Sit in the driver’s seat for this rail and drive vacation through Quebec and Ontario, which emphasizes the stark contrasts between Canada’s cities and countryside.
About the Tour
From sleepy shoreside towns to lively cities and from cottage country to orchards, experience the ever-changing landscapes of Quebec and Ontario on this 12-day journey. Your tour begins in Quebec City, where history unfurls at every turn. From Quebec City, we board the first of two rail lines: the Train de Charlevoix. This scenic rail journey takes you along the St. Lawrence River bound for the Charlevoix region of Quebec. First up, Baie-Saint-Paul - a vibrant community surrounded by nature. Continue to La Malbaie and experience a whale watching tour to Baie-Ste-Catherine. The Train de Charlevoix returns you to Quebec City for a day of independent sightseeing before you board VIA Rail’s Corridor Service to Montreal. The rural beauty of the Montérégie Countryside is displayed on a half-day tour through the region’s wineries and cider houses. Pick up your rental car and head to Ottawa, enjoying the freedom to explore the route at your own pace. From Ottawa, your journey continues through forests, rural scenes and small towns en route to Deerhurst Resort, where you delight in 2 days of lakeside activities and amenities. Your tour wraps up in the cultural capital of Toronto, and this conclusion offers the perfect example of how quickly the landscapes of Quebec and Ontario can transform from nature to city.
- Rail travel on VIA Rail Canada
- Scenic rail excursion on Train de Charlevoix
- Hotel accommodations for 11 nights, including 2 nights at Deerhurst Resort
- 2 meals
- 4-day full-size car rental, including GPS, LDW and unlimited kilometers
- Nature, Culture & Flavours by Electric Bicycle tour in Baie-St-Paul
- Full-day whale watching cruise
- Wine & Apple Cider Tour through the Montérégie Countryside
Day 1 - Quebec City
Welcome to Quebec City. Upon arrival, transfer independently to your conveniently located hotel. You have the remainder of the day to soak in the old-European ambiance of the city through its restaurants, shops and winding cobblestone streets. Overnight Quebec City.
Day 2 - Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul on the Train de Charlevoix
A scenic expedition through untouched landscapes and seaside towns and villages lies ahead, as you travel from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul aboard the Train de Charlevoix. Settle into your seat, and watch as the wild scenery unfolds along the St. Lawrence River. The route takes you along the cliffside, through coastal towns and across stretches of wide-open terrain that highlight the brilliance of nature. Scenic Baie-Saint-Paul - a charming art community with a history spanning over 350 years - is your destination. Upon arrival, spend the day exploring all the best this historic town has to offer. Stroll along the narrow, gallery-lined streets; sample the local cuisine; or soak in the lush scenery of the valley from one of the hiking trails. Overnight Baie-Saint-Paul, QC.
Day 3 - Charlevoix Countryside
The eclectic culture of Baie-St-Paul is presented this morning as you embark on an electric bicycle tour through the city and its natural surroundings. Along the way, enjoy stops at an art gallery, famed vantage points throughout the region and local producers. The tour offers sights of waterfalls and beaches, as well as of salmon jumping through the river. Lunch is included along the way - a meal of local delicacies, including wine and cheese. Following the tour, spend some time revisiting your favorite sites or learning the history of Cirque du Soleil, which was founded in Baie-St-Paul, before boarding the Train de Charlevoix. The rail journey continues through the sleepy villages along the St. Lawrence en route to La Malbaie. Check in at your hotel and take the evening to look out over the views of the stunning blue water of the river and to sample the local fare. Overnight La Malbaie, QC. (L)
Day 4 - Whale Watching to Baie-Ste-Catherine
The beauty and serenity of the open water beckons as you embark on an all-day whale watching adventure. You are picked up from your hotel this morning and transferred to Baie-Ste-Catherine following a picturesque route along the St. Lawrence River. As you arrive, your tour boat departs from the harbor in search of pods of beluga and finback whales. Your knowledgeable guide offers insight regarding the natural habitats, feeding patterns and adaptations of these whales, as well as other interesting facts about the waterway and region, as you cruise. The majestic Saguenay Fjord is also highlighted during the journey. As you dock at the harbor, you are transferred back to your La Malbaie hotel, where your evening is at leisure. Overnight La Malbaie, QC.
Day 5 - La Malbaie to Quebec City on the Train de Charlevoix
Bound for Quebec City, board the Train de Charlevoix at Gare La Malbaie this morning. Watch the shoreside scenery change as the train winds back along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. You may even be able to spot seals sunning themselves on the rocks if you look close enough. The train travels through scenic coastal towns and through the endless countryside, where blue skies meet colorful fields. Arrive at the Montmorency Station early this afternoon and meet your driver to transfer to your hotel in Quebec City with the day at leisure. Favorite sites in Quebec City include the Plains of Abraham, the Museum of Civilization, Battlefields Park, the aquarium and the unique Market Old Port of Quebec. Overnight Quebec City.
Day 6 - Quebec City to Montreal
Begin your day at leisure, exploring Quebec City at your own pace. This afternoon, make your way to Quebec City’s train station, Gare du Palais, to board your VIA Rail train bound for Montreal. The southbound journey takes just over 3 hours to complete, and all the while, you gaze out upon the scenery from your ergonomic Business Class seat. As the train arrives in Montreal, the day is yours to explore the city at your own pace. Montreal is a story of contrasts, with beautiful modern museums, galleries, markets, and restaurants mingling with history dating back centuries. During your time here, feel the pull of years past as you walk along the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, look out on the city from Mount Royal, visit the sandy beach and walk the hiking trails at Jean Drapeau Park, or visit one off the many fascinating museums - including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. For an experience to remember, head just beneath the surface to the Underground City. This 20-mile long network of tunnels offers over 2,000 businesses, restaurants, museums, event spaces and more all underground. Overnight Montreal. (L)
Day 7 - Montérégie Countryside
A day of rural beauty lies ahead as you set out into Quebec’s wine country for a wine and cider tour. As the buildings of Montreal fade into the distance, a different perspective on Quebec is presented. The Montérégie countryside is filled with apple orchards, wineries and maple farms. Catch glimpses of the Montérégian mountains as you travel in and out of urban centers. The half-day tour highlights some of the best products that are produced in the Montérégie region, its wine and cider. Enjoy behind-the-scenes experiences at two wineries, where you meet the winemakers and taste their delicious offerings. The serenity of the countryside is a nice pause from the hustle and bustle of the city, and feeling refreshed, you return this afternoon with the remainder of the evening at leisure. Overnight Montreal.
Day 8 - Montreal to Ottawa
Pick up your rental car this morning, and enjoy the freedom to travel between Montreal and Ottawa at your own pace. The car is equipped with GPS and unlimited kilometers to get you from destination to destination, so take time to stop in small towns along the way to get a feel for the local culture. Enjoy looks at emerald green forests and glimpses at the local waterways. Upon arrival in Ottawa, check in at your hotel and begin your explorations of this capital city. Some of the most popular sites include the Neogothic buildings of Parliament Hill, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History and Jacques Cartier Park, which is steeped in riverside beauty. Ottawa’s dining scene is incredibly diverse, with a mixture of food trucks, haute cuisine, casual restaurants, and fine dining establishments sitting aside one another. Overnight Ottawa.
Day 9 - Ottawa to Huntsville
Your travels continue today with a westwardly drive toward Huntsville, Ontario. This journey takes you through vast rural expanses, into lovely small towns, and near inland lakes. As the route weaves through Algonquin Provincial Park, enjoy the pristine beauty of untouched nature. Gaze upon forests, lakes, rocky cliffs and maple hills and wildlife. Simply admire the scenes, or get out and explore one of the hiking trails. The pathways vary in length and difficulty; however, there are several that are easy or moderate and take less than an hour’s time. Continue on to Huntsville, where you find the Deerhurst Resort - your home for the next two days. This resort is located on Peninsula Lake in the Muskoka region and is a mere 5 minutes from downtown Huntsville, putting nature and conveniences right at your fingertips. Overnight Deerhurst Resort.
Day 10 - Huntsville
The day is yours to enjoy the amenities of Deerhurst Resort. This is the oldest resort in the region, as it opened in 1896, and covers more than 760 acres of Ontario’s famous cottage country. Enjoy activities such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, ATV tours and treetop trekking. Test your problem-solving abilities at the escape cabins, or sample local craft beer at the Muskoka Brewery. Indoor amenities are aplenty at Deerhurst, including a pool, a fitness center, a rock-climbing wall, a gaming room and an art gallery. Venturing out of the resort, you can visit Downtown Huntsville, which boasts a thriving art scene and an abundance of culture packed into a tidy, historic package, or explore the offerings of Algonquin Provincial Park. Overnight Deerhurst Resort.
Day 11 - Huntsville to Toronto
Traveling south toward Lake Ontario, drive through the Muskoka region to Toronto today. Along the way, there are plenty of scenic towns to stop in, including vibrant Gravenhurst, lakeside Orillia and Barrie, which is famed for its ski resorts. As you arrive in Toronto, check in at your hotel and take the rest of the day at leisure in the city. Toronto is hailed as the most culturally diverse city in Canada and boasts an eclectic mix of sites to pique the interest of every visitor. Take in the cityscape from above at the CN Tower, or explore the history of Canada at the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto’s own castle, Casa Loma, offers a step back in time, as well as meticulously maintained gardens. There is a variety of sights to discover in the Entertainment and Distillery Districts, and the dining scene in Toronto is extraordinary. Overnight Toronto.
Day 12 - Toronto
Drop off your rental car this morning as you arrive at Toronto Pearson International Airport, where your journey through the contrasts of Canada concludes.
Hotels include Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec, Quebec City; Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa, Baie-Saint-Paul; Hotel et Pavillons Le Petit Manoir du Casino, La Malbaie; Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain, Montreal; Westin Hotel Ottawa, Ottawa; Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville and Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, Toronto.
Hotels include Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City; Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa, Baie-Saint-Paul; Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, La Malbaie; Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth, Montreal; Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa; Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville and Fairmont Royal York, Toronto.
Train de Charlevoix
Meandering along the St. Lawrence River across 125 km, this singular rail cruise between Québec City and La Malbaie reveals all the poetic beauty of seven cliffside and seaside towns and villages. Light refreshments are available for purchase on board, and the Train de Charlevoix showcases and serves a number of local terroir products as well as snacks. An on-board Beverage Menu featuring alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks proposes a selection of fruit juices, pop, beer, wine, and cocktails.
VIA Rail Corridor Service
VIA Rail accommodations are in Business Class and include a seat with picture window, access to the in-station Panorama Lounge (where available), priority boarding and complimentary newspapers, and a delicious meal including wine.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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