Canadian East Coast Road Trip
After our week spent hiking in Killarney Provincial Park, Mac and I toured around southwest Ontario visiting friends and family and even trading our hiking boots for fancy clothes at my cousin’s wonderful wedding.
During our trips abroad we would often comment to each other how much we’d like to take the time to explore and enjoy our own country. So, in what ended up being a poetic bookmark to our travels we decided to wrap up almost exactly how we started: with an east coast road trip! After loving our journey through the Eastern United States last year, we decided to repeat the process, but this time in our own country. Neither Mac nor I had ever been to Canada’s East Coast, so we opted to dedicate the remainder of the summer to exploring the famed Maritimes and doing as much camping and hiking as possible!
At the beginning of July we loaded the car with all of our gear and headed east. Our first two days were spent driving through Ontario and spending the night with friends. We even lucked out and were able to stay at our friends’ beautiful cottage just north of Montreal! It was the perfect relaxing start to our trip.
Our first major stop on our Canadian East Coast road trip after leaving Ontario was Quebec City. After navigating the busy streets, paying way too much for parking, and learning that I do much better at navigating than driving through crowded cities, we were ready to go! Walking through the cobbled streets of the Old Town with the colourful buildings lining the sidewalks instantly transported us back to Europe. This neighbourhood definitely had the “Old Town vibe” of many European cities despite being many centuries younger than those across the Atlantic.
In an attempt to escape the crowds of people, we climbed 400+ stairs to the top of the city – Upper Town – and attempted to get our bearings (while catching our breath). This part of Quebec City was much more modern, but still beautiful. Our visit to Quebec City coincided with Le Festival d’été de Québec – an 11-day music festival, featuring more than 250 shows. This meant that many of the city streets were closed off and inaccessible to non-concert goers, but we were happy to detour and admire from afar.
It didn’t take long before we finally made our way to the city’s pièce de résistance – Chateau Frontenac. The massive and historic hotel towers over the promenade, and makes an epic backdrop from nearly everywhere in the city. This impressive building was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and was completed in 1893. It’s since been expanded, with the latest project occurring in 1993. There are 611 guest rooms and suites, and one could be yours, for a price of $250CAD per night (minimum)! Definitely not within our backpacker budget.
Eventually we made our way back to the car and found a campground to pitch our tent for the evening. It was right on the shores of the St Lawrence river, and we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset before snuggling into our sleeping bags and reflecting on a great first start to our Canadian East Coast road trip!