As you can see from my travel page, this trip to Canada started out in Sandpoint, Idaho (we flew in there because we had business there) and the rest of the trip up along the Kootenay River Gorge around Duck Lake and back was driving in our rental car. If you go on a trip like this for the pure beauty of the misty scenery and don't mind long hours sitting in a car, then it will work out great. If I was to do this again, however, I would plan a little better.
There was gorgeous scenery but other than that there was great expanses of nothing. Sometimes we had the idea we were the only people anywhere around, until we would see one lonely mailbox miles from the last we had seen that meant a house was buried somewhere in the surrounding mountains and trees. We did get the feeling of a real wilderness, however, and that has its merits.
I would suggest flying into Vancouver in British Columbia and taking in the sights of that city and then flying to Calgary in Alberta. These major cities have many sights to see and makes for a much more compact and efficient trip. Of course, you can drive from Vancouver to Calgary by car on Canadian Hwy 1 if you are a die-hard motorist. (see my travel pages)
Located about 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of downtown Toronto, Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is the major international hub for flights into and out of Canada. The airport handles flights from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. There is convenient and frequent public transportation from the airport into the city center.
Airlines serving Lester B. Pearson International Airport: Aer Lingus, Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines, Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Air Canada Rouge, Air France, Air Georgian, Air-India, Air Jamaica, Air Wisconsin, Alitalia, American Airlines, American Eagle, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, CanJet Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Southern Airlines, Comair, Cubana Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Egyptair, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Grupo TACA, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, Jet Airways, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, LANChile, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Pascan Aviation, Philippine Airlines, SATA International, Saudia Airlines, Transaero Airlines, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, US Airways, US Airways Express, Virgin America, and WestJet.
I just returned from a trip to Ontario, Canada. I flew Air Canada on the inbound from Washington Reagan National Airport to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International. I was pleased with my experience using this airline. The on time boarding, efficient staff, great on board service and features. The plane we used was definitely for international flights because it had the announcements in French and English, International channels on their TV network, and variety of movies on board including the most recent Avengers.
Even though our flight was less than an hour and 30 mins, we received refreshments. I took a hot cup of tea with biscuits. My daughter took a coke and biscuits as well.
The pilot took off and landed without event, in fact the landing was so smooth that I did not feel the touch down. Great experience in all. Highly recommended.
The primary national passenger railway in Canada is VIA. This company took over the remains of the passenger services once operated by the freight railroads. Some of the equipment they operate today, especially on the longer distance route to the west, is still from the 1940s and 1950s.
Some of the routes only operate once every three days, so be particularly careful if making a reservation on a train that serves remote areas as it may be one that doesn't operate very often.
Minor passenger carriers also exist in Canada. These include the Ontario Northland railway, which operates freight and passenger service into some remote areas of Ontario using passenger trains on their own railroad, plus buses to reach other areas.
The Rocky Mountaineer train operates in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. While the prices are quite high, they operate their services with the idea that they are a cruise ship running on rails. Also, they operate based entirely during the daylight hours so that it is possible to view the scenery - and the scenery along their lines is quite spectacular.
VIA web site:
Ontario Northland web site:
Rocky Mountaineer web site:
From outside North America, you can get there by plane. Inside Canada you can also go by plane. The other transport is by car.
Because it is a big country, the best way to get around is by car. You can also take a bus to go from one city to another.
I recently travelled from London Gatwick to Vancouver with Air Canada/Thomas Cook. I booked through airtransat.co.uk and only paid £427 for direct return flights including Taxes and Surcharges and i picked my seat.
The seat was comfortable, the staff were lovely and the food was great.
I'd recommend booking through them again and will definitely be using them for my Canadian flights in the future.
The best deals for flights within Canada are generally not posted until about 2 - 4 months in advance. You might want to go to the Westjet website (www.westjet.com) and subscribe to their email. They will have seat sales on regularly where you need to purchase within so many days for travel between certain dates. For example this week you could have got a decent fare on domestic flights departing before the end of May. Air Canada will normally match these fares. You can take either from Vancouver to Halifax with 1 or 2 stops. Booking really early can be nice but also a lot more expensive. I find about 2 months in advance a safe time to ensure a timely flight at a reasonable cost. You will only see full fares now if you look at summer dates.
Visitor or travel visas are not required by United States residents. However, you will need a US passport upon entry to Canada and upon re-entry to the US.
For more information regarding traveling to Canada, refer to their embassy website.
I would also recommend Public transportation a they have all mentionned here . Although if you want privacy , i would recomend doing as we did to go from edmunston to montreal to go see a hockey game not too long ago . We had rented a limo company from New-Brunswick and they served us well ( www.landrylimousines.com ) Although i very much doubt that they would be going from Montreal to Ottawa . We were lucky enough to have them brig us to montrea but i very much doubt they would want to go any farther . Although if they don't , there is also plenty of limo services in montreal or ottawa . it can't be that much more for a limo if you aren't by yourself .
And yes the parking is hard to find and when you do find it , it can cost you more money . therefore either train and is you want a private ride i would recomend a limousine service
The ferry ride from Horseshoe bay to Vancouver Island - in fine weather - was one of the first highlights of our trip, with scenic vistas of the straits all the way. From Vancouver, you can reach Vancouver Island by the ferry terminals Horseshoe Bay (to Departure Point) or Tsawassen (to Victoria or Duke Point). I highly recommend to arrive early or reserve ahead, especially on holidays and weekends, as the ferrys tend to fill up quickly. The ferry rate for a car with two people was roughly 70 CND-$.
It might take longer in Canada to get from point A to point B as you would expect as often speed limits apply and many roads in mountain areas or national parks don`t allow for fast driving. Even in a place like Vancouver Island, it takes roughly 2,5 hours to get from (central) Qualicum to Long beach or Victoria, one-way. The distance from Banff to Lake Louise - both in the Banff Park - is roughly 1 hour, to give another example.
The distance from Vancouver to Jasper, for example, would take roughly 10-11 hours driving time which is do-able if you rise very early but not recommended in my opinion. Better plan in an overnight stop stop en-route, like Wells Gray National Park (near Clearwater).
The mere driving distance between Jasper and Banff along the Icefields Parkway is about 3-4 hours, but this is not realistic, as you will probably do many photostops in between.
The Tourist Trolley Bus is quite expensive (35 CND-$), but the ticket is valid for two consecutive days, and you get a voucher for tariff reductions of destinations you are likely to visit while staying in Vancouver, so it is not a bad bargain all in all. It works on a hop on hop off basis, and it is a pleasant way of discovering Vancouver as the trolley stops before all major tourists sights. The driver gives a live - and quite outspoken - commentary on all the main tourist attractions, too.
Stanley Park is pleasant and a great Vancouver attraction, but walking the whole distance can be tiresome. There is a free trolley bus (hop-on/hop-off) with live commentary by the driver that is igly recommended. It stops at every major Stanley Park site. Don`t mistake it though with the commercial Vancouver Trolley Bus Tours, these are not free, but they also have several stops within Stanley Park.
As for airlines, I would highly recommend WESTJET once you arrive in Canada. They offer direct flights to Calgary from most eastern Canadian ( and some US cities)
WESTJET ROUTE MAP
The discounted Air Canada fares must be available outside but maybe not on their own website. I am in this business.Try www.flightnetwork.com or www.cheapticketscanada.ca or www.buttetravel.com one of them should be able to display cheaper rates. If still you can't get it; most probably sold out.But you still might want to check with a good local agency; because of the currency exchange it might be tad bit more expensive but they must be able to see fares and availibilty too.
If travel within Canada or to USA, also try Westjest (great service!!!) and try AC's discount line Tango air.
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