Montreal: Montreal and Ottawa Video
Oh, Canada! This was our second time in the country and we like it more now than we did last time. We crossed the border from just north of Burlington, VT. Entering the
country was as easy as showing our passports, the cat’s rabies vaccination paperwork, and answering questions from a less than charismatic Canadian border patrol agent. We met some new friends while in Canada who had a not fun experience that involved drug sniffing dogs standing on their bed. Their advice – don’t try and be funny or smart with the agent. E-gads.
We stayed in Sogerive Halte RV Park which was just on the other side of the St.Lawrence River from Montreal, Quebec. We were 30 minutes or less from a number of cool places – none of them RV friendly so we were glad to have a central campground.
Gay Village and Cirque ($8 for all day meter parking)
We took a walk through Gay Village which was bright, colorful, and busy. There were shops (some with eyebrow raising window displays that may raise questions for the younger members of your group), restaurants and several live street musicians. Meter parking was fairly easy to find. From there we walked several blocks to a park that was hosting the annual summertime Montreal Complement de Cirque festival and got to watch an incredible (and free) full-on show! There were acrobatics and amazing gymnastics set to music and fun drama. Check out our YouTube video to see it. Montreal is known for its festivals so search up what is happening while you plan to be there.
Notre Dame Basilica ($6 adults, $4 for kids)
Notre Dame Basilica is an absolute must do in the city. It is still an active Catholic church but has designated times for paid admission and optional tours (included with admission). The outside architecture is beautiful but it hides a feast for the eyes inside! Everywhere you look there is intricate detail and depth – you could be in there for days and still find new details to see. It really is something spectacular! I will have to say – parking was tough and we didn’t even have the RV in tow. Add to that, all the street signs are in French so as far as I can figure we were illegally parked. C’est la vie. No ticket, no worries!
Mount Royal ($6 for parking meter)
On our last day in Montreal we drove up Mount Royal. We parked at Smith House and walked up the paved road that to the chalet where you have an amazing view of the city! A perk was a girl playing the free outdoor piano and playing it well! We also did the can-can with a bunch of school age kids to help them check “dance with strangers and get it on video” off their scavenger hunt. I expect it to go viral any day now. We walked back to the car through the wooded area along a trail. It took us like three times longer and I am sure we were lost a time or two, but it was fun! Eric probably did the distance of the trail twice because he kept running ahead and then backtracking to us. The kid has some energy!
(Note: I would not recommend bringing your camper there unless it is a smaller one. The roads were steep and narrow with a lot of turns. There was plenty of parking though.)
On our last night in L’ongueuil we were treated to Austria’s display for the annual international firework competition. It was like a continuous grand finale that lasted over 30 minutes! It was over the St. Lawrence river and we were able to watch from our campsite with some new friends. It was a perfect way to end our time in such a beautiful and vibrant place!
Ottawa: ($10 for meter parking)
Ottawa was a quick visit for us. We read that you could see the Changing of the Guard at the Parliament buildings during the summer so we got up early (for us) so we could get there by 10:00. If you didn’t know, Canada is a Commonwealth of England so thereare red coated guards with tall and fluffy hats who stand guard. There was quite a ceremony that lasted almost an hour and included bagpipes and a military band. You can easily trick yourself into thinking you are in London and since our camper can’t take us there this was my chance to imagine it! Ha!
After the ceremony we walked all around the outside of the Parliament buildings. The view around back is beautiful and the library has one of the coolest exteriors of any buildings we have seen so far. You can get free tickets to tour the inside of the buildings but the line was CRAZY long when we got there at 10:00, and we weren’t in the mood for that anyways, so we skipped it. We walked back to the truck through a row of touristy shops and past many business offices – it is definitely a proper downtown. That being said, we struggled to find a place to park our Dodge Ram. We were too tall for the parking garages and too big for most spots in lots. It was frustrating – not gonna lie. We eventually found parking but had an almost 20-minute walk to the Parliament building. Just be prepared and give yourself extra time to find a place if you are in a larger vehicle.
Where we stayed: Sleepy Cedars (Greely, ON) – it is a resort RV park and had a nice pool and fun activities including Little Ray’s Reptile show. We all got a kick out of petting snakes, caiman, skunks, and a hedgehog. The hedgehog was may favorite and I may try and talk Mike into getting us one.
Toronto: ($10 for parking) VIDEO
We left our campground in Greely and headed toward Toronto. We boondocked at a travel center overnight and then headed to the Ontario Science Center the next morning. We called ahead and they said we could park the RV in the bus lot for $10. With our ASTC membership we got into the museum for free. The first level we saw had some cool stuff for the older kids but ALL four kids, aged 4 to 13, loved the “Kids Space” level! We wish we had gone there earlier because they could have spent all day there! The water table, the play store, the hands-on science exhibits… it was an excellent way to spend a rainy day! We stopped in at the Maker Bean Cafe, got a coffee, and had a cool, personalized FourKidsFourCorners wooden sign made – both by the barista with the most-a
After the science center we parked at my favorite boondocking parking lot yet! We stayed at the Woodbine Casino/Mohawk Racetrack. We pulled right up to the curb by the horse racetrack and got to watch trot racing right from our RV windows. That one is going to be hard to beat!
After two nights of boondocking we decided to enjoy our last night in Canada at a campground. We stayed at Campers Corners in London, ON. Between swimming in the pool and playing at the playground we popped into London (I am seeing a theme happening!) and ate anEnglish pub (duh) called the Waltzing Weasel. The inside was old (and a little smelly) but had a cool homey décor. We ate outside on the patio and prayed the kids didn’t notice the miniature golf course next door! Ha! The fish and chips and shepherd’s pie both got a thumbs up from us! Somewhere in London Eric also picked up poison oak –but that is a story for a couple days later in Michigan.
Crossing back into the US was easy breezy and bookended a great trip to Canada!