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Toronto and Lake Huron Area
Old 05-18-2008, 09:18 AM   #1
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Toronto and Lake Huron Area

My husband and I are planning to fly to Detroit, rent a car and drive a loop around Lake Huron. We will be going thru Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie in Canada and stopping at Mackinaw Island for a couple of days. We are planning to detour over to visit Niagara Falls also. The trip will be for about 9 days in the middle of July.

We need help on the "Don't Miss" things to see in Toronto. Has anyone got suggestions concerning Toronto (or any of our other destinations)? We are the type travelers who love to get off the beaten path and soak in the local flavor at times. We have never been to this part of the country before, so everything will be new to us.

When we retired we vowed to see all the parts of the USA that we have never seen. This is our planned "See the USA " trip for 2008, but we are throwing in a little of Canada too. We thought it would be a good summer trip and get us out of Texas and the heat.

Does anyone have any suggestions for us?
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Ontario/Michigan Drive
Old 05-18-2008, 10:11 AM   #2
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Ontario/Michigan Drive

We live in a Detroit suburb, and have visited Toronto and N. Michigan often. Some issues for your trip:

1. Toronto is a large, internatiional city. It has a wonderful Chinatown, good museums, lots of shopping, interesting neighborhoods, etc. Get a AAA tour book for Ontario, and go to Trip Advisors on line to look at hotels. A favorite of ours is Sutton Place, sometimes with reasonable deals. I would plan three days in Toronto.

2. Niagra Falls is VERY touristy. Why not stay in the Ontario wine region - Niagra on the Lake - in a B&B and drive down to the falls. Do some wine tastings/tours.

3. It's a long drive up the east side of Lake Huron to the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, I can't suggest where to stay on the way.

4. Note: Canadian dollars are 1 to 1 with US $. Use your credit or debit card to hit an ATM for Canadian funds.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:16 AM   #3
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Cruisin, I'd suggest you stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario when you visit Niagara Falls - there are better views of the Horseshoe & American Falls from Canada, and you don't have to endure crossing into Niagara Falls, NY just to go back into Canada when you're leaving. The border crossing back into the US has taken us 3-4 hours on a bad day in the summer.

Have you looked at the map & seen the distance between Lake Huron & Toronto? It's not often I read Sault Ste. Marie & Toronto in the same travel sentence - it can be done, but be ready for a few hours' lickety-split driving coming east across Ontario.

Pick your favorite ethnic neighborhood in Toronto; the whole world's represented. It's a BIG CITY with big city attractions, restaurants, etc., and friendly people.

Think about a detour from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONT. It's about 15km north (downstream) toward Lake Ontario. A neat Victorian village, home of the Shaw Festival, great restuarants/shopping, neat B&Bs, Niagara peninsula wineries [Inniskillin, Pillitiere], etc. Well worth the side trip, as long as you're in that part of Ontario.

Take your passport.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:44 AM   #4
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Thanks DougViages and OldGuy. OldGuy, we know it will be a lot of driving, but we are from Texas. Long drives are very common to us. We are looking forward to seeing country we haven't seen before. But then if you guys tell me that the drive is boring with nothing to see between Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie we might want to rethink this trip. What's the scenery like on that drive? What will we be seeing along the road.

Thanks for the suggestions. We welcome all help. Do you have any recommendations for B and B's or Hotels on the Canadian side of the Falls. I am going to start checking out hotels on TripAdvisor today.

We will be going back to Detroit from Sault Ste. Marie. What's to see and do along the way? My husband has us traveling Hwy. 75.

All input is appreciated.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:21 AM   #5
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I would definitely stay at a B&B in Niagara-on-the-lake and commute into the falls. It is a beautiful drive. Plan a day at the falls and a day in NOTL. Do it on your way to Toronto, branching off 401 through Hamilton.

If you like nature, be sure to go to The Beach in Toronto and walk the boardwalk. Try out High Park too. Head up The CN Tower for great panoramas.

On the way to The Soo, take a sidetrip into Gravenhurst to experience Muskoka.

In upper Michigan, take sidetrips to both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Drop into Port Huron to see the bridges and the river.
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cruisinthru View Post
We need help on the "Don't Miss" things to see in Toronto. Has anyone got suggestions concerning Toronto (or any of our other destinations)? We are the type travelers who love to get off the beaten path and soak in the local flavor at times. We have never been to this part of the country before, so everything will be new to us.

When we retired we vowed to see all the parts of the USA that we have never seen. This is our planned "See the USA " trip for 2008, but we are throwing in a little of Canada too. We thought it would be a good summer trip and get us out of Texas and the heat.

Does anyone have any suggestions for us?
In Toronto, be sure to take the short trip on the ferry over to the Islands City of Toronto: Ferry Schedule Summer ..for beaches, amusement park rides, boardwalk, picnicing and the like.

As others have stated, so much to see and do. A lot depends on what you like. Old Fort York if you like history. Casa Loma if you like old mansions. Toronto has a lot of neat summertime street fairs, etc. that you might be in town to catch. How about a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game? Tons of great ethnic restaurants. Fun, different neighborhoods List of neighbourhoods in Toronto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (e.g. Chinatown, Kensington Market) with great "street scenes".

In the Canadian Niagara Falls region -- they have beautiful parks, an interesting trip behind the Falls, a neat hydroelectric dam to visit, the Welland canal to see the boats moving thru the locks, a relatively new casino (if you're into gambling), historic Fort George at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Make sure to see the lighted Falls, from the Canadian side (right after dusk).

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Old 05-18-2008, 05:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I notice no one has said anything about the Detroit area. Is there nothing to see in Detroit and surrounding area?
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:52 PM   #8
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Just keep driving northeast and include Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. For my money, much more interesting than TO.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:26 PM   #9
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Just my 2 cents but if your going to see the country, traveling I-75 will look just like any other e-way. You need to hug the shoreline to see and feel the Great Lakes. The Saint Clair River and the Detroit River are something to see. The lake freighters and pleasure craft etc. In Sault St Marie there is a freighter that you can take tours on. The Edmond Fitzgerald museum is just to the West a few miles. In Toranto we went to the CN Tower for lunch to get better prices and got the glass elevator ride free. The butterfly exhibit in Niagra is nice. Just north of town is their park with lots of flowers. Downtown area Niagara is full of Believe it or not arcades and such. China town in Toronto is something to see that many orientals in one spot. They have trolly cars there. Also went to a dinner theater where we sat at long tables and met many Canadians, it was interesting to hear them talk of vacationing in Cuba. Something I don't think much about living here in the states. Canadian beer is quite powerful as I think I remember. Niagara Island accessable from the American side is a good place to get a close up view of the rapids above the falls. There is and old restaurant on the American side between the island and the bridge to Canada that is historical tudor style that is worth trying, we liked it. Down River at Niagara on the Lake there were nice cafe's on the street to eat at and get the feel of the town. Bought a case of pear wine with some German name Gaworstraminer or something like that. Very good. There is a ferry from Tobermory across Lake Huron that will save you some time and nice views as well. Tobermory has a nice water fall as well as I remember. London Ontario has Shakespere plays going on all summer also. The Great Lakes are truly magnificent. The most fresh clear water you will ever see, and then to see it going over the falls is inspiring. Hope you have a good time.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:13 PM   #10
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Is there nothing to see in Detroit and surrounding area?
Detroit has a lot of automotive-related stuff.

In Dearborn (a Detroit 'burb), check out the Henry Ford Museum (now known as "The Henry Ford") The Henry Ford: America's Greatest History Attraction with all sorts of cars, locomotives, mementos of American history IMAX theater, etc. and Greenfield Village is next door (lots of historic buildings like Thomas Edison's laboratory and the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop, relocated from various places around the country). If you are interested, they also offer a tour of a local Ford truck plant.

Historic mansions of the auto barons abound (Henry Ford's Fair Lane in Dearborn, Edsel Ford's house in Grosse Pointe, Dodge's Meadowbrook Hall, the 4th largest historic home in the U.S., MBH Home - Meadow Brook Hall - Oakland University , etc.). Cranbrook was designed by Albert Kahn and the Saarninen house by Eliel Saarinen (art museum, house and 40 acres of gardens) Cranbrook CEC

Detroit Institute of Art The Detroit Institute of Arts just completed a massive updating and is worth seeing.

If the Tigers are in town, stop at Comerica Park and take in a baseball game.

If you like casinos, Detroit has 3 downtown (Motor City, MGM Grand and Greektown) and Caesar's just acquired ownership of the one across the river in Windsor, Canada.

Speaking of Greektown -- it's right in downtown Detroit and has great Greek restaurants.

Speaking of Windsor, the waterfront along the river is much more accessible on the Windsor side and you get a great view of the Detroit skyline. Windsor has a great Italian neighborhood along Erie street with great restaurants.

If you'll be in the Detroit -Windsor area on June 23, plan on seeing the largest fireworks show in the world. Festival and Fireworks It's on 3 huge barges anchored in the middle of the Detroit River and it takes their crew 5 days to get everything set up. The best viewing (and smallest crowds) is from the Windsor side of the river. Dieppe Park is right on the river and has great sight lines to see the aerial explosions reflected on the facades of the Detroit skyscrapers.

Ann Arbor, home of the Univ. of Michigan, is about 50 miles west of Detroit and is a nice college town. Good for walking around. Check out Zingerman's Deli for great sandwiches (They just won an Esquire award for their beef brisket 'wich, voted one of the Top 10 Sandwiches in the U.S.)

If you are looking for some other nice walkable neighborhoods in the suburbs, Royal Oak and Plymouth both have cute downtown areas, with shopping and restaurants.

As someone else stated, fresh water (Great Lakes and inland lakes) is a huge attraction in Michigan (a state that claims more coastline than the entire U.S. has on the East Coast and, supposedly, no one in Michigan is more than 6 miles from a body of water). Lots of great fishing and water sports. Bishop Lake in Brighton Recreation Area (in Brighton, MI) is a nice inland lake with clean water and a nice little beach area, with canoes for rent. Diamond Jack's has a nice cruise on the Detroit River Diamond Jack's River Tours

If you like auto racing, there are a number of local dragstrips (one is in Milan, MI) and racetracks (Michigan International Speedway and Waterford Hills Racetrack) to visit.

If you are into military aviation, Selfridge Air National Guard Base http://www.miself.ang.af.mil/ near Mt. Clemons has a museum and some planes that you can crawl around. They host a large air show in mid-July.

If you are into model trains, there's a little Lionel museum in Chesterfield (Note: advance reservations required)Untitled Document

Mid-August brings the annual Woodward Dream Cruise The Woodward Dream Cruise | Classic Cars, Hot Rods, Muscle Cars, Custom Vehicles, and the Nostalgia of Fifties and Sixties! -- the world's largest one-day celebration of car culture that attracts about 40,000 vehicles and a million people from all over the country.

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Old 05-19-2008, 05:22 AM   #11
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If i was doing that trip i'd go for the scenery and skip Toronto,from Detroit i'd head to Sarnia then take rt 21 up the east side of Huron stopping in Goderich and Sauble beach then explore the Bruce Peninsula with maybe a side trip to Collingwood and Wasaga beach,Then take the ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin island and explore that for a while then over to Sault Ste Marie and south down the other side of the lake.
There is so much to do on a trip like this that you could spend a year but fortunately we have Google to let you know whats happening at each locale you intend to visit.
If you do go to Toronto which could be a whole trip in itself 3 days should give you enough time to take a walk up and down Yonge st.walk around the lake front area,take the ferry out to the islands,take the subway and check out one of the best science centers i've ever been in.Do the CN tower,dine in some of the ethnic neighborhoods,walk the Beaches area.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:16 PM   #12
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Thanks DougViages and OldGuy. OldGuy, we know it will be a lot of driving, but we are from Texas. Long drives are very common to us. We are looking forward to seeing country we haven't seen before. But then if you guys tell me that the drive is boring with nothing to see between Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie we might want to rethink this trip. What's the scenery like on that drive? What will we be seeing along the road.

Thanks for the suggestions. We welcome all help. Do you have any recommendations for B and B's or Hotels on the Canadian side of the Falls. I am going to start checking out hotels on TripAdvisor today.

We will be going back to Detroit from Sault Ste. Marie. What's to see and do along the way? My husband has us traveling Hwy. 75.

All input is appreciated.
I grew up in Buffalo, went to college in Michigan and have done portions of this drive. Check out this trip:

Fly into detroit, head North in Michigan up I-75 and stop in Frankenmuth. Check out Bonners and enjoy some good German food. There are outlets at 2-3 places along the I-75 route.

Double back on I-75 and head south into Flint. Take I-69 EAST to Port Huron (Sarnia) and cross into Canada there. At intersection of I-75, US-23 and I-69 in Flint there is a real good cigar bar and microbrewery. Forgot the name, but beer was EXCELLENT. Hill St exit, in same parking lot as Marriot-courtyard.

take I-69 to Blue water bridge (where st clair river meets lake Huron). No parking on bridge, but have the passenger take some pictures when at apex.

Take the 402-403-401 route to Toronto (about 240 miles) or Niagra Falls (200 miles). I second the comment to stay on Canadian side for tourism in Niagara falls. I visted the falls once per year growing up (at least) and the Canadian side is much more fun. If you like tig bitty bars, check out Lundy's Lane. I will also second the wine tasting and Niagara on the lake comments.

In Toronto, do the CN tour (on a clear day you can see the falls 80 miles away). There is an underground mall which follows the subway. There is the hockey hall of fame.

You could then do one of two things. Drive around Lake Ontario or drive around Lake Huron. I would suggest heading up EAST across Canada and going to Montreal. Quebec and Ontario will be different. Maybe stop in Ottawa and check out the Canadian Capital. Cross from Ottawa back into states (you will be in northern NY or Vermont). Then you have more choices. Copperstown (baseball hall of fame), Fort Ticonderoga, Thousand Islands and similar in Upstate NY and Adirondack mountains. The head WEST either on I-90 or I-86.

I-90 will take you into Buffalo and by lake Erie again. Then stop in Cleveland and do some rock and roll hall of fame and football hall of fame. Then stop at Cedar point. Then finish in Detroit.

Or take I-86 down to southern tier of NYS. Do some wine tasting in finger lakes and relax in finger lakes. If you do this, plan for 2 full days in the finger lakes. I recomend staying in Watkins glen. Avoid the weekend with the NASCAR race and Watkins Glen will make you think you are in middle of nowhere with lots of wine country surrounding you.

Then take I-86 to I-90 and you will be just outside of Erie PA. Or take US-15 south into Gettysburg and do that, then head WEST on I-70 back to Ohio, then back into Detroit.

Detroit is really a Northern Ohio Subrurb. LOL.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:43 PM   #13
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Take the 402-403-401 route to Toronto (about 240 miles) or Niagra Falls (200 miles). I second the comment to stay on Canadian side for tourism in Niagara falls. I visted the falls once per year growing up (at least) and the Canadian side is much more fun. If you like tig bitty bars, check out Lundy's Lane. I will also second the wine tasting and Niagara on the lake comments.
Don't go to Toronto first if you want the falls. Take the turnoff for Hamilton from 401 and head to NOTL. Book ahead because it is a hot tourist destination (one of the best in the region). Have fun.

BTW all of the suggestions here are good. I have travelled all the routes suggested and none of them will fail to impress you.

(Lived in Toronto, London, Sarnia, been to Tobermoray, many times to Muskoka, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit. The Soo...)

I think going to Quebec, Ottawa, etc. is a great destination but just too far for your current plans. If this one goes well consider another trip.
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Old 05-28-2008, 11:56 PM   #14
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How to spend one day in Toronto:

Narrative : Destination Guides : Travel : Sympatico / MSN
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:33 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

So far our trip is shaping up well. We are spending one night in Cleveland (Rock and Roll Museum). We were able to snag a four star room for $60 in Cleveland and are hoping to get lucky in other stops along the way. Have any of you been to the museum and can you give me an idea of about how much time to allot to seeing it.

We have booked a room at a B and B in Niagara on the Lake after first hearing about it here. The room was pricey but it looks like a place that we will really enjoy. We will be staying two nights there.

We are then off to Toronto. After doing much research we think we want to stay in the downtown area. Is that a good choice for tourist like us? We are ready to bid on Priceline. We will be spending three nights in Toronto.
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Toronto, eh ?
Old 05-29-2008, 04:01 PM   #16
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Toronto, eh ?

Hi,

Live in Toronto right now and you'll like it. Like Ustinov said, New York run by the Swiss. If you like "yuppie" inside information and deals, check out
Toronto Life: Home information about restaurants, neighborhoods, etc..

For a downtown hotel, try the Delta Chelsea. Good rooms, nice roof top bar... it's where the wife and I stay when we're stuck downtown. The Toronto downtown is like a small Manhattan (small) and pretty safe by American standards.

I have family that live on the east shore of Huron north of Toronto. Don't bother going that way. Miles upon miles of endless boring forest. Kind of like your East Texas plains with but with trees. Drive up to Tobermory (beautiful scenery at the top on the Escarpment) and then take the ferry from there Ontario Ferries - Owen Sound Transportation Company over to Manitoulin. It'll shave off hours.

Lastly, the Mackinaw Bridge. People from Michigan can tell you. Damn scary in during anything over a moderate breeze... )
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Toronto hotels
Old 05-29-2008, 06:42 PM   #17
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Toronto hotels

I'll second the Delta Chelsea. Big hotel, all the facilities, not pretty or a luxury place, very central, good for families which have their own pool and waterslide. Rooms are small and some are dated. Adult pool deck on the top floor is nice. Downtown Toronto Hotel Entertainment District Hotel Packages Hotels

Or you could try the Holiday Inn on King Street West. Holiday Inn TORONTO Hotels | TORONTO-ON KING (DOWNTOWN) | Welcome

which is just a block or so from the Royal Alexandra Theatre mirvish.com | TWELVE ANGRY MEN

and the Rogers Centre Rogers Centre - Home Page

and Spadina Avenue Spadina Avenue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you are feeling more extravagant, try the Fairmont Royal York Toronto Hotels: The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

which is across the street from Union Station.

Disclaimer: While I have had good experiences as a guest in all these hotels, my preferences may not be the same as yours.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:30 PM   #18
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The Chelsea is in a great location. The Harbourfront complex is very tony but you always have to head north for the action. There are many funky B&Bs but you really have to do your research. I found one for $40/night but it was out in Erin Mills. I had a car but the driving was not fun.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:57 AM   #19
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hope this isn't too late! but there are some awesome things you can do here in the city that are free. one cool thing in the summer is when they have free movie nights (with licensed bar) down by the waterfront. it's awesome because a) it's free b)you can buy booze! and c) it's right next to the lake in a nice setting! they play some awesome movies too, i put the flyer below:

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Old 07-21-2008, 01:57 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. We leave in the morning on our trip. It has been hotter than h*** here in Texas so we are looking forward to some cooler weather. After reading all the suggestions we are flying in and out of Detroit. We drive to Cleveland and see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (one night stay....) and then off to Niagara on the Lake for two nights, three nights Toronto, the ferry to Matatoulin Island and one night, Mackinaw Island for two nights, and back to Detroit for the last night.

When I started this thread I had not heard of a ferry to an island at the upper edge of of Lake Huron or a little town called Niagara on the Lake for that matter. I had no idea what to see or do in Toronto. Thanks for the suggestions. We will let everyone know how our little adventure turns out.
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