around 30/40 days in East Canada : must-sees, suggestions
Replies: 10 - Last Post: May 15, 2013 6:23 PM Last Post By: ju_rocknroll
May 4, 2013 4:15 AM
around 30/40 days in East Canada : must-sees, suggestionshi everyone,
I've already done some research for my trip to Canada (from Montreal eastward) in September or October this year and as opposed to most other countries, guidebooks are not too focused on specific points of interest. that's absolutely fine but that gives me a harder time trying to find places I want to go to.
I'll rent a car (and I'm not afraid of driving very long hours), I may also take flights if distances are too crazy and I can land and take off absolutely anywhere in the country (or the US).
on my last trip to the US from Chicago to Louisiana and then Florida, I could easily understand how Illinois would be different from Tennessee, Louisiana from Florida...
on this future trip, I find it much harder to figure out differences between Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or even Newfoundland and Labrador. differences in landscapes, cities, ways of life, culture, overall atmosphere...
my main concern are spectacular distances and lack of variety. don't take it wrong, I just don't now enough of the country so I'm here to get advice and understand better how different regions can really be different.
if I want to visit this part of Canada (next time, I'll go west), that is because I really want to understand how this country is not everything the same (from a french lowbrows point of view, Canada is just lots of trees, snow, whalewatching, one big falls and some people speaking french with an accent).
I will definitely go to Quebec but I'm not sure Gaspesie is worth the distance.
I'm thinking Nova Scotia because the ocean should make this region distinct from Quebec.
I'm thinking Labrador and/or Newfoundland because I love rugged landscapes and places that look like nowhere on a map.
I'm thinking Ontario because it has a dense population, the capital city of the country, so why not a bit of hustle and bustle ?
I'm thinking New Brunswick because it's on the way from Quebec to Nova Scotia and I'm a completist and because Im' sure it has its own features.
I'm looking for all possible suggestions to see as much variety as possible without missing the "must-sees" (I've already see Niagara Falls).
my main interests are culture, history, varied landscapes, varied people and cities with a thing of their own (it doesn't always have to be super touristy and "obvious", the more genuine, the better).
thank you very much for your help !
May 4, 2013 6:47 AM
1That's a big question and a big trip. You'll certainly find the differences once you're here. A few suggestions.
New Brunswick is well worth some of your time. The huge tides in the Bay of Fundy, you've surely heard about. It is quite the experience to walk around under the Hopewell Rocks at low tide and then come back and kayak among them.
You should be able to drop in on a fall festival. Order a tourism booklet from the province of New Brunswick (Nova Scotia and Quebec have similar offerings on their Web site) and pick a spot. There's always a giant pumpkin contest somewhere in October. And lobster suppers, mmm, should still be on.
The Acadian Village in Caraquet, New Brunswick showcases a distinctive culture. Down the road in Bouctouche, Le Pays de la Sagouine has a dinner theatre whose shows will give you a new perspective on the French language. Acadia is not Quebec!
For that matter, Quebec has fascinating regional accents. Gaspé French is among the easiest for outsiders to understand. At the other end of the spectrum, Saguenay/Lac St Jean, hoo boy, there's a challenge. But it's quite a foodie destination and you'll have all the harvest bounty. On your way to or from the Atlantic provinces, be sure to drive along the south shore and drop in at the woodcarvers' stores in St Jean Port Joli. You could also try a collect-them-all theme of Quebec's silver-spired churches -- all but abandoned now in this most secular of Canadian provinces.
And speaking as a fond lifetime resident of Canada's capital, Ottawa -- it's lovely, and we have great museums, but I don't recommend you come here looking for hustle and bustle. Stick to Montreal. Or Toronto.
May 6, 2013 12:28 PM
2Start with Newfoundland and Labrador or risk really, really miserable weather--especially if you're going in October. Try to get a puddle-jumper north out of Goose Bay to get a sense of life in the small towns along the coast. Ferry down to Newfoundland, then another ferry to the mainland and work your way back to wherever you rented the car. Recognize from the start that you're talking about a two-month trip if limited to the Maritimes--longer than that if you include major cities all the way west to Ontario. You're going to have to prioritize a lot.
Hope that's helpful.
May 7, 2013 2:57 PM
3FTOttawa said it all.
For the east coast... don't miss the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. It is spectacular and so cool to watch the tide come in (I nearly didn't make it out). Make sure to go to Halifax and Cape Breton, if you can, in Nova Scotia. PEI is really beautiful... Charlottetown in particular. If you go a bit outside of it, you can take tours of potato farms. Sounds boring but is actually so cool. Dip your feet in the red sand but don't wear white sneakers!
Quebec is beautiful, as well. Make sure to go to Quebec City and Montreal. I have never been to Gaspesie but have always wanted to.
Ontario... of course Toronto and Ottawa. Ottawa is particularly beautiful in Spring and Summer for the tulip festivals, summer festivals (Bluesfest), and seeing Parliament. You can take boat tours on the canal, etc.
You will definitely start to see the diversity of Canada.
May 7, 2013 3:00 PM
May 8, 2013 6:43 AM
5fredericton has a fabulous jazz/blues festival in september. google 'harvest jazz and blues.'
the regions are fairly distinct, with quebec and newfoundland being the extremes. new brunswick has an english and french component, the acadien french is different from the quebecois region. cape breton still shows a strong acadian and scottish influence.
the whole region gets into 'corn boils' in august/september, they taste better than they sound.
1 has good suggestions about the booklets. personally, i love newfoundland and would recommend it if you don't go anywhere else.
personally i would pick a few places and stay in them 3 to 5 days each, to get a feel. teh atlantic provinces are best known for friendly and low key, but you won't get that if you do a lightning tour, which is why many tourists pass up the region.
May 12, 2013 3:31 PM
6While going all around Gaspe peninsula may take a few hours (5-6 hours from Ste. Flavie to Ste. Flavie for the complete "tour de la Gaspésie"), you have only two options to go from Montreal of Quebec city to N.B. and N.S.
You can eitheir go through the Temiscouata region (highway 85 which goes to Edmundston, etc.) or through the Matapedia, where we live (road 132 which goes to Campbellton, Bathurst, etc.)
You'll have a great view of automn colors in both regions. Don't be affraid to visit some remote villages to have a peek at the beautiful colors and landscapes.
Going around the Gaspe peninsula would show you all of it, automn colors and seaside roadtrip.
Should you decide to go across the Gaspe region, drop us a line, maybe we will be able to give you some further advices!
May 13, 2013 3:31 AM
7I just read all your posts, thanks a lot !
as for the Gaspe peninsula, there's big change I will go there. a canadian friend of mine strongly advised me to go there to see a differetn Quebec than Montreal and Quebec City (the two main touristy destinations there). I'm also thinking about Tadoussac but distances are so big that I may not be able to both.
May 14, 2013 9:19 PM
Highlights of the province of Quebec for me are Tadoussac, the north coast of the Gaspe, and Montreal (I guess you can add Quebec City as everyone does but I honestly find it a bit boring). So I really do recommend that you see Tadoussac.
I've covered it all in my blog and you'll see lots of photos: www.bbqboy.net
Yes, lots of driving, but you can break up the route with a few other sites (mostly some spectacular parks) along the way. If you have 30/40 days you've got lots of time.
If ever you have more specific questions don't hesitate to ask.
May 14, 2013 11:10 PM
May 15, 2013 6:23 PM
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