Maritimes or Bust… Perhaps We Should Do Some Research Before We Go?

Last year for our annual April holiday, the wife and I, decided on a two week road trip with our main goal to camp, golf and explore the east coast of Vancouver Island. The only two decisions we pre-made about our road trip to the Island were:

  1. We must drive to the farthest northeastern town of Port Hardy.
  2. We must stay in a Yurt at Soul Creek Lodge in Port Renfrew.

As usual during our road trip, we began talking about “other road trip locations” which we would both like to complete. Our only common area was Eastern Canada, and more specifically the maritimes (Halifax, NS, Moncton, NB, Charlottetown, PEI).

Effort – ˈefərt/ noun 1. a vigorous or determined attempt.

In the airline industry, Edmonton International Airport (EIA), is not a convenient aviation hub and as a result flights from here to Halifax or Moncton cost a pretty penny. Actually its cheaper to fly to Australia than it is the East Coast! Add in a 14-day car rental, 13-nights of accommodation and 3-square meals a day, and our fat budget is depleted before either of us has enjoyed an activity or bought a souvenir.

That’s when we began thinking about alternate destinations: camping into eastern Washington state, or a surprise family road trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin, or drive central Saskatchewan, into Manitoba before heading back to Alberta. All of these trips had one thing in common, vast distances chew up all your time as you sit behind the steering wheel of your car.

Then randomly the wife says, “what if we flew to Montréal, then rented a car and drove to Halifax?” Without answering, I quickly looked up flights to Montréal. Half the price than flying to Halifax. And the car rental, it was half-price too!

That’s it! Our fly & drive trip would start and end in a little known place called Montréal.

Research – ˈrēˌsərCH,rəˈsərCH/  noun 1. the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

Hey did you know Montréal is made up of 75 islands? Personally, I am a rare bread of traveller who likes to hop on a flight, land in a new city and just begin exploring making spontaneous decisions as I explore a new city. However as I just mentioned this city they call Montréal, is made up of 75-islands!!!  And it has 376-years of history to uncover in three-days! Thus, it only made sense to predetermine a handful of places, activities, and parks to visit, to ensure our time here is well spent. These four are on our must do list:

  1. Basilique Notre-Dame was founded in 1627 and transformed into its neo-Gothic basilica between 1824 and 1829. It houses 14-stained glass windows brought from Limgoes, ON in 1929 and has thousands of tiny 24-carat gold stars studded in the dusky blue vaulted ceiling
  2. Habitat ’67 was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, to be a modern-day housing development, using pre-constructed offsite blocks which were then delivered and erected onsite. The entire development is based on cubism, with the intent to provide its home owners with open spaces, free flowing air and an inexpensive alternative to current day housing.
  3. Montréal Smoked Meat Sandwich is and has been a world renowned gastronomical sandwich sought after 24-hours a day in local deli’s. I have read it is a simple pile of brisket meat, smoked to perfection, between two thinly sliced pieces of rye bread, with a bit of mustard and a pickle on the side.
  4. Marché Atwater once an industrial canal, has transformed itself into a local aroma of market flair, walkways, boating canals and an enticing summer shopping area for the finest local and organic produce.

Departure – dəˈpärCHər/ noun 1. the action of leaving, typically to start a journey.

In the upcoming two weeks we will begin to discuss our pending departure to the East Coast and what our suitcases should have within them?  What we know today, is our exploration will encompass a 3-day adventure in Canada’s second largest city: Montréal. Followed by a 10-day, 2,482-kilometre road trip along Route Transcanadienne (Hwy 1), through the Eastern provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.