Category Archives: Living

First Big Family Trip

We always made a point a taking our kids on vacations either during the school March break or in the summer.

When they were really young we would go to Moncton’s Crystal Palace (now closed) or the Oak Island Inn and Marina, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.  Both places were great places to go.  We have gone both with the family and without.  Fun either way.

Once we felt they were old enough for a major road trip, we planned a trip to Ontario.  No real destination in Ontario but we knew we wanted to see the usual tourist places like Toronto and Ottawa.

It was a very long drive.  We only made it to Quebec on our first travel day.  My husband was so nervous, as he speaks no French nor did my son.  I understand it and speak it a little, our daughter however was fluent.  It really didn’t matter.  We found that people everywhere we went made an effort to understand us.  The only real exception was the QPP (police).  We got lost and saw a police car parked in a lot.  We went over to ask for directions and well, they were of no help and clearly didn’t want to be.

Our second day we made it to Toronto.  We made a group decision that it wasn’t a place we wanted to spend much time.  We drove Young St, saw the CN Tower, the Air Canada Centre, the Skydome and a few other touristy things and decided to go to Niagara Falls.  What a great decision that was!

The falls are amazing and just beautiful.  They are lit up at night and there were fireworks our first night there.  Food and activites were expensive, but you expect that in a place like this.

Nearby was Marineland.   This proved to be one of the most memorable things we had ever done as a family.  There was lot rides, a zoo, things to do and shows.  While we are not in any way pro-dolphin/whale being purposefully taken from the wild and housed for human entertainment, that experience taught us so much.  Where else would my children have ever been able to feed, touch and gain an appreciation for these amazing mammals.

I hope someday my husband and I get to go back to Niagara Falls.  Maybe visit a few wineries the next time :).

Our next destination in Ontario was Ottawa.  At this point in our journey we realized what a big province Ontario is!

We had a couple reasons for going to Ottawa.  We had friends who lives there, we had never been, we heard it was very simliar to Halifax and we wanted our children to see where the government of Canada did it’s job.

Ottawa was everything we expected it to be.  Absolutely loved it.  Hoping to go back in the next year or two, maybe for Canada Day!

We went to Parliament, visited everything we could there and gave our kids a bit of a history lesson.  We also went to Rideau Hall.  Absolutely beautiful.  We drove by the Prime Minister’s house and made sure to show the kids the Rideau Canal, ampng other things.

After Ottawa we started the journey home.  On our way home, while driving on the highway in Quebec, we blew a tire.  While on the side of the highway a truck with big flashing lights pulled up behind us and stayed there until a tow truck arrive.  We had a spare but unfortunately it was the wrong one.  Oops!

The tow truck driver was amazing.  He got us to his service station, had a new tire on the van and had us on our way within an hour.  We stayed in Quebec that night and then in New Brunswick the following night and finally made it back home.

One of the major reasons we took this trip was to show our kids that Canada was bigger than just home.  We wanted them to have an appreciation for how big this country of ours is.  While we love our province there is so much more to see.

It was an amazing trip!  Our next one though found them on their first plane trip and was the start of a love of travelling to southern destinations