First time overseas for the kids, first RV vacation... this was all very exciting and we didn't know what to expect, but it turned out even better than we could imagine, so it was the beginning for us of our adventure to explore the whole world with our children.
We flew with British Airways from Brussels to Toronto with a stop in London. In Toronto we stayed in a hotel for three days. This way we could visit the city and get used to the time difference. I feared that this would be difficult for the children, but in the end they turned out to be much more flexible than us.
What to do in Toronto with kids? To be honest, this city charmed to us the least of all the places we visited during this trip. There was a public transport strike which made it difficult for us to move arround.
We visited the following places:
the CN Tower: the best view over the area, not a good idea if you are afraid of heights
the Royal Ontario Museum: beautiful building, interesting museum, even for small kids
St. Lawrence Market
Roy Thomson Hall
... and we spent a lot of time wandering around and eating icecreams
After three days we were able to pick up our RV that we rented from Cruise Canada. Just watched an introductory video, got some practical information and we were ready to go! We had chosen a 6 person RV, so that we would certainly have enough space and this turned out to be the right decision: RV's are wider than the European models, the children immediately felt at home in their new house!! A quick restock at the nearby wal-mart and we were on our way!
First stop: Brighton
We stayed at a KOA campsite (Brighton KOA). These campsites have excellent facilities and you have plenty of space. After this good experience we stayed at a KOA campsite every night. We didn't book any of them in advance.
Along the road from Brighton to Kingston there are many nice picnic spots, playgrounds, ... perfect to enjoy some slow travel with the kids.
Thousand Islands National Park
The first highlight along the route. We chose to do a boat trip in the park with 'Rockport boat line'. Fun for the children, and an enthusiastic guide gave us a lot of information and nice anecdotes.
Along the Thousand islands Pkwy there are a lot of things to see and to do like a visitor centre and a watchtower, perfect for a great view over the whole area.
We stayed here at the 1000islands/Ivy lea KOA camping site
After a few days in nature we return to civilization. Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the second largest city in Canada after Toronto. The official language in Montreal is French, and many of the city's residents insist on speaking French. The atmosphere of Montreal did remind us of Paris.
We stayed at a KOA campground not far from Montreal. You can easily park outside the city and take the metro to the center. We had some bad luck with the weather here: cold and rainy...
What we did in Montreal:
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal
RÉSO, a huge shopping center known as the largest underground complex in the world
the old port
climb the Mont Royal and enjoy the view over the city
After a day in Montreal, we immediately drive on to Québec. The sun is back, we find a place at the KOA camping site of Québec from where we can take a shuttle bus to the center of the city.
This city has charmed us! A small city filled with cosiness, beautiful buildings, street musicians, good restaurants,... Our day in Québec was too short!
Mont Tremblant National Park
No KOA camping this time. We stay at camping Parc la Conception, beautifully situated on a river with a playground, great for the kids!
Our plan: a day of hiking in the national park. It was a big surprise what we saw when we arrived in the town of the same name: luxury hotels, a siteseeing cable car, children's entertainment, ... not the wild nature we were expecting! But the kids loved it. We took the cable car from the town to the top. We came back down by the ski slope, which turned out to be a very nice and beautiful hike!
Algonquin National Park
We didn't stop in Ottawa, three cities (Toronto, Montréal and Québec) in three weeks seemed enough to us and we wanted to spend some more time in the beautiful Canadian nature. So we spent the night at Renfrew KOA and drove to Algonquin National Park the next day.
We stayed at the Pog Lake Campground in the Park. This was fun for the whole family: trying to spot as many animals as possible! The kids were to noisy to make it succesfull, but it was fun!
Along the way through the park are several hiking trails, some long, others short, around a lake or completely in the woods. We chose some short ones that are manageable for the children. All information about the walks can be found at the visitor center.
There are many canoeing opportunities in this region. So we couldn't pass this opportunity! We chose a relaxed short trip because we feared that it would be difficult for the children to sit still for a long time in the canoe. All in all, that was not too bad, Ruben was mainly focused on the whistle of his life jacket, so no extra distraction was necessary! And an ice cream on arrival to look forward to is also a great motivation!
'Save the best for last', that's what we thought when we decided to schedule Niagara Falls at the end of our trip. We stayed at the Niagara Falls KOA campground, this one was a bit more crowded, but still okay for a few days.
We decided to go for the full experience: we visited the falls on both the Canadian and American sides. Both very beautiful, but it took us hours to cross the border, and maybe it wasn't worth it after all. We did the boattrip with the Maid of the mist, and did the walk behind the waterfall (on the Canadian side), spectacular and definitely worth a visit! What we didn't like on the Canadian side was the high amusement park atmosphere, that was a bit too much after a few days in the Canadian forests!
We also visited the town of Niagara-on-the lake, which turned out to be a very cozy and charming town where the Niagara ends in lake Ontario. Just enjoy the peace!
After spending our last night at Leisure time park, what we choose because it was close to Cruise Canada, we took the cab back to the airport and put West Canada on our bucketlist too, what a fantastic country, what a fantastic trip!