Riley’s Guide To Plan Your Road Trip Across Canada

Looking to take a road trip across Canada soon? Planning your ultimate Canadian road trip will allow you to pass a variety of unique areas that will offer plenty of opportunities for site seeing and observing. A journey from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Ocean, passing by the Rocky Mountains and Prairies, onto the Canadian Shield and Great Lakes, you will feel as though you are on the journey of a lifetime.  Start planning your ultimate Canadian road trip by making airline reservations to Victoria, BC, booking your hotels and then reserving a Discount Car rental.

Starting your trip in beautiful Victoria will allow you to get a photo of the “Mile 0” plaque at Douglas Street and Dallas Road.  Explore the Market Square, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, Butchart Gardens, Craigdarroch Castle, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and take in glorious sights of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour.  If you can afford to spend a little extra, the Fairmont Empress Hotel is a real treat to stay in as it overlooks the Inner Harbour and is conveniently located right in the city center.  Book a luxurious spa treatment at the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa and recover from any residual jet lag.  Next, you will take Highway 1 to Nanaimo, where you will jump aboard a BC Ferry that will sail you over to Vancouver.

Vancouver

In Vancouver, visit world-famous Stanley Park and stroll the seawall to see the magnificent West Coast mountains and seaside.  Another popular attraction is the Art Deco Marine Building, which is often featured in films due to its beautiful architecture and brass-gilt doors and elevators.  The Living Shangri-La is the tallest skyscraper building in Vancouver, sitting at 201 meters.  If you can afford to pamper yourself, book a stay at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia which has a long line of history and richness.  It was opened in 1927 and has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to British royalty.  Don’t miss out on getting ultimately spoilt at Sense, the Rosewood’s Spa.

You will then follow BC Highway 1 and then Alberta Highway 1 through the Rocky Mountains and into Banff.  Treat yourself to the Banff Upper Hot Springs and stop by the Banff Park Museum and then the Johnston Canyon to get your fill of waterfalls.  You can also keep an eye on the sky for the chance to see some Northern Lights.  Banff is such a popular resort area that any hotel you choose is going to be good choice, but the Fairmont Banff Springs and Hidden Ridge Resort rank among the top hotel resorts in the province.

Calgary

Now that you’ve been overwhelmed with the beauty of natural Canada, you might be ready for some more urban fun.  Calgary was home to the 1988 Winter Olympics where you can still visit the Olympic Oval and partake in year round activities at Canada Olympic Park.  While you are on a sports tour stop at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame you can visit the Calgary Tower (featuring a glass floor 1228 metres above sea level).  The Fairmont Palliser Hotel will provide you with fantastic views inside of the city and it is also a historical landmark.

As you leave Calgary, Alberta and follow Highway 1 to Medicine Hat, make sure to grab a picture with the Saamis Teepee by the Blackfoot Buffalo Jump!  Once you enter Saskatchewan you will be on SK Highway 1.  Follow it to Regina, home of the Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Cathedral and Knox-Metropolitan United Church in Regina (known for their Casavant Frères pipe organs).  This city is also home to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.  Your hotel stay will be loaded with fun at the Best Western Plus as their pool is complete with a waterslide and lazy river. You can get some great deals on hotels.com by using these coupon codes.

Manitoba

The Trans Canada is now Manitoba Highway 1 and it will take you into Winnipeg, Manitoba where you will want to visit the Forks, stay at the Inn at the Forks Hotel and then take highway 1 into Ontario. In Ontario you will follow Highway 17 to Kenora, where you will stop to take a picture with “Husky the Muskie”, the 12m high muskellunge fish mascot.  Keep going into Dryden to then get a picture with “Max the Moose”, who stands 5.6 metres tall.  Continue on to Thunder Bay and check into your hotel at the Thunder Bay Resort, where you will be close to Lake Superior. Make sure to visit the Port Arthur marina to view “The Sleeping Giant” geographical formation.

The stretch of highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon is the Terry Fox Memorial Highway, and you can see Fox’s memorial statue in Thunder Bay.  Keeping on Highway 17 will take you by Wawa’s Goose Mascot, allowing you to get the trio of Ontario Trans-Canada mascots.  You’ll then go on to Sault Ste. Marie where you can watch the ships or take a boat tour on the Sault locks, or take a train tour through Agawa Canyon.  Stay at the Soo Locks Lodge & Suites hotel.  Next up is Sudbury, where you can visit Sudbury Basin crater and Big Nickel landmark as you pass through.

Ottawa

On your way to Ottawa the highway will change to 417 and the Queensway.  Once you reach the city, take a tour of the Canadian War Museum and visit Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, all close to your hotel, The Westin Ottawa.  You will leave Ottawa to Quebec and be on Autoroute 40.  It is about a two hour drive from Ottawa to Montreal, where you should visit the Montreal Botanical Gardens and Notre-Dame Basilica, and Olympic Stadium.  You’ll then take Autoroute 85 southbound, which will change into Route 2 in New Brunswick.  In Edmundston, stay at the Days Inn and visit the beautiful New Brunswick Botanical Garden.

Highway 2 will take you through Moncton, home to the beautiful Centennial Park, Victoria Park, and Magnetic Hill. Continue on to Charlottetown, which you will get to via ferry on Northumberland Strait and PEI Route 1. Charlottetown has a great Holiday Inn Express hotel you can stay at and beautiful architecture including Province House, Fanningbank, and All Souls’ Chapel.

Eastbound

Take Highway 1 to the ferry across to Pictou and visit Pictou Harbour and Hector Heritage Quay.  The last leg of this Canadian road trip is a remaining 18 drive from Picou to Sydney on NS 104 then NS 105, a ferry into Newfoundland, and a drive around NL1 to St. John’s where they proudly claim “Mile 1”.  Whether you finish your trip in Newfoundland or anywhere between there and British Columbia, you will undoubtedly have had an epic Canadian road trip in your rental car on the Trans-Canada Highway. Ready to start your engine? Let’s go!

About the author: Riley Gladstone is a freelance travel writer and blogger.  You can find more of her adventures on her travel blog Triphole.com.

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