AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!  (Read 7504 times)

US 41

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:52:50 PM
Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« on: July 07, 2015, 08:51:22 PM »

Well I made it to Canada (first time)! I entered at Sault Ste Marie last night at around 10 p.m last night. I didn't have to wait on anyone. It was a very easy crossing. Before that I went on the Mackinac Bridge and the island. Last night I pulled off at the town of Iron Bridge and slept in my car. Tonight I'm in a town called Pembroke at a hotel. I have driven ON 17 the whole time, except when I went to Elliot Lake. I was surprised when I exchanged $300 USD and got $360 CAD back. The gas is a lot more expensive in Ontario than in the states. I sort of expected that and filled up before I crossed into Canada. I also crossed into Quebec at Rolphton, just to say I've been. I drove long enough in Quebec to take a picture of an Arret (french stop) sign. I've really enjoyed the trip so far. I haven't decided if I should go to Niagra Falls or to Ottawa and Montreal. I plan on going to eastern PA and DC before the trip is over. I didn't really plan on going as far east as I did, I just sort of ended up over here. Unfortunately it has rained all day nonstop. Heck when I entered Canada last night it was raining. It is very hard to see at night in Canada and I don't recommend driving at night especially if it is raining. The stripes in the road are not very bright and there are absolutely no reflectors in the road.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 08:55:14 PM by US 41 »
Logged
Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

iBallasticwolf2

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 952
  • :/

  • Location: Kenton County, KY
  • Last Login: April 24, 2019, 05:10:29 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 09:55:07 PM »

If you go to Montreal remember you will be in French-land but you should snatch the oppurtunity to go to Ottawa since Niagra Falls is closer.
Logged
Only two things are infinite in this world, stupidity, and I-75 construction

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10119
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:42:42 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 10:07:19 PM »

Ottawa is a magnificent city, well worth the visit. Go to the top of the Peace Tower at Parliament while you're there. There's a good Irish pub nearby for lunch.

Once you're in Ottawa, Montreal is a short trip and it's then easy to get from there to Pennsylvania and DC. (It usually takes me less than 10 hours, including stops and clearing Customs, to drive in either direction between my house and downtown Montreal. It's 660 miles.) Might not fit your budget if you slept in your car one night, but in Montreal we always stay at the Marriott Chateau Champlain. Nice hotel with big bay windows that provide great views. (In the bathroom, remember the "C" faucet is hot and "F" is cold due to French labels.)
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

SignGeek101

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1866
  • Winnipeg sign geek and civil engineering student.

  • Age: 22
  • Location: Winnipeg
  • Last Login: July 19, 2018, 09:05:19 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 10:12:10 PM »

Well I made it to Canada (first time)! I entered at Sault Ste Marie last night at around 10 p.m last night. I didn't have to wait on anyone. It was a very easy crossing. Before that I went on the Mackinac Bridge and the island. Last night I pulled off at the town of Iron Bridge and slept in my car. Tonight I'm in a town called Pembroke at a hotel. I have driven ON 17 the whole time, except when I went to Elliot Lake. I was surprised when I exchanged $300 USD and got $360 CAD back. The gas is a lot more expensive in Ontario than in the states. I sort of expected that and filled up before I crossed into Canada. I also crossed into Quebec at Rolphton, just to say I've been. I drove long enough in Quebec to take a picture of an Arret (french stop) sign. I've really enjoyed the trip so far. I haven't decided if I should go to Niagara Falls or to Ottawa and Montreal. I plan on going to eastern PA and DC before the trip is over. I didn't really plan on going as far east as I did, I just sort of ended up over here. Unfortunately it has rained all day nonstop. Heck when I entered Canada last night it was raining. It is very hard to see at night in Canada and I don't recommend driving at night especially if it is raining. The stripes in the road are not very bright and there are absolutely no reflectors in the road.

If you're going to Ottawa, be aware that the 417 is filled with construction, and could cause traffic jams in Ottawa. It's a nice city, but for road travelling, I don't think it's as interesting as Montreal or southern Ontario. I used to live there (3 years), so it could just be some bias coming out of me  :-P

Quebec's Autoroutes are an interesting drive. Monolingual french though, just so you know. I'm sure you know about Toronto and its freeways.

Reflector's aren't really common, because of the snow (and of course cost) I presume. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing them here. I guess you could ask the MTO about that if you want.

If you go to Montreal remember you will be in French-land but you should snatch the oppurtunity to go to Ottawa since Niagra Falls is closer.

Not really. Many Montrealer's speak English. When I was about 12, I took a trip there. Went to the gas station attendant and asked to use the bathroom via his key. Once you get more into Quebec City and smaller towns around that, it's more french.

Dr Frankenstein

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1491
  • Canada Freezes Before Your Roads.

  • Age: 29
  • Location: LeMoyne, QC
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 10:55:04 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 10:24:35 PM »

Ontario has started adding reflectors to Hwy 401, at least, in the Kingston area.

Québec might be French-land but in major cities, you can definitely get service in English. The French signage isn't really that hard to decypher.

Ottawa is still a good 5 hours away from Niagara Falls... at least.
Logged

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4750
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 11:19:57 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 10:28:40 PM »

Agree with the others about Montreal -- English is quite common.

Also agree with Quebec and other outlying areas -- French is more useful out there.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

Pete from Boston

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5270
  • Location: Massachusetts, and all the roads radiating out of it
  • Last Login: July 10, 2019, 07:42:52 AM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 01:20:39 AM »


Ottawa is a magnificent city, well worth the visit. Go to the top of the Peace Tower at Parliament while you're there. There's a good Irish pub nearby for lunch.

Agreed all around (though we probably had lunch at a different pub a little further away).  Excellent parks,  cool market downtown.  Hang around the canal and watch them work the (tiny) locks. 

Hull (now part of the greater municipality of Gatineau)  is across the river, and even there you'll find folks who have difficulty with English.     But it all works out.  You help each other along. 

If you do make it over to Hull, try BDT (Brasseurs du Temps), an excellent brewery in a former water pumping station.  The outdoor patio is sited where a lovely little truss bridge crosses an adjoining canal.
Logged

US 41

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:52:50 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 09:36:17 AM »

Based off the replies it sounds like Ottawa and Montreal are the better places to go. I've always heard that Montreal feels like a european city more than an American one. I think it would be interesting to go there. Ottawa would just be interesting to me since it is Canada's capital. I kind of wanted to go to Toronto, but I think if I entered NY south of Montreal that would be closer to Eastern PA anyways. I'd probably enter on QC 219. It looks like it might not be as busy as the Interstate 87 POE. I'll let everyone know what I ended up doing when I get Internet access again. 
Logged
Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

Dr Frankenstein

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1491
  • Canada Freezes Before Your Roads.

  • Age: 29
  • Location: LeMoyne, QC
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 10:55:04 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 11:15:00 AM »

I frequently enter via R-219 and when I-87 is backed up for 1+ hour, all you have is about 5 cars ahead of you over there.

Montreal does feel somewhat European, especially Old Montreal and Old Port, but IMO, it's sort of halfway between European and American (my opinion could be somewhat distorted, though). Quebec City has an even stronger European influence.

Ottawa is beautiful and full of great museums. I like Toronto, too, but it certainly feels like a any other North American city of its size. Still worth a visit, though.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 11:17:21 AM by Dr Frankenstein »
Logged

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4750
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 11:19:57 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 11:17:19 AM »

Isn't Quebec the only walled (fortress) city in North America?
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

SignGeek101

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1866
  • Winnipeg sign geek and civil engineering student.

  • Age: 22
  • Location: Winnipeg
  • Last Login: July 19, 2018, 09:05:19 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 11:30:05 AM »

http://www.cbc.ca/sevenwonders/wonder_quebec_city.html

Quote
Quebec City is the capital of Quebec and, after Montreal, the second largest city in the province. Quebec's Old Town (Vieux-Québec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist.

Quote
Quebec City is the first city in Canada. She is a bridge between Europe and America.

US 41

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:52:50 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 10:39:27 PM »

I left Pembroke this morning and took QC 148 to Ottawa for a French driving experience. From Ottawa I took ON 7 and ON 37 to ON 401 in Belleville. The 80 km/h speed limit got old, which is why I took 37. Why it (ON 7) wasn't at least 90 I have no idea. I will say that Canadian drivers have no fear when passing and don't really seem to care what the speed limit is. Some of the moves were actually quite dare devilish. I haven't seen nearly as many cops as in the US. From there I took 401 west to the Don Valley Pkwy. and drove south through downtown Toronto. Traffic wasn't too bad. Now I'm in a town called Grimsby staying the night in a hotel. Tomorrow I'm going to Niagara Falls and then to eastern PA. Hopefully the wait at the border isn't too bad. I'm planning to reenter the US at Buffalo / Ft. Erie, rather than at Niagara Falls. The good part was that I could actually see some scenery today unlike yesterday when it rained all day. I've really enjoyed the driving experience in Canada. I hope to come back many more times.

Most of my trip has involved driving. I like seeing stuff from the road. Although the gas here in Canada is a little more expensive I haven't really spent that much. Oh and I forgot to mention. I exchanged $300 USD at a bank in downtown North Bay and got $360 CAD back. It really wasn't too bad of an exchange rate especially when I was just hoping to break even.
Logged
Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

SignGeek101

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1866
  • Winnipeg sign geek and civil engineering student.

  • Age: 22
  • Location: Winnipeg
  • Last Login: July 19, 2018, 09:05:19 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 11:01:40 PM »

I used to live in Hamilton, so you're in my neck of the woods  ;-)

If you're into wine, you're now in wine country. You could check out some of the types there. I also heard the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is better than the US side. I've never been to the US side, so I can't confirm that.

I will say that Ontario drivers have no fear when passing and don't really seem to care what the speed limit is. Some of the moves were actually quite dare devilish.

Made a correction. The drivers here in Manitoba are very slow. As for speed limits, people here go 50 in a 80 sometimes. Not kidding. Driving here is much slower. Driving attitudes change from province to province. Quebec is the worst IMHO.

In Ontario, the speed limits (especially the 100 km/h limit) are never really followed. Even the cops have to go 120 just to keep up. As for traffic, I think you missed the busiest part of the 401 (just east of the 400).

I'm glad you enjoyed the Canadian part of your trip. Like in the US, there is so much to see regarding roads. It may be difficult to decide next time you visit. Best of luck at the border, I know it can be a pain sometimes.

cu2010

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 490
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Almost Canada
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 04:51:18 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 03:45:42 AM »

I also heard the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is better than the US side. I've never been to the US side, so I can't confirm that.

It is. Niagara Falls, NY is, frankly, a shithole.
Logged
This is cu2010, reminding you, help control the ugly sign population, don't have your shields spayed or neutered.

SP Cook

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1878
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 02:43:58 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 06:18:34 AM »

My takes:

- Niagara Falls, NY is not a "shithole".  It is a state park.  Some sources say it is the first state park in the country.  It has the natural stuff and then Niagara Falls ON has the tourist trap stuff like casinos and Ripley's Believe it or Not.  It is really one feeding off the other.  You have to do both (park in ON and walk the bridge). 

- Visiting Toronto contrasted to any US Midwestern city is about like contrasting Disneyland to Disney World.  So similar that the very few differences stand out.  One big Midwestern city is about like the next. 

- Montreal is a fully bi-lingual city.  Like most first world cities, in fact, it is full of immigrants whose grasp of both English and Quebec French are limited.  In Montreal's case, a lot of Haitians whose "French" and what they speak in Quebec are, I am told, so different as to be separate languages.  You can survive on English alone and do fine.  It is a lovely city, and different. 

- Northeast of there, including Quebec City, it is 100% French.  You can make it with English only if you can dope out a few signs, smile and nod, order fast food by the value meal number, and point and smile and nod again.  Quebec City is where you want to go if you want a "European style" city in North America.   

- One thing I learned is a "French" restaurant in Montreal, or anywhere in Quebec, is just as much a "foreign cuisine" restaurant as one in Boston or Kansas City would be.  Quebec has its own cuisine, which is way more like standard American food, with its own add ons and quirks.  After all, these people left France 400 years ago. 


Logged

oscar

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 6464
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Arlington, VA
  • Last Login: Today at 07:57:23 AM
    • my Hot Springs and Highways pages
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 06:30:42 AM »

Although the gas here in Canada is a little more expensive I haven't really spent that much. Oh and I forgot to mention. I exchanged $300 USD at a bank in downtown North Bay and got $360 CAD back. It really wasn't too bad of an exchange rate especially when I was just hoping to break even.

The current wholesale exchange rate is US$0.79 per Canadian dollar. Think of it as Canada on sale.  (Though with higher sales and gas taxes, don't go crazy with your spending.)

I refilled my wallet a few days ago at a Canadian ATM. I won't know the exchange rate I got until I get back home. But I was able to pull out $600 CAD, even though my bank limits ATM withdrawals (including fees charged by the ATM's bank) to $500 USD per day.
Logged
my Hot Springs and Highways pages, with links to my roads sites:
http://www.alaskaroads.com/home.html

AsphaltPlanet

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 2636
  • Single Occupant Vehicle Commuter

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Last Login: Today at 08:11:26 AM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2015, 07:26:48 AM »

Speed limits really are just a suggestion in Ontario.
Logged
AsphaltPlanet.ca  Youtube -- Opinions expressed reflect the viewpoints of others.

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10119
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:42:42 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2015, 07:27:54 AM »

My observation in Montreal is that many restaurants have French menus and English menus and will hand you the one that matches the language you use when you enter—so if they say "bonsoir" when you arrive and you respond in kind, you'll likely get the French menu (no big deal, you just ask for the English one).

Further north, lots of gesturing and miming sometimes is needed. When I was 11 years old on a family vacation that took us to Montreal, Quebec City, the Saguenay Valley, and the Eastern Townships, I didn't speak a word of French and needed to find the restroom, so when "restroom" and "men's room" didn't work I wound up standing with my feet slightly apart and my hands....well, you get it. Buying ice for our cooler at a campground store near Lac Kenogami was an adventure because all the products were behind the counter. I spoke no French, the employee spoke no English, so she just held up things until I started nodding.
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

SP Cook

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1878
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 02:43:58 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2015, 07:56:36 AM »

My observation in Montreal is that many restaurants have French menus and English menus ...

THE place in Montreal that is not accommodating to English speakers is Le Ronde, which is the Six Flags managed theme park.  All signage is in French.  OK, I get that.  But the only maps they have are in French.  Now, Montreal is over 1/3rd English speakers, and the park would be the closest theme park for not only eastern Ontarians, but parts of northern New England too.  And only French.  Now, I can get a map in like 30 languages at Disney, and even King's Island has four or five in proudly unicultural Cincinnati. 

I am told it is part of their deal with the province, since the place still belongs to it, left over from the late 60s world's fair.

Place is dump anyway.  Has not been cleaned in decades, too few workers for the tasks at hand.

 
Logged

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4750
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 11:19:57 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2015, 08:11:02 AM »

My takes:

- Niagara Falls, NY is not a "shithole".  It is a state park. 


No, Niagara Falls, NY is not a state park.  Niagara Falls, NY is a city in NY and cu2010's description, although using common vernacular that I am hesitant to use myself, is quite accurate.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

Pete from Boston

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5270
  • Location: Massachusetts, and all the roads radiating out of it
  • Last Login: July 10, 2019, 07:42:52 AM
Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2015, 08:58:36 AM »

Ultimately, the tourism-based economy will just never be as good in Niagara Falls, New York, as it is in Niagara Falls, Ontario, until the next time the falls drastically change their orientation and make the view better from New York.

Since they have all but stopped the recession of the falls, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, if it ever was likely at all.  And at the rate things were going, it was a good thousand or more years away anyway.
Logged

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4750
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 11:19:57 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2015, 09:05:26 AM »

Do they ever let the full force of the river over the falls anymore?  I seem to recall that they did route more water over the falls at certain times, but I don't know if it's close to the full capacity of the river.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

US 41

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:52:50 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2015, 09:11:51 AM »

I've also heard that Niagara Falls, NY is not very nice. I heard it is kind of a bad neighborhood. I'm not going to be going there anyways. I'm using the Peace Bridge that leads into Buffalo from Fort Erie. I am looking forward to seeing the falls.
Logged
Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

Rothman

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4750
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 11:19:57 PM
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2015, 09:22:46 AM »

To be fair, people going to see the falls typically do not drive into the city itself, anyway (i.e. Robert Moses to the falls).  You sort of have to try to get in there if you're just a tourist.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

Jim

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4007
  • Check out http://travelmapping.net

  • Location: Amsterdam, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 08:11:01 AM
    • Travel and Other Pictures
Re: Road Trip To Canada. I made it!!!
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2015, 11:28:38 AM »

I was surprised on a trip a couple years ago that every person I encountered in Quebec city was able to converse with us in English.  Of course, we stayed more in touristy areas, but my point is that I would not let a lack of ability to read or speak French stop you from exploring Quebec outside of the very bilingual Montreal.
Logged
Photos I post are my own unless otherwise noted.
Signs: http://www.teresco.org/pics/signs/
Travel Mapping: http://travelmapping.net/user/?u=terescoj
Counties: http://www.mob-rule.com/user/terescoj
Twitter @JimTeresco (roads, travel, weather, sports)

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.