I flew on Air Canada from Sydney right through to Toronto. The aircraft was clean and tidy and movie options were good. Meals and drinks are included for Sydney-Vancouver return. There was also a trolley in the back galley with snacks to help yourself to anytime during the night.
I was travelling with Scenic Tours who met us at Toronto airport and transferred us to our overnight at the Westin, which is actually an Evergreen Tours hotel, it was very nice and well located. Scenic use the Fairmont Hotel which was booked out for the International film festival!
The next day we head to Niagara Falls. Scenic are now including an overnight stay at Niagara Falls at the Marriot in Fallsview Rooms. This was fantastic, it was such an amazing experience to see the falls at night and sunrise. The Niagara Falls area is very touristy with casinos and game arcades. The Marriot is a little protected from this and offers a nicer experience.
Personally, I feel the falls are better to view from the Canadian side as you can see both the American and Canadian views. From America you can only view the America side of the falls by boat. The old Maid of the Mist operates from the American side, we were on the Hornblower which was a much better boat. It is absolutely spectacular to be so close to the powerful falls, if you don’t want to get wet there is a glass viewing area on the ship too.
We also visited a beautiful village for lunch called Niagara on the Lake, it was a gorgeous scenic drive to get there. The village has horse drawn carts and is picture perfect.
Next was Ottawa, the capital, a beautiful city. It is very Victorian with its architecture. We had a local guide join us for a morning orientation tour which included Parliament Hill and a change of the guard. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he was out of town on the campaign trail!
We enjoyed a walking foodie tour of the Byward Markets in the afternoon which is an outdoor farmers type market. Of course, we tried the Beaver tails, which are pretty much a flat donut. The Byward markets are a great area to walk at night with lots of restaurants and bars. We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier which was very grand and in a wonderful spot. The city is also home to a beautiful canal- the Rideau which is also a UNESCO world heritage site, where many people spend leisurely time.
The next day we went to a place called Parc Omega, this is a 1500-acre park home to wildlife such as moose, elk, bison, wolves, bears and
more. We were taken around in an open-air old-school bus and had bags of carrots that we hand fed the animals, this was a lot of fun. This is a Scenic tour highlight experience.
After the park we went to the unique Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello for lunch and an inspection. Scenic tours stay here as a relaxing overnight stop. The hotel is basically made of wood logs and took 3 months to build many years ago, it is right on the lake. It would be lovely to stay here.
We continued to Montreal. The Fairmont Hotel here is very modern which is not in line with the normal Fairmont properties, but it is stunning.
Next stop on the road was a “Sugar Shack” which was like a hillbilly maple syrup tourist attraction with music (yes, we could play the spoons too!). It was very interesting to say the least.
Last but not least, was my favourite Quebec. Wow! I loved this place so much- it is so beautiful! The city is a walled old town with lots of history, local artists and the most amazing food. We stayed at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, which is right in the heart of the city, this hotel has so much history displayed throughout the hallways and it is the most photographed hotel in the world.
Eastern Canada (other than Quebec) is not as scenic as the West. They are very different from each other, the East offers history and traditions whereas the West is more scenic, but still beautiful. Normally Scenic tours finish in Montreal where they will board a ship to Boston/NY which is a great finish to the tour. I really enjoyed experiencing Eastern Canada and am thrilled to have ticked Niagara Falls off my travel bucket list!