Friday, 28 August 2015

Visiting Ontario

The travel bug won't go away, specially now that it's summer.  I wish we have unlimited time and budget for travel.  :) :)

I am getting questions about our Ontario trip.  How we managed to visit Toronto, Niagara, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Ottawa by air and not renting a car when we were there.. Is it expensive to fly?  Was it convenient?  and so on... 

Driving is not an option for us.  We just took one week off from work and Winnipeg to Toronto is 21 hour-drive , one way.  Also, if we will consider the long drive costs ---food, hotel, gas, value of our leave credits (work leave extension to cover travel time)--- we will not save a cent and it’s super tiring.  Another thing,  Mom and Dad were with us on this trip and they don't enjoy long drives. 

This post is just a guide, I won't be very detailed because planning your own trip, doing your own itinerary, googling where to go, what to see, where to eat, what bus to catch are far more enjoyable than just going with the flow.

Canadian flights tend to be expensive but I believe I got my money's worth on the airfare I found with Air Canada, it was multi-city for $511 (includes taxes) per person.

While in Toronto, we used the city tour bus, hop-on hop-off,  that would allow us to explore the city at our own pace. The tour guides were really friendly and they gave us inputs on how to manage time and what are the best places to see.   I believe it's the best way to explore the city if it is your first time.  With the tour bus you won't waste your time figuring out where to go, what to see and how to get there.
We picked these stops: Eaton Center, Casa Loma, CN Tower, and Harbourfront for the Island Cruise.
One day is not enough to visit all the attractions but that's all the time we got.   Tip! Don't miss the Island Cruise, it will give you a great view of Toronto's skyline.

 View from the Island Cruise Boat

Toronto Skyline
View from the Island Cruise Boat

Casa Loma

Niagara Falls
Going to Niagara we took the megabus, that was only $18 per person. Our friend in Toronto dropped us off to the terminal. It was an easy and very convenient trip.  Megabus customer service is great, you can ask questions through email if you have questions like luggage allowances and stops. 
In Niagara falls, most attractions are "walkable"  but if you like to navigate the neighboring parks and wants to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake they have a tourist bus system called WEGO.  At $7 you can hop-on-hop-off the bus for 24 hours.  There's so much to do in Niagara falls my highlight was the Hornblower cruise ($26 per person) to the falls (Maid of the Mist for those in the U.S side).  It was one breathtaking experience.  

Canadian Side of the Falls

America Side of the Falls

This picture is showing the Hornblower (Red raincoats)
and Maid of the Mist (Blue Raincoats)

This is one charming town, the shops are so cute,  we really enjoyed our short stroll here.    Going to Niagara-on-the-Lake there is an additional fare on top of wego's $7 a day pass, you can take a look on their website for the rates.

Going back to Toronto to catch our flight to Ottawa we took a cab worth around $200, not the most economical route but we were thinking about convenience.   We decided not to take the bus because it will be another taxi ride from megabus' terminal to the airport.  We will only save around $50, plus the inconvenience with all our luggages.

I really love Ottawa, I can see myself living in this city.  It's kinda laid back but not too quiet.   Our Hotel is in Gatineau, Quebec.  Gatineau is only a bridge away from downtown Ottawa but hotels are a lot cheaper on that side.

Airport-Hotel is around $30 taxi ride.

Again, we use hop-on hop-off bus to see the city.  We were able to see the Governor's house, Parliament, Byward market, pass by the PM house, and visit some Museums.

Ottawa - Gatineau


 Rideau hall

We did all these for seven days, that include travel times.  It was so much fun!

Linked above:

Toronto Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Ottawa Hop-on Hop-off Bus

**This post is not sponsored