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Our first trip by rental car around Canada. Tips on car rent

Our first trip by rental car around Canada. Tips on car rent

We decided to rent a car and travel around Canada. Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Algonquin, Toronto. To rent a car you need an international driving licence, a credit card. Parkings are paid mainly.

Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Our first trip by car across Canada was from the East Coast to the West.

There is only one direct flight from Russia to Canada, Moscow–Toronto. We decided to drive first to the east of Canada and visit the biggest province, Quebec. So, we flew to Montreal with transfers. All the main car rental companies are at the airport. We booked a car in advance so it was waiting for us upon arrival. The paperwork took just a few minutes. Besides airports, you can rent a car almost anywhere in Canada. However, it’s better to book a car online because sometimes there are no available cars in rental companies.

So, we started our journey from Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. It’s also considered the cultural capital of Quebec. The historic centre of the city is Old Montreal with main attractions. I especially liked The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Montréal and The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. It was the first museum in Canada dedicated only to modern art.

Автомаршруты по Канаде

Next, we came to Quebec, the capital of the province. There are many quiet streets, cosy cafes and pubs. But remember that drink driving is strictly prohibited. However, in some provinces, the maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 0.8ppm or 0.05 ppm. It means that you can have a glass of wine before driving in some parts of Canada.

The Old Quebec with interesting historical monuments isn’t far from The Place Royale. Be sure to visit The Citadelle of Quebec, the old bridge and the parliament building. Passing along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we went to The Gaspésie National Park which is more than 800km². The famous rock of unusual shape, Persia is on the Atlantic coast. This rock is a naturally formed arch. Interestingly, you can walk to it during low tide. We were not lucky: it was a rush. However, we admired it from afar.

Our rental car behaved very well on the road: no accident, no fines. Driving on Canadian roads is calm and casual. These roads are one of the safest in the world. The drivers are polite and friendly. The speed limit in the city – 50kmph, outside – 80kmph, on the highways – 100kmph. However, try to go with the flow even if other cars exceed the speed. Also, carefully examine the terms of insurance of the rental cars at home because Canadian rules are complicated.

Автомаршруты по Канаде

After Quebec, we went to the capital of Canada, Ottawa. This city is located on the banks of The Ottawa River, on the border between the Ontario and Quebec provinces. It’s a pretty new city so there are very few historical monuments. The oldest building is The Museum Baytown which was built only 200 years ago, in 1826.

The oldest national park in Canada, Algonquin is close to the capital. In summer, you can canoe in the lake. In winter you can try a sleigh pulled by dogs. We had little time; therefore, we just drove around. One of the most beautiful places in the park is The Barron canyon 100 meters deep. There is a hiking trail along the northern cliff which is not fenced! If you have time, go through it. The stunning view is worth it!

Also, we stopped to see The Great Lakes. The area of these lakes is equal to the whole of Great Britain! Standing on the shore and looking at the water, you feel peace and tranquillity.

Our next destination was Toronto. To be honest, we weren’t interested in the city but in one of the wonders, The Niagara Falls. From Toronto to The Falls is about 130km on the highway. You can also sail by ship very close to the waterfall. The raincoats are useless – people came back wet from head to toe but happy.

Автомаршруты по Канаде

We travelled a few thousand kilometres but didn’t see any rubbish on the roads or empty bottles. The cleanliness of the country struck us most. What if there is another story on the west coast? To find out, we came back to Montreal and handed over our rental car. To travel to the west part of Canada, we rented a car in Vancouver.

Автомаршруты по Канаде

Vancouver is located on the shores of the Strait of Georgia. There, we visited only The Museum of Vancouver and The World of Science. There is The Capilano Canyon 20-minutes from Vancouver. It’s a stone crevice 70 meters deep. The scariest place is a suspension bridge across the canyon. Walking while it’s windy isn’t for the faint of heart!

The cities in this part of Canada are young: no special attractions but a lot of parks and reserves. First, we visited The Rocky Mountains. Calgary was our starting point to explore the mountains. We went to the Banff and Jasper national parks. Roads in the mountains are very comfortable. We didn’t regret driving a rental car instead of taking buses or excursions.

Another national park, The Jasper is located to the north. There is one of the oldest glaciers in the world, The Athabasca. It’s also one of the most beautiful glaciers in North America. Unfortunately, they say that it’s rapidly melting. This is one of the few glaciers which is opened for tours. The Athabasca is constantly moving so walking on it without a guide is prohibited.

After riding through the parks and reserves, we went back to Vancouver, returned the rental car and flew home.

Tips on car rent in Canada

  • You need an international driving license
  • Driver's age – over 25 years old , sometimes – 21 years old
  • Credit card is acceptable, and you have to leave a deposit
  • The average price for gasoline – CAD 1,3, for diesel – CAD 1,16. Prices depend on cities
  • Parking is mostly paid – CAD 4 per hour

Speed limits

  • In settlements – 50kmph;
  • Outside settlements – 80kmph;
  • On the highway – 100kmph.

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