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Author Topic: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??  (Read 5085 times)

MXMagnum

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2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:00:53 PM »
Working on where to start planning for next summer's family vacation - and leaning toward a trip to Ontario.  I live about 60 miles SW of Chicago and was thinking of going up thru Michigan and crossing into Canada at Sault Ste Marie.  From there make the trip along the North side of Lake Superior, visit Thunder Bay, then back home thru Minnesota and Wisconsin.  All said, looking at 1.5 - 2 weeks of traveling.

What sites do I need to have on the list to see and do?  We like to hike, bike, visit museums, and see historical markers.  Also, any recommendations on RV Parks along the way is also appreciated.  Not opposed to deviating from initial route as I am not familiar with the area and not sure what all there is available.

This summer we did Yellowstone, and in 2011 went to Mt Rushmore/Badlands/Black Hills.  Both fast paced, great vacations and we were always on the run.  Looking to have a relaxing trip next year, with some time just to sit back, relax, and enjoy.

As far as timing, probably late May/early June after the kids are out of school.

Thank you in advance for all the replies!!
Pete

Pete and Marsha (Plus Kids and Dog)
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CDN_Taxman

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 03:09:58 PM »
First, I'd say to do your trip the other direction. The northshore of Superior is better seen travelling south between Wawa and SSM than it would be heading north.

What kind of campsites are you looking for? Full service, electric only or battery? It has been said that Americans marvel at our Provincial campgrounds because they are all treed and very private. None have water at the sites, but there is power as select sites which will fill up quickly.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is a must see! Spectacular view from the boat lauch.

Otherwise, have a great trip!

Mike
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MXMagnum

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 03:21:22 PM »
Thanks Mike, seems like I do everything backward the first time   :o.  As far a hookups, we would prefer electric as a minimum, but water would be a plus. 
Pete and Marsha (Plus Kids and Dog)
2012 RAM 1500 Bighorn- K&N Intake, AirLift 1000 Bags, BedRug, Access Lorado Tonneau Cover, WeatherTech Floorliners, with more mods to come.
2006 KZ JAG - Stock except for the addition of tank rinser nozzles in both tanks.

Can't wait to camp

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 07:17:43 PM »
Hi Pete
I am from Canada and looking to stay in Canada (we just bought our first trailer (we get it in May)) for this years vacation. We are considering Manitoba but I was also considering Thunderbay. So I am looking forward to hearing what people say to you.
On an other note if your looking for somewhere nice Kingston is really beautiful and has a lot of really great things to do that the kids will love. Also Niagara Falls is great if you are looking for really touristy things to do.
Good luck
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muskoka guy

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 09:26:22 AM »
mmm

muskoka guy

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 09:34:01 AM »
i live in muskoka. we are known as cottage country around here because of all the beautiful lakes. i use the provincial park system here in ontario a lot. the parks are always clean and  have good services . most have dump  stations. if you look on the ontario provincial parks website it tells you what each park has and the cost. most average about $40 per night for a full service campsite with free dumping. in muskoka we have several parks including algonquin provincial park. it is huge and has many different camp areas, hiking trails, museums  and galleries. i would recommend reservations as some of the more popular parks can get booked up well in advance. good luck

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2012, 10:30:25 AM »
We have traveled quite a bit in Canada and have been through Ontario on several occasions.  Just an FYI, the Ontario Provincial Parks are outlandishly expensive.  You might want to stay in private camping facilities.

There is a very nice RV park in Thunder Bay and when my "senior moment" clears up I'll come up with the name.

Marsha~
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bucks2

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2012, 11:03:07 AM »
If you're traveling from the US to Canada think really hard about whether you need a cell phone. The roaming rates are astronomical if you plan in advance and add Canada roaming to your plan, and you'll need 3 trips to the proctologist if you don't. My plan, if I EVER go back to Canada, what with their high prices, poor service and poor exchange on the dollar nowdays, is to just turn the phone off and leave it off until I leave Canada again.

Verizon was absolutely the worst provider last summer on my trip. Over 8 hours with customer service trying to make the phone and five spot work, which they eventually said just wasn't going to happen until I went back to the US. Then they wanted to charge me almost $300 for phone and data service which I couldn't use. The phone would try to reload the program each day for 3 days, fail to load, but use 300 minutes of data at exactly the same time, every day. Verizon customer service said that was me "using data" so I had to pay for it. Finally after 6 hours arguing the bill I found one person who looked at it and said that no one could log on at exactly the same time and use exactly the same amount of data 3 days in a row.

Family vacation to Canada, hold onto your wallet and don't take a phone.

Ken

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2012, 11:10:46 AM »
Ken, we were just in Canada going to and from Alaska.  We have a Verizon phone and called to add the "Canada plan" for $20.00.  It worked very well.  However using a data plan is extremely expensive, so we used campground WiFi which actually worked very well.  With the Canada "added on plan" we got the same minutes and no roaming cost that we have in the states.

Pete, watch your phone usage in close to the US/Canada border.  If you do not get the Canada plan added to a Verizon phone, you will be "dinged" with out of country calls which are costly.

We also have an ATT phone.  Their Canada plan was horrible so we avoided it and just used the Verizon.

Marsha~
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RoyM

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2012, 01:07:01 PM »
Pete, watch your phone usage in close to the US/Canada border.  If you do not get the Canada plan added to a Verizon phone, you will be "dinged" with out of country calls which are costly.
Marsha~
We live a short distance from the border, if we get too close I get a text message that welcomes me to the American provider so I don't use the phone.
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bucks2

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 11:14:34 AM »
Marsha, you must not have a "smart" Verizon phone? Any of the so-called smart phones require that you have a data plan with them which is IIRC $50 per phone plus $25 per 100 MB (yes MB not Gig). I used to put the phones, pre smart phone, on the US/Canada plan and it was fairly inexpensive. I forgot that some folks still have the old style, since I'm generally one of the last to adopt new technology.

Ken

muskoka guy

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 10:09:23 PM »
i havent found many private campgrounds that charged much less than $40 per night. the good thing about the provincial parks system is you can access the entire province on their website. the quality of the parks are always high and you dont end up in a dump when you get there. you can always stay at the walmart rv park for less.

ticat900

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2012, 10:30:43 AM »
If you're traveling from the US to Canada think really hard about whether you need a cell phone. The roaming rates are astronomical if you plan in advance and add Canada roaming to your plan, and you'll need 3 trips to the proctologist if you don't. My plan, if I EVER go back to Canada, what with their high prices, poor service and poor exchange on the dollar nowdays, is to just turn the phone off and leave it off until I leave Canada again.

Verizon was absolutely the worst provider last summer on my trip. Over 8 hours with customer service trying to make the phone and five spot work, which they eventually said just wasn't going to happen until I went back to the US. Then they wanted to charge me almost $300 for phone and data service which I couldn't use. The phone would try to reload the program each day for 3 days, fail to load, but use 300 minutes of data at exactly the same time, every day. Verizon customer service said that was me "using data" so I had to pay for it. Finally after 6 hours arguing the bill I found one person who looked at it and said that no one could log on at exactly the same time and use exactly the same amount of data 3 days in a row.

Family vacation to Canada, hold onto your wallet and don't take a phone.

Ken
Not true as far as Veizon phone goes.I have friends that vist up here in BC and their phones work perfectly fine and they claim no extra charges over standard LD rates etc.As far as poor service? poor service for what? U can go anywhere in North America and get poor service at one time or another and "Poor dollar exchange" Our dollar has been equal or better than the us dollar.Everyone knows to exchange their money at a bank before hand.WHY would anyone exspect some grocery store or bar etc to be a foreighn exchange station?

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2012, 10:34:51 AM »
Quote
Marsha, you must not have a "smart" Verizon phone?

Ken, we were using our smartphone.  All we did is turn off the wifi/internet portion.  The mobile part worked fine.  We also did not use the GPS portion; instead used our stand alone Garmin GPS we've used long before we got the smart phone.

Marsha~
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bucks2

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 06:47:06 PM »
Not true as far as Veizon phone goes.I have friends that vist up here in BC and their phones work perfectly fine and they claim no extra charges over standard LD rates etc.As far as poor service? poor service for what? U can go anywhere in North America and get poor service at one time or another and "Poor dollar exchange" Our dollar has been equal or better than the us dollar.Everyone knows to exchange their money at a bank before hand.WHY would anyone exspect some grocery store or bar etc to be a foreighn exchange station?

Per the Verizon web site, the roaming charge from Canada is .69 cents per minute, text messaging is 20 cents per message, per recipient. Go there yourself and see what's true.
For data Verizon says: "You can use your PC card, ExpressCard™, USB modem, BlackBerry® device or Smartphone to browse the Internet and access email and corporate intranets while roaming in Canada, Mexico and other destinations. If you are on a Nationwide Plan, you will also receive the benefits of wireless data roaming in Canada, Mexico and other destinations.
 •In the Canadian Broadband and Canadian Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Areas, usage will be charged at a rate of $0.002 per KB or $2.05 per MB."

Again, unless you are certain you have turned off all data capability of your phone, including Applications automatic updates, etc your bill will be outrageous. I'm encouraged that Marsha says it can be done. The Verizon rep I talked to said that it was virtually impossible to make sure that a smart phone would not use data at some point. My particular instance this year involved an automatic update from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich while crossing from US to Canada which Verizon said was automatically pushed from Motorola and could not be stopped, and which disabled the phones data capability until it was physically back in the US and could connect to a US cell tower. However the phone did try to get the update on 3 more consecutive days which they wanted to charge me roaming rates for even though I had purchased the US + Canada plan.

As short as 5 years ago the exchange rate was up to $147 Canadian for $100 US. Today (12/10/12 @ 1620) the US Dollar gets 98.6 cents Canadian. That certainly sounds like a poor exchange rate for the US citizen to me. That is the official exchange rate, not counting the "service charge" of up to 3% the bank charges. I've not found a single Canadian bank that doesn't charge an exchange fee for customers who do not have an account with them. Do you know of one? I've changed money at one time or another at virtually every Canadian bank chain in virtually every city on the Salish Sea, from Victoria to Vancouver to Campbell River. I've taken my boat up for summer vacation in Canada every year for the past 32 years. Exchanging money is not a new activity for me.

The only US credit card I can find that doesn't charge up to a 3% service fee for using it in Canada is Capitol One. Every other card I've looked into charges a "foreign exchange" fee. Again a poor dollar exchange for a US citizen.

The square burger Wendys meal that I buy in the US for $5.93 tax included is only $7.21 tax included in Nanaimo. That too is not an attractive exchange for the US citizens dollar.

Ken

ticat900

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2012, 07:48:16 PM »
Sorry not talking about Internet.I was Strickly talking cell phone. Cell phone according to my friends was not exspensive at all? U can go almost anywhere in BC and get free wifi if u need internet or go to internet cafe and but time real real cheap
when I was talking about dollar I was talking last 5 years.5 years ago I paid .985 CDN for one us dollar.It has not been 1.47 for many years( at least 10 years or more).It went to 1.18 4 years ago for brief time and then back to even mostly.So what if the dollars even now.That has no bearing on your so called "poor exchange rate" It is what is and has always been that way.To sit there and cry that u got a bad exchange rate is rediculous.It is what is at the time you travel. No I would not use a US CC. I would go and exchange the money before i left home with the Bank I deal at as it seems its alway a better deal(convertion charge) I pay .75% when I change my money at the bank i deal at.CC companys all change 3% on both sides. If U have been exchanging for 32 years you really should be a lot more learned than your coming across as here?
This quote:
The square burger Wendys meal that I buy in the US for $5.93 tax included is only $7.21 tax included in Nanaimo. That too is not an attractive exchange for the US citizens dollar.
This statement of yours does not make ant sense at all. The price of the wendys burger is higher in nanaimo than where u live? so what? it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the dollar rate.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 07:55:08 PM by ticat900 »

bucks2

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2012, 11:06:23 PM »
Sorry not talking about Internet.I was Strickly talking cell phone. Cell phone according to my friends was not exspensive at all? U can go almost anywhere in BC and get free wifi if u need internet or go to internet cafe and but time real real cheap
when I was talking about dollar I was talking last 5 years.5 years ago I paid .985 CDN for one us dollar.It has not been 1.47 for many years( at least 10 years or more).It went to 1.18 4 years ago for brief time and then back to even mostly.So what if the dollars even now.That has no bearing on your so called "poor exchange rate" It is what is and has always been that way.To sit there and cry that u got a bad exchange rate is rediculous.It is what is at the time you travel. No I would not use a US CC. I would go and exchange the money before i left home with the Bank I deal at as it seems its alway a better deal(convertion charge) I pay .75% when I change my money at the bank i deal at.CC companys all change 3% on both sides. If U have been exchanging for 32 years you really should be a lot more learned than your coming across as here?
This quote:
The square burger Wendys meal that I buy in the US for $5.93 tax included is only $7.21 tax included in Nanaimo. That too is not an attractive exchange for the US citizens dollar.
This statement of yours does not make ant sense at all. The price of the wendys burger is higher in nanaimo than where u live? so what? it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the dollar rate.

There is some truth to what you're saying. Obviously you went and looked up the exchange rate to pull 1.18 from 4 years ago. You forgot to mention that 10 years ago the rate wasn't 1.47 as I'd pulled off the top of my head. Rather it was 1.57 average in November 2002. Even better than I'd remembered.

Let me explain it real simple. If I can buy a hamburger for $1.00 in the US. And I can buy the same hamburger for 20% more in Canada it costs $1.20. But, if I get a 1.40% exchange rate then I'm 20 cents ahead. That's a good exchange rate for me. When the Canadian dollar and the US dollar are at par and the prices in Canada are 20% higher then that is a bad exchange rate for me.

"U can go almost anywhere in BC and get free wifi" No, free wifi is not available in, for instance Montague Harbor, Sullivan Bay, or Octopus Bay, all provincial parks, all in BC. One has to have a decent external antenna and booster to pick up any cell signals in those places. In highly populated areas wifi is common, in small villages and provincial parks it is non-existant. 65 cents a minute  for Verizon voice service is not "real cheap" to me, perhaps we have different definitions of real cheap.

 "CC companys all change 3% on both sides." Absolutely false. Capitol One does not charge an exchange fee. They charge only the official exchange rate at the time of posting the charge.

I'm done with you,
Ken

ticat900

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 10:39:22 AM »
"CC companys all change 3% on both sides." Absolutely false. Capitol One does not charge an exchange fee. They charge only the official exchange rate at the time of posting the charge.

then instead of complaining? that,s what u should use.U can complain about the poor US dollar against the CDN all day long on here but no matter what you think or say it has no bearing on what your paying for your wendys hamburger and is a mute comparison.Also sullivin bay is an extremely poor example of wifi location as its a small fishing guide camp only accesable by boat or plane and really is not a town at all.Its a floating log camp is all
we were disdusing normal everyday RV travellers here and none of what u say really has any bearing on what the OP question was or is  Except to use a capitol one card if they dont want to exchange their funds before they leave
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 10:41:00 AM by ticat900 »

muskoka guy

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 03:50:41 PM »
look up www.travelontario.net it takes a few minutes to navigate but you might get some info. each area you are going to would have a chamber of commerce that promotes local business. if you google each area you could probably get info from them. welcome to canada

BCinTOR

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Re: 2013 Family Vacation - Canada??
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 07:12:11 PM »
I recommend that you do the reverse of what I do since I'm a Canadian that travels to the U.S.  I have an unlocked smartphone (Nexus 4) and buy a prepaid SIM card from a U.S. Carrier.  I forward my Canadian cell number to the US number then switch the SIM.  My wife and I can use both of our phones for 2 weeks state side and pay $100 for pretty much unlimited phone calls and data.

Canadian roaming fees for trips to the US are even worse then American roaming fees when you're in Canada.
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