Driving Vancouver to Toronto
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Jan 27, 2008 12:47 PM Last Post By: arushwan
Jan 14, 2008 1:04 PM
I currently live in the UK with my fiancee and we're planning to fly to Vancouver for a week and then spend few days driving to Toronto to visit my family for the end of the trip. Can anyone tell me how long the drive is? Also, any recommendations on routes? A quick route vs. maybe a more scenic one? As we're heading out in May I predict the weather to be pretty reasonable. Any suggestions on places we should stop and see?
Also, we have to rent a car in Vancouver and leave it in Toronto as we fly out from there. Any recommendations on car rental companies in Vancouver? Preferably by the airport.
Jan 14, 2008 1:19 PM
1Unless you have a lot of time and don't mind wasting a bunch of cash, you are better off flying. The drive would take a good five days and would not be, I suspect, much more than a grind whichever route you took (through northern Ontario or through the US.)
Plus, the drop fee for the car would be extremely hefty.
If you want to see some countryside, rent a car and take a trip once you reach Toronto.
Jan 14, 2008 2:43 PM
2Agree with #1... driving from Vancouver to Toronto isn't anything like driving from London to Edinburgh... there's a whole lot of country to cross.
Hell, getting from Vancouver to Calgary in the summertime takes at least 12 hours (more, if it's a bank holiday weekend)
However, if you must see the entirety of Western Canada from the road, may I suggest that you take the train? It'll still take you about 3 days to do it, but at least you won't have to do any driving.
Jan 14, 2008 3:03 PM
3don't think of canada as a land of nothingness from the last comments, though. the route from Van city to Calgary is great. It's really green and lush in the B.C. interior and I suggest passing through the okanagan valley and stopping in kelowna. Plus you're surrounded by mountains that whole time. The Alberta rockies along with the towns of Banff, Jasper, Canmore and the resort town of Lake Louise have some of the best scenery in the world.
From Calgary to Ontario, though it is flat flat flat. It's all farmland and there's a whole lot of nothingness for a long time. it's pretty amazing to see for the first time but it gets boring really fast. Might I suggest a car ride to Calgary and then a train ride or even a fly to Toronto?
As for routes, if you pretty much follow the trans Canada highway you'll be good. It just so happens to be the quickest AND the most scenic. The highway stretches from Canada's westernmost point in Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C. to St. John's, Newfoundland while hitting all the biggest cities on it's journey except Edmonton. perfect. If you plan on going up to jasper from banff you'll have to take the icefields parkway for about 4 hours. It is amazing also. It'll be cold cause you'll be at the foot of a glacier for a bit of it. They also give tours up onto the glacier which is really cool.
yeah the weather will be good. but you never know! Sometimes in May it'll be nice (18 degrees C) and you wake up the next morning and there's a foot of snow on the ground. It's happened twice or so in the 10 years I've lived here (in canmore).
And I have no idea about car rentings in vancouver.
Hope this helped!
Edited by: SebastienBergeron
Jan 14, 2008 4:14 PM
4I disagree with some of these folks. My wife and I did the drive from Vancouver all the way to PEI last May, and many of the highlights were through the prairies and in northern Ontario.
We drove Vancouver-Toronto in 7 days (6 nights), doing it at a very reasonable pace so we could take in some sights. You could probably do it in 4 days if you wanted to drive 12-15 hours a day. We camped the whole way, pitching our tents in Revelstoke, Medicine Hat, Regina, Kenora, Thunder Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park, and then hit a hotel in Toronto.
The Rockies are definitely a highlight (both in BC and Alberta--worth a few days if you have time), as is the Drumheller Valley in Alberta (only for a day trip, though). Everyone says the prairies are a grind, but man, those prairie skies and sunsets are something to behold if you're like me and are from a large city. I've never seen clouds and stars like that in my life. Southern Alberta and the southwestern part of Saskatchewan have beautiful rolling grasslands that I really found amazing. The real grind is on the Trans-Canada highway from Regina through most of southern Manitoba...flat and nothing but farms....but it's only a half day's drive and you're into the Canadian shield of Northern Ontario which I think is among the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Kenora all the way through to Sault Ste. Marie is incredible scenery spotted with lakes and spectacular rock formations, especially along the eastern part of Lake Superior. Camping at Lake Superior Provincial Park was truly a highlight of my trip and if you're into freshwater beaches and the feeling of being in relative wilderness, it is perfection.
As for weather...plan to still see snow in the Rockies in May. Lots of mud and rock slides on the highway, so be prepared. The Prairies should be warm and dry. Northern Ontario will be chilly at night but ptobably not below 0.
I say drive it...you only live once, and what a trip it is. I don't regret it at all.
Jan 14, 2008 4:16 PM
5Here's a blog we made of our trip and some pictures of the terrain/ideas for routes if you're interested. Geeky, but maybe it'll help you decide whether you want to do the trip:
Cross-Canada road trip blog
Jan 14, 2008 5:18 PM
6I know people that take 5 or 6 weeks to drive across, but it can be done in a few days and have personally gone back and forth a few times - sometimes through the states part of the time. The thing about doing it in a few days is that there's no point in telling you to stop very many places. Get out once or twice in the mountains, once on the praires, and once by the great lakes. Everything else is a gas station or a motel. If you can at least stretch it out to a week there's more options and more routes. You could take your time through the mountains - blast across the praries and then take a bit of time getting through Ontario until you reach Toronto(the last part takes longer than you think)
If you bring the car back in Calgary and hop on a plane, a few days makes for a lot of driving in a short time but its a better option if you don't have more time. You'd see more if you can extend your travel time instead of just staying in the city of Vancouver for a whole week.
As for heading out in May, the weather is usually good except for the odd snow storm. The third monday in may is a holiday weekend with a lot of cottage traffic in southern ontario.
Jan 14, 2008 7:01 PM
7If you have at least a week to do it, then I would definately suggest driving across the country. But, do check out what the drop off charge will be before hand.
I would agree with Loaf's posting the most. The rockies are awesome, and Northern Ontario is amazing as well.
Jan 15, 2008 2:29 PM
Jan 16, 2008 10:40 PM
9I'm guessing that you don't really understand how BIG Canada is. According to www.mapquest.com, the route from Vancouver to Toronto, via the Trans-Canada highway #1, is 2841 miles, and takes 51 hours and 42 minutes of driving time. Add stops for meals, bathroom breaks, to stretch your legs etc.
Mapquest normally gives you the shortest route from point a to point b, which in this case is through the US - I am not sure what your situation is, can you cross the border, do you need a visa etc. - so I "forced" it to use the Canadian route by doing Van-Regina-Thunder Bay-Toronto.
When you start calling around to rental car companies, can you post here what the drop charge would be for the trip, and whether you can actually find a company that will allow you to do that. Inquiring minds want to know....
Good luck with your trip!
Jan 17, 2008 1:15 AM
10Sebastien... I didn`t say that there`s a whole bunch of nothing between Calgary and Sault St. Marie... there`s some GORGEOUS SCENERY out there... my point was that if OP thinks that she can drive cross country from Vancouver to Toronto like one can drive from London to Edinburgh, then she`s sadly mistaken... she doesn`t realize how big this chunk of dirt we call Canada really is
Jan 17, 2008 6:53 AM
11Hi All, thanks for your help. I am well aware off how big Canada is as I've lived there my whole life and would never think that driving from Vancouver to Toronto would be anything like driving to Edinburgh from London!! Thats ridiculous! My intention was to get some advice from people as to what they thought would be a good route and time to do that in as I've never done the trip myself. Thanks so much for the responses to that. I think driving from Vancouver to Toronto would be a lovely trip, but I agree with those who posted above that if I don't have at least a week or more to do this then maybe I shoudl re-think my route. I've decided to drive to Calgary instead for a few days then fly onto Toronto.
Loaf - great blog, awesome pictures!! My finacee has gone through it as he hasn't seen much of Canada yet so it was great for him.
Jan 17, 2008 7:32 AM
Jan 17, 2008 4:33 PM
Jan 18, 2008 2:53 PM
14Hey thanks, Carmanah! The shield is fantastic to visit....although I'm not sure I'd ever want to spend a winter there! I'd love to go back and spend more time there, though. CBC is good. Ended up getting a contract with them in New Brunswick. It's been a nice experience and I like it here.
Happy shield travels!
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