Nova Scotia and Toronto?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by polyglot, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I'll be in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a couple of weeks at the end of August for work purposes. I'll probably have evenings and three weekends free to go wander around with my RZ: any recommendations? Particularly recommendations of locations on the NS peninsula.

    There is also the possibility that I'll be able to take my wife and therefore a week of leave in Canada at the start of September. I reckon we'll be sick of Halifax after 3 weeks and since our flight home goes via Toronto and probably Vancouver, where should we spend a week? Montreal I think would be nice, but I suspect that won't line up with the travel plans.

    All suggestions welcome, but dramatic landscapes that I'm not gonna see in Australia would be best.
     
  2. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    In Nova Scotia, head south down the coast to Lunenburg, on the way stopping and wandering around Mahone bay and Blue Rocks. Go on past Rose Bay to Kingsburg. Nice day trip and some great local color. Kingsburg was a settlement of German fishermen- 100 families in all. It was still pretty much intact when I last visited a few years ago... don't know, though–even in NS things change. Still, the coast is lovely around there. In general, stay off the highways–there is, by law, nothing on them and you get the feeling you are driving through one vast Christmas tree farm. The side roads are great along the coast, all the way around. The interior, for reasons unknown to this visitor, is still largely unpopulated. I have never been to the eastern end, the famed highlands of the Cabot Peninsula, but I have every reason to believe you wouldn't go wrong heading that way either. If you want fog, amazing tidal changes and gritty fishing towns, try the Bay of Fundy coast, north of the long ridge I believe they call North Mountain. Annapolis Royal is nice at the western end and Cape Blomidon can be pretty spectacular at the other end. Remember, though, they are serious about the tide warnings- two cubic miles of water passes through the straights off Cape Blomidon every 6 hours, and it moves fast!
     
  3. areaeleven

    areaeleven Subscriber

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    First, welcome to Nova Scotia!

    Whiteymorange has covered most of it off on a provincial level. If you have more than a couple days, Cape Breton is worth the drive to see the Cabot Trail, Highlands and Bras D'or Lakes. That'll require a car, four or five hours of driving, a hotel, and at least a few days to explore.

    The Bay of Fundy and its tides certainly are a sight to see. It doesn't matter which coastal road you travel, there are many, many villages along the way.

    As for the downtown peninsula (where I live), it's mostly about the history of the place. Lots of 19th century buildings; old cemeteries; nice Victorian public gardens; colourful houses; the Citadel National Historic Site overlooking the downtown; and of course, the harbour with sailboats, container ships, navy ships and anything else that floats. There are a few universities downtown (including the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design), galleries (you'll be a couple months early for the large Leibovitz exhibit recently gifted to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia) and other places to wander when it rains (because if this spring is any indicator, it will rain ... a lot). You could take a whale watching boat out to the ocean if that's your thing.

    And of course, lots of places to drink and eat. People here *love* to go to the pub.

    As with most things tourist-related, there's a website for that: http://www.novascotia.com/en/home/discovernovascotia/citiesandtowns/halifaxnovascotia.aspx

    Hope that helps. Fire me off any questions you have, I've lived here six years now and have explored much of the city and province.

    Chris
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    If you stay in Toronto, the Cape Croker area near Owen Sound is perfect for landscape, About three hours north west of Toronto, right on Georgian Bay. If you decide a local of that area is always open to showing some of the more unique areas and I can put you in touch.
    Email me bob@elevatordigital.ca and I will forward you his website and info.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you are considering Vancouver, there are lots of alternatives.

    Rugged mountains, beautiful groups of islands, even near-desert areas are nearby.

    Lots of Australians seem to gravitate here - especially the surfers and skiers :smile:.
     
  6. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    As Bob says, Bruce Peninsula will be nice, the closer to Thanksgiving the better; Algonquin Park or the Parry Sound area are not bad either if you can find a cottage... Toronto in itself is the last thing I would suggest to anyone. Go Vancouver! :tongue:
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Thanks all; we'll ignore Toronto except for the flight transfer then. Vancouver is hard because it's just a stop on the flight and I think more expensive if we want to split it there.

    We're now considering a drive to Montreal via Quebec City (I understand the distance, I'm Australian); one way at least. Are we going to see anything much interesting on the way or should we just hop a flight? Would Saint John and Riviere du Loup be good places to overnight?
     
  8. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    If you do the drive, be aware that the mileage will cost and there will probably be a drop off fee for one way drives. I'd look into flying into Montreal for a few days, then taking the train to Toronto for another few days.

    When you're in Halifax, try and find a few days to visit Cape Breton Island. The drive is gorgeous, similar to the Great Ocean Road, just no Apostles :wink:
     
  9. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

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    I can recommend Quebec City and Montreal. Specially Montreal has some nice Art Deco architecture (http://artdecomontreal.com) and because of the French background both have a different atmosphere than say Halifax, Ottawa & Toronto. My wife and I always find Montreal a breath of fresh air compared to Ottawa. And since it's only a 2 hour drive for us we go there fairly often. It helps if you speak a bit of French but you can also easily get by with just English. I'm typing this from B&B Maggie Macquire in downtown Montreal (also recommended). There's a good train connection between Quebec City and Montreal which ends up probably being faster than flying. For flights, check out Porter Airlines. It's a local airline that serves you region of interest and the service is supposedly a step above the major other airlines.
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    awesome, thanks. Trains would certainly be a nice option.

    At this stage, we plan to take a weekend trip to Cape Breton Island (staying a night at Sydney or Glace Bay or something) and another weekend trip to do a lap around the southern half of the peninsula. I'll probably have a third weekend available; would Prince Edward Island be a good place to spend it? Or should we go back to see more of Cape Breton?
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    As much as I like Toronto, I can say this: we spent two weeks in Nova Scotia in 2011 and it was barely enough. We certainly didn't see everything.

    You got good suggestions for day trips out of Halifax. I can recommend them equally. Lunenburg / Mahone Bay are gorgeous communities well worth your time. Peggy's Cove is a giant cliche and yet ... irresistible. Make sure you go - early in the day when it's quieter. A bad weather day might even be better. :smile:

    Cape Breton is fabulous. Stay a few days in Baddeck and you can do a day trip to the Cabot Trail and Cape Breton National Park, and a separate day trip to Sydney where you can go to the fabulous Louisbourg historical reconstruction. (Arrive at the gates at opening ,and plan to spend the day; it's that good.)

    The Bay of Fundy coast is equally beautiful and worth a visit as well.

    Do Toronto and Nova Scotia as separate trips, unless you can afford three weeks or more.
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I am in Halifax! Off to Cape Breton tomorrow until Sunday evening, accommodation bookings pending. Gonna do the Cabot Trail.

    Probably doing daytrips south next weekend and there might be the possibility of a cruise on someone's yacht.
     
  13. barzune

    barzune Member

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    Try to book one night, at least, in Old Quebec (inside the walls). One full day and evening wandering up and down (literally) the old city will be an unforgettable experience.
    On the drive between Quebec City and Montreal, visit Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, the center of artistic wood carving, and Montmagny, the site of the world-famous accordion museum.
    Enjoy!
     
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  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    You will like the cabot trail.
    I would be interested to hear your thoughts about it vs the landscape in New Zealand, of course only if you have traveled in NZ.

     
  16. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    If you are still entertaining the drive to Montreal, drive via St. John in New Brunswick. The scenery is much more dramatic, and still get's you where you need to be.
     
  17. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Won't have time for Montreal, sadly. Breton this weekend, daytrips to southern NS next weekend, not sure what on the third. Maybe Sydney? Should I do the Sydney area or Prince Edward? Or more of the south or west of NS?

    Then a couple of days in Vancouver area (different thread).
     
  18. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    Well, I have been through North Sydney every summer as a child (Newfoundland Ferry) and there is not much there. However, I did live 5 years in P.E.I. and some of the scenery is quite stunning. The red sand dunes in the central north (canvendish national park) are worth the trek. Just don't get sucked into the multitudes of tourist traps.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2013
  19. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    Along the way, New Glasgow is quite a nice area.
     
  20. George Nova Scotia

    George Nova Scotia Subscriber

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    First, welcome to Nova Scotia. I hope you enjoy your visit. The drive to Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail is not a short one, I doubt you'll want to do most of the route over again to visit Sydney. You might want to visit the Bay of Fundy if you're into coastal regions and the world's highest tides. If you time it right a route from Halifax to Truro then Parrsboro to check out the tides. Then off to PEI before nightfall.

    If your evenings are free there may be a few sites within an hour or so from Halifax worth seeing. If you are looking for Historical forts and reenactments Louisbourg is having a 300 year party http://louisbourg300.ca/ but that's another long drive to Cape Breton.
     
  21. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Louisbourg is a great visit but PEI is also a wonderful visit. Won't take long to drive around PEI but if you love eating, I'd take the island and hit all the suppers for lobster, blueberry pies etc..
     
  22. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I found Louisbourg far more compelling than Prince Edward Island, but I may be in the minority. Still, tons of photo ops at Louisbourg. We spent a full day there and I could have stayed longer.

    There is a period-style dinner available at Louisbourg - well worth the effort to find.
     
  23. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Well, the Cabot Task was lovely but completely let down by the weather (high haze and/or overcast). And I failed in the accommodation booking front in Ingonish due to three weddings so ended up staying in Big Bras d'Or and wasting a lot of travel time going back & forth on Englishman's Ferry. Oh well, lots of good hiking including Skyline even if my photos will suck.

    Went down to Lunenburg on Saturday and then drove back along the coast with a bunch of stops including Peggy's Cove and a colleague's place in Blind Bay (one of the little Prospect Communities). I even managed to get a couple photos of the lighthouse without people in them, just took a bit of waiting for gaps in the crowd. Think I got some good shots in the swamps around Peggy's Cove/Big Lake too.

    Blind Bay was great, our host hooked up a 2.5HP trolling motor to a 4x25' floating dock, put a row of 9 deck chairs along the top and we had a cruise around the bay at sunset. Got some incredible photos that I suspect will come out blank due to my RZ being set to mechanical mode (1/400) :sad: but such is life.

    Not sure about next weekend but Bay of Fundy is looking likely. Louisborg and PEI are seeming a little far away.
     
  24. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    It will be nice to see what you have taken. I miss living in the area.
     
  25. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    All the good ones will go on flickr and I'll post a link here when I start uploading. It'll be a couple months yet probably.
     
  26. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I've still got undeveloped film from a couple years ago..... :wink: