(Montreal, Quebec City)
Our most complete tour of central Canada - featuring Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. Start in Toronto, the "center of Canada" according to the locals. An amazingly diverse city with over half the population originating from foreign countries. The city is a swirl of ethnic neighbourhoods, glitzy sights, and exceptional cafes. Take a full day tour to Niagara Falls, one of the most visited places in North America! Continue on to the Niagara Escarpment and visit one of the wineries, world famous for ice wine. Take the train to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Take a picture of the Mounties outside the Parliament, and explore the many superb museums. Byward market, the old logging city of ill repute, is the bustling nexus for restaurants and cafes. Enjoy a first class train ride with a three course meal to Montreal. With a mix of French and English cultures, this fascinating city is legendary for its steakhouses and nightlife. Take a private-guided walking tour of old town and sign up for optional activities. Continue by train to Quebec City, perched on the edge of the St. Lawrence river; it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The compact old city is a fascinating stroll, and the art galleries are famous for their superb value.
With private airport pick-up and drop-off, first class train, private driver/guides to see all of the sights, and time at leisure to choose from any number of activities which entice you, this is a tour not to be passed over.
You will be provided with a pre-departure package which will include all necessary information that you will need for your trip including materials such as vouchers, maps, train tickets (if relevant) etc.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer with vehicle and driver.
Enjoy a prix fixe menu at the 360 restaurant at the CN Tower, one of Toronto's finest landmarks featuring unforgettable food combined with a magnificent revolving view of Toronto more than 351 metres (1,151 ft) below. 360 offers market-fresh cuisine, featuring regional ingredients to ensure an incomparable culinary experience. You can take the elevator up to the top of the tower on a complimentary basis since you are having a meal at the restaurant. (includes 3 courses and all taxes and gratuity).
Toronto is a city that has grown up around this grand landmark - The Fairmont Royal York Hotel (4*). It is just steps away from the hub of Toronto and a major access port to Canada is Union Station. If you're here to relax and take in the sights, this hotel has everything you need; luxurious surroundings, refined guest rooms and suites, and a knowledgeable Concierge are some of the services and amenities you will find while staying at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
Today meet up with Toronto’s most famous local historian for a guided walking tour of Fort York. This is undeniably the symbolic cornerstone of Toronto’s British beginnings. When Lt Governor John Graves Simcoe arrived in 1793 one of the first things he did besides change the name to’ron’to the Huron First Nation gave to the region to the more British sounding York was to build a fort to protect the newly constructed Town of York (a few km to the east) from an American attack.
Back then Fort York was built right on the waters edge with it cannons pointed out to the bay. Today after years of landfill the Fort is landlocked hidden in the midst of the city that grew around it.
The fort was attacked twice by the Americans during the War of 1812 (captured during the Siege of York April 26, 1813) when many of the original buildings were destroyed eventually rebuilt with the oldest structures constructed in 1814.
Then we will head to the First Parliament Site where many historians believe this could be possibly be the most historically significant while at the same time the most historically contentious spot in all of Toronto. It was on this site once the banks of Lake Ontario in 1796 that the first Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada (now the Province of Ontario) were constructed the forerunner to Queen’s Park Ontario’s Legislature .
The two small red brick buildings (no bigger than two average sized suburban bungalows) were destroyed by fire during the occupation of York (April, 1813) by American forces during the War of 1812. While never really proven that the Yanks burnt the first seat of the Provincial Government the British never the less set fire to the American President’s mansion in Washington after which was repainted white and re-dubbed The White House ever since.
The First Parliament Buildings were re-built but once again destroyed by fire in 1824 at which time after meeting in various taverns and ballrooms the decision was made to move across town to Front Street west now the site of the CBC Broadcasting Centre.
Parliament sat there on and off (after moving to Kingston and Montreal for a few years after the Union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841) until 1892 and the following year moved into the magnificently appointed and still in use today, Queen’s Park. The First Parliament site became home to the infamous Berkeley Street Goal (jail) then part of the enormous gas works before becoming today home to a car dealership, a parking lot and a patch of grass known as Parliament Square. There is however on going talks to redevelop the entire site into a permanent historical park complete with a reconstructing of those First Parliament Buildings in time for the War of 1812 Bicentennial.
Enjoy some time exploring the many things to see and do in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto. If you are interested in art and culture, be sure to visit the newly expanded Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) which has an extensive permanent collection as well as ever changing temporary exhibitions. The newly revamped Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) showcases the best of Canadian and international art, all housed under an impressive building designed by Frank Gehry of Guggenheim fame - consider a private guided tour of the gallery. The Ontario Science centre is a fascinating museum which appeals to both adults and children. The Distillery district, one of Toronto's most historical areas makes for a pleasant morning or afternoon stroll as you can check out the many artisanal studios and galleries or take a shared or a private tour. There are often live musical performances on weekends during the summer. For shopaholics, Toronto's Rodeo drive equivalent is along Bloor street, on either side of Yonge street. Here you will find all of the top boutique names from Gucci to Tiffany's to Prada as well as the upscale department store Holt Renfrew. For a more eclectic shopping experience, head to Queen street west, where there are many independently run stores. Alternatively, escape it all and take the short ferry crossing over to the Toronto Islands where you can enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk or through the residential area with many traditional beach style houses. With a no car policy on the island, it is indeed a tranquil escape from the metropolis of Toronto. If you would like to do a tour, consider a shared or private walking tour of one of the interesting neighbourhoods of the city. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if any of these are of interest to you.
For a complete Niagara experience spend the day taking in the best the area has to offer in the way of quaint towns, fine wines and culinary delights! Enjoy the company of a professional tour guide for a full day tour. Spend the day visiting 4 favourite wineries in the area, enjoying wine tastings, at all four and a more in depth behind the barrel tour to see the wine making process from vine to barrel to your glass. Then lunch at a renowned local restaurant in the middle of Old Town Niagara on the Lake. You will have time to stroll and explore. Discover the history and rich culture of the Old Town of Niagara on the lake, and admire the mansions along Lake Ontario and along the beautiful Niagara Parkway. Private round-trip transfers included.
Enjoy a train ride from Toronto to Ottawa. Train duration is approximately 5hr.
Enjoy a guided walking tour of the nations' capital. Learn about the architecture of the beautiful and historic buildings in Ottawa's downtown core. Places of interest include Parliament Hill, The Rideau Canal, The Byward Market.
Fairmont Château Laurier (4*) is a reflection of the confidence, dignity and style of Ottawa. It stands as a testament to this dynamic and thriving city. Located in the heart of Canada's capital next door to the Parliament Buildings, the hotel is a magnificent limestone edifice with turrets and masonry reminiscent of a French château. The Rideau Canal offers miles of bicycle and inline skating paths and the world's longest skating rink just outside the door. The nearby Gatineau Hills offer great hiking, biking and canoeing, and in the winter, cross-country ski trails and excellent downhill thrills. With Winterlude, the Tulip Festival and countless other festivals, Ottawa is a flurry of activity year round. Once the wealth of sights has been taken in, drop by the Health Club or satisfy your appetite at one of the superb restaurants.
After being picked up from your hotel, you will be brought to the Parliament Buildings for a private guided visit of the premises. The buildings are a fine example of Neo-Gothic architecture. Before entering the buildings, view the spectacle of the changing of the guards (10am) - a Canadian tradition at its most colorful! After seeing the interior of where state decisions are made, walk to the bussling Byward Market where you will get to interact with some of the stall owners. Enjoy all the gourmet delights, pick up a few things for lunch or opt to have lunch in one of the many restaurants close by.
Consider renting a bike for the afternoon and seeing the city and surrounds on two wheels. Ottawa is criss-crossed by hundreds of kilometers of recreational pathways that are perfectly suited for biking. (They may also be used for walking, in-line skating and other non-motorized modes of transport). These recreational pathways include a variety of scenic routes along the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, along the UNESCO World Heritage Site-Rideau Canal, and venturing into the province of Quebec and the forests of Gatineau Park. If you feel like doing an organised tour, consider a tour to Victoria Island where you can learn about the aboriginal people, enjoy a BBQ lunch, participate in a traditional pow wow dance, and/or make your own aboriginal art work. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if any of this is of interest to you.
Enjoy the train ride from Ottawa to Montreal. Train duration is approximately 2hr.
The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel is a renowned local landmark, celebrated internationally for its world-class accommodations. This historic hotel has helped define the city’s distinct elegance and charm for over 50 years. It offers 1,037 rooms, of which 100 are suites, and is conveniently located above the train station and within walking distance of sports and cultural attractions. There is a skilfully integrated Health Club featuring state-of-the-art equipment and an indoor pool, as well as three distinctive venues to experience Montréal's gastronomy at its best: Les Voyageurs lounge, Le Montréalais bistro- restaurant and the award-winning Beaver Club, recognized as one of the best tables in Canada.
Take in a 3-hour walking tour of this stunning city your private guide. You will see the old Port area in Vieux Montreal, the Biodôme and the Montréal Tower Observatory at Olympic Stadium for magnificent views of the St Lawrence River, Mount Royal and the Laurentian Mountains. Your experienced guide will be very happy to show you special highlights based on your interests.
There are many optional activities to choose from in Montreal. Spend time wandering through the historical part of town, taking in all of the sights and smells along the way as you weave your way through the cobblestoned streets. Alternatively, head to St. Catherine's street, which has a dizzying array of shops to choose from and where you can see where the locals source their great sense of style. If you feel like a longer excursion, consider a day trip to Quebec - the oldest city in North America and a UNESCO designated city with a side trip to the impressive Montmorency falls. If you feel like staying within the city limits, consider a tour taking in the Olympic Tower, Biodrome, Botanical Gardens and Insectariums, a guided walking or a biking tour through the city, or a themed tour such as the Bourgeoisie area of Westmount or the lesser known parks and gardens of the city. Please let your Sales Advisor know if any of these options are of interest.
Enjoy the train ride from Montreal to Quebec. Train duration is approximately 3.5hr.
With your private guide discover by foot the many secrets of Old Quebec. Enjoy a walking tour of the old city of Quebec and gain an understanding of the history and the everyday-life of this World Heritage Site. Transportation is not included.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (4.5*) is not only located high on a bluff overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River at the heart of Old Québec - it is the heart of Old Québec. Guests are guaranteed a memorable and inspiring stay in one of the most beautiful cities in the world with easy walking access to all of the wonderful sites and experiences that Old Québec has to offer. Offering newly renovated luxurious guestrooms, exquisite dining experiences through distinctive European charm, this stately luxury hotel stands above the United Nations World Heritage Site-Old Québec.
Take a local produce tasting tour on the Island of Orleans located 20 minutes from Old Quebec. Stops included are Cassis Monna, Domaine Steinbach, Vignoble Bacchus.
There are lots of activities to keep you busy while you are in Quebec city. Consider a tour to the nearby Isle d'Orleans and visit an orchard to taste their ciders, duck terrine, confit, marinades. You can also experience an authentic sugar shack on the island and its traditional menu and cultural entertainment. Alternatively, consider a full day of whale watching. For the sports enthusiasts, an adrenaline-filled morning or afternoon para-gliding, downhill mountain biking or canyoning is available. You may like to do a day trip to Ste-Anne waterfalls and Canyon - an amazing attraction with 3 suspension bridges including one of the highest in Quebec, 60 meters above the gorge. There is an easy and accessible path and the tour would include a nature discovery of Mont-Ste-Anne featuring a panoramic ride in the gondola and lunch at the mountain. Whatever your fancy, Quebec City will not disappoint.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
Two taxes, the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the Québec sales tax (QST), are added to the selling price of most goods and services. Several tourist regions charge a specific tax on accommodations. The amount is $2 or $3 a night or 3% of the price of the room per night, before the GST and QST are added.
You must leave a tip on service provided in restaurants and bars and by taxi drivers and hairdressers. The amount, which is not included in the bill, generally represents 10% to 15% of the total bill (before taxes). Here in Québec, for a restaurant bill, we usually add the amounts of the two taxes (GST and QST) together, the sum of which equals approximately 13%. Tipping bellhops or porters is at your discretion (generally, $1 per bag carried).
Most of Québec’s cities enjoy a humid continental climate, with four very distinct seasons and significant differences in temperature marking each one. Summer is hot, while winter sees a considerable amount of snow fall. In fact, Québecers owe their legendary joie de vivre to these climatic variations!
Québec’s Great North is characterized by arctic and subarctic climates. The ancestral land of the Cree and the Inuit is known for its lengthy winters and brief summers.
Visitors holding a driver’s licence from their country of origin can drive on Québec’s roads for a maximum period of six months. This means you don’t have to obtain an international driving permit, although if your papers are in a language other than French or English, it is highly recommended that you do so.
By law, all vehicle occupants must wear a seat belt.
Consuming alcohol or having alcoholic beverages present in a moving vehicle is strictly prohibited under Québec’s Highway Safety Code. Furthermore, a person suspected of driving under the influence will have to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the test reveals a concentration of alcohol in that person’s blood of 80 or more milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, his or her driver’s permit will be immediately revoked for a 30-day period.
Although the minimum age for driving a car is 16, some car rental companies require that the driver be at least 25, while others charge higher rates for drivers under the age of 21.
The electric current is 110 volts/60 cycles, as it is throughout North America. Because the outlets cannot accommodate European plugs, you’d best bring or buy an adaptor.
Banking & Currency:
The legal tender is the Canadian dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. Bank notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars, and coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 cents and 1 and 2 dollars.
The leading credit cards are accepted everywhere, namely Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Traveler’s cheques are generally accepted in large hotels, some restaurants and major stores. Otherwise, they must be cashed at an exchange office or bank.
There are numerous exchange offices in Québec’s main cities. Airports also offer exchange services. Some businesses accept American money, but they offer a less competitive rate than the exchange offices.
Banking institutions are generally open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can withdraw cash from most automatic teller machines (linked to the Cirrus, PLUS System or Interac networks) any time, seven days a week.
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