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Subject: Tourist help wanted (not game related) rss

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Laurence Parsons
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Hi,
I thought I'd make use of my favourite hobby site for a non-game purpose!

My wife and I are visiting Ontario (from UK) at the end of September for 10 days (Silver wedding present to ourselves). We fly in to Toronto on Thursday 26th, will be hanging around the Toronto area for a few days (probably Niagara on Friday, then Toronto on Saturday as we plan on going to a show on Saturday evening)

Then we plan on hiring a car for the rest of the week (flying back to UK on Sunday 6th from Toronto) and...

That's where I could do with some help. What do you guys recommend for a week in southern Ontario? I have no problem with driving and we would love to get a flavour of your country (but don't want to drive all day, every day) but where to go and what to see? We were thinking of maybe two or three stops, exploring each area for a day or so, but we're flexible depending on what ideas we get.

Also, any recommendations for hotels would be appreciated. We haven't booked any yet! Looking at comfortable but not overly expensive (say or ).

Any and all ideas welcome, but no we probably won't spend any time gaming!

Thanks, and over to you!
Fred & Ali
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Cool User
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Niagara Falls (if you really want to see the falls and don't mind wading through all the horrendous tourist traps).

Point Pelee is a bit of a drive but I've always liked it in the fall for the Monarch butterfly migration (thousands and thousands of them). Unfortunately they peak around the beginning of September and I don't know how many are around by the end of the month.
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/on/pelee/natcul/natcul5.aspx



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Laurence Parsons
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Thanks,
Point Pelee looks good. We might miss the butterflies but there looks like plenty of other things going on there.
Niagara is a given!
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Dave Carnie
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Niagara Falls would make a good day trip, but there is so much to do in Toronto that you really don't have to leave the city.
I would check with tourism Toronto.
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Laurence Parsons
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Thanks.
I'll be checking the tourism websites anyway, but was looking for some local thoughts. Also I'm sure that Toronto does have plenty to offer, but we'd like to get out and about too!
Cheers!
 
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Paul Amala
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In Toronto go to the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre, the Zoo and Casa Loma. Have lunch or supper in Chinatown.

Oshawa is just N.E. of Toronto and has the nice Darlington Provincial Park on Lake Ontario.

Further N.E. is Kingston which has a 1800's cool fort covering the mouth of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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Kitchener/Waterloo is about an hour or so from Toronto and has a few interesting places. Just north is a town called St. Jacobs which is great for tourists.
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river tam
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In Toronto, I esp recommend the museum of inuit art

http://miamuseum.ca/

It's run by first nations people and has both great art and great explanation of the cultural context.

Casa Loma is fun.

If you go to Niagara falls, I recommend going during the day to see it and then staying for the light show at night, it's quite cool. Not sure if they do the light show everyday.

I found the Ontario science center to be too kid oriented, not that fun.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is great. Go to the visible storage area to see more great Iniut art.

There are often interesting festivals at the lakefront (near the Queen's quay metro stop) in the summer.





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Rich Charters
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I haven't been Toronto for several years. I would recommend a meal in the rotating restaurant atop the CN Tower.....order the CN Tower chocolate tower dessert (not sure if they still have that). It was so good we went back the next day for another one. Also, a stroll across the glass floor in the CN Tower is a must!

I would drive down to Niagara Falls. My wife and I didn't do the Maid of the Mist boats, but you can pay some money (on the Canada side) to walk through some tunnels that take you behind the falls, and to a look out that is kinda at the base of the falls.....that was a great walk and well worth the entry price. Recommended.

I was very surprised at the number of 'haunted houses' (tourist trap places) in the town.

We also viewed some the locks in the canal (can't recall exactly where we did that). That was fun for the two of us who had never seen canal locks in action. Made me want to visit Panama.
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Rick Beetham
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Depends on what sort of holiday you are looking for

If you are really adventuresome there is usually something happening at the CN Tower itself. Don't know if their outside walk about is still available but it looks quite "exciting".

Quite a few years ago they used to have a shuttle launch ride with arrival at a space station inside somewhere but that may have changed/ moved on.

If you like arts or museums Toronto definitely can keep you busy.

I too recommend the Kitchener/Waterloo area and St. Jacobs.

You'll probably find we are a lot more spread out than in Europe and most of our rail lines were pulled up before people realized they were a good idea - so our rail system isn't as good for getting around as yours. So a car is definitely necessary and normal if you want to get outside Toronto.
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T. Dauphin
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If you're a theatre fan you could go catch a show at the Stratford Theatre. It's world class and just happens to be in a town called Stratford--on the Avon River. Where else? It's west of Kitchener.
http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/

Or while you're in Niagara, you could take in a show there, at the Shaw Festival.
www.shawfest.com/

You'll also be within driving distance of 2 wine regions. Niagara, again, and Prince Edward County. It's easy to find info on the Niagara region. It's well developed. Prince Edward County is 2 hours east of Toronto and is home to our newest and fastest growing wine region. You could take a guided tour (http://www.pecwinetours.com/), or you could drive yourself around and check out some of the county's other charms as well, such as antique shops or Sandbanks Provincial Park, should it be warm enough to hang out on a beach. If this interests you let me know. I can give you precise directions and suggestions, as it happens to be in my backyard.

Kingston, by the way, is merely east of Toronto, and is just shy of an hour further east from Prince Edward County.
Kingston is home to Old Fort Henry, and a little further east is the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. This is a beautiful part of the country, and you can see it from a river cruise. There are lots of different providers, who start their cruises anywhere from Kingston to Gananoque (gan-an-ock-way). I think you can get a package that includes dinner, and you might even get a tour of some old guy's home that amounts to what we call a castle in Canada.
IF you do a search for Thousand Islands Cruise you'll find lots of options.

I should mention that if you find yourself that far out you might also be interested in Upper Canada Village at Morrisburg. This is 3 to 3 and a half hours east. This is a 'living museum' where a village has been set up to reflect pioneer days in Canada, and all the guides play the role of a historical villager. They are dressed in period dress and stay in character throughout the day.
www.uppercanadavillage.com/

For most of these destinations you can get a package deal from Toronto if you don't want to do the driving. This would probably include a bus ride out then the site specific tour at the destination.

Have fun.
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Matt Vollick
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If you're travelling outside of Toronto I'd consider bed and breakfasts, if you plan on doing day trips you won't need a hotel room and the bed and breakfast rates are quite reasonable and you usually get a delicious and big breakfast. I'd check out the Bruce Peninsula, Collingwood area as well as the Niagara region. September is a beautiful month in Southwest Ontario as the leaves will be turning but the days will still be reasonably warm.
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richcharters wrote:
We also viewed some the locks in the canal (can't recall exactly where we did that). That was fun for the two of us who had never seen canal locks in action. Made me want to visit Panama.


Welland Canal. I find it fascinating to watch in person.

www.wellandcanal.com/
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David Vanden Heuvel
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Ottawa is really nice. A mere 5 hours or so from Toronto (providing you aren't leaving on a Friday)
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oloughma wrote:
I will echo the comment that the Science Center is too kid oriented. I'd not been for ages and brought a visitor there this summer - not worth it.

Have you planned the show to attend? Les Miserables is starting a run in Toronto just about the time you arrive, Mirvish Theaters. Of course there are lots of other theaters in the city too, as well as the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Stratford Festival at Stratford.

If you want a nice relaxing walk in the park, there is High Park in the city's west end and, after a brief ferry ride, the Toronto Islands.


If you go out to Toronto Island, be sure to check out the hedge maze, it's fun


+1 on the CN tower
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Jason Brown
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As was suggested if you don't mind driving you can check out Ottawa.

+1 on St.Jacobs
+1 on the Stratford Festival

If you are coming to Niagara Falls you should be sure to check out Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a tourist destination in the region but is much more scenic/small town/classy.

I might suggest going to Fort George if you are in the Niagara Region (near Niagara-on-the-Lake). Southern Ontario has a number of historical forts from the war of 1812 but some are better than others (I never really liked Fort York in Toronto).

You can check out Dundurn Castle in Hamilton if that kind of thing interests you.
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Laurence Parsons
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Wow! I go to bed and overnight this thing explodes!

Thank you all for your ten cents worth. In fact, have ten cents (I can't promise to do this for every subsequent suggestion...)

I'll check each and every idea out over the next few days. There are some interesting ideas in here - things I wouldn't have thought of or known about otherwise, so thank you again. As far as our Saturday night show goes, we've already got tickets for Les Mis. In fact, that's how this all started. Ali expressed an interest in seeing the show, so I checked it out. It was on in London, but I wanted more, maybe Spain or France, to make it special. But it wasn't on there. So I checked out where it was playing at this time of year and noticed Toronto. Well, we've always wanted to visit Canada as well, so I took the plunge and bought tickets. So now we have tickets for a show. Well, you can't nip over to Toronto for one night, so we decided to make a decent break of it and come over for 10 days. Flights booked. And that's where we are right now. Everything else is up for grabs, so keep the suggestions coming, and I promise I'll look at every one!

As fas as driving to Ottawa is concerned, I'd kind of assumed I might do that (or Montreal?). A 5-hour drive is no problem. I'm assuming your roads are somewhat less crowded and easier to drive than our congested little island! We'd stop for lunch on the way, or maybe overnight in Kingston?

Another thing that's been recommended is to catch a Baseball game at the Blue Jays stadium. I don't know too much about baseball, but I enjoy most sports, and I've been told the stadium itself is quite special. Baseball isn't something we see much in the UK. I believe there's a game there the weekend we arrive. Do these things sell out and where is a good place to sit?

Definately interested in the cultural history side, so Inuit museums (MIA?) and frontier exhibitions (Morrisburg? Kitchener/St. Jacobs?) look good. Also like to see some countryside, as it's so much BIGGER than the UK!

I realise that 10 days is nowhere near enough time, but that's all we have, so we'll fit in as much as is possible. We can sleep on the flight home...

Thanks again!
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river tam
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For the culture history side, you might check out

http://www.amazon.com/Passports-Guide-Ethnic-Toronto-Complet...

Lots of information on sixty or so different cultural groups in Toronto - both historical information and maps to the various districts/neighbourhoods where different immigrant groups have tended to cluster. (I am sure information on specific stores, restaurants, etc is out of date but still the neighbourhoods/locations are often the same.)
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Mike B
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freduk wrote:

Another thing that's been recommended is to catch a Baseball game at the Blue Jays stadium. I don't know too much about baseball, but I enjoy most sports, and I've been told the stadium itself is quite special. Baseball isn't something we see much in the UK. I believe there's a game there the weekend we arrive. Do these things sell out and where is a good place to sit?


The Blue Jays essentially never sell out. You could probably walk up to the stadium on game day and get tickets. If you go, I would recommend sitting somewhere along the first- or third-base line so you can see the big screen. If you are in the lower level in the outfield, you miss that part. Otherwise, sit wherever you like, according to price. The upper deck (500-level) usually cost around $14 per ticket (plus other charges) and you can still see everything. I go to a few games per year and I often sit in the 500s.

If you want to see a view from any particular seat in the rogers centre, check out this page http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/tor/ticketing/seating_pricin...

If you are planning on going to a game against the Yankees or the Red Sox, the lower bowl sometimes sells out, but other than that, you should have no problem getting tickets.
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Laurence Parsons
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Mike - thanks for the link and the info. Might wait until the day and see what the weather's like. I like the photos of the seat views! cool

River - Thanks also for the link to the book, but shipping books across the water is not cheap, so I think I'll stay with internet resources for the while.
 
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Mike B
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freduk wrote:
Mike - thanks for the link and the info. Might wait until the day and see what the weather's like. I like the photos of the seat views! cool


Thanks for the geekgold. If you are worried about weather, the Rogers Centre has a retractable dome that is closed on cold/rainy days. But since they games don't sell out anyway, you don't need to worry about waiting until the last minute.

Enjoy your trip.
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Niagara is awesome and I can't recommend Point Pelee enough. Now it would be a bit of a drive (~3.5 hours from Toronto), as others have mentioned, so I'll understand if you don't want to make it. It's not a huge park either, but it's gorgeous, a lot of great bird watching, and some good lake views (which is impressive for Erie, the least of the Great Lakes). My family made the 1.5 hour drive (from outside Detroit) many many times (my dad used to bike it in days of yore).

However, you could drive down, check out Pelee, maybe hit Detroit and the DIA if you like art and make a one or two day trip out of it.

There's also Rondeau if you do camping and Stratford if you like Shakespeare.... but why would you come from England to Canada for Shakespeare? Though in fairness, they do lots of plays, not just the Bard. The Bard is just why all the Michigan high schoolers go there for English class.

EDIT: Also, re-reading the rest of the thread - I want to stress that I've heard nothing but great things about Toronto and I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding plenty of fun things to do there, should you decide not to leave the city limits.
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Kevin Erskine
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Ottawa is worth the drive. Lots of parks, museums, Parliament buildings. If you want to keep going, I'd suggest Quebec City more than Montreal but it is a longer drive.
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Rick Beetham
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kerskine wrote:
Ottawa is worth the drive. Lots of parks, museums, Parliament buildings. If you want to keep going, I'd suggest Quebec City more than Montreal but it is a longer drive.


Absolutely agree on Kevin's comments. If you are going to do a long drive choose Ottawa it has some amazing museums on both sides of the river with Gatineau, Quebec and you'll probably need to spend a couple of your precious days here, and for history you could also plan a day trip out to the Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg from there.

When in Ottawa be sure to try the Beaver Tails in the market - you can thank me for it later, and you will have a great story to tell back home.

I usually just buzz right through Kingston when I go down to Toronto from Ottawa, but since you are on holidays things can be more leisurely and Fort Henry is well worth the stop, there are other historic points all around Kingston as well.

If you a want real Quebecois flavour choose Quebec City and try to stay in the old City/Port - it's pretty special. There you can visit the plains of Abraham and drive along a road alongside the cliffs that Wolfe's men climbed... it will boggle your mind when you see how steep and treacherous they are.

Also when in Quebec (the province, but Quebec City works too LOL) try some poutine... I know it's spread out a lot from it's early beginnings, but true Poutine is still only found in Quebec (in my not so humble opinion) Hopefully someone can shout out one of the better spots there!

Another site came to mind, thinking of history, is Midland Ontario. It's out of the way and would be a day trip from either Ottawa or Toronto. They've recreated a Huron Indian Village (huroniamuseum.com/exhibits/huron-village/) there which is excellent (last time I checked there are still archaeological digs going on) and of course the Martyr's Shrine, where you can learn all the gory details about some of Canada's first Jesuit Missionaries and how they lived and died (a very grisly death). You'll also learn a lot about the Huron and Algonquin Indians and the years of warfare between them.

Thanks for the dime - I'll put it to good use - and enjoy your trip... you are going to be busy! laugh
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T. Dauphin
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Well, if you're going to go to Ottawa, there are a few more options. I second the museum choices, especially the Museum of Civilization (http://www.civilization.ca/home). Be sure to take in a movie at the IMAX theatre while you're there.
Ottawa is also home to the War Museum.
(http://www.warmuseum.ca/splash/)

I was trying to figure out how to direct you to some of Canada's wilder parts from Toronto, but from Ottawa this is easier. Across the river, a mere 20 minutes or so from downtown Ottawa, is GAtineau Park. There should be some colour developing on the leaves there, and it is a common destination for the sake of this display, but it's a great visit regardless, and very accessible.
(http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-par...)

Montreal is a great city. It too, has an old, historic section that is worth a visit. Very touristy, but quite lovely.

Deefer wrote:
Ottawa is really nice. A mere 5 hours or so from Toronto (providing you aren't leaving on a Friday)


Deefer's reference, by the way, probably makes sense to you, as I'm sure you've had to deal with rush hours before, but what happens in Toronto, of course, is that half the city vacates the place on Friday afternoon to get to some sort of quiet, more natural environment. And returns on Sunday. Needless to say the roads out, then back in on Sunday are very slow then. There may still be some of this going on by the end of September, especially if the weather's good, so you do want to avoid these times.

Thanks for the GG. (You've doubled my wealth!) That was kind of you.



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