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Old 06-01-2012, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
108 posts, read 218,679 times
Reputation: 85

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Hello all,

I posted on this forum a while back. I'm American, my husband is French, and we have two young Franco-American kids. I've been looking to move to Canada for some time now (we currently live in France), as I feel it would be a great place for our family to live.

We are in the process of planning our first ever trip to Canada. I would like to visit Ontario, but can't decide between Toronto and Ottawa. I thought Toronto would be nice because from what I've read, there are a lot of things to see and do. The only reason I considered Ottawa, was because it's near the border of Quebec. I thought my husband might be interested in visiting the French speaking part of Canada.

As much as I hope this will be a fun-filled family vacation, I do have an ulterior motive....I want to show my husband all the great things Canada has to offer!

So, any suggestions on where we should visit? We want to stay about two weeks, possibly three. We'll probably end up going in August. I was thinking about a vacation rental that's close to stores and in an area that has a lot of things to do for kids.

Honestly, I think I'm leaning more towards Toronto....but I'm open to any suggestions!

Thanks!

Debbie
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,918,106 times
Reputation: 3843
Let me suggest Montreal. Montreal is the largest city in french speaking Canada. Quebec is also nice.

Toronto and Ottawa are in the english heritaged part of Canada. And while both languages are spoken around the country I think he'd find the two I suggested to be more interesting to him from a cultural perspective.

Ottawa is interesting in that it's the capital with all sorts of fascinating govt buildings and museums and such, however Hull, the french speaking section that butts up to the city is not the greatest area. Toronto is more of an international type city with immigrants from all over.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,958 posts, read 27,383,424 times
Reputation: 8612
If you have two weeks you could probably fairly easily do some areas in both southern Ontario and southern Quebec.

In southern Ontario you could do Toronto and the Niagara peninsula (about 75 km from Toronto), where you have famous Niagara Falls and the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Then you could go from Toronto east to Ottawa, which is about a five-hour drive.

Then from Ottawa it is two hours to Montreal, which is a super-interesting city that is very lively and has a bohemian vibe, and is also sort of like Europe, sort of North American at the same time.

Then from Montreal, Quebec City is another two hours and is, well, absolutely gorgeous. Look it up if you don't know it - you will see what I mean. It is much smaller and more provincial than Montreal but this is also part of its charm. Definitely not to be missed.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:47 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,278,474 times
Reputation: 7586
if you have 2-3 weeks, why not visit all of them? Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. They are not that far from each other, all within comfortably driving distance.

I suggest you allocate the most time in Montreal though, as it is the most interesting city. Toronto is not bad, but not nearly as interesting and charming as Montreal, but the world famous Niagara Falls and the wineries are only an hour away. Ottawa is a much smaller city.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
108 posts, read 218,679 times
Reputation: 85
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all your suggestions.

I want so see and do as much as possible, but I would like to limit the driving time as much as possible. I have a 5yr old and a 2yr old, so long car trips can be a bit of a hassle.

I would definitely like to visit Montreal, but since I live in France....I'm really looking forward to being around English speakers! No only for me, but for my kids as well.

Acajack - I really like your idea! I think we'll stay in Toronto and just visit places from there. The Niagara peninsula as you mentioned, then Ottawa and Montreal.

Botticelli - Wineries?! You got my attention! ;o) That would be nice to see as well.

One last thing....if anyone knows of any respectable and well known vacation home rental sites for Canada, please let me know!
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,958 posts, read 27,383,424 times
Reputation: 8612
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD78 View Post
I want so see and do as much as possible, but I would like to limit the driving time as much as possible. I have a 5yr old and a 2yr old, so long car trips can be a bit of a hassle.
That's why God invented portable DVD players!
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,958 posts, read 27,383,424 times
Reputation: 8612
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD78 View Post
I would definitely like to visit Montreal, but since I live in France....I'm really looking forward to being around English speakers! No only for me, but for my kids as well.
Montreal is not ONLY French speakers though. Especially in the central part of the city (when all the tourists are in town), it's often close to half and half between French and English speakers on the streets.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,499,560 times
Reputation: 4893
Yeah, Montreal is just under fifty percent native French speakers, like 20~% native English speakers, and 30% immigrants, some of whom prefer French, some of whom prefer English, and most of whom are just trilingual. I'd say the relative positions of French and English in the city are 2/3 French, 1/3 english with most everyone able to speak both. Gatineau is roughly similar and it is Quebec City and most of the rural towns (but not all) that are homogenously Francophone.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley
4,060 posts, read 9,123,999 times
Reputation: 3435
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD78 View Post
One last thing....if anyone knows of any respectable and well known vacation home rental sites for Canada, please let me know!
You can try www.airbnb.com or www.vrbo.com and possibly find a suite.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:18 AM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
108 posts, read 218,679 times
Reputation: 85
Acajack - Yes, portable dvd players definitely help! ;o)

Adventuregurl - Thanks for the sites!

I've been looking at these areas: Downtown Toronto, Trinity-Niagara, Trinity-Bellwoods, and Parkdale. Out of those, which is the safest and most convenient place to be with kids? (Close to stores, parks, restaurants, etc.)

Not saying those areas aren't safe! But coming from the US, I have a built-in fear (ok, not so much fear, but more of an....awareness) of unsafe or crime-ridden areas. And now that I have kids, even more so!
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