Cross-Country Canada Trip!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grab your car and take a trip around Canada?!
Well, if you have, then you are in the right place! I hit the road and took off from Toronto and headed West (towards Calgary) in early 2018. This article will help you understand how long it will take you to get there, how much money you should be prepared to have, and what you can expect to see on the road!
From Toronto to Calgary
from Toronto to Calgary, it is about 3,500 km (if you stay North of the border, which I did). I planned my trip to Calgary over the course of 5 days. The plan was to tackle about 700 km per day, so from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie (700km), Saulte Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay (700 km), Thunder Bay into Winnipeg, Manitoba (650 km), Winnipeg to Regina, Saskatechewan, and finally from Regina to Calgary, Alberta. I had my own transportation, and stayed at hostels where possible (Hostels are not available everywhere you go, so I usually source out a few places before I hit the road.
Day 1 – Toronto to Saulte Ste. Marie (~700km)
I got on the road and realized shortly after that my driver’s license was expired! I continued driving, stopped off at a ServiceOntario in Gravenhurst, and took care of it. Phew!! Close one! 😛 😉 As long as you believe everything will work out, it will! 🙂
The drive from Toronto to Saulte Ste. Marie isn’t too exciting. I left from Toronto and took Highway 400 North to Sudbury, and then from there, you head West to Sault Ste. Marie. The roads can be windy at times, so I would advise against using cruise control. It’s easy to enable cruise control and take too much speed into a corner, so be aware of this and use caution. I did this drive at the end of March, and the roads were clean and easily navigable. Have a look at some pictures.
In Sault Ste. Marie, there are no hostels, only hotels and motels. I ended up staying at the Algonquin Hotel, which actually used to be a hostel about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, new ownership converted the building to a hotel, so you won’t have any luck finding one in Sault Ste. Marie. That’s okay, it’s not the end of the world. The Algonquin Hotel is a very nice hotel with everything that you need, which includes cable TV, shared washrooms (depending on what kind of room you get), and and a bar downstairs if you want to be social. For a more in-depth review, please see my review of the Algonquin Hotel here!
Day 2 – Saulte Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay (~700km)
The next morning, I was on the road again traveling 700 km to Thunder Bay. This drive is actually very nice, and for a majority of the trip you will be driving alongside Lake Superior. There are many Scenic Lookouts that you can stop at for pictures, videos, and some plain old fresh air! There is a nice lookout you’ll find in Marathon, Ontario, and then a few more recommended stops between Terrence Bay and Rossport, ON. It’s important to take breaks on a long drive like this, and these scenic lookouts provide the perfect opportunity! I was driving through at the end of the winter season, so all of the lookouts were closed and full of snow. Oh Well! Here is a reference of the different lookouts along the drive to Thunder Bay:
Once you get to Thunder Bay, it’s time to hunt down some accommodation. The good news is that there is a hostel in Thunder Bay! I arrived in Thunder Bay on Good Friday (March 30th, 2018) and arrived at the Haven Hostel after finding it on Google. To my delight, I spoke with the lovely receptionist and she informed me that the hostel had JUST opened up the same day I arrived!!! What are the chances of that! I was given a tour of the facility and quickly booked a shared dorm for the night.
The Haven Hostel is a very nice spot. The building used to be warehouse owned by the casino in town, but after some lengthy renovations, the owners have turned it into a very pleasant spot. It was a real pleasure learning about the story of how this hostel came about, and all the hard work that was put into it. Please click here for a full review of the Haven Hostel in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Day 3 – Thunder Bay, ON to Winnipeg, Manitoba. (~700km)
The drive from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg finally takes you out of Ontario and into Manitoba. The rest of the drive in Ontario is the same as before, with pretty rock faces,and windy, hilly roads. Once you get into Manitoba, though, it’s a different story! As soon as you cross the border, the highway is flat and, for the most part, straight. About 200 km after crossing the border, you arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba!
I was able to source one hostel called the Guest House International, but when I arrived at the house, the owner greeted me and advised that a pipe had burst in the house and that the hostel will most likely not the operating for the next couple on months. Tough Luck. Oh well, had to adjust. There was another hostel in town called the La Cabane Guesthouse, but I didn’t confirm a booking via e-mail and when I showed up in-person, nobody was answering the door. I booked a hotel for the night instead and had a nice, comfortable stay before hitting the road once again the next morning. Some of the cheaper hotels you can find in Winnipeg are the Comfort Inn (near the Airport), MainStay Suites, and the Airport Motor Inn. You’ll be looking at around the $100 mark to stay at these hotels. Sometimes, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!
Day 4 – Winnipeg, Manitoba to Regina, SK. (~580km)
The next day on the road took me into Saskatchewan. The drive was less than 600km, and it was more of the same flat, straight roads. When driving through the Prairie states, I would recommend using cruise control if you are driving and your vehicle supports it. This will make it easier for you to not speed and achieve good gas mileage. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining, so the drive into Sasketachewan was enjoyable.
In Regina, there is one fantastic hostel still in operation! The name of the hostel is the Turgeon International Hostel, and it is a great facility! The kitchen is very functional, with a generous amount of stove burners, toasters, pots, pans, cutlery, free coffee/tea, and storage space. The dorms are nice, very clean, and the basement is equipped with foosball, a TV, vending machines, and even a pay phone. For a full review of the Turgeon International Hostel in Regina, click here!
Day 5 – Regina, SK to Calgary, Alberta. (~780km)
03.29.2018 – 37.8 L @ $1.19 = $45
03.29.2018 – 23.844 L @ $1.259 = $30
03.30.2018 – 30.43 L @ $1.315 = $40
03.30.2018 – 28.603 L @ 1.399 = $40
03.30.2018 – $1.26 = $30
03.31.2018 – 43.212 L @ 1.389 = $60
03.31.2018 – 26.34 L @ 1.139 = $30
04.01.2018 – 35.12 L @ 1.139 = $40
04.01.2018 – 21.967 L @ 1.139 = $25
In Regina, Saskatchewan. Still need to drive to Calgary (780km).
Total = $340 total thus far