Canada 2009 - Travel by rail to
Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa plus a weekend in Stratford
summer we traveled by train through eastern Canada.
Starting near Hamilton, we made stops in Montreal,
Quebec City and Ottawa. A 2-for-1 senior discount made First
Class travel about the same price as a pair of rail passes. First
was as good as European trains -- First Class lounge in the station,
nice seats, good food and continuous wine. It was much better
than driving, especially since our trip was city focused.
Pat?s favorite because of the
architecture and art. This is the Montreal museum
of archaeology and history. A four day bus and subway pass made
transportation easy. Rental bicycles were also available at every
subway stop and bike lanes and parking were everywhere.
Colorful houses in the
Left, a typical French
learned that chocolate croissants are really good! Right, Olive + Gourmando cafe
great for lunch with creative sandwiches and salads. We also had
good meals at Boris Bistro and La Gargote in Old Montreal and Misto in
the Plateau. Our innkeeper introduced us to a good new
restaurant, Carte Blanche, in the Latin Quarter/Village.
Habitat, built for
EXPO 67 and is now private apartments.
La Fete Plien La Tete was taking
place in Lower Old Town while we were there -- seemed like fun but too
crowded for our tastes.
Riverside view of the
Frontenac Hotel. We did not stay here -- a little pricey.
We found a
nice inn Au Chateau Fluer de Lys nearby, just as convenient and not as
crowded. Fluer de Lys included a breakfast coupon for a
restaurant two blocks away. If I had it to do over I would try
FdL's sister hotel Chateau de Lery 1/2 block away. Lery has
breakfast on site and wireless Internet. email@example.com.
The boardwalk in front
Frontenac overlooks the St. Lawrence River. A funicular takes you
down to Old Lower Town.
Pat outside La Lapin
a great find since Pat loves rabbit. Our haute gourmet dinners in
Quebec were at Laurie Raphael down near the market in lower old
town and Le Graffiti in St Jean Baptiste. There were large
markets in all
three cities similar but
better than our West Side Market.
This is at one edge of the
historic Battlefields Park which is next to the Plains of
Abraham. The latter is large and a great place for walking and
And now to
The Parliament buildings
Ottawa are beautifully cited on a bluff above the Ottawa River.
The river divides Ottawa, which is in Ontario, from Gatineau in
Left, downtown Ottawa
Gatineau. The locks of the Rideau Canal are in the center.
Right, the Parliament buildings
across the river. Steve favored Ottawa
because of the grandeur of the public buildings, the sights along the
river and the By Ward funky market/shopping/dining area. Take the
The Rideau Canal divides
Another view of the
North. Lunch at the National
Center along the Canal.
A huge spider sculpture
off the National Gallery of Canada on the Gatineau side.
The Museum of
on the Gatineau side of the river.
The Museum of
documents early life in Canada.
This colorful ceiling
was above a
An Inuit sculpture.
The Governor General's
Mansion is on beautifully landscaped grounds. Every visiting head
of state gets to plant a tree -- supposedly the only crooked one is
Changing of the Guards.
were a riot of color.
The Albert House Inn in
Ottawa was the best lodging of the trip. It is conveniently
located for walking to central Ottawa and even over the river to
Gatineau. The bus from town stopped across the street and the bus
to town was a block away. All day passes were sold on the
bus. The best/most interesting restaurant in Ottawa was Play Food
Steve Bekta's new bistro. Each small plate was paired with a
wine. We had a nice dinner and live jazz at Vinyards Wine Bar
everywhere and the language made us
feel like we were in France. The trains
and public transportation are much better than in the USA.
and subways in every city. Thanks to Pete Turner and
Carrie Buchanan for information on restaurants and jazz venues.
Stratford & Shakespeare
ended the summer by joining our friends,
Sarah and Bill Hufford at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, ON,
Canada. We have gone every year for over 10 years. If you like
theater, you'd love Stratford. It's Shakespeare but also 1 or 2
musicals and other notable plays. And, surprise, great food
because of a local culinary school.
Left: the Stratford
Festival Theater. Right: Steve, Pat, Sara and
Bill outside our B&B, The Three Houses.