Road Trips

Canadian Delight – Ontario & Quebec

A Canadian vacation to Ontario and Quebec is packed with endless outdoor activities and spectacular landscapes. Sitting in Eastern Canada, these destinations offer features and personalities that are distinctively their own. Some of the most diverse and dynamic ecosystems exist in these two provinces as well as some very significant historic cities. From the shores of Georgian Bay with over 30,000 islands to vivacious cities of Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario to Montreal and unforgettable Quebec City in Quebec, there is so much to discover here.

Parry Sound

Ontario, Canada’s most populous and second largest province, is bordered on the south largely by the Great Lakes and on the north by Hudson and James Bays. You can spend some time in “cottage country” with its many ruggedly striking lakes, islands and terrain.

Parry Sound sits on the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, which features over 30,000 scenic islands. The area abounds with eye- catching views and landscapes. There is a diversity of attractions and water tours in the region along with numerous festivals and events. You can boat, fish, hike or camp in one of the regional parks. In the winter you can explore the hiking paths on cross country skis or by snowmobile. Don’t miss a scenic boat tour of the area, including a three hour tour of the islands. The intimate local cultural museums are worth a visit.

A restful spot to stay in Parry Sound can be found in A Room with a View section of the blog. It is available through Airbnb. My restaurant recommendations for the area can be read on TripAdvisor.


Canada’s capital city and its fourth largest (slightly over a 1,000,000 people) seems to be created with travelers in mind. It is packed with historical sites and monuments to explore, and most everything is within walking distance of a central location. You can walk to Parliament Hill, and wander along the Rideau Canal with its scenic locks.

I thoroughly enjoyed a canal cruise. The cruise was through TripAdvisor and was great fun and inexpensive. The hop-on hop-off bus tour is a good way to see the city. If you like museums, you will enjoy the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History. If you enjoy shopping stop by ByWard Market.

We stayed in a beautiful penthouse apartment overlooking the city and Parliament buildings through Airbnb (see a Room with a View).

Quebec City

One of the oldest cities in Canada (founded in 1608), Quebec City rests above the Saint Lawrence River. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is rich in old world character and brimming with artisan shops, French-Canadian culture and cuisine. It is the only North American city north of Mexico with parts of its original fortifying walls still intact. You will be dazzled by the ramparts and gates of the old wall. The colonial heart of town is loaded with narrow, cobbled streets and architectural treasures.

We avoided the crowds and the difficult parking—and saved a lot of money—by staying across the Saint Lawrence in Levis. From Levis, views of Quebec City are stunning. (See A Room With A View for a great vacation rental with a view in Levis). The ferry to the city leaves each hour and takes about 20 minutes.

Viator tours of Quebec City provided an amazing private tour with one of the very best guides. Louis took us all around town is his sleek maneuverable vehicle. He picked us up right next to the ferry terminal. Not only is he adept at driving the narrow streets, he knew all the best spots to stop for photos and had amazing stories to share and even included a stop at the magnificent Montmorency Falls. He took us up to the Citadel, Dufferin Terrace for a magnificent view of the river, the historic Plains of Abraham where the famous Battle of Quebec was fought, Chateau Frontenac and to Ile d’Orleans. We concluded the tour in Old town’s Petit-Champlain which has a unique vibe It is packed with world class shopping, art galleries and fine French bistros.

A short distance from the Quebec City ferry station is the funiculaire to the upper town for more amazing views. For me Quebec City was the highlight of Canada. At the time of our visit the town was polishing its look in anticipation of Pope Francis’s impending visit. The city’s gardens and fountains looked superb!

If you have time and enjoy bustling cities drive to Montreal, a city with diverse neighborhoods and a distinctive blend of English and French culture. We did not make it there on this trip but enjoyed it in years past.



Many picturesque towns lie along the Saint Lawrence, probably none offer better scenery than Gananoque. Near larger, more urban Kingston, Gananoque has access to almost countless islands. Known as The Thousand Islands, the region actually has many more. There is so much more to this town than the stellar views. Fishing, hiking, sailing and cycling abound here. The town includes two UNESCO designated sites: the Frontenac Arch Biosphere and the Rideau Heritage Route. Don’t miss The Thousand Islands History Museum or a cruise around the islands that includes Bolt castle. There are also some interesting small historic towns worth a stop for lunch or shopping for a quick daytrip out of town such as Carlton Place, Brockville and Perth. We met a guy who can best be described as a sage of Brockville. He knew all about it’s history and lives in a wonderfully historic house..Richard was one of the most gracious and helpful people we met in Canada and his garden and property were glorious!

Finish your trip on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The best of the falls are on the American side, but the most astonishing views are from Canada. Don’t miss The Maid of the Mist’s boat ride up to the Falls. We stayed at the Marriott Fallsview, whose floor-to-ceiling windows afford views of the Falls. This was our second stay there. On our first, we stayed on an upper floor to see the whole area. On this stay, we chose a lower floor to be closer to the panoramic views.



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