Glimpse of Europe in Canadian Mountains

While visiting the East Block at Parliament Hills in Ottawa, we came across one of the most fascinating facts, the meeting room where the Prime Ministers, Father of confederation and Governor General used to sit, had only 12 chairs with the rectangular table, while there were always 13 leaders present for the meeting at the same time. Do you know why they didn’t they fix 13 chairs instead of 12?? As for most of the Catholics, no.13 is told to be unlucky, they were very superstitious and the 13th person had to always grab a seat next to the table at a couch or other chairs, strange!!!!! Are you superstitious?? Do you believe in something like this??

This summer, instead of flying abroad, we explored Canada’s natural beauty. Canada has immense landscapes surrounded by the Great lakes, and every province has its own natural wealth which is very well maintained by the Govt. Our road trip in Canada included a trip to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec City and on the way back to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. Province of Quebec has similar backdrops, landscapes as in Europe. While Mont-Tremblant reminded us of our trip to Grinderwald in Switzerland, Quebec City looked somewhat similar to Dijon in France. If you haven’t yet been to Europe yet then trip to Quebec from Toronto can be great choice this summer. A week long holiday in this region can be planned and which can include:-

  1. Toronto- Kingston, 1000 Islands on the way to Ottawa, stay there a night.
  2. Next day drive to Mont-Tremblant (You at least need 2 nights here)
  3. Following day drive to Quebec City (2 nights are preferred)
  4. Following day drive to Montreal, stay a night.
  5. Next day home to Toronto. IMG_8205     IMG_8512

If you are short in time then some tour companies arrange 2nights 3 days package of 1000 Islands, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City bus tour which is told to be good also.

Canadians bear to live at least 6-8 months in extreme cold weather conditions with multiples inches of snow that gathers in the front and back of our yards. Depression is mostly common here in winter months when you’re bound to smell the heat indoors. Nevertheless, now since gorgeous summer days are here and kids are on vacation, it’s time to make full use of these wonderful days and make memories for the lifetime with family and loved ones.

Mont- Tremblant Trip

Road trips are loved by Canadians in and around Canada during summer months, Mont-Tremblant is a very good option near Toronto, it falls in the province of Quebec. The distance from Toronto- Mont-Tremblant is 653 Kms which takes around 7-8 hours to reach the destination. If you haven’t been to Switzerland yet, save on flight tickets and drive to Mont-Tremblant this summer. It gives you the similar feel and breathtaking views of Swiss mountains, lake etc. Mont-Tremblant village has a lot of activities to offer to the kids and families, including luge, gondola rides, bungee jumping, rock climbing, golf course, water park, beaches with water sports etc. Summer nights in Mont-Tremblant village are filled with rocking music and famous bands, crowds gather to dance on new and old French and English tunes. “Mon-Tre-Blant” as they pronounce in French, this place is such a colourful, lively and delightful place with French influence but most people do communicate in English as well. Mont-Tremblant is the preferred place to be all year around and it’s very famous for skiing in winters as well.

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IMG_8230Hotel Choice:- Holiday Inn Express is located in the heart of the village just minutes walking distance to all the major attractions. Equipped with Ski closets located at the lobby and spacious rooms with small kitchenette and other necessities suitable for everyone, especially families with small children. You can read our reviews about Holiday Inn Express, Mont-Tremblant here below,

https://hozpitality.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/hotel-review-by-hozpitality-holiday-inn-express-suites-tremblant/

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Tips on road trip with family from Toronto:-

  1. Start as early from home as you can, we started at 5:30am (thought we’re late) and reached the hotel at 1:30pm. This way you have the whole afternoon and evening to enjoy.
  2. Book at least 2 nights in Mont-Tremblant.
  3. Make sure to carry your swimming costumes, if not used in the hotel pool, you can use it either at the water park or at the beach.
  4. TV in the car is great for kids while you drive on longer routes; we noticed our younger one had shorter naps now than our last year’s road trips. Keep their favourite DVD’s, load flash drive with all their favourite shows and music, this will occupy them while you can drive peacefully. Coloring book and crayons are also good.
  5. Take the highway to Mont-Tremblant, we took country roads with maximum speed of 70-80kms (our navigation really deceives sometimes). While going back we took the highway the route was so beautiful, we put our windows down and enjoyed some loud music.

Quebec City Tour

After spending 2 fantabulous days in Mont-Tremblant, we drove further down east to our next stop to Quebec City, we’d heard a lot about this truly awesome place since last 5 years but never got an opportunity to visit. French is the main widely spoken language in and around the city. Quebec City has a very ancient heritage; back in 1600’s since the French settlers started migrating to Canada and made this gorgeous hill station located on St. Lawrence River their new home.

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IMG_8730Walking tours in the old city are the best, you can see almost all the major attractions on foot, Parliament Hill, Fortifications of Quebec ( This wall looked somewhat like “The great wall of China”),Notre Dame, Quartier Petite Champlain, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, St. Lawrence River & Vieux-Port de Québec. With these marvellous long summer days, full of greenery, flowers, the city landscapes, you’ll love walking on those narrow streets of old town. But if you’re travelling with a stroller, it’d definitely feel like a great workout, lol, going up and down on the steep hills, wasn’t that easy. You can also use the elevator which will take you down to the port but still if you’re spending a day there, it’s great walking and exploring the town.

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IMG_8654Street theater is one of the oldest arts performed on the streets/parks of Canada. The town doesn’t pay them anything; they only depend on your praising and contributions. We came across 2 of the great artists, one of them was from Argentina who was performing abroad for the first time, he was just amazing, and his acts were simple yet very entertaining. Next time, if you see one of the Street Performers, please stop by and appreciate them, they work very hard and it’s their source of income.

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During the night hours, there are some Haunted Ghost town tours which you can take. Only if you’re one of those explorers/adventures and are not afraid of anything like that. Though I’d read it on the web but catching a man dressed up as some kind of Halloween costume with a lantern in hand in the night left me in a shock, some people followed him including a little girl. After walking some more steps, we saw another tour, this time a young girl(must be in college) who was similarly dressed, was taking the tour and told everyone to sit down outside church so that she could explain properly. This freaked me out and I didn’t want to stay in the area anymore.

Montmorency Falls Park is also a must visit while you’re in Quebec City, This natural phenomenon is definitely not to be missed! At 83 m high (30 m higher than Niagara Falls) Montmorency Falls can be seen from all the way across the St. Lawrence River in Lévis! But the best views are from Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where you can feel the full force—and spray—of the falls for yourself. There are gondolas to capture the sight but we took the stairs down to the very front of the falls and drenched ourselves with immense amount of water falling from the Falls, this was a very different experience for all of us and you wouldn’t want to miss it. Going down looked super easy but climbing up the stairs was exhausting but surely worth it.

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Hotel Choice:- We enjoyed our stay in beautiful and spacious 1 bedroom suite in Holiday Inn Express in Quebec City. The hotel is recently renovated and looks upto the new standards of hospitality. Pls see our reviews about the hotel here below,

https://hozpitality.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/hotel-review-by-hozpitality-holiday-inn-express-quebec-city-sainte-foy/

Ottawa Trip:-

Two nights well spent in Quebec City and we drove to Ottawa on our way back home. Ottawa is the capital of Canada, historic yet modern. The main attractions are the Parliament Hills and around, during summer months Northern Lights, the sound and light show happens at the hills at 10pm. It is a free bilingual show presented nightly from July 10 to September 12, 2015. Show times: in July at 10:00 p.m., in August at 9:30 p.m., and in September at 9:00 p.m.

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If you’ve not been to London and Buckingham Palace yet, you have a chance to see Guard changing parade at the Parliament hills every morning at 9:45am, every summer morning Parliament Hill is alive with music and colourful drills. The Changing of the Guard began as a morning routine on the Hill in 1959, and has turned into an annual tradition. This large-scale production includes a regimental band and pipers. The ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. each morning, but arrive about 15 minutes early to grab a spot with a great view.IMG_8785  IMG_8789 IMG_8792

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You can also get to visit the Parliament house, along with the trained tour guide who will explain you about the Canadian history and the offices inside, the entry is free of charge but you’ll still have to get the tickets to enter and it’s available just across the building. The tours are in French and in English. We’re fortunate to tour the most historic site, the East Block of Parliament Hills. This building was built back in 1800’s even before the country Canada existed. The tour guide took us to the 4 main offices in the block. We visited offices of Sir John A. McDonald (Canada’s first Prime Minister), the first Governor General of Canada, Sir G. E. Cartier ( the Father of confederation) and then one of their meeting rooms where they used to have all their meetings. She explained how those offices were built and arranged according to the importance of the person. We also got to know many other facts about Canadian history and the leaders. Sir Cartier’s room had a very vast window facing the lawn of Parliament building where the soldiers used to drill every morning and the interesting part is they didn’t have riffles back then, they used to drill with their brooms and mops since Canada was a small country at that time. That day from his room, we saw, many people performing Yoga at the same lawns, on the humid day with heat alert advisory in Ottawa; it somehow looked like a HOT YOGA but those people looked quite serious. It happens there every Wednesday morning, if you’re in the city, you should try.

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IMG_8842Hotel Choice:- Hotel Indigo is located in the walking district of Parliament Hills, it offers clean, modernized hotel rooms with large beds. Pls see our review here below,

https://hozpitality.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/hotel-review-by-hozpitality-hotel-indigo-ottawa/

Our trip to the East this summer was indeed a very memorable one. If you’re looking to explore something similar to Europe near Ontario, visit the lovely province of Quebec this summer. Surrounded by Mountains, from breathtaking landscapes, greenery, to lakes, forts, French colonies, Quebec has everything. One more advice for all the road trip lovers, “Do it now whenever you can, it’ll get more difficult as you grow older”.

See you soon again everyone!!!! If you liked the story, pls don’t forget to comment below, 🙂

Love always,

VandanaRajBhatt

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