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  • 24 May 8:00am - 10:00pm
  • 25 May 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • 26 May 10:00am - 6:00pm
  • 27 May 8:00am - 11:00pm
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Canadian Contrasts

16 days Guided Tours
  • Toronto
  • Ottawa/Gatineau Region
  • Quebec City
  • Montreal
  • Toronto
  • Calgary
  • Banff/Canmore
  • Kamloops
  • Whistler
  • Vancouver

Virgin Holidays' view

They say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. We agree. Much more than its guidebook favourites, authentic Canada’s delivered in the places and panoramas between them. Of course classics are classics for a reason, so a trip to Niagara Falls, time in the Rockies, and tours of its metropolises are a must, from Toronto, Ottawa, Québec City, and Montréal in the East, to Calgary, Banff, Whistler, and Vancouver in the West. But they only tell half the tale. Hitting the open road reveals historic trails, unfurling modern life, and untouched nature. The past is present as you drive through French-Canadian villages along Chemin du Roy; as you track early settlers’ routes along St Lawrence River to Montréal; and as you take the Trans-Canada Highway, seeing the same icefields, canyons and forests railroad engineers and fur traders would have in the mid-1800s. Some journeys present modern Canada, like Lake Ontario’s shoreline communities, the ranch lands of the West, and central Canada’s agricultural prairielands, seen as you fly East to West. But nature always steals the show, whether you’re following Rideau Waterway’s rivers and lakes, driving through the Rockies, taking the Sea-to-Sky Highway past fjords and peaks to Vancouver, or adding on a trip to drive on the Athabasca Glacier.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto

Fly from the UK to Toronto. Arrive at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and transfer independently to your downtown hotel. After checking in with your tour director, the remainder of the day is free to explore the streets of this dynamic city. Discover the delights of Toronto’s colourful neighbourhoods, take a ride to the top of the CN Tower, experience the lively theatre district and indulge in one of the numerous restaurants. Overnight in Toronto. Accommodation stay — 2 nights in Toronto

Day 2: Toronto/Niagara Falls Excursion

This morning we meet our fellow travellers at breakfast before setting out to discover the many identities of the Canada’s most cosmopolitan city. After seeing the provincial parliament buildings, the waterfront, the imposing CN Tower and lively Chinatown, we leave the city and head for the Niagara Peninsula. We pass through outlying communities and towns along the shores of Lake Ontario en route to Niagara Falls. Time is allocated to admire the falls and take part in some of Niagara Falls numerous activities. Overnight in Toronto. (B)

Day 3: Toronto – Ottawa/Gatineau Region

We leave the Toronto skyline behind and drive east towards Ottawa. Our route then winds through rolling farmland, following the rivers and lakes of the Rideau Waterway. Upon arrival in Ottawa, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the national capital. Defined by the Rideau Canal (designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site) and the government buildings on Parliament Hill, the city offers many great sights including the public gardens, the Byward Market and City Hall. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Ottawa. (B)

Day 4: Ottawa – Quebec City

This morning we travel along the scenic Ottawa River to the French-speaking province of Quebec. We skirt the magnificent Laurentians and follow the Chemin du Roy past Quebecois villages and historic shrines. Today’s journey ends in Quebec’s cultural heartland, Quebec City. We tour within the walls of the old city and view the ornate city gates, Lower Town, the Citadel and Battlefields Park. Accommodation stay — 2 nights in Quebec City. (B)

Day 5: Quebec City

The day is at your leisure to further explore the sights of this charming World Heritage Site. You can enjoy an optional full day excursion to Tadoussac including 3‑hours of whale watching on the St. Lawrence River at the mouth of the Saguenay River. Step aboard a regular boat and go in search of the world’s largest mammals. You will also visit the spectacular Montmorency Falls that are 30 metres higher than the world-famous Niagara Falls. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore this historic French-Canadian city with narrow streets and unique boutiques. Overnight in Quebec City. (B)

Day 6: Quebec City – Montreal

Departing from Quebec City we drive along the St. Lawrence River in the footsteps of the early settlers. Upon arrival in Montreal, we tour the second-largest French-speaking city in the world. The dynamic city of Montreal encapsulates the two founding cultures of Canada and boasts a curious blend of history and modernity. Touring the downtown area we view the Olympic Complex, charming Old Montreal, McGill University, the residential streets of Mount Royal and the bustling shopping streets. This evening, perhaps embark on an optional dining excursion and experience ‘Montreal by Night’ — a scenic trip out on the town to one of the city’s traditional restaurants. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Montreal. (B)

Day 7: Montreal – Toronto

Today’s route takes us back to Toronto, where you will have time to explore colourful neighbourhoods and to sample some of the city’s great restaurants and wonderful entertainment. In Rockport you have an option of enjoying an entertaining and relaxing cruise through the beautiful 1000 Islands. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Toronto. (B)

Day 8: Toronto – Calgary (Flight)

A transfer brings us to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for a flight over the prairie grainfields of central Canada to Calgary. Upon arrival in Calgary, we make our way to our downtown hotel. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Calgary. (B)

Day 9: Calgary – Banff National Park – Canmore

We set out early this morning to tour the sights of Calgary. We admire such modern and historic landmarks as the Calgary Tower, Fort Calgary and the skyscrapers of the commercial district. Leaving Calgary behind we set our sights on the Rocky Mountains, which can already be seen, far off in the distance. Experience the majesty of the mountains as we first travel through the foothills and then enter Banff National Park. We tour the region around Banff amidst snow-capped peaks, sparkling glaciers and emerald green lakes and see landmark Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Bow Falls and Tunnel Mountain. Accommodation stay — 2 nights in Canmore. (B)

Day 10: Canmore/Banff National Park

The entire day is at leisure to tour Banff and browse through the many boutiques and specialty shops along Banff Avenue. An optional full-day tour is offered to the Columbia Icefield*. The tour starts with a visit to the turquoise waters and spectacular glacier of Lake Louise, the jewel of the Rockies. From the unsurpassed beauty of Lake Louise we enter a rugged wilderness as we travel up the world famous Icefields Parkway. At the spectacular Columbia Icefield we board a Ice Explorer that will take us onto the surface of the ancient Athabasca Glacier. We return to Banff late in the afternoon. Overnight in Canmore. (B)

Day 11: Canmore – Kamloops

Our drive today is on the famed Trans-Canada Highway, following a route charted by the railroad engineers and fur traders of the mid 1800s. We continue our tour of the Canadian parks system as we cross the jagged Kicking Horse Pass into British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. From the highway, we are treated to a dazzling display of vast icefields, deep canyons, dense forests and glacier-fed streams. One awe-inspiring landscape follows another en route to Glacier National Park. We continue through the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges to the rugged interior town of Kamloops. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Kamloops. (B)

Day 12: Kamloops – Whistler

We can expect a day of dramatic scenery changes when we drive through the ranch lands and head for the coastal mountains. An optional Floatplane Sightseeing Tour* over Garibaldi Park gives you an inspiring view of a natural preserve of volcanic peaks, alpine lakes and meadows. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Accommodation stay — 1 night in Whistler. (B)

Day 13: Whistler – Vancouver

We drive south along the spectacular Sea-to-Sky Highway through a dramatic landscape of jagged fjords and glaciated mountain peaks. We leave the countryside behind and explore the metropolis of Vancouver on a sightseeing tour. Highlights include Stanley Park, Prospect Point, English Bay, historic Gastown, bustling Chinatown and much more. The afternoon is free to discover more of this coastal gem. Accommodation stay — 2 nights in Vancouver. (B)

Day 14: Vancouver

The Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains form the backdrop to your day at leisure in Vancouver. You might want to do some shopping down on Robson Street, relax in Vancouver’s playground Stanley Park or stroll through the markets of Granville Island. If you prefer to explore the outdoors, take a gondola ride to the summit of Grouse Mountain. You can also go on an optional full-day tour to Victoria*, the charming provincial capital that is proud of her maritime heritage. See the beautiful 19th century landmarks and enjoy its lively atmosphere. Before taking the ferry back to Vancouver, you will visit Butchart Gardens, one of the world’s great floral displays set in a reclaimed stone quarry. Overnight in Vancouver. (B)

Days 15-16: Depart Vancouver

The time has come for some last minute shopping and to say farewell to Canada. Individual transfer to Vancouver’s International Airport in time to check in for your overnight return flight back to the UK. (B)

Meals: This tour is based on a Continental breakfast basis.

*Denotes local charge – Optional trips and excursions listed on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally. Passengers must pay by Visa or MasterCard credit card only. Cash or other methods of payment cannot be processed by our Tour Directors.

Please note: This is a set tour itinerary, if you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours Eastern Canada
GMT -8 hours Western Canada

Tour inclusions

  • Private air conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Toronto to Calgary flight (Day 8) on Westjet Airlines
  • Transfers between hotel and airport in Toronto and Calgary (Day 8)
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English Speaking guide

Tour exclusions

  • International flight in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Baggage on internal Westjet flight – checked bags will cost between CA$25-29.50 per bag
  • Insurance
  • Airport transfer upon arrival and on departure
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Canada Electronic Authorization (eTA)
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

Continental breakfast included.

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Accommodation

Accommodation listed on the itinerary is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations e.g. the National Parks, when the ‘V’ rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Minimum 20 passengers, maximum approximately 50 passengers (full coach).

Visa requirements

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Visitors travelling to or transiting through Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re arriving into Canada by air from either the UK or another destination e.g. the USA, you’ll need an eTA. This costs CA$7 and lasts for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever is first. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, i.e. your passport.

For more information on eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.