Road Trip from Toronto to Vancouver – The Ultimate Itinerary to Explore the Whole Canada

Road Trip from Toronto to Vancouver – The Ultimate Itinerary to Explore Whole Canada

I searched for the same title – itinerary for road trip from Toronto to Vancouver, when we were planning our road trip for driving across Canada.

I was deeply curious just like you for the places to stop on Toronto to Vancouver road trip.

This article may be helpful for the people looking for,

  • Toronto to Sault Ste Marie Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Thunder Bay Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Winnipeg Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Regina Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Calgary Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Banff Road Trip Guide
  • Toronto to Vancouver Road Trip Guide

To be honest, I hardly found any satisfactory results. With that being said, I know what you are looking for and you’ll find everything you need for such an amazing road trip from Toronto to Vancouver without entering USA.



The only thing I would like to suggest is, just go for this trip. There are some phenomenal places in Canada which makes your drive a worthwhile and memorable experience.


This is just for students planning to come to Canada: https://www.unnitmetaliya.com/sop-sample/


While the route from USA saves you around 4 hours of time, it almost doesn’t have anything to explore. I would say that route is suitable for log truckers and transportation.

Saving those 4 hours will cost you the wonderful scenic drive of Canada. Go with the Canada route without thinking twice. You won’t regret it for sure.

And, the Google Maps don’t count the time required for immigration check at border. So, at best, you’ll be saving 3 hours counting at least 1 hour for border check. Mind that there’ll be two border checks. This should be enough to convince you for the Canada route.

You will have the chance to see and explore the beautiful lakes of Canada, the rocky mountains of Alberta, coast to coast driving in Ontario, some amazing roadside attractions in Saskatchewan and Alberta, numerous wonderful waterfalls in Ontario and British Columbia, canyons, peaks, beautiful views, horizons in Saskatchewan, some world’s largest landmarks, national parks, cheap campsites, free campsites, dams, Northern lights in Saskatchewan if you get lucky and many more amazing things which will make you feel awestruck.

I will present you with the ultimate itinerary for driving from Toronto to Vancouver. After all, you surely don’t wanna reach the Vancouver without visiting some awesome places which were 2 or 3 kms away from the highway you’ll be driving on.

I’ll try to cover things such as places to visit on TransCanada Highway, detours which are worth taking, exploring some hidden places which you wouldn’t find by Google search term – “places to see near me”, good and bad experiences we had, places to stay, free campsites and so on. Basically, everything which may make your Toronto to Vancouver trip a convenient and worthwhile experience.

Let’s begin our journey.

Day 1: Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie – 688 kms – 7 hours 21 minutes

I have never carried excitement like this for any of my adventures. None of us did. We were extremely excited for our road trip from Toronto to Vancouver.

We loaded the trunk with camping tent, clothe bags, blankets, winter jackets (Yes! In summer because it’s Canada my friend), and lots of snacks.

There were 3 of us so the rear seats also had some extra space to put few things. Basically, we tried and converted the car into a room. We even prepared meal items which may cover us for initial few days and save some dollars on restaurants.

We started early in the morning around 6 A.M in Toronto, Ontario. As per our plan, we were  going to take car-cool-down or lunch-break in Sudbury, Ontario.

Around after 50 minutes we took our first coffee break in Barrie OnRoute. That’s the last OnRoute we had seen on our whole trip. There’s no such thing as OnRoute in any other provinces except the Ontario. At least, not on the highway we took or you’ll be taking. However, Tim Horton’s and alike places were conveniently available.

We continued our journey after small break in Barrie. We researched about some places to see in Sudbury and decided to go to Lake Laurentian Conservation Area after seeing the reviews and photos of the place.

One of the must see places between Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie: Lake Laurentian Conservation Area in Sudbury, Ontario

The park entry as well as the parking are free at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. This was the first place on our trip where we felt awestruck. The morning time was amazing and it felt like some portrait picture became live in front of us.

The lake was partially frozen. That’s something you don’t get to see usually. The water was flowing which made the ice on the water surface look mesmerizing.

We arranged our lunch on the bench right beside the lake. What an ambiance it was! The natural beauty of the place added some extra taste in our food and made the overall experience delightful.



After the lunch, we saw one look out area on the hill and decided to go there. It involved bit of hiking and trailing but was totally worth it. When we reached the lookout spot on the hill, the view was incredibly beautiful.

Lake Laurentian Coservation Area
Lake Laurentian Coservation Area

Highly recommended to get some photographs when you are there.

After spending some time, we continued for Sault Ste. Marie.

We kept searching for free campsites near Sault Ste. Marie. Just be mindful that when you’ll be searching for free or cheap campsites, you will get suggestions for campsites in USA as you’ll be driving near to border all the way to Vancouver. Don’t put anything you get on GPS and proceed without confirming.

After some research on internet, we found out about one place named Shaw Dam Lake which could have been dangerous experience of our lives.

It was said by one person on the internet that it’s a free campsite. We put it on map and continued for it. After taking a right turn from highway, the road was totally graveled and dirty. The GPS was saying 10 minutes to reach the destination. After around 5 minutes, we arrived into nowhere in the jungle with no cell-phone coverage.

There were a couple of vacation homes and a cemetery in the beginning, but nothing except the jungle after sometime. With heart pumping crazily, we continued with a hope to find some people at the destination. During last 3 minutes, there was small dig on the road which I am sure our car was not able to pass without damage.

So, I and the other friend came out and filled it with stones making it passable by our car. We continued and when we were two minutes away, there was a right turn which was full of mud and water all over the area. Only I can imagine what could have happened if the car would have stuck in that mud.

Gravel Road in Jungle
Gravel Road in Jungle

We took the U-turn and decided to leave that jungle as soon as possible. No one was around and it was damn scary evening for all three of us. Don’t go for the Shaw Dam Lake free campsite. Don’t believe blindly what someone on the internet is saying just like we did. Always check your facts before going.

I guess that was the only bad experience on our whole trip from Toronto to Vancouver and coming back.

We searched for other campsites near Sault Ste. Marie and found out about KOA campground which seemed trustworthy.

We called them and inquired about the rates. It costed us 52$ to camp there for one night and the experience was totally worth it. We booked tent site as we had brought the tent along with us.

Me being excited for setting up the tent
Me being excited for setting up the tent

It took a while to setup the tent. If you really wanna enjoy the camping, bonfire, the talk, the overall environment, then, it is recommended to arrive at your campsite early before it gets dark.

Camping at KOA Campground
Camping at KOA Campground
Our Camping Tent
Our Camping Tent

That was everything about the first day of our trip from Toronto to Vancouver.

Day 2: Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay – 700 km – 7 hours 44 minutes

After an amazing tent camping experience at KOA campground in Sault Ste. Marie, we continued our journey for the second day. KOA campground had all the facilities to get refreshed in the morning. We got freshened up and took breakfast-come-lunch there before leaving.

View from the Tent in Morning
View from the Tent in Morning

We started the journey around 11 AM in the morning. For the second day, we were not worried about the places to stay at night in Thunder Bay as one of my good friend living in Thunder Bay was going to host us for the night.

Our first stop after leaving the Sault Ste. Marie was going to be Wawa Goose Statue in an Ontarian town, Wawa.

Tourist attraction between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay: Wawa Goose Statue, Wawa, Ontario

We didn’t stop anywhere in between except the gas and arrived to Wawa Goose Statue after two and a half hour of drive. While the place was officially closed, we parked our car roadside just like the other visitors did and proceeded to check out world’s largest Goose statue. It’s huge. And, the people living in town are trying everything they could to protect the Goose from legal obligations.

Wawa Goose Statue is visited by thousands of tourists around the world every year and it’s literally by the side of TransCanada highway. Wawa Goose Statue is one of the must see tourist attractions between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay.

Wawa Goose Statue
Wawa Goose Statue

After spending some time and clicking lots of photographs with the big Wawa Goose Statue, we pulled over in Tim Horton’s near by to have some coffee.

Around 3:30 PM, we were all set to continue for Thunder Bay, Ontario. We didn’t stop anywhere except the gas and little washroom break at KFC near Terrace Bay, Ontario. The strange thing I found in that washroom was the bathroom door was full of signs of hitchhikers, travelers, road trippers, log truckers saying they have been there. Crazy!

Roadside hotel near Terrace Bay (-- KFC is inside)
Roadside hotel near Terrace Bay (– KFC is inside)

We wanted to inform my friend about the time of our arrival, but, there was no cellphone coverage for around 3 hours as the highway passes through the mountains and hills and makes you drive coast to coast of Lake Superior.



After five and a half hour of drive, we arrived to my friend’s place in Thunder Bay at 9:15 PM. The great guy had already prepared delicious dinner for all three of us. We were crazily hungry to directly jump on the dinner without wasting much time.

As we were meeting after months of time, we spent some time chit chatting and called it a night around 11:15 PM.

The Day 2 of our trip from Toronto to Vancouver was really really wonderful.

Day 3: Thunder Bay, Ontario to Winnipeg, Manitoba – 703 KM – 7 hours 40 minutes

We woke up early in the morning around 7 AM. Prepared breakfast and cooked noodles to bring with us for the later time of the day. Got freshened up just like we do when being at our own home and were ready to continue our journey again.

We searched about places to see near Thunder Bay and found two places near Thunder Bay. Sleeping Giant and Kakabeka Falls. You must stop at Kakabeka Falls while leaving the Thunder Bay for the Winnipeg.

One of the must see places in Thunder Bay: Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant is not a particular place like Kakabeka Falls where you need to go and check it out. It’s a provincial park.

However, when you’ll be driving, keep your eyes on left side across the lake. You’ll find formation of rocks and mountains which will resemble like a giant is sleeping.

That is the reason behind the place being called Sleeping Giant.

Sleeping Giant is the wonder of Canada and it has beaten the Niagara Falls in the list.

Truly a wonder. But, you do not need to go there. If you want, you can pull over right beside the road. Keep staring across the lake and sooner, you’ll get the Sleeping Giant formation in your mind.

So, don’t forget to checkout Sleeping Giant before leaving Thunder Bay.

One of the must see places near Thunder Bay: Kakabeka Falls, Ontario

Kakabeka Falls is considered as the Niagara of the North and being just 30 minutes away from Thunder Bay, a beautiful place to see.

We left for the Kakabeka Falls around 9 AM in the morning and arrived at Kakabeka Falls after 30 minutes.

Just to let you know that parking at Kakabeka Falls is not free. We paid 5$ for 2 hours.

To get to the viewpoint for the falls, there’s no hiking or trailing. Just follow the stairs and you’ll arrive to the viewpoint within two minutes distance from parking.

Kakabeka Falls - the Niagara of the North
Kakabeka Falls – the Niagara of the North

The falls was truly wonderful. It stood out as per its name – the Niagara of the North. There wasn’t much water flowing, still the beauty of the falls didn’t seem to be affected. There were two view points at the Kakebaka Falls and we had enough time to checkout the falls from both the view points.

One of the must visit places in Ontario - Kakabeka Falls
One of the must visit places in Ontario – Kakabeka Falls

For the second view point, you’ll have to cross the bridge by walking for 4 to 5 minutes. There’s some arrangement of benches and a picnic area if you wanna take the lunch you brought with yourself.

Kakabeka Falls from the second view point across the bridge
Kakabeka Falls from the second view point across the bridge

If you find the washrooms on the first side of the falls be closed (which we did), there’s washroom on the other side of the falls which you can reach by crossing the bridge.

After spending 2 hours at Kakabeka Falls, we continued our journey for the Winnipeg. We were aware about the fact that we were going to cross our first of the three time zones in our whole trip to Vancouver. We were going to cross the Eastern Standard Time Zone and be in Central Standard Time Zone.

It’s amazing to get one more hour for your day, isn’t it? We noticed the hour going back on our phones and felt happy like kids. When it was about to be 12:57 PM, it became 11:57 and we arrived to the board of Central Time Zone and Eastern Time Zone. We pulled over our car as the Ontario government has made nice picnic area around the timezone to let the people enjoy their gifted one hour.

Extra hour for the day! Yayy!
Extra hour for the day! Yayy!

Click as many photographs as you want with the board. You won’t be getting the same board with any other time zones you’ll be crossing on your way to Vancouver.

We took lunch at the time zone picnic area and made some changes on our initial itinerary of the third day.

Before, we planned to reach the Brandon, Manitoba at the end of the day. However, there wasn’t much to drive on 4th day, so we decided to stop at Winnipeg, Manitoba which eventually became the luckiest decision we made on our trip. Keep reading. 🙂

We continued our journey after the lunch keeping in mind the Kenora (the last city of Ontario) as next stop for a small coffee-break. We stopped at Dryden Tim Horton’s as one of us couldn’t hold the…. yes, you guessed it right!

The thing we noticed at Dryden Tim Horton’s and are still wondering to this date was, the place was fully filled with senior citizens. And, there were lots of them. Almost every single table of that Tim Horton’s. We couldn’t find a single young guy in whole Tim Horton’s. We don’t complain, but, this was certainly a strange thing. Let me know if you experience the same thing on your trip.

After having some poutine and coffee, we continued.

Two and a half hour later, it was time to celebrate our first milestone of our road trip from Toronto to Vancouver. The Ontario – Manitoba Border.

It’s on that moment you realize the Ontario is huge! Very huge!

Yes. It took us 2 and a half days to reach the border of Ontario from Toronto. It was an achievement on its own.

Good place to stop between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg: Ontario Manitoba Border

We pulled over the car near to Welcome to Manitoba board and jumped out with hefty amount of excitement. We were literally jumping and mind my words, you’ll do the same. Crossing the whole province by car is big deal.

Ontario Manitoba Border
Ontario Manitoba Border

We clicked lots of pictures in front of the welcome to the Manitoba board and were ready to continue again.

Drive for two more hours and you will reach the beautiful city on whole planet, the Winnipeg.

Winnipeg felt like a boon after leaving Toronto. The infrastructure, the people, the atmosphere. Everything was more than excellent.

Just like we did on our all the days of trip, we searched for free campsites near Winnipeg, but, there weren’t any options available this time.

And, in addition to that, we wanted to be on budget, so were least interested in any motels, hotels or lodges.



However, when you’ll be searching for free campsites near any place, you’ll get suggestions about Walmart parking lot, which is just right. People have been car camping at Walmart Parking Lot and they don’t care unless your luck is not in favor on that day.

If it’s just one person who is mentioning about Walmart Parking Lot then, that might not be trustworthy. But, there are numerous people in numbers of forums mentioning about camping in Walmart Parking Lot for free.

We decided to find the cheap parking in Winnipeg downtown and found something which costed us just 2$ for night. We parked our car and went to explore the night life in Winnipeg downtown.

And, sometimes you are just meant to be at right place on right time. Yes. It was the luckiest day for us to make the luckiest decision to stop in Winnipeg instead of Brandon.

Why? You ask.

There was a street party for the Hockey match between the famous Winnipeg Jets and Predators. Huge crowd dressed in whites and blues. I have never seen such a huge crowd coming out on street and cheering for their home team. The whole downtown was secured by police and paramedics because of the crowd. This street party is also known as Winnipeg Whiteout.

Winnipeg Street Party
Winnipeg Street Party

Later, I got to know that the total cost for the Winnipeg Whiteout street party exceeded $2.1 million and attracted 120,00 Winnipeg Jets fans. How lucky we were on that day, man? Wow!

Winnipeg Whiteout
Winnipeg Whiteout

The people were happy like they were celebrating some festival. The city seemed beautifully wonderful. I & both my friends felt like, God! Where did you bring us? It’s crazy!

Street Screening of Winnipeg Jets and Predators
Street Screening of Winnipeg Jets and Predators

I will never forget the street party experience I had in Winnipeg. It was one of its own. It seemed like they were breathing for their team. They were passionately following their team and the sadness on their faces when the opposite team scored a goal was the living proof.

Winnipeg! Wow! Wow! Wow!
Winnipeg! Wow! Wow! Wow!

If you don’t get lucky just like we did, then, you do not need to worry. The reason is the downtown Winnipeg is just beautiful. You can roam around in night and feel extremely safe without worrying. The city is known for its friendly and humorous people.

After cheering for Winnipeg Jets for around one or two hours, we headed back to the Parking.

We took the dinner being half asleep as we were totally exhausted.

We prepared nice bed-alike structure on back seat and made the front seat fully reclined. It was more than a perfect setup to sleep conveniently.

I was writing my journal till late night while the other two friends of mine were in deep sleep. I called it a night at around 2-3 AM.

If you are thinking about car camping throughout the trip just like we did, this should be your rule.

The Golden Rule for going on Long Road Trip:

If it’s a sedan or an SUV car, at max 3 people.

If it’s a 7 sitter Van, no more than 5 people.

If anything above than this limit, be prepared for the motels or lodges. Alternatively, you can arrange an extra car.

That was all about our Day 3.

I will remember the Day 3 like it’s yesterday for the rest of my life.

Day 4: Winnipeg, Manitoba to Regina, Saskatchewan – 573 KM – 6 hours

The parking pass was valid for 6:00 AM in the morning. I woke up in the morning, paid parking fees and took our car to Walmart while my buddy was sleeping in back seat. The Walmart was going to open at around 7 AM. So, we parked the car and slept again for another 3 hours.

Around 9 AM, we woke up, got freshened up and were ready to start the drive. We were planning to take our brunch (breakfast+lunch) in Brandon which was 2 and a half hour drive from Winnipeg, around 215 KM.

We arrived in Brandon at 1 PM and pulled over in Tim Hortons along the TransCanada Highway. We brought lots of instant ready food packets with us which saved us lots of money on food and filled our tummies for the rest of the day. After having nice coffee and breakfast, we left for the Saskatchewan.

It was going to be 4 hours straight drive from Brandon, Manitoba to Regina, Saskatchewan. The road from Winnipeg to Saskatchewan is very flat and boring.

There are endless horizons on both sides of the roads and there’s almost nothing to see or pull over. Straight 4 hours.

Endless Horizon in Saskatchewan
Endless Horizon in Saskatchewan

If you are the one who is not going to drive, but going to be seated on front-seat, be ready to have some interesting conversation topics for the roads in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It’s very easy to fall asleep on this particular route from Saskatchewan to Manitoba.

Good place to stop between Winnipeg and Regina: Manitoba Saskatchewan Border

At 4 PM, we arrived to Manitoba – Saskatchewan border. Our second milestone. There’s big picnic kind of area at Saskatchewan border and we pulled over to click some pictures with “Saskatchewan, Naturally” board. The weather was windy but not bad.

Manitoba Saskatchewan Border
Manitoba Saskatchewan Border

After spending some time at Saskatchewan border, we left for Regina. We were going to experience the timezone change and were going to get one more hour before we reach Regina, Saskatchewan. When it was going to become 4:33 PM, it became 3:33 PM and we cherished the extra hour.

Arrived in Regina downtown at 6 PM and parked our car in the cheapest parking available. We roamed in Cornwall Mall in Regina Downtown when it was the closing time. Roamed here and there in Regina downtown and entered in to Burger King to have some dinner.

Regina Downtown
Regina Downtown

After the dinner, the friend who was driving was all exhausted and wanted to sleep, while the other two went for wandering and exploring in Regina downtown.

Near Cornwall Mall - Regina Downtown
Near Cornwall Mall – Regina Downtown

The weather was cloudy and the city was all empty. It was the peak hour and it was hard to feel we were in downtown of the capital of the province – Regina, Saskatchewan.

Best place to see in Regina: Victoria Park

Really, there weren’t many people and the ones we came across were threatening and drunk (No offence, Regina! Just an experience).

Meanwhile, the other friend of mine read some bad reviews about the city and we became more frightened as we were experiencing the same things which were mentioned.

However, if you have some time, spend it at Victoria Park which is at the heart of the Regina Downtown. You will get to know about the history of the Regina. If you want to feel the peace and think about your life, any bench at Victoria Park is recommended.

Victoria Park - Regina Downtown
Victoria Park – Regina Downtown
Victoria Park at Night - Regina Downtown
Victoria Park at Night – Regina Downtown

I sat on the bench and wondered how beautiful my life is. We traveled all the way from Toronto to Regina and it was hard to believe my nerves. It was a big deal for me. 4 days of being in a car taught me some lessons which no book or teacher in any grade was capable of.

I was being emotional for our road trip.

We went back to parking and called it a night. The day four was relaxing as there wasn’t much to travel. We started the driving around 10 AM in the morning and reached the Regina at around 6 AM, even after taking numbers of washroom breaks and coffee breaks.

Day 5: Regina, Saskatchewan to Calgary, Alberta – 760 KM – 7 hours 40 minutes

The morning of day 5 was quite similar to that of day 4. We woke up at the end of parking hours, drove our car to Walmart parking lot and slept again for another two hours.

We woke up around 8 AM, got freshened up, bought some apples from Walmart and left for Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan.

One of the must see places between Regina and Calgary: Mac the Moose – World’s largest Moose

At Moose Jaw, we were going to see Mac the Moose, which is world’s largest moose. Being 32 feet tall and having weight of 10 long tons, it’s surely one of its kind and one of the must see places between Regina and Calgary.

World's Largest Moose - Mac the Moose
World’s Largest Moose – Mac the Moose

70 KM from Regina, we arrived in Moose Jaw. Pulled over a little bit and, we were in front of giant, fat sculpture of Mac the Moose. The weather was way too windy, so we were not able to spend much time with Mac the Moose.

Mac the Moose Sculpture
Mac the Moose Sculpture

We spent some time with Mac the Moose for a while, clicked pictures and went to near by Tim Horton’s to have some breakfast.

The wind was blowing all over the Moose Jaw and it was driving people crazy. The construction workers were helpless and continued their work regardless of heavy wind. I have never seen such a crazy wind.

After a while, we left for Alberta. Our next stop was going to be Medicine Hat in Alberta. It was 4 hours drive from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The drive from Saskatchewan to Alberta is not that boring.

You’ll find numbers of things on your way taking from Mooses wandering in the filed to oil factories and salt farms.

Moose Spotting in Saskatchewan
Moose Spotting in Saskatchewan
Moose wandering in farms of Saskatchewan
Moose wandering in farms of Saskatchewan

You’ll be seeing the hay farms which we usually see in Movies.

Hay Farms - Saskatchewan
Hay Farms – Saskatchewan

Good place to stop between Regina and Calgary: Saskatchewan Alberta Border

My buddy drove for continuous 4 hours without any breaks and we arrived to Alberta – Saskatchewan border at around 2:30 PM. The border at Alberta was also huge and they made nice picnic area around the welcome board.

Alberta Saskatchewan Border
Alberta Saskatchewan Border

We spent some time at border, clicked lots of pictures and continued our journey for Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The other thing which we experienced right after entering into Alberta was, our iPhones kept prompting us with Emergency Alerts. We never experienced such thing in any other provinces. It was not something to worry about anyway. So, just keep going.

Emergency Alerts after entering into Alberta (to be ignored)
Emergency Alerts after entering into Alberta (to be ignored)

One of the Must see places between Regina and Calgary: Medicine Hat Tepee (also known as Saami’s Tepee)

After half an hour of drive, we pulled over to see world’s largest Tepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Medicine Hat Tepee, also known as Saami’s Tepee, it is a must see place between Regina and Calgary. If you got some time, read the history written on boards under the Tepee. The structure is huge enough to make you feel flabbergasted.

World's largest Tepee - Medicine Hat Tepee
World’s largest Tepee – Medicine Hat Tepee

Don’t get confused between Saami’s Tepee and Medicine Hat Tepee. They both are same.

Medicine Hat Tepee - also known as Saami's Tepee
Medicine Hat Tepee – also known as Saami’s Tepee

It was nice to spend some time at Saami’s Tepee and we were yet to explore one more place near Medicine Hat, Alberta. The name of the place was Echo Dale Regional Park in Bow Island, Alberta. It was recommended by many people on travel forums and we decided to give it a shot.

We pumped up the gas and continued for Echo Dale Regional Park also known as Echo Dale Recreation Ranch.

One of the Must see places between Regina and Calgary: Echo Dale Regional Park

After some time, we arrived in rural area with speed limit of 30 kmph. The road was empty and zigzag. After some time, we recalled the feeling of Shaw Dame Lake experience in Ontario and got a thought to make a U-turn when the map was saying 10 minutes to reach. We continued anyway as it was the proper developed road and not jungle. 5 minutes later, we started seeing the views which we’ll not forget for lifetime.

Echo Dale Regional Park, Bow Island
Echo Dale Regional Park, Bow Island

The rocks, farms, lake, river and the over all driving experience was one of its kind. We also started coming across vacation homes and arrived into nicely planned tourist area.

There was no-one at the Echo Dale Regional Park apart from us and that made our experience more awesome. You would be surrounded by trees, mountains and there would be nothing but ultimate peace. The weather, the peace, the location, everything got combined and provided us an amazing experience to never forget.

Touching nature at Echo Dale Regional Park in Bow Island, Alberta
Touching nature at Echo Dale Regional Park in Bow Island, Alberta

After spending some quality time in Bow Island, we left for Calgary. It was 3 and a half hour drive to reach Calgary from Bow Island.

The drive was good allowing you to pass through some mountains and jungles. The weather was also accompanying us on that day.

We took a little coffee break in Brooks, Alberta at around 6 PM and continued for another 3 hours to reach Calgary.

Why Calgary is the must see place in Alberta?

What can I say about Calgary? It was wonderful. I instantly fell in love with Calgary. You can consider the Calgary as a replica of Toronto.

Toronto have CN Tower, Calgary has Calgary tower. We have Harbour Front, Calgary has Prince’s Island Park. Toronto’s downtown is beautiful, Calgary’s is wonderful.

First thing, you’ll be checking out right after stepping in Calgary downtown is, Calgary Tower. The tower is similar to CN Tower except being lesser in height.

Beautiful Calgary Tower in Calgary, Alberta
Beautiful Calgary Tower in Calgary, Alberta

I wish I could go on top to check out the night view of Calgary, but, after going on the top of CN Tower, we were not that much interested.

Calgary Tower
Calgary Tower

Some buildings in Calgary downtown seemed to have British infrastructure. The Calgary tower also seemed amazingly wonderful during night time.

Calgary Downtown
Calgary Downtown

We roamed in Calgary downtown for like 2 hours in search of public washroom. We really were having hard time to find public washroom in Calgary downtown. Tim Horton’s – closed. Mac Donald’s didn’t have one. Starbucks – closed. Five star hotels – no luck. We tried everything and ended up at one bar which allowed us to feel free.

I don’t know but I was in love with Calgary already. It is one of the most beautiful city I have ever visited. One can definitely plan to live there if they need to. People seemed classic and the city was providing the pure Canadian feeling.

What exactly is the big head sculpture near The Bow building in Calgary?

While you’d be roaming around in Calgary downtown, you would find the gigantic face mask sculpture of some kind near The Bow building. It’s called Wonderland Sculpture.

Wonderland Sculpture in Calgary
Wonderland Sculpture in Calgary

This 12-meter tall sculpture head is named after a young girl called “Wonderland”. It was designed by the very famous Spanish sculptor, Jaume Plensa, who has also designed similar sculptures in other parts of the world like New York, Dubai, London, Brazil.

Wonderland Sculpture near The Bow building
Wonderland Sculpture near The Bow building

After that, we wandered in streets of Calgary downtown, spotted some exotic cars in Courtyard Marriott five star hotel, explored beautiful buildings in downtown Calgary.

Beautiful Buildings - Calgary Downtown
Beautiful Buildings – Calgary Downtown
Can't get over with Calgary
Can’t get over with Calgary
One with the University of Alberta campus in Calgary Downtown
One with the University of Alberta campus in Calgary Downtown

We headed back to the parking around 11 PM.

We ate apples and instant ready food as a dinner. We were exhausted enough to fall asleep at next moment. However, I was in mood to write some pages before calling it a night.

I started writing from where I left and arrived to describing the scary Shaw Dam Lake experience. Mind that the parking was all empty on that day and both my friends were in deepest sleep of their lives. I started getting haunting thoughts and got through describing the experience as fast as I could. I called it a night around 2 AM.

Our sleep got disrupted by the continuous noise of one cleaner’s floor cleaning machine. We changed the floor at around 4 AM and slept for another 2 hours.

That was all about Day 5. It was our last night in car as on our 6th day, we were finally going to reach the Vancouver.

5th day of our trip was amazing. We got to see some beautiful places and world’s largest landmarks, such as Saami’s Tepee in Alberta and Mac the Moose in Saskatchewan.

Day 6 – Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia – 1000 KM – 11 hours 30 minutes

The day 6 was the most memorable day of our trip. It was a long drive to reach Vancouver, but it was totally worth it. If you want, you can split the day 6 in two days as there are so many places to see and explore on your way to Vancouver from Calgary. You can spend one whole day at Banff in Alberta.

We wanted the Vancouver or the British Columbia as a whole to be our first priority on our road trip, so, we decided to reach Vancouver at the end of the day. But, if I do this trip again, then, I’ll surely spend at least two days at Banff National Park if not more. Or at Jasper National Park if you take the Edmonton route, which we did while coming back from Vancouver to Toronto.

Let me narrate the day 6 of our road trip from Toronto to Vancouver.

We didn’t go to Walmart after waking up like the previous days of our trip. We needed to start early in the morning as we were aware about the long drive to reach Vancouver.

We woke up around 6 AM and went to Tim Horton’s near by. Got freshened up and took breakfast.



Coffee was a bliss on whole road trip. I was the French Vanila with Coffee guy and the other two were steeped tea people. Fixed. Every single time.

We also brought instant ready Indian-tea packets along with us on our road trip. Just get warm water from anywhere, add the packets, and you’ll have the nice, tasty tea to drink and feel fresh.

You can get such kind of instant ready beverage packets of your choice from any grocery store. That may help you save some money on hot drinks or beverages.

The Main Tourist Attraction in Alberta: Rocky Mountains

We left Calgary for Banff at around 7 AM in the morning. The weather was foggy. While the other two of us were feeling heavenly, the other friend was having hard time driving through foggy atmosphere. But, we have seen worse on our Quebec road trip, so, it wasn’t a big issue for us.

Actually, we realized. It wasn’t fog. We were driving through the clouds.

Clouds so close that you can touch them. Wow!
Clouds so close that you can touch them. Wow!

Our car was going normally making us pass through normal mountains with jungles and trees. But, after a while…

WE BECAME MAD..

The most awaited part of our trip finally arrived. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS IN ALBERTA.

YES!

Yayy!!!

Rocky Mountains in Alberta
Rocky Mountains in Alberta

Wow, Man! What a feeling! We were literally out of our minds when we saw the first rocky mountain on our way from Calgary to Vancouver.

It’s impossible to not exaggerate the beauty of the drive through rocky mountains. Trust me, the rocky mountains will make you feel detached from your normal life and will bring yourself into totally new world.

It should be law in Canada making people drive through rocky mountains in Alberta at least once in their lifetime.

It was 11 hours drive without any stop. We were very well aware about the fact of reaching Vancouver lately. I did not want to reach my friend’s place later in night causing him inconvenience.

However, we thought, let it be! We are never going to experience such beauty again for the first time.

So…

We pulled over.

Came outside of car.

And.

Literally.

Became Mad.

Just pull over and get that shot. You ain't gonna come here everyday.
Just pull over and get that shot. You ain’t gonna come here everyday.

Wow. Rocky Mountains You Beauty!

What a view! What a view! What a view!

Luckily, the weather was in our favor. And, the place where we pulled over was particularly designed to let people experience the beauty of Rocky Mountains. And, there was no one apart from three of us.

We spent considerable amount of time there being lost in the world of Rocky Mountains.

We have never been excited like we were on that day. The Rocky Mountains were surely one of the best experience of our lives.

If I or any of us three are given a chance to drive into Rocky Mountains, we will surely do it again and again.

Hey, Vancouver! I am almost there.
Hey, Vancouver! I am almost there.

We shot films (..starring me) and clicked lots of pictures at Rocky Mountains.

You can check out the film we released on my Facebook profile.

Click here to watch the film with Rocky Mountains.

Major Tourist Attraction in Canada: Banff National Park, Alberta

After enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, we left for Banff National Park where we were going to see the Lake Louise and the Moraine Lake.

Two of the most beautiful lakes in whole Canada.

The Lake Louise and the Moraine Lake are not only Canada’s beautiful lakes, but they are considered as the world’s most beautiful lakes and, are visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists from all around the world every year.

Lake Louise is known as the bluest lake of Canada and one of the major tourist attractions of the whole world.

We continued our drive after enjoying the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

We arrived at the entry gate of Banff National Park.

Banff National Park was nicely structured and maintained by the Alberta government. There was toll plaza kind of setup where you are supposed to purchase the park pass. You may bypass the Banff National Park if you want, but, hey, I wouldn’t if I were you.

It’s only 19.60$ for the group of 2 to 7, and, I would say it’s under priced. Because, there are so many places to see and the Banff National Park is known as the number 1 national park of Canada.

Personally, I would say, one day is not enough for Banff National Park. You may spend one whole week doing activities such as camping, hiking, trailing, rock climbing, cliff jumping etc. If you are a wild-life lover, then, you may spend spotting wild-life anywhere in the Banff National Park.

However, we were determined about two must see places in Banff National Park. The Lake Louise and the Moraine Lake.

Must see place between Calgary and Vancouver: Lake Louise

We arrived at Lake Louise around 10 AM in the morning and God! The place was crowded like anything.

It was a weekday and you may see the number plates from Minesota, Montana, Yukorn, Ontario and even California, Georgia and Florida.

Lake Louise is the  very famous place in whole world.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait much for the parking as we were early in the day. But, when we left after two hours, it was the rush of cars, RVs, tour buses and trucks.

It is advised to arrive as early in the morning as possible to avoid being stuck in traffic for no reason.

We parked our car and proceeded to checkout the very famous, Lake Louise.

Lake Louise in May
Lake Louise in May

Again, WOW!

Totally worth it!

The lake is situated between the high Rocky Mountains and the jungle. The view was amazingly wonderful.

Lake Louise - the most beautiful place in Banff, Alberta
Lake Louise – the most beautiful place in Banff, Alberta

The lake wasn’t blue and it was frozen even early in the May. However, it was undoubtedly wonderful.

Every season has its own reasons to let you experience the beauty of the nature.

What is the perfect time to visit Lake Louise?

I would say the perfect time to visit Lake Louise is June to August. Because, during this time, the lake will be in the bluest color possible.

If you are particularly interested in seeing the blue color of the lake during summer, then it is advised to go there in later May or early June. The best blue colored lake in Canada, the Lake Louise is not blue throughout the year.

Many tourists regret it after arriving to the Lake Louise. We didn’t as we were aware about the fact of lake being frozen.

As a suggestion, I would recommend you to add the time of year when you are searching about the pictures of any place you are planning to visit. Especially, when you are in Canada, my friend!

For example, don’t search for “Lake Louise Images”. Instead, search for “Lake Louise in May”.

Same way, don’t search for “Niagara Falls”. Search for “Niagara Falls in January” or “Niagara Falls in Winter”.



You’ll get different results and it will help you decide the right time to visit that particular place.

You may thank me for this tip in the comment section if you want. Ha Ha!

Back to describing Lake Louise.

While the Lake Louise was frozen, it didn’t fail to show its beauty to the numerous visitors watching it on that day.

We noticed travelers from numbers of countries enjoying the most bluest lake in whole Canada – the Lake Louise.

It’s like those who visit the Lake Louise during summer envy the ones who visited it during winters and the ones who visited it during winters envy the ones who did it in summer.

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta

After all, there’s no perfect time to feel the nature. Ironically, correct!

I & my friends spent considerable time enjoying at Lake Louise and it was time for us to leave in order to reach the Vancouver on time.

We wanted to visit the Moraine Lake, but got to know it was closed for some reasons. Moraine Lake usually stays closed for some reasons and it’s advised to confirm the availability before visiting it. It’s the second most beautiful lake of Canada after the Lake Louise.

We took lunch at Lake Louise and left for British Columbia.

Good place to stop between Calgary and Vancouver: Alberta – British Columbia Border

We drove for one hour or less and arrived to Alberta – British Columbia border. We were about to complete our road trip from Toronto to Vancouver. But, wait. Not yet.

Alberta British Columbia Border - The Final Milestone
Alberta British Columbia Border – The Final Milestone

The picnic area at BC border was closed for maintenance, but there was nice area where we pulled over and went to click picture with Beautiful British Columbia board.

View at the British Columbia Alberta Border
View at the British Columbia Alberta Border

It’s good feeling to click pictures with board when you cross the border and enter into different province, isn’t it?

One of the must see places between Calgary and Vancouver: Spiral Tunnels in Big Hill

After half an hour, we arrived at Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia.

Spiral Tunnel is also one of the 7 wonders of Canada.

There are only few spiral tunnels on the world and very few which are actually in use. It’s the proof of how awesome the engineering in older times was.

With that being said, Spiral Tunnel at Big Hill is a must see place between Banff and Vancouver.

Spiral Tunnels at Yoho National Park in British Columbia
Spiral Tunnels at Yoho National Park in British Columbia
Demo of Spiral Tunnels in Big Hill, British Columbia
Demo of Spiral Tunnels in Big Hill, British Columbia

It is said that train comes at every 20 minutes and it will take around 15 minutes to pass from the whole tunnel. People in past waited for 40 to 60 minutes with no luck.

However, it’s worth wasting one hour there if there are chances of getting luckier to see the train. If you do not, I have posted the full video on YouTube of Spiral Tunnels at Big Hill in British Columbia.

Spiral Tunnels - British Columbia - Yoho National Park
Spiral Tunnels – British Columbia – Yoho National Park

After two hours of drive, we stopped at Tim Horton’s in Golden, British Columbia (It’s name of the city!).

We continued our drive while passing through Rocky Mountains in British Columbia and enjoying the roads on the hills.

The driving in BC gets dangerous when you enter from Banff, Alberta. Be mindful for your surrounding and avoid driving during night time anywhere near to Vancouver or in whole British Columbia.

However, the drive is ultimately scenic. You’ll get to see the lakes, aggressive rivers passing through, peaks of mountains and alike. The legal speed limit in British Columbia is 120 kmph.

Scenic drive between Banff and Vancouver
Scenic drive between Banff and Vancouver

But, I would like to mention it again. Be mindful while driving. If you are few people in Car, let the most experienced one drive on the roads of British Columbia.

Driving through the clouds in British Columbia, Canada
Driving through the clouds in British Columbia, Canada

We continued our drive for another 4 to 5 hours and stopped at Kamloops, British Columbia for gas and coffee.

Rested for a while at Tim Horton’s while enjoying the coffee and steeped tea.

We were just 3 and a half hour away from our final destination, THE VANCOUVER.

We were recalling our whole trip and wondered about how far we made.

We informed my friend in Vancouver about our arrival time and continued the drive.

3 and a half hours later, we were finally in Vancouver.

Vancouver, British Columbia - The Final Destination - We made it!
Vancouver, British Columbia – The Final Destination – We made it!



Toronto to Vancouver Road Trip: Done

Seeing the Vancouver on boards of highway was the ultimate feeling all three of us experienced.

It was hard to believe for a while that we finally made it to Vancouver… by car.

6 days in car. 5000 KM. Places we stayed. Nights we spent. Views we saw. Everything.

Everything was totally worth it.

I will not trade this for trip for any flight with any class.

Not even for billions of dollars.

This road trip taught me some unforgettable lessons.

This road trip taught me the importance of life.

And, I will surely do this trip again and again in future.

If you are too broke to fly to Vancouver from Toronto, go by car.

It took us 3 minutes to decide to go by the road trip and 6 days to reach the destination, Vancouver.

Don’t spend much time planning. Just get on that car, make the tank full and take the highway.

Everything will start falling into right place once you are on your way.

We weren’t sure about all the places to visit and we weren’t sure about where we will be staying. We just went for it and made it possible.

Canada is beautiful and it wouldn’t disappoint you no matter in which town, city or province you are in.

Go explore Canada.

 

Further Reading:

Student Visa SOP

Letter of Recommendation

Reference Letter Template

19 thoughts on “Road Trip from Toronto to Vancouver – The Ultimate Itinerary to Explore Whole Canada”

  1. Nice article. I drove Toronto – Vancouver every week for years as a long distance truck driver. My wife and I will hopefully be doing the trip at the end of this year with our 5th wheel. I found some interesting details in this article that I was never aware of. Thank -you

    1. I’m glad Rick you liked this article.

      To be honest, I envied the life of log-truckers and long distance drivers. Especially those who drive on TransCanada Highway. On the other hand, it’s risky as well. So, I respect them.

      I wish best trip to both of you. Prefer June-July month as glacier lakes would be turning blue during that period of time.

      Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the interesting read. Will be planning this trip with the wifey and infant. I would just go to Banf and come back.

    1. That’s great!

      From where are you planning to start?

      If starting from Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

      I would suggest to go from Regina to Calgary to Banff Route.

      And, while coming back. Go from Banff to Jasper. And, then Jasper to Edmonton to Saskatoon Route.

      There’s nothing much to see in Saskatoon unless you get lucky and see Northern Lights somewhere. However, in Edmonton, there’s North America’s biggest shopping mall.

  3. Epic dude! I’ll be doing this trip with my gf this September. We have a bit more time so I need your advice. I have a feeling that the area between Thunder Bay and Calgary is not as epic as the rest. Would it make sense to spend more time at the places not between TB and Calgary? We won’t be camping, but using motels/Airbnb instead by the way!

  4. Thanks man!

    Yes. That totally makes sense and I 100% agree with what you said.

    There’s almost nothing to see between Thunder Bay to Calgary. However, there’s a lot from Toronto to Thunder Bay.

    Near to Thunder Bay, I wouldn’t miss out on checking Kakabeka Fallls. Once that’s ticked off, I would try to reach Calgary as soon as possible (while trying my luck during nights in Saskatchewan to see Northern Lights).

    Have a great trip!

  5. I’ll be doing this trip this August with my better half, adding the Vancouver Island to the itinerary. Thanks for the hints!

    1. Sounds awesome!

      Initially, Vancouver Island was in our plan and itinerary. However, giving ferry charges for taking our car to the Island was bit high and affecting our budget. Also, local friend suggested there are tonnes of other places you surely shouldn’t miss near Vancouver. For example, Squamish, Whistler etc.

      Other than that, if I had time and little more budget, I would surely go to Vancouver Island. It’s pretty awesome I heard.

  6. I am planning to do a return road trip (May 2020) from Vancouver – Toronto – Boston & vis-a-versa.
    Reason for choosing the road trip is to experience the Trans Canada 😊
    Will be with my family (6 ppl).
    Shortlisted Ford Expedition for the trip…

    You have really penned your trip fabulously well. Felt as if I have experienced the trip. Kudos…

    We will require to be put up in lodges / vacation home at various locations. Would it be advisable to reach the locations & then search for a place to stay or book in advance?

    Is there a way to search online for budget stay for a night at different locations of the route. Which all places will you suggest for overnight halts?

    We may try & drive for 10 – 12 hrs per day. Starting time between 7-8 am from each location. Would like to reach the halt location by 7-8 pm.

    Starting from Vancouver, we will halt at :
    Kamloops – 1night
    Banff – 2 nights
    Rest overnight halts for rest… Locations to be decided.

    Look forward to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

    Thanks
    Surajit Mukherji
    Surajit.mukherji@gmail.com
    Instagram: Soulful.Dreamz

    1. Hi Surajit,

      Thank you very much for your kind words and I’m glad you liked my article. I’ve put great amount of efforts for drafting this 9,000 words article.

      When we did the roadtrip, our simple idea was to go “unplanned”.

      However, we were three reckless like-minded young friends. If I were with my family, I would also think like you are thinking.

      As far as your “book in advance or just walk-in” thing is concerned, I would say it depends on the popularity of location. Banff for example is visited by not only people around from Canada or USA, but also people from around the globe. Same with Whistler, British Columbia. So, it might be a luck-game for walking-in the motels. For Banff, I would definitely book something in advance if I am with family.

      Apart from Banff, you can walk in to motels near Trans Canada higway in Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario. You will get something for sure. All other places than Banff will get you something on arrival for sure.

      Other than that, I would also suggest bringing high-quality tents and sleeping bags with you. There are countless camp sites by the side of Trans-Canada highway and the experience would be unforgettable while with family. Just check for the rain forecast if you plan on camping at site. If there’s rain, go for motels.

      Ford Expedition is a great choice I must say. Given options, I would also go with that car for such a long family road-trip. The thought just came in mind that, be mindful about gas between the Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There’s almost nothing for 200-300 kms. Just plain horizons and fields. I would highly recommend getting gas(petrol) containers especially for Manitoba to Saskatchewan road. Also, for Manitoba to Northern Ontario border road. Just don’t ignore the gas-station-en-route fact. Be mindful about the E-F dial. We always fully filled the tank wherever we stopped.

      Also, you mentioned May-2020. I would highly recommend if you can do June end or July beginning. It’s pure summer and you won’t have to deal with cold at night. During May, some places are still bit colder. And, Lake Louise won’t be as blue as you see in pictures. It becomes so in mid-June to July time period. I would suggest mid-June just for the wonderful marvelous glacier blue color of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

      You are gonna enjoy this trip and it is going to be such a wonderful experience for you and your family. If while on trip, you feel any trouble or need any help anywhere, feel free to comment here. I get comment notifications instantly and would provide any help I could.

      All the best!

      ~ Unnit

  7. My daughter is leaving 1 Oct 19 for Vancouver from Toronto. She is unsure whether to go by plane or car.Her friend is going by car for sure from Quebec to Vancouver. What is your advice.

    1. By leaving you mean, moving from Vancouver to Toronto?

      Is she alone? Does she like traveling and exploring?

      It’s 5000 KMs of distance. And, it will take her 5-6 days to reach Toronto by Car given that she will be resting at night and doing some exploration during day.

      If I was at her place, I would definitely go by Car if I had time. It’s not easy but worth it.

  8. i will forward your suggestion to her. She is going with her fiance. They have been given 10 days by their employer. They are starting a new job.

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