After the show stopping Niagara Falls we drove through the busy city of Toronto and set our sights on Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. The whiteout we had just experienced in Barrie had dumped plenty of snow in Toronto to get what seemed to be every snowplow on earth moving. The sidewalks and parking lots were packed with snow.
The sun was setting and it was time to find a place for the night. The iOverlander app to the rescue. We routed our way to Woodbine Park Beach after stopping at the best grocery store I've ever been in, Loblaws Supermarket.
If you find this parking spot we went to in Woodbine Park Beach on Google Earth, it would look like this...
That is not how it looks after a big snow storm. When we arrived we engaged 4-wheel drive and plowed through the thick fluffy snow with no issue. We saw a few other folks struggle quite a bit but ultimately make it back out. While we were there a huge snow plow came in and started clearing the lot. They came so close to the van we could not believe they didn't hit us or bury us under the snow. Here is the sea of snow we drove into...
We left nice and early and aimed for Ottawa and a shoe store. Darin and I both bought some rugged boots for this kind of weather. Considering the price we paid, we were really bummed when Darin realized there was an unfortunate defect in his. Redback boots are made in Australia and supply boots to their soldiers so we felt the company would want to hear about this.
Darin emailed them and told them what the problem was. He got a very quick response from Paul with Redback Boots directing us to Glebe Trotters in Ottawa. We went straight there and Chris, Owen and Paul attempted to fix the problem for a few minutes and then came out with a brand new pair of boots! What a great group of guys! If ever in Ottawa, and in the mood to buy shoes, go to Glebe Trotters. They know what customer service is all about.
We told them we drove from San Diego so they directed us down Bank Street to see Parliament before we got back on the road to Montreal. These old historic buildings are so grand! My picture taking skills don't do them justice at all. The farther east we drove the more magnificent the buildings became.
We had planned to get out and walk around for a better look. The parking situation for a 23+ foot high roof Sprinter Van proved to be a struggle. The bitter cold made us rethink the idea so we continued east.
I really wanted to be somewhere for the evening with Wifi so I could pay bills and try to catch up on writing (typing). Once we reached Rigaud we found a Tim Horton's that filled the need.
It was a busy parking lot so once I did what I needed on the Wifi, we moved to a less busy area. The IGA grocery store had a side lot that was pretty quiet so we settled in for the evening.
Montreal is a very old and beautiful city on the St Lawrence River. The streets were tight and the snow and ice of course added to the challenge. We persevered and found a nice spot to park.
It really was time to walk around, cold or not. We visited Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel first and learned of her amazing journey and accomplishments. This is a must see.
Since there is no indoor dining we visited a couple of impressive shops and art galleries and headed to Quebec City.
On the way there we stopped for some poutine near Weeden. A great little place that makes cheese. They served the poutine over fries with cheese curd. The squeakiest food I've ever eaten.
Quebec City immediately hit the top of our list to return to in warmer temps. It is absolutely beautiful and very old. There are so many places to see again filled with old world charm. The streets were tight, curvy and steep. With buildings well over 400 years old Montreal and Quebec City are well worth revisiting. St Lawrence River is an impressive sight to behold, the floating ice will tell you just how cold it was.
Grand Falls, New Brunswick was our next stop. This town loves their pizza and so do we! Le Grand Saut Ristorante served up the best pizza we've had in some time. Still no indoor dining in New Brunswick. This adds another challenge to traveling in a converted sprinter van that we had not taken into account. One of the reasons we had been eating out as much as we have is to get out of the van and meet the locals. With this literally off the table we moved on.
Nova Scotia, here we come. When entering Nova Scotia we had to show passports/ID and vaccine records again at the border. To show what a small world it is, one of the border agents was from Oceanside, California. She and the other agent chatted us up about the van and we asked about the Freedom Convoy for the truckers. There were flags, trucks, honking cars and banner waving spectators lining the highways.
We entered Halifax and stayed down by the water. Nova Scotia allows indoor dining so we enjoyed a fabulous meal of fish and chips for me and a steak for Darin. We then decided that Meat Cove is our destination before heading back to the US.