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Trip report Eastern Canada

Prague, Czech...
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Trip report Eastern Canada

Hi there,

Firstly, I want to thank to all contributors to this forum and all answers to my questions which were greatly appreciated.

I'd like to share some thoughts with fellow travellers who might find this trip report interesting.

Generally speaking, Canada is a safe country with good tourist infrastructure - a network of tourist offices, clean public toilets (restrooms or wash rooms) and easy communication in English. Canadians are laid-back and helpful in some cases. They adhere to rules and expect them from visitors.

Some remarks about the visited places:

Toronto - like New York. A big sprawling city with traffic jams, rather boring city. Easy orientation, a lot of homeless people. Most attractions (CN Tower, Ripley Aquarium) have exorbitant prices. A ferry to Toronto Islands is highly recommended. Scarce public transport (transit) and quite expensive. I'd recommend two days plus one day for an easy DIY trip to Niagara Falls. All other national parks are too far from Toronto and require about 3 - 4 hours of driving

Niagara Falls - doable in one day. Worth a visit, however not a big natural wonder and an over-matured theme park.

Montreal - a city with European charm. A walk to Mount Royal is enjoyable. English is not spoken here but not a problem in tourist places (there are usually signs in English). The Montrealiens are definitely friendlier and more helpful than people in Ontario. Accommodation is cheaper than in other parts of Canada. Maximum two days.

Quebec City - worth a visit even for visitors from Europe. It reminds cities in southern France. The city centre is easily walkable. As this city is overcrowded by visitors, prices in the tourist area are really high and don't match the quality. Maximum 1,5 days.

Charlottetown is a sleepy small city with its relaxing atmosphere. Not many sights (the founding birth place of Canada is closed). But worth a visit. The Confederation Trail is beautiful, hire a bike. Maximum 1,5 days-

Halifax - a city with few sights but the Citadel is one of the most important sights in Canada. A good starting point to Lunenburg and Peggy Cove (both sites are on an UNESCO list together with national parks in Western Canada and Quebec City). A ferry to Dartmouth with a cheap price offers a great panorama view of Halifax. Maximum 2 days.

There are some negative points:

Canadian eTA is mandatory for most travellers to Canada. The process isn't user-friendly and straightforward. You have to do in one step and pay immediately otherwise you start from the beginning. US ESTA is better managed.

Immigration and arrival in Toronto Pearson Airport: Canada border agents are very unfriendly and rude. Canada is NOT open to foreign visitors. They are suspicious and require to show reservations, money, credit cards etc. Even if you have a Canadian eTA, you have to fill a custom declaration in paper. They use a red pen to make remarks in your custom declaration and send you to additional counter for extensive check. Have all documents handy and in a paper form. They don't like electronic versions. The airport is shabby with long badly signposted corridors. The personnel is rude and shout at visitors Limited public toilets. Luggage was delivered after 1 hour after the plane disembarkation. Plan at least two hours from the plane to the airport leaving.

Flights in Canada are some of the most expensive in the world. If want to fly within Canada, increase your budget significantly.

Canada is one of the most expensive countries on Earth. Plan your budget accordingly. They don't expect visitors on a tight budget. Tourist offices are aimed at wealthy tourists and reluctant to help tourist on a tight budget.

The season in Canada is shorter than in other countries (the most outdoor attractions are open from late May until the beginning of October). It‘s valid for accommodation as well.

The public transport is almost non-existent with an exception for Toronto and Montreal. If exists, exorbitant expensive.

Renting a car is really expensive in Canada, particularly if you travel between regions. Plus expensive fuel.

Public services are poor and the competition is limited.

Canada is a vast country. Incorporate long distances between places / cities in Canada into your planning and plan realistic times.

Higher taxes than in the US are prices are shown before taxes. In some cases you have to add taxes about 20 %.particularly for accommodation. Always check the final price with your accommodation provider to avoid any bad surprises.

The US offer a better value-for-price ratio than Canada.

Think TWICE before going to Canada.

Thank you for reading my trip report.

9 replies to this topic
West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

Either you don't travel much, or you are a TROLL.

Penticton, Canada
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2. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada


Canada is not a cheap country in almost all categories. There is a generation that may never own homes is good indication.

I like this report as it outlines how difficult it is to get around on a very limited budget and that getting around to areas outside the big cities is not easy when one can not afford a car.

If the Original Poster can not afford Canada a word of warning avoid Switzerland which is even more expensive.

and for those words of warning - The exchange rate you get from your currency makes a BIG difference on the value you get in the US. the $CAD at close to 30% less the $US not hard to get better deals in the US.

And if as suggested you get a better deal in the US - just make sure you do not need a hospital stay without a very good insurance policy that could bankrupt you.

The better Canadian advantage is that you are not likely to be shot with a gun when at the wrong place. That is good value for money. if you are going to think twice about visiting Canada just save up and come to a safe country that is not lead by a racist president.

Edited: 10 June 2018, 01:01
Prague, Czech...
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3. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

To #2 cbaarch:

Thank you for your long post.

You're right about the very expensive medical treatment in the US and the guns.

Naturally the costs are influenced by the exchange rates for the US dollar and the Canadian dollar. Both currencies can be highly volatile (during my visit to Canada the Canadian dollar got stronger by 5 % against my home currency whereas the US dollar remained almost stable against my home currency).

Again thank you for your post.

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4. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

"Even if you have a Canadian eTA, you have to fill a custom declaration in paper. They use a red pen to make remarks in your custom declaration and send you to additional counter for extensive check."

Even if you have a Canadian PASSPORT, you have to fill in a customs declaration, and are subject to questioning about its contents.

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5. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

I'm not sure what's funnier. NYC and Toronto boring (subjective so if you really think that then fair enough) or the sadly predictable knee jerk response about high health cost, racism and getting shot and racism in the US.

Nice job but you forgot no pins for chip cards and the White House burning in war of 1812.

SE Ontario
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6. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

It's not the job of CBSA agents to be friendly ... it's their job to be the frontline in protecting the country. It's also their job to be suspicious of those who want to enter ... in my experience, they respond in the manner in which they are approached.If you behave like an entitled jerk with a chip on your shoulder, then that's how they'll treat you.

I am in the UK right now ... the UK border agents at LHR were not overly friendly and welcoming .. but that's ok ... it's not their job to be that.

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your trip, but I have the sense that you approached the country with a set of pre-conceived, stereotypical notions notions, and never really bothered to break out of those.

Gaspesie Region...
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7. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

YYZ Pearson is not typical. Security agents and staff reflect the local 905 population, not the broader Canadian public.

Fly into any other airport and staff will be much cheerier.

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8. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

And let's face it.....how many can honestly say they could deal with all sorts of people, some nice many not, in rapid succession doing a job that 99% of the time proves to be unnecessary and 1% absolutely critical so can't let your guard down for a second and remain friendly all the while. I doubt I could.

That being said: I've been to Canada more times that I can count by both car and plane at many different points of entry. And while sometimes it is clear their job is not to give me a cheery welcome I'd never experienced anything even remotely resembling rude.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Trip report Eastern Canada

Thanks for your Trip Report, GoGo. You wrote about your trip as you experienced it. It is an honest report. There is nothing to disagree with. It is a report of your experience. Others would have a different experience.

Anyone who is travelling on a tight budget will benefit from reading about your experiences. It will be helpful to those who have not thought about taxes and the cost of flights. It will also be helpful for people to read your comments about how difficult it can be for budget travellers, in particular public transit service in some places.. Maybe we can take this opportunity to encourage others to post questions in the forums. You asked quite a few questions so I hope you got advice that was helpful for you.

Thanks for your report.

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