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Travelling woes... have to decide
Ottawa and Montreal, or Montreal and Quebec City ?? What would you do.
Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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Date: 6/14/12 12:23 PM

Making our travel plans. We decided to go to eastern Canada this summer for about 10 days. We can't decide which two Cities we should spend time in. We will fly to one city and then take the train to the other and fly home from that city. We prefer vacations where we don't have to rent a car. We like to walk or take public transit.

Also, with the students rioting in Montreal, I am not convinced that we should go there either but DH seems to think that it is isolated and not all that bad. Since he has not been to Montreal and I have been to none of the above cities, we are thinking Montreal should be one of the cities. But if any lives there and thinks we are crazy with the riots - please let me know!!

If you have been to any of the 3 cities which would you recommend? Can you recommend any "must do's" or "avoids". I should probably mention that DH CANNOT sit still. Torture for him is sitting on a beach watching the ocean waves. He likes to go and see things. HE HATES shopping on vacation... so my shopping time is sparse to say the least.

We are going probably first week in August. I can speak enough France French to barely get by but DH doesn't speak any. (Apparently Quebecois French is quite different.) I am not worried - but should I be??

Any advice / info greatly appreciated.

PS - I can't wait to go and wish we had time to spend in all three cities.

SheBear0320
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In reply to Canadian Jane <<


Date: 6/14/12 1:06 PM

I've been to all 3 cities -- Montreal & Quebec City more recently -- Ottawa was about 25 years ago (so probably not that relevant).

DH & I spent 10 days in Montreal in 2010 before the start of PR Weekend -- there is so much to see and do. Getting around in Montreal is easy with the metro and bus system. You can get a 7 day metro pass which gives you unlimited access to the metro and the bus and the price is very reasonable. We used public transit the entire time we were there (or walked). Places to see and things to do -- Biodome, Botanical Gardens, St. Lawrence River cruise, McCord Museum, a day in old Montreal just to wander around, railroad museum, Gabriel House (a period home), quadricycles along the St. Lawrence River, history museum in Old Montreal -- these are the things we did ... there were many more we didn't have time for.

Also lots of great fabric shopping and open markets in Montreal which really love.

I spent about a week in Quebec City in 2002 and while I was there for a figure skating competition, I went a few days early to do some touristy type stuff -- took a 4 hr bus trip that was outside the city and included Montmorency Falls, Ste. Anne du Beaupre, Ile D'Orleans and a visit to a copper factory. Also spent many hours walking around in old Quebec which is a day or two in and of itself -- lots of museums and period homes as well as the walls of the city, the Plains and of course taking the Funicular down to what I think is called Mont Royal. I didn't find the public transit to be as good as Montreal.

I have some French but am no longer fluent -- didn't have any problems in either place.

Don't know if that helps at all.

------
Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
106.625 yards sewn (as of 12/19/14)
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EleanorSews
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Date: 6/14/12 1:10 PM

I can't help in terms of the cities, but friends we have traveled with over the years did vacation in Quebec several years ago. Neither is a French speaker and they had no difficulties in terms of language.

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"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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Date: 6/14/12 4:39 PM

This is most helpful - thanks! I wish someone who has been to Ottawa could weigh in.

I also wish someone who lives in Montreal or has been there recently could comment on the student riots. The news has a tendency to portray a place as Armegedon when it is just a small area but the odd time they have been right!

tlmck3
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tlmck3
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Date: 6/14/12 4:57 PM

Definitely go to Montreal. There is so much to do you won't be able to fit it all in. As for the second city on your tour here is another recommendation for Quebec City. It is lovely and totally walkable, though hilly. You can probably find day tours to Montmorency Falls and Ste. Anne de Beaupre.

I was in Montreal and Quebec city for several weeks a long time ago--1988, I believe, and found that as long as I even made an effort with my execrable French people were very helpful. I carried a little pocket-sized French-English/English-French dictionary with me and found it very useful. The Quebecoise found it amusing--but in the nicest way possible. The French there is very different from most high school French. I spent a lot of time in hostels where there were a lot of French tourists and even between them and local people there were often misunderstandings.

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I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

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Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

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kittykate
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kittykate
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Date: 6/14/12 5:36 PM

I would say Ottawa and Montreal. I've been to all three within the past year, and have always been "meh" on Quebec City. I don't think there's enough to do in the city itself and you would have to take bus tour to the falls or the shrine. I do know people who love it for it's romantic almost Paris vibe so it depends what you want. You'll get by in English just fine.

Montreal will make you regret every single french class you ever took as people switch back and forth mid sentence. There is tons of stuff to do for tourist attractions to keep you busy day and night. Nightlife starts around 11pm. I went to one of my favorite websites, reddit, to see what they had to say about the protests, here is a good topic to read
http://www.reddit.com/r/montreal/comments/uy68u/visiting_montreal_should_i_be_worried_about_the/

Ottawa, well as a westerner, you've just GOT to go and see where Stephen Harper is hanging out. It's a nice walk across the bridge to the musee de civilization in Hull which should be seen. The OC Transpo system is fantastic, and everything is accessible, just in contrast to Montreal though, they roll up the sidewalks at 5pm.
-- Edited on 6/14/12 5:37 PM --

Canadian Jane
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Canadian Jane
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In reply to kittykate <<


Date: 6/14/12 7:26 PM

Kittykate - that is a real good link. Kind of what I thought.

Do want to see Ottawa. But life has been so stressful lately that pretending we are in Europe just seems so appealing. But sounds like it it is easier to get around Ottawa -that appeals a lot too.

Decisions.... I think hubby is going to have to weigh in too!

reneeb4930
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Date: 6/14/12 8:16 PM

I live near Montreal, the students riots are not so bad at all:more noise than anything. Do not go on Ste-Catherine east street after 8pm. Have fun in Montreal.

ConnieBJ
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Date: 6/14/12 9:43 PM

Having been to all three places, I know that you will have a wonderful time in whatever city you end up deciding to visit. I would suggest Ottawa paired with either Montreal or Quebec just to be able to enjoy the old world charm of Quebec and our nations capital.

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Connie Bontje

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TeeGee

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In reply to Canadian Jane <<


Date: 6/14/12 11:48 PM

I like to suggest Montreal and Quebec City.Even my sister,(she owned a travel agency once),said,it's one of the most beautiful cities she visited !

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