Travel future

Travel future: The Explore Canada road trip

The #ExploreCanada road trip

After falling in love with Canada last year, I’m heading back again to explore some more, and this time I’ll be road-tripping through the heart of the country. It’s all part of the #ExploreCanada road trip – a blogger RV relay across Canada. Travel with Kat did the first leg in Vancouver Island and Quirky Traveller is just finishing her route from Vancouver to Calgary. Then my sister and I take over for the longest stretch between Calgary and Toronto, before Heather on her Travels finishes things off from Toronto to Montreal.

Ours is probably the least-known section so I’m looking forward to showing you what there is to see. We’ve got around 3300km to cover in two weeks, which takes in four provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) and three different times zones. It’s my first time in an RV and I can’t remember the last time I camped, so it’s going to be an adventure! Here’s where our route will be taking us…

Read more: Clueless about RVing? The first-timers guide to Canada by motorhome

ExploreCanada Calgary to Toronto map

The prairies

After a night in Calgary we pick up our RV, get a briefing on how to actually work it, and set off. The first section of our route is full of wide open skies and long straight roads so we’ll be covering lots of miles. From Calgary we join the Trans-Canada Highway and follow it almost all the way to Toronto. We travel east through the grasslands to our first overnight stop at Medicine Hat. Then it’s over the border into Saskatchewan for two nights near Regina. We’re there for Canada Day so will be checking out the parades and fireworks. Then we have a long drive across the border into Manitoba for an overnight near Winnipeg.

Calgary, Alberta Canada

Our starting point in Calgary

The lakes

Across the border into Ontario we swap the prairies for lakes – the province has over 250,000 of them. From now on we’ll be travelling smaller distances and staying in campsites in Ontario’s state and provincial parks, so will have some stunning wilderness scenery. Our first stop is Aaron Provincial Park, then it’s on to Kakabeka Falls near Thunder Bay. We’ll be following the highway around North America’s largest lake to Lake Superior Provincial Park where we spend two nights and do some hiking and swimming. Next we carry on around Lake Huron to Killarney Provincial Park for another two nights to check out the views and explore the waterways by canoe. Our final park is Algonquin, a huge expanse a quarter of the size of Belgium. We have two nights there and will be going bike-riding and moose-spotting on another canoe trip.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Kayaking in Algonquin Provincial Park

The city

After that we swap the wilderness for the city, and after dropping off the RV we head into Toronto for a night at the glam Thompson Hotel. We have just a day to explore the city so will see how much we can squeeze in. Top of the to-do list are a trip to the top of the CN Tower, lunch at St Lawrence Market, a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum and a drink in the Distillery District. And then it’ll be time to head home.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Back to city life in Toronto

So that’s our road trip route – what do you think? And do you have any tips of places we shouldn’t miss along the way? You can follow our progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (wifi permitting!) and with the #ExploreCanada hashtag.

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A two-week road trip route across the centre of Canada from Calgary to Toronto, through the prairies and Ontario's lake country – ontheluce.com

All photos courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Cristie
    June 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I highly recommend visiting Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Though it’s not the capital of Saskatchewan, many Saskatchewanians know that it is the true heart of the province, and the more beautiful city! If you have time you should check it out! 🙂 Enjoy your travels through the land of the living skies!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks so much, I’m not sure we’ll get chance to visit Saskatoon but it sounds lovely – one for next time if not this one!

  • Reply
    bridget
    June 27, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    That sounds great. We didn’t get as far east as you are going but we did drive quite a lot of that highway further west. It was a parade of enormous fast trucks that took no prisoners. It was really scary in the rain and dark so make certain you are at your campsite before dark. I think we had the worst drive we have ever had there. Canadian trucks try to stay in Canada so they don’t take what look like better roads over the border.
    Despite that it was great and we loved Canada and the Canadians so I am sure you will both have a great time.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Sounds a bit hairy! We are planning to do most of our driving early in the day so will hopefully avoid doing any at night – and fingers crossed it looks sunny and warm at the moment.

  • Reply
    MummyTravels
    June 27, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    What an adventure! I’ve only been to Toronto so far, which I loved but have been thinking about a road trip there next year so will be reading with interest!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Toronto looks great, I do wish we had a bit longer to explore. And the route through the Rockies has looked stunning too – I suspect this might be the start of many road trips!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    June 27, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    You will be seeing the best of Canada. OK, I am biased as I am from the prairies. In fact I was born in Medicine Hat and most of my family lives there, mom, son, grandchildren and many relatives and friends. It is a prairie oasis and the folks are very friendly. Enjoy your trip! Wish I could join you. I will look forwrad to your posts. <3

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks Darlene, I’m so looking forward to exploring the prairies and how funny that we are stopping in Medicine Hat!

  • Reply
    Vlad
    June 27, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    It sounds amazing, have a great time, Lucy! Can’t wait to see your photos 😀

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Vlad, I think there might be quite a few 😉

  • Reply
    luxurycolumnist
    June 27, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    I’m sure that it will be an amazing trip, the lakes sound beautiful and I have a good friend who is originally from Toronto who tells me how great it is

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 27, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks, I’ve heard such good things about Toronto – and the scenery along the way looks lovely.

  • Reply
    lexklein
    June 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Sounds heavenly to me. We drove an almost parallel route (but east-to-west) a few summers ago just below the border, from Chicago up to Minnesota and then straight west the whole way to Montana. The plains and grasslands are utterly gorgeous – simple but awe-inspiring. I loved every minute of the drive, from the lakes to the plains to the huge forests. Enjoy!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 28, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      The US version looks like a great trip too – this might well be the start of a new road trip obsession!

  • Reply
    Hannah Butcher
    June 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    If you’re heading to Toronto’s distillery district in the evening, make sure you have the beer at Mill Street Brewery! Also, if you want food – there is a really awesome Mexican restaurant with a patio called El Catrin. It’s right around the corner in the distillery district. I keep going back when I visit the city! (http://www.elcatrin.ca/home)

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Sounds fab, I will try to check it out – love Mexican food!

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    June 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Eeeek! So exciting Lucy!! This sounds like so much fun and the lakes sound especially magical. Looking forward to following along with your updates and hae an amazing time!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

      Thanks Shikha, it’s been great so far, can’t wait to see what else is to come!

  • Reply
    flawesttexas
    June 30, 2016 at 10:23 am

    In Regina, you have to check out the Mountie academy (RCMP Depot). Quite interesting

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 3, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Thanks, I will see if we can fit it in!

  • Reply
    Penny Allen
    June 30, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Am amused by your enthusiasm. I have been on that highway so many times back and forth that it is a real chore now. Sometimes all the way from Vancouver to Thunder Bay. It sounds like you are only hitting whatever is on the #1. There is so much more a few miles north or south of the hwy. One I might mention is the Qu’Appelle valley. My advice would be to stop often and take in the sights, information centres are very good for tips and even just informative brochures. Keep your wits about you on the hwy; don’t be intimidated by anyone including the speed demons. Watch out for very bright sun directly in your eyes & if you can’t handle it pull over and take a break. No I am not a truck driver and yes, I love my country. Above all enjoy your adventure!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 3, 2016 at 12:24 am

      It’s funny how one person’s mundane is another person’s exotic! We are mostly sticking to the Trans Canada for the start as we have a lot of ground to cover but the pace slows right down later and we have lots of parks to visit and can be a bit more relaxed about it all. Trucks have been fine so far, though some of the roads are a bit bone-shaking in the RV!

  • Reply
    travelrat
    July 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I’m looking forward to this. I always thought that the Plains were rather boring and samey, and I’d be delighted to be proved wrong!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      July 3, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Thanks Keith, we will let you know how we get on!

      • Reply
        travelrat
        July 3, 2016 at 6:24 am

        Stuff like this is nearly as good as my own travels … and teaches ‘Don’t believe everything you were taught in school’ 😀

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    July 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    This looks like so much fun!! Enjoy, and can’t wait to see the pictures and stories!

  • Reply
    TicketAndTravelBlog
    July 6, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Enjoy! I live in Niagara, Ontario, and this is definitely on my list! Some parts of the Trans Canada Highway can be quite boring, so be sure to have an awesome playlist to keep you entertained between sites! Make sure you head to Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta! That is HIGH on my list!!!! And if you have time while you’re in Toronto, come up to Niagara for a wine tour! You won’t be disappointed : )

  • Reply
    Prue
    August 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    That’s a cool route, so many travellers forget the prairies and miss out on some unreal landscapes and skies. P.s What did you think of Medicine Hat?! Beautiful photos btw, takes me back to our Ultimate Canadian road trip from last year 🙂

    x

  • Reply
    jamesamcauliffe@hotmail.com
    February 1, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    where did you get the RC from?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Hi, it came from Cruise Canada and was their standard model.

  • Reply
    julie12123
    September 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I have never seen anything like this. Wow! This looks so fun – must have been an incredible experience.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      September 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, it was an amazing trip!

  • Reply
    Emil
    March 10, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Wow, awesome! Have a safe trip! I spent in Canada over a year for working holiday but I mostly stayed just in Toronto I wish I could travel more.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 15, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      Thank you – Canada is such a great country!

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