We spent a month in Canada. So, how was our trip?

Posted by in Mike's blog

Last month, we embarked on the biggest trip of our lives so far.  We were away for longer, we spent more time in the air, and we travelled farther on land than we ever have.  We also did it with more children – the Turtle endured his first airplane rides and he saw Canada for the first time.

We have family and friends in several different Canadian cities.  We organised our trip so we could go to as many of them as possible.  This turned out to be more tiring than we had planned for – but it was really nice to see so many loved ones.


Not part of Canada, but we spent 2 nights in China on the way.  China Eastern airlines started flying direct routes between Shanghai and Toronto last June, and this route is much cheaper than all of the others.  We opted for the longest possible layovers so we could sleep in between flights and do a bit of sightseeing!

The flights from Shanghai to Toronto and back were brutal.  On the way there we were delayed on the runway, so we had to contend with the kids for 16 hours.  We only had overhead TVs, and the movies were not in English.  Some of them had subtitles.  There was a mystery meat sandwich that I can still taste, 6 weeks later.

Bruce county, Ontario

Our first stop was Wiarton to visit Bubbe.  While we were there we rediscovered some harsh realities about what Canadians eat…they eat junk.  Food prices are quite high, and restaurants serve (mostly) fried food in extremely large portions.  Trying to find tasty, healthy food to eat for normal meals became a recurring theme for us, we totally forgot what to do without delicious rice at our disposal.

Though we were recovering from jet lag, our goals for our time in Bruce county were to spend quality time with our family while enjoying the area’s natural beauty.  Bruce is a rural area that thrives on summer tourism – and we flew further than most of the other tourists, so we made sure to enjoy ourselves!

Montreal & Lachute, Quebec

We got a rare chance to see Grandpa, who flew from Mississippi to see us.  We chose Montreal as our meeting place.  It’s out of the way, but we both grew up there and we thought it would be nice to show the kids and eat GREAT food.  We spent most of our mornings doing active things with the kids, visited restaurants that we all missed dearly, and we got lots of time with friends and extended family, too.

After we left Bruce county, we started driving around.  We had to spend a day to drive to & from Quebec.  It was far, but it was worthwhile.  Montreal is my hometown, and I hadn’t been there for a visit in 3 ½ years – that’s too long.

Montreal was the highlight of the trip for me.  We really wanted to spend more time everywhere we went, but for me – this alone made the flights worthwhile.

Huron County, Ontario

We went to another rural area to spend time with Grandma.  While we were there, we enjoyed a really, really big camping trip.  Together, we were 29 people and 100% of Mary’s immediate family.  The Bunny and the Turtle had 11 cousins to play with.  We camped for 2 days using borrowed gear and we spent some more time at Grandma’s house afterwards.  Her toy collection dwarfs ours, much to the kids’ delight.

Huron county was a big change of pace – we did less than we had been doing.  It was good to force ourselves to relax, and it was better for the Bunny and Turtle to enjoy more play time than they had at our other stops.

Kitchener, Waterloo, Iona, Vanastra & Dorchester, Ontario

We spent ⅔ of our travels with grandparents.  We made many side trips to see friends as well.  In total, we were welcomed into 15 homes, and we drove over 3000 kilometres.

All of the travelling left us pretty tired.  We wanted to see as many people as we could, but there were still so many that we didn’t get a chance to see.  Some visits were as short as an hour!  We learned that no matter how hard we try, we can’t see everyone.

Our visit to Canada was BUSY.  We saw and did more than we probably should have with 2 little kids, but we did have a great time with our friends and family.  This was a big trip for all of us.

Now, we’re happy to be back in the comfort of our home without suitcases, airplanes or anyone asking us to stop at Tim Horton’s.  We’re ready for more adventures in Japan!  Next stop: Probably the convenience store.