Canada - Ottawa Montreal Quebec

Trip Start Aug 04, 2001
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Thursday, October 5, 2006

Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec
By Elaine Dean
We travelled along one of Canada's magnificent highways from Toronto to Ottawa, stopping off for a visit to the lovely town of Kingston on Lake Ontario en route.
I was absolutely amazed by what a compact, green and lovely small city Ottawa is and how very 'British' it seems with its Parliament buildings and a Peace Tower which is almost a mini Big Ben. There are some amazing sculptures and statues dotted around the place too - my favourite being a series dedicated to suffragettes.
We stayed one night at the Capital Hill Hotel & Suites and again had an excellent room - it was massive - and it was centrally located.
The Byward Market is the lively area of Ottawa and we dined at Oregano's Italian Trattoria which was great.
On then to Montreal and this was the one place that disappointed me. Walking down Rue St Catherine - the main thoroughfare - it could have been any city in the world. I've always thought it looked wonderful when I've watched the Canadian Grand Prix on TV but I have to be honest and say I found it rather run down in places, although the underground network of shopping malls is marvellous.
We stayed at the Clarion Hotel and Suites which was reasonably central and the suite had a kitchenette which was nice.
Mention has to be made of the Mister Steer steakhouse where we had a fantastic meal served by the world's most cheerful waitress, Louise. It's a small world when the people on the next table turned out to be from Nottingham and just travelling through on a rail tour of North America!
The city tour of Montreal was quite good but the highlight of the three nights there was the trip to Quebec and actually seeing that magnificent Chateau de Frontenac for real. The weather was atrocious but the St Lawrence Seaway looked so impressive and the Cathedral of Notre Dame was fabulous. I would have preferred more time in Quebec and less in Montreal. Despite the Chateau being a very upmarket hotel, tourists are welcome to look around it.
We also saw the cliffs that General James Wolfe stormed up that everyone has learned about in history lessons.
It was quite a long and tiring journey driving back from Montreal to Toronto for our flight home. Over eight days we travelled 1,400 miles but it was carefully spaced out and the traffic is only heavy in cities.
Lots of people on the tour had used Travelscope before and others were first timers like us. Our tour of Canada cost us 600 each but city tours of Montreal and Toronto were extra - and reasonably priced - and no food was included which was not a problem at all. We hardly had to touch our suitcases ourselves, they were put on and off and delivered to our rooms. The organisation was absolutely first class and our Tour Manager Gerda Francis was a real professional and a mine of information.
We would thoroughly recommend them and we are already looking at other tours they do with a view to perhaps doing the West Coast of the USA or Moscow and St Petersburg with them in the future as we thought the value for money was exceptional.
(Travelscope have unfortunately now gone bust)
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