Road trip, Edmonton to Toronto - advice and must-sees?
April 25, 2019 10:14 AM   Subscribe

We are driving from Edmonton to Toronto over 10 days in August. (Yes, we know it's a long drive.) Looking to stay on the Canadian side of the border if it's possible. Do you have any tips for the most enjoyable route, places we should stop and things we should see along the way?

Note: Our travel days overlap with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I have been advised by a friend who works on the event to avoid the Dakotas at that time due to challenging traffic conditions and expensive lodging situations.
posted by rednikki to Travel & Transportation around Canada (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Terry fox monument in Thunder Bay
Hoito pancakes in Thunderbay
posted by exois at 10:19 AM on April 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you go south, to Calgary and then East, you could see the "Tunnels of Moose Jaw".
posted by jkaczor at 10:35 AM on April 25, 2019

Drumheller, AB
Narcisse, MB has limestone dens where the red sided garter snakes hibernate in winter. Not sure whether they are starting to come to the caves in August.
Riding Mountain Nat'l Park in Manitoba
Quetico in N. Ontario
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:43 AM on April 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

On the North shore of Lake Superior, you've really got no choice but to follow the Transcanada. Fortunately, the stretch is pretty beautiful, but plenty long. There are a bunch of suggestions in this thread about the places to stop and things to do on the North shore.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

And yes, nthing Finnish pancakes at the Hoito in Thunder Bay.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:46 AM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights, in Winnipeg, is very much worth seeing.

Are you just trying to avoid the Dakotas, or would you want to stay on the Canadian side even if the motorcycle rally wasn't happening? It's entirely possible to take a route that travels east to Winnipeg, crosses the border near Warroad, Minnesota, passes through Duluth and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, crosses the Mackinac bridge, and then re-enters Canada at Sarnia. The route doesn't enter the Dakotas at all, and it only adds one hour onto the total driving time given on Google Maps. That said, it's not the most picturesque drive from what I recall (though if you do this, be sure to spend some time at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore); Northern Ontario has more interesting scenery IIRC.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:58 AM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

If I was going to do that, I would want to go to Manitoulin Island, take the Chi-Chimaun and stop and hike some of the best parts of the Bruce Trail, just south of Tobermory.
posted by TORunner at 12:38 PM on April 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

The big question is whether you go north around Lake Superior or south and take the Michigan upper peninsula. Having done both a few times, I would personally opt for the Michigan route. If you're really into trees and nature and want to avoid any semblance of civilization, that stretch of Northern Ontario might be for you. But there are long (and I mean looooong) stretches where it's essentially just a wall of trees on either side of the highway.

I also remember way back to a Calgary -> NYC family road trip in 1989 that Duluth was surprisingly lovely.
posted by fso at 12:47 PM on April 25, 2019

I've done the trip a couple of times, but I made no effort to make it enjoyable for myself. However, I can at least recommend some Arrogant Worms for the boring parts. Canada is Really Big. Rocks and Trees.
posted by clawsoon at 1:20 PM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Clawsoon, I thought you'd beat me to it, but no, different Rocks and Trees. You might feel the same as Wendell after a hundred trips or so... otherwise I'd stay north!
posted by kate4914 at 3:33 PM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Moose Jaw's kinda cool. The continental breakfast at Grant Hall hotel is surprisingly kick-ass.

The Agawa pictographs in Lake Superior Provincial Park are cool – though the park itself is just as nice as the pictographs.

If you do dip into the states, I heartily recommend the Duluth Grill.
posted by Beardman at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2019

If you're taking the Manatoulin Island – Tobermory route, as TORunner wisely suggests, it might be nice to stop in to enjoy Sauble Beach next. Though it will be very busy on summer weekends. It's about an hour south of Tobermory, and then you have maybe a 3hr stretch left to Toronto.
posted by Kabanos at 1:13 PM on April 29, 2019

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