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First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

S C
Level Contributor
3 posts
21 reviews
First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Traveling to Ottawa in September for first time and it will be our home base for up to 10-14 days. Thinking of visit to Toronto and Montreal and possibly to Quebec. Should we rent car or consider train or bus between the cities? Should we do a loop? Should we fly in and out of one city or different cities? Any ideas and suggested itineraries appreciated.

6 replies to this topic
SE Ontario
Level Contributor
26,023 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Where are you coming from? It helps if you add your location to your profile as our advice may vary depending on your familiarity with Canada, and the regions you intend to visit.

Your query is a bit vague ... you say Ottawa will be your home base, but then you want to travel to various locations... are those side trips included in the 10 -14 days. Were you thinking of these side trips as day trips, overnights, or multi-days? Toronto for example is a 5 hour drive, one way from Ottawa, so not a day trip. Montreal can be done as a day trip as it's only a 2 hour trip.

So please clarify.

Additionally - please provide some info about who "we" are ... and what your interests are. No point in us doing an itinerary of hiking or history museums if you're not interested...

West Grey, Canada
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
84,491 posts
103 reviews
2. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Hi S C;

You don't say where you're coming from, but you're underestimating the size of Canada, and the distances between cities. It would be unrealistic to base yourself in Ottawa and visit the other cities.

From west to east...

Ottawa is approx. 281 mi / 452 km east of Toronto.

Montreal is approx. 123 mi / 200 km east of Ottawa.

Quebec City is approx. 281 mi / 452 km east of Montreal.

The two main Canadian airport hubs are Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL). I would suggest flying into one, and out from the other, to maximize your time and to minimize any back-tracking.

Toronto hosts the Toronto Int'l Film Festival, the largest outside of Cannes, the beginning of September. I would suggest leaving Toronto to last half, as accommodations are at a premium in the first half.

Montreal should be 3 - 4 days, minimum. Quebec City should be 2 - 3 days, and Ottawa 2 days.

You could spend an entire week in Toronto and still have plenty to see and do !

You won't want or need a car in Quebec City, Montreal or Toronto. You *could* rent a car one-way from Ottawa to Toronto, if you plan to stop along the way to see the 1000 Islands and the wine country of Prince Edward County.

FYI...Niagara Falls is only 80 mi / 130 km southwest of Toronto. You might consider a day away.

If not renting a car, VIA Rail operates between all the above cities except Niagara Falls. There are many public transit options to get there from Toronto.

I hope that helps getting you started.

Best Regards

West Grey, Canada
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
84,491 posts
103 reviews
3. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Your home location lets other members know where you live, which helps them know more about you as they read your contributions.

tripadvisor.com/help/whats_my_homhome_locati…

tripadvisor.com/help/change_your_home_locati…

Best Regards

S C
Level Contributor
3 posts
21 reviews
4. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. We are senior couple coming from Oregon and getting late start in planning out an itinerary. Most likely we will either fly into or out of Toronto, and then....Of course we want to visit many of the local attractions and events, both culturally and nature wise.

S C
Level Contributor
3 posts
21 reviews
5. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Sorry... We are senior couple coming from Oregon and getting late start in planning out an itinerary. Most likely we will either fly into or out of Toronto, and then....Of course we want to visit many of the local attractions and events, both culturally and nature wise. Not meaning to imply Ottawa is home base for day trips to other cities, just that Ottawa is reason for the trip, and other locales are in addition. Have frequently visited BC and Alberta, but not eastern provinces.

SE Ontario
Level Contributor
26,023 posts
15 reviews
6. Re: First trip to Ottawa in September - ideas?

Helpful .. but you still have not clarified the "Ottawa as home base" issue. Nor your actual dates in September.

Our usual minimum recommendations are:

Toronto & Montreal - 3-4 days each

Ottawa & Quebec City - 2-3 days each

You say Ottawa is the reason for the trip ... how many days do you want/need to spend there? That information can help us plan the rest of the trip.

If you haven't already done so - do look at the main tourism sites for the cities and provinces (Ontario & Quebec) you want to visit. Lots of good info on those. Also do some checking on the TA forums for each city.

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