The Great Canadian Road Trip: Part 1- Toronto To Quebec City

My wife and I decided to take a road trip across Canada to go to the Province of Newfoundland as a vacation. Specifically, we decided to stay in Corner Brook Newfoundland and spend time in Gros Morne National Park hiking and cycling. One of the reasons why we decided to do this has to do with the fact that this is Canada’s 150th birthday. Which makes it an ideal time to travel across the country. Plus with the Canadian dollar at 80 cents relative to the US dollar, and the politics in the US that makes traveling there potentially difficult, it made staying in Canada to travel a no brainer. So that you can see what we see during the 13 days that we’ll be on the road, Nikon kindly supplied the COOLPIX W300 camera which we’ll be using to snap all the photos for this travelogue. I’ll also be posting a review of it when we get back. Another thing that will be different for those who are used to following my travelogues is that my wife will be helping me to document what we see. That should give you a very different perspective of this road trip.

Now since we were taking our bikes with us, we had to make one addition to our Hyundai Tucson that we bought a couple of years ago. We needed to add a roof rack:


Let’s take a closer look at this rack:

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This is the Yakima Forklift rack mounted to the car via four Ridgline mounts that mount to the Tucson’s built in roof rails and a pair of Roundbar crossbars. As you can see, you take the front wheels off the bikes and drop them into the mounts and then secure the mounts. Then you strap down the rear wheel tightly. They’re then locked into place via some locks in the fork mounts that require a key. We went this route because my wife and I both have high end carbon fiber road bikes (in my case, I’ve documented what makes my bike high end here) and this rack system is designed for carbon fiber bikes. Plus a roof rack frees up space for all this stuff:

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Besides a suitcase each for my wife and I, we have two bags of cycling gear, spare wheels, a bag for our electrolyte replacement drinks (for use while cycling). Plus there’s this;

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Our snacks and drinks as well as our laptop bags plus hiking boots and the like fit into the back seats. Needless to say, we don’t pack light.

Now, the first leg of our trip to Newfoundland is Toronto to Quebec City. It should have taken us just over 8 hours to get there. It took us 10 because of traffic. We also did stop a couple of times for bio breaks and once for gas once we crossed the Ontario/Quebec border. While filling up, we noticed this:


This gas station, not to mention other gas stations in the province had an electric vehicle charging station. This one was priced at $1 an hour which is more than reasonable. I applaud Quebec for really leading the way in term of building an infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Speaking of gas stops, to keep some costs down my wife and I have been utilizing the discount plans offered by Esso and Petro Canada to save on the price of gas. In the case of Esso, we have a discount card that gives you 2.5 cents a liter on gas if you complete some tasks like buying a certain amount of fuel over a month for example. In the case of Petro Canada, we have a 5 cent and 10 cent discount cards that we can refill using the Petro Points that we earn by buying fuel at that gas station. Considering that gas in Newfoundland is often 20 cents a liter more than it is in Toronto, those savings can come in handy.

Back to the traffic. A lot of the traffic we encountered was just outside Toronto. But we encountered more than our fair share of traffic in Montreal:


We knew that the traffic was coming because of Apple Maps which is part of Apple CarPlay visually warning us ahead of time of the traffic that we would encounter and adjusting our arrival times accordingly.

Top Tip: One thing that we did is we entered appointments into the calendar apps of our iPhones and included the addresses in the appointments. That way we could easily have those pop up as destinations in Apple CarPlay easily. Plus we would get alerts for when it was time to leave so that we could arrive at or around the check in time at our next hotel stop.

After a long drive we finally arrived in Quebec City. We stayed at the Hotel Chateau Laurier overnight based on the reputation:

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For us, it was a bit of a mixed bag. First of all, the underground parking was insanely tight. Our Hyundai Tucson barely fit around the corners that take you deeper and deeper into the parking lot. But I did notice this in the parking lot:


Every level of the parking lot (there were five levels) had a charging station. As you can see, someone was charing their Tesla (a P90D in case you were wondering) at a rate of a $1 an hour. Again, kudos to the Province of Quebec for having these charging stations.

On my way back up to the room, I noticed this:

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There was a charging station for your mobile device. Very handy. Now once I got to the room, I wasn’t impressed with the room. But I am the cynical type. I’ll let my wife tell you what she thought about the room:

I chose to splash out a bit as I have always wanted to have an excuse to book a night there as I have stayed at other Fairmount. The service was friendly enough, the guest parking super tight as seen by all the scratch marks on the parking lot walls. In fact you may want to splurge a bit and have their valet park it for you. The décor room was nice but not lavish and not spacious. The tub is to die for as I took advantage of the massage settings on the jet settings.

There were a few other things that stood out to me about this hotel:


They had a pair of USB ports to charge your devices. Plus for the first time ever, I will not criticize a hotel for having a clock radio with a 30-pin connector for Apple devices. Here’s why:

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This is a clock radio with Bluetooth. That means any device with Bluetooth will work with it. Bonus points to the hotel for providing this. Plus it has one other trick:

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It has a USB port for charging. Excellent. Other hotels need to take note of this. The WiFi was free, but it was on a device basis. Thus if you had a computer, tablet, and a smartphone, you needed to get three codes from the front desk when you check in.

In terms of getting some food once we arrived, I’ll let my wife take over to describe the dinner experience:

For our dinner on the first night of our vacation we walked over to a restaurant / lounge called Savini. This is a sexy place that makes a statement from the moment you walk in. My husband and I actually bumped our heads upon walking in and seeing a woman hanging upside down on a hoop apparatus above the bar. The DJ had some cool tunes pumping through the place. Plus you can get a glimpse of their cool wine cellar as it’s made of glass and can be seen from a couple of angles from the restaurant. It’s accessed by the staff via a contactless access card and a side wall shows their single malt selections. Suffice to say their wine list is extensive with some beautiful Bordeaux coming in a $10K a bottle. But they do have some nice offerings that are sold by the glass. 

We both had pasta dishes and they were great. The total bill was under $70 tip included. The next day we had breakfast downstairs in the hotel in a St. Hubert that was serving up a breakfast buffet. My wife’s comments on that go something like this:

The buffet in the hotel comprised of a cheese selection, fresh fruit, waffles, cereal, mini assorted pastries, sausages/bacon and eggs. My favorite Quebecois breakfast items included baked beans. They were delicious. Where it fell a bit flat for me was the oatmeal. They provided instant oatmeal. For a bit more effort they could have whipped up a fresh batch of oatmeal served with brown sugar and I would have been a happy person.

We then went across the street to grab a pair of Starbucks coffees and loaded up to head to our next stop which was Moncton NB. Look for that update tomorrow.


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