason for that month? It can be COLD! As RE said, the temperature varies greatly depending where you are, but still it and January are the two months that would be least desirable in my opinion to travel here. March is usually warmer and at the end of the month you often get spring skiing conditions.
2. Lake Louise in winter – you won’t see much wild life but the national parks are BEAUTIFUL in the winter.
3. VIA rail – it is expensive, but then again so [=”#0000ff”]is[/] flying across Canada. Trail travel is not used to the same extent [=”#0000ff”]as [/]in Europe. You can take a bus as RE said but if you are traveling from east to west that is one loooooooooong bus ride.
4 Quebec and Lake Louise – keep in mind Canada is a LARGE country. You would save a lot of money and time if you chose a region.

Eurotripgal
Eurotripgal's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 26
Member: 5260
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 43 weeks ago.

Thanks so much for the helpful info you canadians!
 
The reason i have Feb as a travel date is because this is when i may have to go, otherwise i may not get to go on holidays for another year (with my work etc…grrr)
 
So yes, i will do my best to change the month if i can. Would November be feasable or possibly March?
 
I am keen to do some snow related stuff so a lot of time would be spent in Whistler, Banff, areas etc. I would love to visit Vancouver, Montreal and Niagra Falls and have rellies in Toronto. So maybe rail i snot the way to go. Perhaps a few internal flights would be better – yes, i think i was not thinking straight about how wide and large a country Canada is!! Not like Europe!
 
Thanks again [Smile]

RE
RE's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 115
Member: 5852
Joined: 04/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 30 weeks ago.

oh i don’t think november would be much better. it’s a very grey month. march can be lovely when the sun first breaks through after a dull winter. out of the three choices, definitely march.
though i think whistler and banff are great choices and will be fine to visit in any of those months. banff is one of my faaaaaavourite places, by the way. some of my best childhood memories are of our day trips to banff, going to the candy store and the ballet and the german restaurant where the owner always came out and gave my sister and i these little baskets of candy (i liked candy )

heavydrinker
heavydrinker's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 722
Member: 2310
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 13 weeks ago.

Quote:
ORIGINAL: Eurotripgal

Hey guys,

Just wondering if I could grab any useful info on travelling to Canada – all of Canada including Quebec. I am thinking of going in Feb, i know this is winter over there and will be snowing in most places, so great for snowboarding but does this kind of wreck the sightseeing of beautiful places like Lake Louise and wildlife sightings etc?? I suppose they would be in hibernation….Is this month just to uncomfortable to travel in?

 
Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper Springs,other nat’l parks are all beautiful in the winter & the villages full of life. Feb is an ideal time for skiing/snowboarding as well.  If you spent your entire trip in Lake Louise alone it wouldn’t be a waste, it’s that nice

Quote:
Also, just after a few opinions on VIA rail…..accessibility, how far ahead to you need to book, prices across the country etc etc – have looked on the websites and ami bit confused.

 
Did you try via.ca?  You don’t need to book anymore than a week in advance, our rail system is underused and rarely is there problems getting a ticket

Quote:
I have travelled Europe and it seemed much easier!

 
It’s definately easier.  Our cities are too far apart, rail travel is very expensive compared to Europe. 

Keleti
Keleti's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 187
Member: 4334
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 3 years 48 weeks ago.

1. November vs February – You are more likely to have better skiing conditions in February. As I said in my previous post, March is better .
2. BC, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario – I still think you should choose a region – unless you have a lot of money to spend. It’s difficult to find the type of cheap airfares you can get in Europe. You can ski in Quebec you know. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vancouver and Banff!
3. Rail vs air travel – they are probably about the same price, but it is best that you do some invistigating yourself. Flying would be much faster. Rail would be more interesting, especially if you go through the Rockies.

Good luck

PS One of the reasons I’ve taken a number of trips to Europe is that when I look at flying to somewhere within Canada, the cost of a long distance flight is almost the same as a flight to Europe! So why not spring for an extra few dollars and go somewhere else. Traveling within this country is not cheap.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

I pretty much have to agree withe everyone so far.  Sadly, Canada is just a really expensive country to travel in.  I’ve seen very little of it beucase of this. 

Where I live (WAYYYYYY on the East Coast — no, not Toronto, further East), it costs me more to fly to Western Canada than it does for me to go to Europe or anywhere in the US.

Rail is extremly expensive, and alot of times it’s just as expensive as flying.  Greyhound bus is definitly the way to go.  The bus service on the East Coast is terrible though, but in the West it’s not too bad.

I think that your best option is to travel in March, but i’d choose February over November.  Especially if you want to ski etc.  I’ve only been to the Rockies in the summer, but I don’t think there would be much, if any, snow in November.  And also there are great ski mountains in Quebec.  World class, just like Lake Louise.

I did happen to go to Montreal this past February, and the weather wasn’t bad.  That region of Canada is probably one of the coldest, but it was not really cold at all (for me anyway).  

Seva
Seva's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 741
Member: 91
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.

Just to throw in a few thoughts in the mix:

Another bus company (alternative to Greyhound) is Coach Canada, http://www.coachcanada.com
Regardless of your travel mode (bus or rail) the earlier you book the better is your chance to get a discounted ticket, although walk up tickets should not be a problem even on the date of travel.

Just this week I’ve travelled (from Toronto) to Ottawa and Montreal.

I liked Ottawa a lot. Even though almost everything you want to see is no more then 15 minutes, on foot, from Parliament Hill, there are quite a few good museums, and the capital complex itself is rather pretty. Of course if you go during the winter you won’t see neither locks’ operation nor changing of the guard ceremony.

Hope this won’t offend anyone, but I was not impressed by Montreal at all. May be for those North Americans who never been to Europe it represents the Old World a little bit. May be “Vieux Montreal” does look a bit like a part of Paris. But that part would be neither very old nor very interesting one. Other then that it’s just yet another big North American city, again neither very nice nor very interesting.

As someone from Australia, you are probably used to large distances. Still unless you stick to one reasonably compact region, you’ll spend a lot more time/money on getting from one site to another, then actually exploring them.

sss
sss's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 160
Member: 598
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 years 24 weeks ago.

I recommend sticking to western Canada, in particular the Rockies.  I agree with Seva that Montreal is just like any other big North American city.  Same goes for Toronto.

heavydrinker
heavydrinker's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 722
Member: 2310
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 13 weeks ago.

Quote:

Hope this won’t offend anyone, but I was not impressed by Montreal at all. May be for those North Americans who never been to Europe it represents the Old World a little bit. May be “Vieux Montreal” does look a bit like a part of Paris. But that part would be neither very old nor very interesting one. Other then that it’s just yet another big North American city, again neither very nice nor very interesting.

 
Ha, nobody goes to Montreal for the sights/architecture/culture… people love Montreal for all the right reasons, the strip clubs, the low drinking age and the abundance of brothels.

Seva
Seva's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 741
Member: 91
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.

Quote:
ORIGINAL: heavydrinker
Ha, nobody goes to Montreal for the sights/architecture/culture… people love Montreal for all the right reasons, the strip clubs, the low drinking age and the abundance of brothels.
Yep! And cool t-shirts. Too bad I’m in no position to mess with the US customs on my way back.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

I have to disagree with you on that one.  Montreal is NOT just like another big North American city.  I love it there, it’s definitely one of my favorite places to visit in Canada.  How many days were you there?  Maybe you just didn’t see anything that makes it a unique city.  Toronto, however, is just like any other place around here.

heavydrinker
heavydrinker's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 722
Member: 2310
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 13 weeks ago.

Quote:
  Toronto, however, is just like any other place around here.

 
Really?  How many other cities in North American can I walk into a cafe & buy some space cakes or marijuana muffins?  Or light up a fatty out in the patio?  Where else can I pay a guy on the street 2$ to kick him in the giggleberries?  Add to that, the hottest girls in Canada, one of the best public transportation systems in NA, abundance of cheap drugs and a great nightlife.  Toronto is one of the funnest cities, you clearly aren’t speaking from experience.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

I’ve been to Toronto lots of times, I guess i’m just not looking for the same things you are.  Never said it wasn’t fun, but there’s nothing in my mind that makes it any different than other cities in Canada or the US.

renagel
renagel's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 322
Member: 1414
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 years 38 weeks ago.

many of the workers in Banff are Australians
i’d hang around BC and Alberta to ski
Ontario and Quebec have had crappy winters recently in terms of snow
forget seeing your relatives in Toronto
it’s too far and Toronto in winter isn’t that nice………but the rest of rural Ontario where you could snow machine is a lot of fun

I am leaving from Palo Alto with $123 for 22 days
London, Paris, Tours, Caen, La Rochelle, Annecy, Genoa, Venice, Florence, Rome
Eurotripgal
Eurotripgal's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 26
Member: 5260
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 6 years 43 weeks ago.

Wow! So much helpful info thanks very much guys…..it interesting to see the varied opinions on places too. I think we will skip Toronto and probably just focus on the Rockies area. I am swayed to go to Montreal as i have friends there so that is the reasoning behind Quebec…..so maybe this is what im thinking now:
 
* 2-3 weeks in the rockies area (Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Calgary etc etc)
 
* internal flight to Montreal
 
* 1-2 weeks in Quebec to visit my friends and maybe a trip down to Niagra falls if possible/New York for a few  days before flying home from NY
 
Is this feasable? Keeping in mind i will mainly just be focusing in the rockies/snowboarding aspect, but just to add a little something different to the end of the trip i thought to fly to the other side would be interesteing. I will be returning for SURE to do a more in depth tour of the states so this is not an issue if i dont see much in new york.
 
Does this make sense?
 
Cheers guys []