16-21 days in Canada - hit me with it!

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I went with the family to Banff just over a month ago.

In early April not much will have thawed in the Rockies (Alberta, BC). You could

1) Skate Lake Louise (although as someone has already said, its not more than a lake and a hotel - incredibly pretty but the kids might get fed up any longer than a couple of hours there)
2) Ski Sunshine Village.. hire stuff and get lessons for a day or 2. Great, easy, well run resort. Amazing views.
3) Rubber Ring/Sledging - Night time at Mount Norquay
4) Banff town- There;'s loads do to... snow walks/hikes, Gondola, dog sled, hot springs. The town has some great restaurants and a nice family vibe.


It was our first visit to Canada and whilst mainly a skiing holiday we liked Canada so much we'll definitely be back. Good luck with the planning - a great choice.
 
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Soldato
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A little more time today then I expected to go through all these replies - thanks again.

So I can ideally aim towards more mid-April onwards, really depends on when Easter falls - so I don't have to pay the ridiculous missing school fees.


Personally for 16-21 days, pick one side and stick with it. The country is ginormous.

I do appreciate its a big country - maybe I am trying to do too much. We are happy to move around a lot, we tend to be people that do things instead of just relaxing. The last time we did something similar though of this scale, would have been pre-kids - 2014 we did the West Coast of USA (Vegas, Yosemite, Death Valley, San Fran, down to LA and a flight over to Hawaii - it was honeymoon). Maybe if we did look to start West and do Toronto on the way back.

Vancouver looked ridiculously expensive when I looked at hotels etc about a year ago, ive been wanting to go for ages.

I've looked at Toronto so far, pretty pricey also but between 4 of us (potentially 6) - but then I just remember its the same as going to London.


In early April not much will have thawed in the Rockies (Alberta, BC). You could

1) Skate Lake Louise (although as someone has already said, its not more than a lake and a hotel - incredibly pretty but the kids might get fed up any longer than a couple of hours there)
2) Ski Sunshine Village.. hire stuff and get lessons for a day or 2. Great, easy, well run resort. Amazing views.


We went to Banff, Jasper and Vancouver in 2022, also tagging on Whistler after we had to leave Jasper early due to wildfires. It's a stunning part of the world and great if you enjoy hiking. In April I would be concerned that it's still very wintery though, so bear that in mind when planning any activities.
In terms of the cold, that doesn't bother us. Me and my eldest can both board / ski - so actually if we did make it to Banff or somewhere similar, it would definitely be on our list to do for the day :) Although, I've heard some horror stories of costs of skiing in Canada vs Europe.

On my bucket list is definitely to take a dip in Lake Louise or something similar - regardless of temps, from the photos it looks beautiful.

Lots of ideas above, thanks all - more research needed.
 
Soldato
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Just an update here,

Slight date changes based on above to be end of Mayish (just around school holidays) to 8th June.

I have a number (3) of upgrade BA vouchers to use which might mean we can get a good deal for business return for 4 of us to Toronto. So that will likely be our arrival and departure (might be only time i can use them before they expire).

I agree with the above, i dont want to try and see too much...just how to make it work with the above, we are still thinking the below (exact days at each place tbc)

- Toronto - 2 days? (We did want to do Niagra)
Fly to Calgary
- Drive Calgary to Vancouver (via Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, others) - 6 days?
- Vancouver - 4 days?
Fly Vancouver to Toronto (loose a day here and have to allow for unlinked ticket connection)
Fly home
 
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Just an update here,

Slight date changes based on above to be end of Mayish (just around school holidays) to 8th June.

I have a number (3) of upgrade BA vouchers to use which might mean we can get a good deal for business return for 4 of us to Toronto. So that will likely be our arrival and departure (might be only time i can use them before they expire).

I agree with the above, i dont want to try and see too much...just how to make it work with the above, we are still thinking the below (exact days at each place tbc)

- Toronto - 2 days? (We did want to do Niagra)
Fly to Calgary
- Drive Calgary to Vancouver (via Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, others) - 6 days?
- Vancouver - 4 days?
Fly Vancouver to Toronto (loose a day here and have to allow for unlinked ticket connection)
Fly home

You can get the train round from Toronto to Niagara - it also stops at an airport on the way you can get helicopter flights over from which is a great view. As a day trip it took up the whole day but well worth it, along with going across the Rainbow Bridge.
 
Soldato
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We did a fly drive few years back now from Calgary to Vancouver, its a well trodden path and was incredible. If you like scenery, lakes, mountains etc. then its an awesome trip. Calgary -> Banff -> Lake Louise -> Jasper -> Kamloops (more of a transit stop) -> Whistler -> Vancouver Island -> Vancouver

Banff, you can go up the mountain in a gondola, see bow falls and lake Minnewanka
Despite what was said above Lake Louise and Moriane Lake are beautiful. We stayed at the Fairmont which is the big hotel on the lake and hiked around the lakes
The Athabasca falls, glacier and skywalk are worth visiting on the way to Jasper
In Jasper hike around the national park
Whistler, theres the Sasquatch zipline which is insane if thats your thing https://whistler.ziptrek.com/tours/sasquatch/ or go see some bears, or try axe throwing, or mountain biking
Vancouver Island we went whale watching, explored Victoria
Vancouver Grouse mountain and the Capilano suspension bridge tour, wander round the city

Thats some of the things we did, probably a lot more Ive forgotten about

I drove from Vancouver to Big White in snow and ice.. Google shows that as 4h40m but it took 7 hours at 70mph in a Dodge Durango thankfully with snow tires. I'd hate to have that engine and the fuel bill now :D IIRC it was 5 people + snowboarding gear in that. Just plan that 'drives' are longer than here in the UK, so you'll want a car that can soak the miles, be relaxing and not cost the earth to fill up.

Also ensure you find a card account that doesn't have international charges each time you use it, even if that means you pay for the account.

Lovely place, people are friendly and have a positive outlook on life.
 
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Just an update here,

Slight date changes based on above to be end of Mayish (just around school holidays) to 8th June.

I have a number (3) of upgrade BA vouchers to use which might mean we can get a good deal for business return for 4 of us to Toronto. So that will likely be our arrival and departure (might be only time i can use them before they expire).

I agree with the above, i dont want to try and see too much...just how to make it work with the above, we are still thinking the below (exact days at each place tbc)

- Toronto - 2 days? (We did want to do Niagra)
Fly to Calgary
- Drive Calgary to Vancouver (via Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, others) - 6 days?
- Vancouver - 4 days?
Fly Vancouver to Toronto (loose a day here and have to allow for unlinked ticket connection)
Fly home

Also, if you want a trip out from Vancouver then get the ferry across to Vancouver Island and go see some of the views there - even the views from the ferry are amazing but being able to drive around the island on the other side and up the mountains is awesome.

If you make it far enough north there’s a heliport at Campbell Rivet where (again) you can do helicopter flights through the mountains.

I’m noticing a theme with my holidays…
 
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Just an update here,

Slight date changes based on above to be end of Mayish (just around school holidays) to 8th June.

I have a number (3) of upgrade BA vouchers to use which might mean we can get a good deal for business return for 4 of us to Toronto. So that will likely be our arrival and departure (might be only time i can use them before they expire).

I agree with the above, i dont want to try and see too much...just how to make it work with the above, we are still thinking the below (exact days at each place tbc)

- Toronto - 2 days? (We did want to do Niagra)
Fly to Calgary
- Drive Calgary to Vancouver (via Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, others) - 6 days?
- Vancouver - 4 days?
Fly Vancouver to Toronto (loose a day here and have to allow for unlinked ticket connection)
Fly home

If you do Toronto around that time you can catch the baseball as the season has started late April but only if they have a home series around that time.
Very family friendly and can also wonder downtown afterwards. NBA and NHL will be into playoffs and tickets hard to come by if the teams make it that far.
 
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Niagara - It is worth going later in the evening so you can see it also at night when it lit up. There is plenty for kids to do afterwards with rides, arcades etc around the corner and places to eat.
 
Soldato
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More struggling with dates right now. Out 23rd May, return 8th June - gives me what 15/16 days max

Is that enough to do everything I want - Toronto > Calgary > drive to Vancouver > fly back to Toronto to then head home.
 
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More struggling with dates right now. Out 23rd May, return 8th June - gives me what 15/16 days max

Is that enough to do everything I want - Toronto > Calgary > drive to Vancouver > fly back to Toronto to then head home.

Having watch the BBC’s Race Across the World when they did Canada, I would say there was an awful lot of nothing in the middle through Saskatchewan and Manitoba which might be worth avoiding in a car if you’re short on time?

Internal flight cutting out a few thousand might be worth considering…
 
Soldato
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Having watch the BBC’s Race Across the World when they did Canada, I would say there was an awful lot of nothing in the middle through Saskatchewan and Manitoba which might be worth avoiding in a car if you’re short on time?

Internal flight cutting out a few thousand might be worth considering…
Sorry just to clarify, fly Toronto to Calgary.

Car needed to get to the mountains from Calgary
 
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I would skip Toronto and fly to Calgary and the begin your tour to maximise time on the west.
I went to Toronto and it was great but soon will feel like London or any city after seeing the core things.
 
Soldato
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I would skip Toronto and fly to Calgary and the begin your tour to maximise time on the west.
I went to Toronto and it was great but soon will feel like London or any city after seeing the core things.
Likely we will need to at least land there as point of entry. Happy to potentially get an immediate connecting flight (probably next day given flight times).

You could have downtime in Toronto on the return leg but don't do it at the start. Save the energy for the drives and charging the kids up.
Yer I was thinking this, kids are of course the harder part to manage :D Just trying to make it all work with the BA flights I mentioned above.
 
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To be fair Toronto airport is very close to downtown Toronto. Missed the stipulation on BA flights. It was more if start wondering Toronto you eat into the drives and energy levels for the west.
Charge the kids on Tim Hortons! It seems an institution over there.
 
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