Canada is full of beautiful landscapes, natural wonders and spectacular cities. Going to Toronto, seeing a Moose and watching Niagara Falls was something that we always wanted to do. Becky has a lot of relatives over there so we decided to spend two weeks in Canada travelling around and seeing some of the sites along the way. We rented a Dodge Journey from the airport and hit the road. Here are some of the highlights of the things we did on our Canada road trip:
Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, it’s so big we had to spend several days there just to see all the main attractions. We explored Toronto using the hop on, hop off bus which was about $35 dollars for three days use which is a bit expensive but totally worth it as the city is very big and it’s an easy way to get around. The bus stops off at all the top tourist spots as well as telling you information along the way about the city and some of the sights. You also get a boat trip included with the ticket which allows you to see the city from a distance and to see Toronto Islands. Even with the bus ticket we walked over 15 miles a day.
Going up the CN tower – We bought the ticket to go up the CN tower and to be honest it wasn’t worth the money. You do get a good view of the city and it is VERY high up but it was extremely crowded so we didn’t feel like spending very long up there, we took a few photos of the view and then went back down in the lift and had to find our way out through the gift shop. But at least we can say we’ve done it! If your feeling very adventurous you can do an ‘edgewalk’ around the building. This involves being attached to a safely rail by a harness and leaning back over Toronto while you walk around the edge of the CN tower.
Baseball – This sport isn’t very popular in the UK so it was really exciting seeing how passionate the people are for this sport. Toronto is home to the Blue Jays baseball team, we got to see the stadium and its fans from the outside but unfortunately we didn’t get to see a game while we where there.
Harbor and islands boat – this boat trip was included with the ticket for the bus and is a great way to view the city from far away. It also takes you round the Toronto Islands where we saw people having picnics and relaxing in the sun. The best part about the boat trip was seeing the skyline of Toronto, this is probably the best place to take photos of the city. Unfortunately it started to get cloudy on our boat trip.
St Lawrence market – We stopped off at the St Lawrence Market for some lunch. It was fun to walk round all the food stalls trying to pick what to have eat. There was every type of food you could think of! They also had a dog festival on outside the market called Woofstock. We had no idea this festival existed but it was hilarious looking at the different dogs dressed up in costumes.
Kensington market – This market had loads of small shops selling clothing, food, antiques and loads of other things. Most of the buildings where painted different colours making the market very fun and vibrent. We stopped off at a burger place called the Burgernator! All their burgers where named after military ranks and arsenal, the burgers getting bigger the higher up the ranks you go. You could also take the burger challenge, triple beef patty between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches with caramelised onions, mushrooms and burgernator sauce.
Niagara and the falls
We drove to Niagara passing through the Niagara Peninsula where we spent the day visiting vineyards in the region. The vineyards around here specialise in icewine, which involves picking the grapes off the vines after they have frozen. This results in a sweet wine which tastes really nice but is very expensive.
Our first stop was at Tawse vineyard, which had won winery of the year for 3 years running. There vineyard was very impressive, they have fields as far as the eye can see filled with grape vines. We got chance to look around the winery, they showed us how they made the wine and let us taste all their different flavours. We also visited Legends vineyard, this was on the edge of Lake Ontario and had some beautiful views over the lake.
The next day we arrived in the town Niagara which is home to the famous Niagara Falls. The Falls are spectacular, its absolutely massive and really loud. You can hear the roar of the water from miles away. The town itself is very touristy, its mostly made up of restaurants, museums and shops. We spent the next day exploring the town, looking at Niagara Falls from the maid of the mist and visiting the Bird Kingdom (read about this here).
While staying in Canada we had to visit the capital city, Ottawa. Compared to Toronto this city is tiny but its full of character. They have the most beautiful views and gardens, its a really lovely place especially in the summer. We stayed with some relatives while visiting this city so we got some insider information of where to go and what to see. We were taken on a tour of the city on a bus/boat. It drives you round to see all the sights and then drives into the water and turns into a boat! Driving along the river through Ottawa was fantastic, we really enjoyed seeing the city from the river. There was green grass and nice paths all along the bank making the city a fantastic place to cycle round. The tour guide told us they drain some of the river that runs through the middle of the city in the winter so it can freeze. The river then becomes a really long ice skating arena, apparently people use the river to skate to work every day.
We were amazed at the amount of wildlife in Ottawa, we sat in the garden and saw so many different species of birds including a red Cardinal. Adam spent ages trying to get a photo of one these guys and finally got one here. We also saw black squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits.
After leaving Niagara we headed towards Woods bay, where we were going to stay on the lake with some relatives. To get there we had to drive through Algonquin park which we were told was a great place to see wild moose. We stopped off at a diner for lunch and heard a group of people saying they had just seen a moose down the road. We were so excited but unfortunately when we left they had already gone. We were still optimistic and continued driving. We stopped off again about half way through at the visitor centre, they had an incredible viewing platform over the forest and a moose sighting board. Loads of people driving through had seen a moose and put it on the board, we still hadn’t seen one. We arrived at the other side of the park after taking in all the beautiful lakes, mountains and forests but even at the end we hadn’t seen a single moose. It was very disappointing especially because so many other people had spotted one.
We spent the last part of our trip in Woods bay. A beautiful lake with small islands, each island usually had a lodge on it. We stayed at a relatives lodge but some of the lodges can be rented out. We spent our time driving speed boats, kayaking and exploring the area, the lake was abundant with all different types of wildlife.
Have you ever been to Canada?