Top things to do in Eastern Canada
From skyscrapers, gastronomic restaurants and charming city life to small colorful countryside houses along the coastline with breathtaking nature and wildlife. In eastern Canada you’ll find it all! After 3 weeks road trip around Eastern Canada I´ll will share the highlights with you here.
August in Montreal is a great time to visit. It´s summing with life in the city-center where skyscrapers lie side by side and almost gives you the impression of being in New York city, besides the fact that the rhythm is much more laid back in Montreal. If you are fan of nature, know that only a few hours drive away from the city you’ll find beautiful nature and amazing wildlife!
Only 15 minutes away from the centre-city you´ll find beautiful canals and the cutest small villages where you shouldn’t look far for a good gastronomic place to eat: Le vin Papillon near Atwater metro, Toqué or Etat Major restaurant near metro station Juliette in the opposite site of town. Both neighborhoods are worth exploring.
Despite the big city’s many visitors the tempo remains relaxing and the ambience positive. Friends of mine who have moved to Montreal told me that the winter can be harsh – minus 30 degrees. But the four seasons still remains a part of the Canadian beauty and besides that the work/life balance, the positive attitude combined with a sense of community, the successful integration and the cosiness in the city are some of the factors that makes them wanna stay. I definitely got an insight in some of the things to appreciate in the big city – the Café Saint-Henri was one of them. Here you´ll find the best coffee in town.
Quebec is a very charming city – especially the old part that you´ll find on the top of a hill with a great view over the Saint Laurent river.
Very European in style with a lot of small shops to discover. If there’s one thing I do recommend you to do while visiting Quebec it’s the ghost tour – a guided tour around the old town where you´ll listen to stories told about the dark side of Quebec’s history! Don´t hesitate staying at the splendid hotel Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac – a luxurious hotel in the middle of Quebec´s old town.
Continue the trip towards Tadoussac to see the whales! A truly extra-ordinary experience. I saw several fin whales – the second largest whale in the world.
If you have time to go further I recommend you to rent a car, and drive all the way to Gaspesie National Park – A true nature treasure where you can explore the wildlife: Bears, wolfs and more. It´s a long drive, but if you plan a couple of sleepovers on the way it´s a fantastic trip, and you´ll be rewarded with great views and experiences on the way.
Take the ferry from Saint Simion to Rivière de Loup. The last ferry sails at 19h30. This is an adventure in itself, when standing on the deck, looking back at the mysterious land that you just left behind, while the fog gets thicker and the cool breeze leaves you with a feeling of sailing from one unexplored land towards another.
BIC National Park
Next day head towards Saint Anne des Mont – where you find the entrance to Gaspesie National Park. On the way take a couple of hours to explore the beautiful national park BIC.
The rest of the drive from BIC towards Saint Anne des Mont is splendid. I almost had the impression of reaching Greenland as I drove next to small colorful houses spread out along the coastline.
Saint Anne des Mont
In Saint Anne des Mont, I recommend you to stay at the super great bed and breakfast Auberge du Vieux Faubourg.
It offers you a magnificent view over the sea and a splendid sunset. Just next to it you´ll find an amazing fish restaurant Poissonnerie.
Gaspésie National Park
In Gaspésie National Park a weekend stay at the luxurious hotel Gite du Mont Albert is perfect for those who want to explore the park and its wildlife, but also for those who just wish to relax in great surroundings.
Gite du Mont Albert offers a delicious breakfast and haute cuisine.
There are plenty of things to see in Gaspésie, even for those who just wish to take it slow – on the opposite side of the road you can walk along the river and already get your breath taken away.
For those who wish to walk a little longer – Lac des Americans is only 1 hour walk away.
If you hope to see the reindeers – take the Mont Ernest route. It´s a 2-3 hours walk.
Forillion National Park
Further north you’ll find Forillon national park, with plenty of animals to cross and a terrific nature as well. Perfect for a 4 hours hike up the Mont Alban to enjoy a splendid view over the whole area.
Forillon National Park – Quebec
When I were on my way back, walking along the narrow pathway, I all of a sudden heard a sound of what seemed to be a big animal. The sound came from behind the bushes, but I didn´t see anything. 5 meters further down the road I did see a sign though, saying “bears road – If you meet a bear let it cross the road and keep your distance”. I´m quite sure it must have been one. Quite exiting. On the one hand I really wanted to see one, on the other not on a small path like this…
Don´t miss out on a beautiful trip in kayak out to see the seals.
You can leave the car at Gaspé Airport and take an internal flight to Ottawa, from where you continue the journey.
Ottawa is Canada´s capital. It was not my favorite place, but the museum of history was very interesting.
The Thousands Islands
From Ottawa let the trip continue by car to the Thousands Islands in the lake Ontario not far from Kingston. From Gananoque you can book a one or two hours cruise – a fantastic way to discover the many Islands. Bring bathing suit when you visit Gananoque, there are a lot of small great places to bathe.
Next stop – Toronto! Love at first sight. When driving towards the shimmering grey sky-line and into the city.
A sightseeing by bus through the city is a great way to discover the different neighborhoods. Hop off at the St. lawrence market in the old part of Toronto. It is said to be one of the best food markets in the world. I do confirm that the Italian pasta is a wonder for the tastebuds!
The Toronto Zoo is a must do as well. Here you can explore hundreds of funny animals from all over the world. From Chinese Giant pandas, African tigers, Canadian grizzly bears to hippos, orangoutangs and green snakes…
The Toronto rooftops are really nice: Williams Landing at 120 Lynn Williams street is super cool with a good and vibrant ambience. Valdez at 606 King St West has a nice view to the NC Tower. The same as The Porch at 250 Adelaide St.West.
Only 2 hours drive from Toronto the impressive Niagara Falls awaits you. An amazing experience.
I finished my journey with 4 days at luxury spa hotel le Chantecler one hours drive from Montreal – in Saint Adele.
Amazing place to relax, including the morning buffet with a view over the hotel´s private lake – fantastic start on the day.
Then coffee at the terrace, massage treatment, swimming in the lake, sauna and walks in the beautiful surroundings were basically what was on the rest of my program…before going back to Paris.
I loved Canada!!!! With kind people, beautiful nature, luxurious restaurants and hotels.
A few facts about this trip:
- I drove more than 2000 km by car
- Spoke French in Quebec and English in Ontario.
- Spend 3 fantastic weeks