Stephanie, from the Newmarket Holidays Reservations team, recently joined passengers on our ‘Canada’s Maple Leaf Trail’ escorted tour and has shared some of her highlights with us.
Working with Newmarket Holidays for over five years, Steph has developed somewhat of a love for exploration – promising herself she will not visit the same place twice. Though she has always enjoyed a relaxing beach holiday, her preferred trips strike a balance between relaxation, a spot of sightseeing and at least a dash of cultural exchange.
It’s probably time we let Steph takeover and tell us about Canada’s Maple Leaf Trail:
Not realising Canada is over 40 times the size of the UK, I had no clue of the scale of the country; the vast wildernesses and the huge gulfs between cities can make for a lot of travelling and a potential logistical nightmare – so I was very glad I would be with a knowledgeable tour manager for the entire trip.
The tour was a wonderful introduction to Canada and all that its east coast has to offer. We had the opportunity to explore some amazing cities: Toronto, Montreal and Quebec, as well as the country’s administrative capital city, Ottawa. We stopped off at the beautifully rugged Thousand Islands, where Lake Ontario meets the St Lawrence River – there are actually over 1,800 islands. And we stood awestruck below the bellowing Niagara Falls, putting a tick right at the top of my personal bucket-list, all the time surrounded by the country’s famous fall colours.
Niagara was a particular high point for me; I was mesmerised by the thunder, the spray and the sheer volume of water. Since my return I have been asked several times which side of the falls is better – I personally feel Canada is by far the best because of the panoramic views and photo opportunities, it was a sight I will never forget.
Our tour manager Gloria and driver Byron were amazing; they were full of knowledge and insight, answering everyone’s question while having a great sense of humour – making the trip that bit more special. We travelled in October which was the perfect time to see the beautiful fall colours, with the added bonus of some marvellous pumpkin displays for Halloween.
Steph’s top tips
– Make sure you don’t miss out on the optional helicopter flight over Niagara Falls – it gives you the ultimate bird’s eye view of all three of the falls! I’m not one for heights but this was one of the BEST things I have ever done and an absolute highlights of this tour.
– You can’t go to Toronto and not visit the famous CN Tower – I faced my fears and braved the 553-metre tower with amazing 360-degree views of the city and a revolving restaurant, definitely worth a visit! Will you brave the glass floor?
– The optional city tour in Montreal is a must; it takes in all the major sights including the somewhat peculiar ‘underground city’.
– The Quebec City walking tour is wonderful, taking you on a walk around the old town which has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s filled with cobbled streets, incredible architecture that is up to four centuries old and has a 130 year old funicular to the upper town – what more do you want?