Which of these cities is worth visiting - Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa?

Hi Bridgette
As a native, which of these cities is worth visiting, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa?
We are running out of time and can really only spend a couple of days in two out of the three and can’t make up our minds which one to miss out. All three are interesting and have got something that attracts us but ……

Hello Elsie,
I would say, each of them has its own charm. But in order :
1- Quebec City. for its French immersion, the beauty of the Saint Lawrence River at that point (from Terrasse Dufferin), the old city : “Little Champlain” area. If you are into gardening, plants, flora, you would probably love this year exhibition. "Mosaïcultures Québec 2022.
Finally, if you have time and a car, push your exploration to “l’île d’Orléans”, rent a bike and go around. Bucolic !
2- Montreal. But warning. You do not want to use a car. Take the public transportation. The city is always under construction and repairs. Nightmare to drive around the orange cones but subway is a safe, clean and a delight to go everywhere.
Montréal is very cosmopolitan . You go for its festivals, thousands of excellents restaurants, “The quartier des arts” where there is always something going on, the terrasse on the top of William Gray hôtel, You also want to go on the Mont-Royal mountain (by bus or car) for its trails and take a view from there at the city skyline.
3-Ottawa. Also interesting because of its canal Rideau where you can walk, kayak, canoe. City of the parlement buildings, and the lively “By Market”. I like it during the tulips festival in spring and the “winterlude” in winter where everyone skate on the canal.

Well. these are my suggestions. When are you coming ? Will you have a car ?

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Thank you for your suggestions. Quebec is a must for us but we can’t chose between the other two.
We will be there in the last week in August, starting a sit on Lake Ontario on 1st September and we have a car but goodness knows what state it will be by then. Heading over to Newfoundland and then to Labrador soon!

For what it’s worth, I’d vote for Montreal over Ottawa. Ottawa is a nice city and I think a bit underrated but Montreal has more to see and do. It’s also much more walkable and, as @Brigitte mentioned, you will be spoiled for choice of amazing restaurants.

Where are you staying on Lake Ontario? Kingston is a nice city to visit if you are nearby.

It’s near Bath then up to Fenelon Falls. Both rural on small holdings. Look gorgeous

That’s the way we are thinking at the moment. But still to read some more. It’s one of these times I wish we could stretch time so we could see them all.

I’ve stayed in Montreal many times, stayed in Quebec and also visited on day trips, and I’ve visited Ottawa once. All quite a few years ago now. I was really interested to see what the “locals” would say, and I do agree with them.

Quebec City is a must, it’s beautiful, especially the Old Town and the views from Terrasse Dufferin are fabulous.

I love Montreal, there is so much to see and do and it’s so easy to get around with public transport. We went there 7 years in a row to see the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and we always found something new to do as well as revisiting favourite haunts. There is something for everyone.

Ottawa was nice. We visited for a day, but I think we spent half the day in a great Museum across the river from the end of the Rideau canal (so technically not in Ottawa but only a short walk across a bridge!). Musee Canadien de l’histoire? I remember a huge collection of totem poles.

If you are travelling from Montreal to Lake Ontario you should make sure to stop off in the Thousand Islands area near Kingston. We really liked the little village of Rockport and also Kingston as @Lindsay recommends

Both lovely areas. Bath is close to my neck of the woods (just across the water near Picton) depending how long you’re there for, definitely visit Kingston, it’s a pretty drive along the water on Hwy 33.

If you are into birding I would recommend a trip over to Amherst Island. It’s exceptional in the winter because there are so many snowy owls but there are loads of species all year round.

If you like beer there’s a rural farm brewery just outside Bath called MacKinnon Brothers that is a nice spot to enjoy a pint.

Enjoy & free to shoot me a message if you want any more recommendations around Bath, I know the area really well.

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{New topic created with approval of Elsie}

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Quebec City and I’lle d’Orleans are must visits! Montreal is also so wonderful and cosmopolitan but use bikes, walking or public transportation to get around (the traffic is awful!).


Thanks everyone for all this info. We will be in that area of Canada at the end of September for less than a week, but hope to be able to hit some of these highlights while we are there.


Well we made it to Ontario and our sit at Bath near Kingston. We got on the ferry to Newfoundland 9th August and arrived in Quebec City, 26th August. A total of 3500 miles (approx) over the most stunning scenery that I have ever seen and that includes Scotland. The car survived but we did need new brushes on the rear suspension which isn’t bad for a 2005 Ford Explorer.

What a journey!

We visited two of the three cities. Quebec we walked and walked and walked. A beautiful old historic city, so compact you can walk round it. It was great once you navigated the streets to find the Tourist Information and got a city map. Loved it.

Montreal is a far more modern sprally city, more difficult to navigate. I have to admit we didn’t go into the centre, wherever part that was, but walked around a beautiful wild park on the edge of the St Lawerence and drank up some sights and sounds of a huge city. Lovely walk.

We didn’t go into Ottawa as there was no time but it is earmarked for a few days stop over when we eventually fly to New Zealand and Australia. I’m hooked on Canada so that might be a long time coming.

The beautiful tranquil lakes of Newfoundland

The foggy cliffs and seascape of the most easterly point in North America

Dora the Explorer


@ElsieDownie We looked after an old lady dog we called “Dora the Explorer” :laughing: She had a tendency to find an escape route daily from her “impenetrable” (NOT) garden. No-one including her owners could work out how she got out, and so often without being noticed. One minute there, then the neighbors would be bringing her back :slight_smile: Looks like this has been a lovely escape through Canada ! Fabulous photos!! Will you continue exploring or do you have sits booked?


We have a month of sits booked in Ontario then slowly down to Annapolis for the boat show, back to the UK for three weeks then open to offers in North and Central America.
We can’t decide to go white, cold and isolated or hot, beach and fun. Last seven winters have been in or around the Caribbean so snowy would be an extreme adventure.

Next years target is to swim in Prudoe Bay, Alaska. Dip my toes in the Artic Ocean.