Tag Archives: Ontario

Places: Driving West

After returning from our epic four-province, five-state, 8800km roadtrip I’ve struggled with how to break this up into manageable posts but I will do my best and start with our journey out to Edmonton, Alberta.

Heading out in the pouring rain, we made it to just east of Sault Ste. Marie on our first day. Before our first campground we stopped at a great Canadian icon, the giant nickel of Sudbury. Somehow, this is still as impressive as it was when I was a kid and it was fun to revisit it with my own kids who were equally as impressed.img_1532

We spent our first night at Chutes Provincial Park and once set up had a fun evening doing their scavenger hunt, eating dinner at our site and making marshmallows over our campfire. Despite the bear warnings, we managed to avoid those.

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Starting the day right with a cup of coffee

Heading north through Ontario, we knew we had to be a bit more strategic about where we stopped since campgrounds are few and far between. The weather seemed more unsettled further north so we decided to make it a short day and stay about an hour north of Sault Ste. Marie at the beautiful Pancake Bay for our second night. Before we did though, we took our time in the Soo, checking out the locks and the highly recommended Pino’s grocery. At our beautiful site on Pancake Bay, Ella and I hit the lake for a swim. After that experience, all cold water will now be compared to the glacial waters of Lake Superior.

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Pancake Bay
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No trip across Canada is complete without a stop at the Wawa Goose

Our third night was spent in Thunder Bay after driving over the top of Lake Superior and the next morning we didn’t drive far before checking out the impressive Kakabeka Fallsimg_1594

After all that time on the road, we took a break in Winnipeg, settling down at the Fort Garry hotel for a couple of nights. The hotel, in the style of old CP hotels was a pleasant break from the road and we really enjoyed our time in the city. Highlights included hitting the Bridge Drive-In on the way into town, touring the Legislature Building, visiting the Canadian Human Rights Museum and eating dinner at the new Forks Market.

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From Winnipeg, we continued west to my birthplace, Saskatoon. This city is such a beautiful one in the summer with the river valley and the sunset that doesn’t start until 10:30. Even though we didn’t roll into the Gordie Howe Campground (a classic that I last stayed in 20 years ago) until about dinner time we had plenty of time to tour the University, eat a delicious dinner at Primal and enjoy the beautiful views over the river valley. img_1747

Finally, from Saskatoon we made the final push to Edmonton, a quick five-hour jaunt over the beautiful prairie. Despite the length of this overall journey, our impression was that it didn’t feel overly long – our longest day was from Winnipeg to Saskatoon which took a little over 9 hours and this was slowed down by construction outside of Winnipeg. Most other days we were able to limit our driving to about 7 hours at the most and this made for a pretty comfortable pace. img_1755

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Places: Summer 2016 Roadtrip

On Saturday, we will leave for our most ambitious roadtrip yet. Last year we tackled Eastern Canada, which you can check out here, but this year we will head west and the 4000km we travelled last year looks pretty easy compared to this year’s task.

Through to Alberta we pretty much have our route set; although the Google Map above doesn’t reflect it, we will actually head through Sault Ste. Marie and follow Lake Superior up to Thunder Bay before passing through Winnipeg, Saskatoon and to Edmonton. On the way back, we are a little undecided as to what route we will take and whether we want to include a large city such as Chicago – this may need to be something we decide as we go.

Although I have done the drive many years ago, I am excited to show the kids the great diversity of landscapes in Canada and I hope we will be able to do that by travelling through the Canadian Shield, the Prairies, the Rockies and the Badlands. I also expect they will gain a new appreciation of the enormity of our great country. The four-hour flight to Edmonton doesn’t translate in the same way.

If anyone has suggestions for ‘must-see’ spots, or ‘must-eat’ restaurants, we’d certainly appreciate your ideas and hopefully we can add to them when we return. If you’d like, follow along with our adventure on Instagram with @uhrblock or on the sidebar of this site.

Places: Toronto, Ontario

At the beginning of December we headed down to Toronto and it had been quite a while since we had made the trip. We stayed at our friend’s new condo on the East end of downtown which was a great location for our activities. We were right at the junction of the King Street and Queen Street streetcars and since Noah’s goal for the trip was just to ride the streetcar again and again, it worked out pretty well.

On our first night there we headed down to the relatively new Barhop Brewco which was a great choice. Although we were the only ones to have kids in there – not the first time that’s happened – it was a perfect spot for a great selection of beer and really good food. One of the things the new Barhop is known for is their ‘pig-head nachos’ which actually consist of a full, cooked pig head served with fully loaded nachos. Obviously this is something that must be ordered when the opportunity presents itself.  The kids squealed with delight when it arrived, H made the waiter turn the platter so the pig wasn’t looking at her and we were off! The nachos were delicious and SO filling – even Lil’ E helped herself. I would certainly go back to this spot – great service, food and lots of beer selection.

After dinner we headed down to Ripley’s Aquarium. I had heard lots of good things – and apparently it is all the buzz amongst 8-year olds as well so we were curious to check it out. It didn’t disappoint – the whole thing is really well done. Saturday night was a great time to go as well because it wasn’t busy at all. To go through the whole thing took almost three hours but we really took our time. Despite the ticket prices adding up a bit, it is well worth the visit.

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On Sunday, we took it pretty easy, eating a nice brunch on Queen Street East and then watching football for most of the afternoon. The kids have both really taken to basketball this year and have been anxious to go to a Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre. They both seemed to really enjoy themselves, especially once we tracked down the last foam fingers in the stadium. A live basketball game is fantastic for kids, there is always something going on and lots of action to keep their attention.IMG_0207

The Raptors beat the lowly 76ers and after a late-night pizza at One Pizza on King Street, the kids were exhausted. We wanted to get back to Ottawa pretty early the next day so after an early breakfast at a coffee spot Lil’E had scouted out (only she would do that…) we hit the road and were back in Ottawa by 2pm.

A great weekend in Toronto overall – although I am pretty sure I could never live there, it is a pretty fun place to visit, and especially when you have such an awesome place to stay.IMG_0219