After reading some underwhelming comments about the Cape Cod tour, we decided to switch to the Canada Capital Cities tour for this September. Any tips or comments from those who have done this one? Thanks
We thoroughly enjoyed this tour because it was a nice blend of four (4) very distinct cities. The welcome reception and dinner was held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and was a lovely start to a very enjoyable tour. This was quite some time ago, so I do not know if the itinerary has changed. All the hotels were Fairmont properties and were very nice. The Fairmont Frontenac (sp?) in Quebec City is gorgeous and has a long boardwalk along the water which was great for strolling. I highly recommend adding some post-tour days there since there is so much to see and do. We also were on a small group tour in the fall--a most perfect time to travel.
Our tour director, Felix, a young French Canadian, was born and raised in Montreal and was one of the most knowledgeable and charming directors we have had. Should you have questions, feel free to ask.
I also loved this wonderful tour and we also had Felix as our charming snd fascinating tour director. We happen to be in Toronto during the Toronto film festival and the hotel was buzzing with celebrities. While strolling in Quebec City, I came across a very lovely women’s clothing shop which starts with the letter “D” not far from the hotel at all. I still get their emails. It is a lovely trip. We stayed in Toronto a day before.
We recently came back from this trip and it was fabulous. Our TD Georgina was delightful- knowledgeable, always prepared and attuned to the needs of the group. The trip is a good mix of city-touring and fun side-trips like Niagra Falls and the Thousand Islands cruise. The hotel locations made it easy to find restaurants for the "on your own" meals, whether you wanted quick bites or upscale dining. We were part of a small group.
While we have never been on the Tauck tour, we have been to all of the cities covered by the tour (we live in the NE and have relatives in Canada).
Toronto is a big city with buildings that could be anywhere in America. I'd suggest picking a museum in your spare time or walking along the waterfront and for something different, if you are in town when the Blue Jays are playing you might consider a baseball game (9/12-15 Rays, 9/16-18 Orioles, 9/26-28 Yankees and 9/30 Red Sox).
Ottawa is a beautiful small city. Your hotel is adjacent to the parliament building which is currently undergoing renovations. The major art museum is quite good (the spider statue in the front is identical to the one in front of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao) and is within a short walk of the Chateau Laurier. Another worthwhile museum is the Museum of Civilization across the river in Hull. Right outside the hotel you can walk along the Rideau Canal and watch the locks in motion (small hand-operated ones).
Montreal has two different aspects. The upper city is a pretty standard large city while the lower city is much more like a European City (think of London versus Paris). There are a number of very impressive churches. The one I like best is in the lower city (Notre Dame Basilica). The interior decoration is beautiful. For lunch everyone goes to Schwartz's Deli for its smoked meat sandwich. It's neither pastrami nor corned beef but is in that general category. Montreal also has a large network of underground passageways which is not surprising due to the winter weather. When we were last in Montreal Cirque de Soleil was performing.
Quebec is the most like a European city especially in the lower town. I would spend your time within the walls or in the lower city. There are many restaurants with prix fixe menus like in France. There are tours of the provincial parliament building (think of Quebec as a separate country) which is just outside the wall. If you do go on one and have been in France, keep an eye out for the stained glass window commemorating Champlain's departure from Honfleur.
All of Canada has signs in both English and French. In Ontario English is on top. In Quebec, it's French.
We are going on the small group tour on 9/6....is anyone here joining us?
Just returned from Vancouver-Rocky Mountineer-Banff trip.
Be mindful that Canada does random Covid testing and not for just a few but for many travelers. I was randomly chosen and had to take test using their provider. It was a hassle. I did test negative but took 3 days to get results which did put a damper on trip.
I found Canada not to be “user friendly”!
eleonore, did your TD help you with arrangements to get you to the testing location? Was there a discussion about what would happen if you tested positive? Glad it worked out well for you though. Thanks
I can answer the second part of the question from what happened to people on our tour…you will have to quarantine in a Canadian hotel for ten days. The government will keep checking on you and if you try to get home by plane, you can be fined for up to $5000 Canadian
Do you have any idea what "will keep checking on you" entails? Phone calls? Do they have the resources to come and knock on your hotel room door? If it takes three days to get results, we will be at our second destination on the tour. Would one have to spend the rest of the trip at that hotel? Throwing these questions out there...not sure if anyone has enough knowledge to answer them!
The people I know about got phone calls, but of course they can check if you get on a plane. Yes, you have to stay on the hotel. I know hotels were difficult to find because it is the height of the season and they were expensive. Apparently it’s a big hassle to get your money back, one couple who emailed me a few days ago are still filling in forms.
You're just full of good news, aren't you!
Just telling you the facts. Please check for up to dates on the rules in Canada. Many on our tour did not know about potential quarantine, otherwise I think they might have worn their masks from the get go. After the first group of people testing positive, the masking increased.
Understood, thanks. My main worry has been the initial random/mandatory test that one of us may have to do upon entry. I'm a little surprised people in your group would actually choose to get PCR tested in the midst of their trip.
Test at home the morning you leave. This reduces the risk of one of you testing positive upon arrival.
They had to test to get on the ship. Those who got it on the ship had to test because they were ill
That's our plan, Kathy. We leave one week from today, so we are planning to stay home as much as possible this week!
It’s inevitable that everyone will get this virus sooner or later. Traveling opens up a “ can of worms.” I got it two weeks ago after visiting Canada. Another one of our traveling companions got it also. You can stay home or you can travel and enjoy. Life is too short and getting shorter by the minute,
No one has to stay home, they just have be sensible about their health and take easy precaution like wearing masks when you are near others.
I know we don't want to get into the whole mask debate again, but I will ask this...British, do you see that (mask wearing) as coming to an end? I don't think most people are willing to keep masking up for the rest of our lives, so when is the time to decide the risk isn't worth the discomfort? Often times masking seems more performative than preventative IMO. You wear a mask, take it off to eat or drink, and put it back on again. I don't want to get sick, or get others sick, but I kind of think that ship has sailed with this thing. Just my opinion, and if I was in the presence of someone who asked me politely to mask up (or if I went into someone's place of business and they requested it) I would oblige. I just don't think it's the answer some think it is in certain settings.
I know this has gotten a bit off topic from the tread title but I will add my opinion.
I don’t think that masking is going to be the panacea that most people are hoping for. The new variants of Covid I believe are super contagious.
We avoided large crowds until we arrived at SeaTac airport earlier this month for our trip to Ireland. At the airport maybe 20% to 25% of the people were masked. In the crowded areas my wife and I wore a mask.
On day one of our Ireland trip I tested positive for Covid. Our trip was kiboshed on day one in spite of being double vaccinated and double boosted and wearing a mask in crowded areas.
My wife tested negative until we got home then she was positive. Our son who was house and dog sitting then got it in spite of distancing from us etc.
Based on the onset of my symptoms I think I got infected at either Seattle Airport, Newark Airport or on the flights to Ireland.
Masking does not completely protect you from Covid. I know I contracted it in the DFW airport coming home from Canada. No masking and a very filthy airport. The virus is everywhere. Mask or no mask everyone will get it at some point.