Well everyone let me start by introducing myself to the forum and site. Names Joe and I'm currently residing in Halifax, NS with my wife and 2 year old son. I joined the site because it looked like a place full of travel knowledge and I am in need of help. We are originally from BC and moved to NS 3 years ago and although it is beautiful here we have had enough. Mostly we just want to get back out west to be close with family. We miss everyone....So we've decided we're going to drive across the country on the way home for the experience of seeing most of this beautiful country we live in. We are obviously starting our trek in Halifax and have a general route in mind from Google maps. See link below.
General route on Google Maps
....Hope that worked...Nope of course not...Dont know how to make a clickable link but if you copy and paste that it will show you our route plan.
I'm looking for advice where to stop, good economical places to stay while there, and things we should look out for along the way, and any other tips or advice. We are looking to drive about 12 hours a day and our first night will be spent in Montreal. From there we have no idea where the next place to stop would be. We have places to stay in Winnipeg, and Calgary so accomodations are taken care of there already. Hope some of yous can offer me some help. Thanks in advance.
Hi Joe - Welcome to Travelblog!
About how long of a road-trip are you planning to take? Are you looking to drive straight through 12 hrs/day or are you looking for detours and interesting stop-overs? In my experience, 12 hours seems like a lot of time in the car if you're also trying to incorporate a bit of sight-seeing.
I've not driven that section of N. America myself but we do have quite a few Canadian residents and travelers that frequent this forum so hopefully they can be of help.
(oh, I embedded your link for you. HTML codes don't work in the forums, but you can use the 'Travelblog Formatting Codes' that appear on the right hand side of the screen)
Thanks Stephanie for the link.
We haven't really set an amount of time to take. We are kinda free that way but don't want to take too too long. We're not looking to detour of the route much and we'll probably spend at least a couple days in Winnipeg to visit my wifes family there. Other than that...It doesn't really matter, nothing set in stone for time. Maybe around 10 days.
Anyone ? There's got to be some experienced Canadian travellers on here that can lend me a hand
I'm not a seasoned Canadian traveler but we are planning something similar to this but the opposite of what you're doing - west coast to east coast. You shouldn't have any problems with reasonable accommodation if you're OK with budget motels that you'll find everywhere, why lock yourself into time and location restraints? Also 12 hours a day is a lot - unless your wife plans to drive as well. I've heard the stretch from Sask. to Alberta is extreeeeemely boring and drivers are very much susceptible to micro-sleeping on these roads.
I have driven about ten times from southern Ontario to Manitoba - I like staying overnight in Wawa, and Dryden for convenience on the way out, and Nipigon and Iron Bridge on the way back. Plenty of reasonable motels in those towns. Treat yourself to fantastic deer hide mitts in the Wawa General Store. Be aware that the last twenty miles of Ontario before the Manitoba border have no passing lanes (or at least they didn't the last time I did this.). And about one or two miles into Manitoba the highway changes to four lane divided. (two each side in case I'm mixing my descriptions.) Anyhow, if you get stuck behind an RV in Ontario, be ready to really move once you hit the divided part. The ten mile line up of transports and small trucks tend to zoom past the pokey RV.
I love driving on the prairies - they are calming and beautiful - and you can watch a thunderstorm from miles away.
I usually drive by myself, and find I start around 7 a.m. and pack it in between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. That's long enough by myself. I've heard too many stories about hitting deer or moose to want to chance the night driving. You'll also have to consider how much your little one can take in the car. There are lots of rest areas near little lakes and scenic view stops - leave some time to stop at Katharine Cove or Old Woman Bay while you drive through Lake Superior Provincial Park, just south of Wawa. Both are absolutely lovely and you can take an hour to just be lazy or climb over rocks and walk the beach.
A highway trucker once told me to stop every time the gas gauge gets to half full. I pretty much stick to that. Why put yourself in pain to get somewhere ten minutes sooner?
Have a wonderful trip.
Oops - just looked at your route and realized you're not taking highway 17 and will miss most of the spots I mentioned. Oh well, in that case, just make sure you fill your gas tank every chance on highway 11. I read a book once that said "whoever wrote they'd never seen a poem as lovely as a tree would have to reconsider poetry after driving highway 11 through Northern Ontario." It's all trees, and only trees. And if you're driving a car, you'll likely be the only one on the road.
Thanks for all the tips Katie. So tell me more about hwy 11 ? Is this a poor choice of routes ? Why do you say I'll be the only car on the road ?
I've updated my route map a bit and added a, b, c, etc where i plan to stop and spend nights. Here's the link.
Thoughts on this ? Am I choosing the right stopping points ? Best route ? Suggestions ?
Sorry to take so long to respond - I got a little busy. Highway 11 through northern Ontario is the preferred highway for transport trucks - and possibly pick up trucks. I used to drive a little Toyota Tercel - and was definitely the only little car on the road. It truly is just miles and miles of trees, lining both sides of the road. And you can drive 200 km without seeing a gas station so you'll see signs warning of "last gas" that you should pay attention to. Gas is also a higher price in northern Ontario, but it's cheaper in Manitoba.
From your new map it looks like you'll pick up Highway 17 and go through Sudbury (which has Science North and is a worthwhile stop), and then past Sault Ste Marie, (you can go through town or take the bypass). The stretch of highway north of Sault Ste Marie is the really pretty part - hills, trees and gorgeous views of Lake Superior. Pancake Bay, and Lake Superior Provincial Park, which you drive through for 2 hours before reaching Wawa. You can watch for Mom Lake, Dad Lake and Baby Lake! Wawa has a huge Canada Goose statue way up on the hill on Highway 101. You take the family picture there! You may also want to take a few minutes to stop at the end of the Great Circle Rock cut - near Red Rock. It's the most amazing rock cut I've ever seen - you can't see from one end to the other, it's so long. And the west end of it has a scenic view stop that's out of this world.
Oh, you can stop to investigate amethyst mining just before Thunder Bay as well. Plenty of places will sell you a nice amethyst rock for a souvenir - I actually keep one in my rock wall as home.
Kakabeka Falls, west of Thunder Bay is a good stop. Dryden has a big moose statue and Kenora a great big fish, although if you take the bypass you won't see the fish. I actually quite like the bypass - you get this amazing sensation of being up high, overlooking a lake, but you're really looking down at clouds. Kenora is a pretty town, though. If money is a bit tight, consider staying in smaller towns just outside where you've picked, like Nipigon is close to Thunder Bay and there are plenty of acceptable motels on the highway if all you really want is a place to sleep or grab a bite.
You may also take in the Royal Canadian Mint - you can see it as you're approaching Winnipeg. It's very easy to get to. You may also want to stand on the corner of Portage and Main (downtown). It's supposed to be the windiest (sp?) corner of Canada. Wouldn't actually recommend it in winter - it can be brutal.
That's my take on what there is to see and do on Highway 17 and Highway 1 through Winnipeg. I've enjoyed it every time and look forward to doing it again this year. It's a great trip, and you'll find you can talk to other travellers going east who will tell you what you'll find as you make your way west.
Hope you have a great trip.
I agree with Katie's route.
I am from Kelowna and my husband and I moved to Nova Scotia two years ago to the Yarmouth area.
My father passed away last July and instead of booking a flight (close to $3000 for the both of us to out fly that quickly) we drove. We left Yarmouth at 6:30 am on Sunday morning and were in Kelowna by Tuesday 3:30 in the afternoon. Now I dont recommend anyone drive across the country non-stop like we did, but under the circumstances we did (as a side note I have driven across Canada now 29 times (business and personal) as my parents hated to fly). You can do the drive as fast or as slow as you like. I suggest to go on how everyone feels... There are lots of great places to see and visit along the way! The route between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay is beautiful! Lots of provincial parks to stop at!
Don't miss Toronto!
Here's a blog post I wrote about it on here: