Perfect Road Trip Tips from Locals to Help You Explore Canada Solo

by | Mar 31, 2017

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Last updated on April 25th, 2024

The nicest part about reading the tips on this page is that you’ll know that not one of them is sponsored or paid to participate. That’s what’s ‘cool’ about Journeywoman. I ask members of the Journeywoman Network for their suggestions and I edit their responses. That’s it. Not one penny is exchanged. That’s what keeps the information you read here ‘simply helpful ideas and exchanges from a woman’s point of view.’

Enjoy these tiny pieces of Canadian advice and if you know someone who will be visiting Canada, pass them along to them, too. The more the merrier!

DELIGHTFUL HOTEL IN ST JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND — writes Joy in Regina, Canada – My tip is about the cozy, relaxed, 3-star Franklin Hotel in St John’s Newfoundland. This establishment combines a small hotel with a tiny daytime restaurant filled with groups of women lunching and a bar (that opened in the evenings. The location is terrific – a block or so from the ocean, a few blocks from George St, and in an area with interesting shops (seal earrings anyone?). The hospitality is warm and wonderful, there is free WIFI and the staff will leap up the stairs with your two huge heavy bags while you tag along empty-handed. I believe that Newfoundland is an unsung treasure and the modest welcoming Franklin Hotel is a delight. Website:

AUTHENTIC BURMESE FOOD IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO — writes Iwona in Ottawa, Canada — You may not be able to travel to an exotic destination this year but if chilly Ottawa is on your itinerary this winter, you could at least taste something out of the ordinary. The Rangoon restaurant is an unassuming tiny spot tucked away in the city’s downtown. One of only a handful of Burmese restaurants around the world, this homey place offers authentic cuisine, warm welcome and low prices. If you are like me, the flavours will wow you!

CHECK OUT THIS QUEBEC CITY RESTAURANT IN ANY SEASON — writes Carole in Aylmer, Quebec. This is how their website describes the experience. ‘Dining at the Lapin Sauté is akin to walking into a warm, quaint and cozy inns from the early 20th century. There is nothing better than sitting in the comfort of this small, friendly 32-seat restaurant where you’re always welcomed with open arms. During the summer, the Lapin expands to 52 seats with its outdoor terrace and patrons flock here under the warm sun. In the winter, a fire warms your heart and soul as you discover local country products made and served like nowhere else. An example of their late afternoon menu: Roasted root vegetable salad, feta goat cheese, maple-candied nuts and for dessert Maple creème brûlée or Chocolat fondant with black beer caramel with a shooter of black Boréale beer.’

LOBSTER ROLLS IN HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA — writes Nancy from Seoul, Korea – The Bluenose Restaurant located a few minutes’ walk from the Halifax waterfront. I often ate there when I lived in Halifax, and I ate there again last summer. My lobster roll was melt- in -your- mouth- delicious. The prices are reasonable, and the service is friendly. Check out their website for further details!

FABULOUS SALADS AND CHICKEN IN TORONTO, ONTARIO — writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada — Flock is the perfect name for this restaurant that has created a menu of delicious salads (which can be ordered in small or large sizes) and succulent mains featuring mouth-watering rotisserie chicken. Pick anything on their list of offerings and it arrives filled with fresh, healthy ingredients. I especially enjoy the half portion of Power Salad – Romaine Hearts, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onions, Marinated Black Beans, Daikon Soy Beans, Cilantro, Goji Berries, Crispy Chick Peas, Sunflower Seeds with a Carrot/Ginger/SoyBean/White Miso Dressing. To it, I added a side of juicy chicken for my extra protein fix and my full bill amounted to under $17. P.S. The sides and chicken sandwiches are all delicious, too. Check this website for four locations in Toronto. This is the perfect place for a weary traveller to refuel after a full day of sightseeing. Dress: very informal. P.S. Tell them Evelyn of JourneyWoman sent you:)

COFFEE HOUSE COMBINED WITH VEGGIE RESTAURANT IN REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN — writes Pamela in Regina — I recommend the 13th Avenue Coffeehouse situated in the heart of the Cathedral area at 3136 13th Ave. It caters to vegetarians, vegans and those just looking to eat on the healthy side of things. Everything on their menu is prepared from scratch from their gluten-free baking to their award-winning veggie burgers and rice bowls. They are fully licensed and feature a lovely, sun-soaked patio for our customers to enjoy during the warmer months and a warm, cozy dining room to catch up with a friend or curl up with a book on a chilly winter afternoon.

A GREAT LITTLE NEIGHBOURHOOD RESTAURANT IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC — writes Claire in Montreal, Canada — Orange is the place friends meet and families get together. Located in Montreal’s NDG neighbourhood, at Decarie and Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Orange welcomes everyone with its warm ambiance, friendly service and, above all, comfort food — and all at reasonable prices. Among my favourites are the breakfast club and the tuna salad sandwich on a flaky croissant. Haven’t seen someone for years? You’re sure to see them when you next eat at Orange! The Sherbrooke Bus 124 will take you right there. Address: 4011 Decarie Blvd

Why Not Visit Winnipeg, Manitoba?

Winnipeg, Manitoba is a female-friendly gem of a Canadian city. It isn’t splashy, glitzy or an ‘urban fashionista’ and that is exactly why I loved the time I spent there during the summer. I saw few if any neon signs and didn’t meet any slick touts trying to talk me out of my money. In terms of safety, I remained vigilant as always but I never felt threatened in any way, shape or form. Winnipeg is a laid back city with an easy-going tempo. Its citizens are STARS – helpful, pleasant and very down to earth. Bring your camera, prepare to chat with folks and simply meander. This is definitely a welcoming three-day getaway. Here are my suggestions for fun from a female-point-of-view. Enjoy!

(Source: Evelyn Hannon, Editor)

Visit website:

CHARMING COFFEE SHOP IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC — writes Claire in Montreal, Canada — Whatever my day’s been like, I always enjoy a latte at Cafe Creme, a charming coffee shop at 357 Victoria Avenue, just off Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street in Victoria Village. The coffee and other goodies, many of them homemade, are always delicious, the atmosphere inviting, and the staff friendly. Drop by and sample the Rimini, my favourite sandwich, a zesty combination of tuna and provolone on grilled Italian bread.

THIS APARTMENT IN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA SLEEPS FOUR — writes Wendy in Vacaville, USA — If you are more than two people looking for a central place to stay in Victoria, BC, check out the Bella Belvedere Apartment managed by Victoria Prime. This was our home for a week with another couple. We had two rooms with two full bathrooms. It offered fantastic service including WIFI, a great location in the heart of downtown, and was reasonably priced. Our concierge, Sharon, was amazing. Check their website for photos.

LONG LAYOVER IN TORONTO PEARSON AIRPORT? — writes Irene in Toronto, Canada — Be an urban explorer. First free yourself by storing your carryon bags at the airport Samsonite store. Then grab an UP Union Pearson Express that will take you right downtown for up to six hours of shopping, sightseeing and meandering. Get back in time to catch the next portion of your flight. Fee: Adult: Canadian $24.00 for the Long Layover return ticket. Senior 65+: $12

BEST VEGAN BURGERS IN WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada — Please remember the name Boon Burger Cafe at 79 Sherbrook Street. This was one of my lunch stops and what a great choice it was. Boon Burgers is a small eatery with a very cool selection of vegan burgers (in a very different type of bun) served with baked Yukon gold potatoes or a selection of salads. Picture this example from their menu – The Buddha burger consists of a curried chickpea patty, creamy curry mayo, red pepper peach chutney, sliced cucumber, tomato, red onion and lettuce. Or you can try their Thanksgiving burger with (of course) cranberries that also looked so very tasty. You can check out their complete menu online at: Boon Burger is completely solo friendly. Seating is at two very long tables with benches on either side. You can’t help but talk to the folks sitting around you. I did and they turned out to be a husband and wife discussing plans for their upcoming trip to the Amazon. I had a terrific time there. Even if you’re not a vegan, I think you will, too. Website:

MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — writes Karen in Victoria, Canada — My favourite restaurant spot is is the Tibetan Kitchen located at 680 Broughton Street. The female chef here cooks both Tibetan and Indian dishes and all I’ve tried are excellent. Check out their menu right here. Good to know she uses ground cashews to thicken her sauces so it is suitable for dairy intolerant eaters. All soups created from scratch; no soup bases or canned items are used. Website:

BEST ALMOND CROISSANTS IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO — writes Mary in Ottawa, Canada — You will need travel insurance if you want to experience the most amazing almond croissants in the entire universe. They are to die for and can be found at a funky bakery-café called Art Is In Bakery. Website: The bakery also has a stand at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park, (a tourist destination as well). Website: Look for the long line-up and enjoy!

TEA SERVED IN THIS SOPHISTICATED BAR IN TORONTO, ONTARIO — writes Margaret in Hamilton, Canada — The Royal York Hotel is a great place to spend a winter afternoon. After enjoying the interior architecture, visit the Library Bar. Of course, you can enjoy a cocktail there however their selection of tea is wonderful, as well. It’s elegantly served in a china cup and poured from a silver pot. Best part, we never felt rushed to leave. Subway stop: Union Station. And if you arrive in the city by train, the Royal York Hotel is right across the street.

Visit Stratford, Ontario with a grandchild…

What gift does this globetrotting, travel writing grandma give her grandchildren on their birthdays? Each year my little ones receive ‘a juicy adventure’ tailored to suit their interests and age group. I began this ritual when they were each four years old by treating them to special activities and overnight hotel stays in the city. Then we graduated to destinations further afield. I believe intergenerational travel inspires meaningful bonding experiences and to my great pleasure, the kids refer back to our excursions over and over again. Truly, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

This year my girlfriends scoffed at me when I told them I was taking Josh by train to visit Stratford, Ontario for his eighth birthday.

‘He’ll be tired and bored; he’s too young for a lot of sightseeing and theatre,’ they said.

‘How will you keep him occupied?’

‘Watch me,’ I said.

I knew about Stratford and all its diverse family-friendly offerings. While the Stratford Shakespeare Festival bills itself as ‘North America’s leading classical theatre’ that is only a part of their success story. There’s a whole lot more going on in town for both grandma and grandson. I hope this article inspires you to check out the place The plays will have changed but most of the activities remain the same. Click here.
(Source: Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman Editor)

Visit website:

WATCH THE CRUISE SHIPS FROM THIS BAR AND BISTRO IN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — writes Allison in Victoria — The Breakwater Bistro at Ogden Point in James Bay, is great for lunch. You can walk the 1/2 km breakwater out in the ocean and watch the pilot boats guide the freighters and cruise ships. After 4:00 pm the bar opens and they have local craft beer on tap. Live music a few nights a week at 8:00 pm. Good food, juicy sunsets and great ocean view on the patio.

OJIBWAY TACOS IN TORONTO’S KENSINGTON MARKET — writes JC Lam in Toronto — Kensington Market is always an interesting area to browse. Now you can combine it with a visit to Pow Wow Cafe, an intimate spot that serves Ojibway tacos. The owner of this business is Ojibway chef Shawn Adler who cooks Indigenous dishes at Pow Wows and who owns a couple of food businesses. Don’t know what an Ojibway taco is? It serves as a fusion style gateway to First Nations’ culture. It’s frybread that is cut into pieces and forms the base of a delicious topping (e.g. fish, beef, vegetarian). vegetables, etc. Weekend brunch is usually an expertly cooked egg dish along with the loaded up fry bread. Open Thursday to Sunday.

EXCELLENT BRASSERIE IN TORONTO, ONTARIO — writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada — Tourists with hotel accommodation in the Toronto downtown core will have to take the subway to reach this smallish restaurant because it’s in one of our city neighbourhoods. That’s OK; I think it’s fun dining with the locals away from the tourist trail. The restaurant is called Merlot. It’s located at 2994 Bloor Street West and it’s a treat for me to introduce them and their lovely French brasserie menu. Think escargots, grilled calamari, steak frites with bearnaise sauce and liver and onions. Entrees range from $15-$35. I chose to go there for my birthday (many times). Call for reservations: 416 236 0081 and they’ll give you driving instructions or subway details. Enjoy the treat, ladies and … tell them Journeywoman sent you.

SMALL, INTIMATE, GASTRO BAR IN FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK — One of my favorite restaurants and bar is 540 Kitchen & Bar on Queen St. It’s small and intimate with a varied menu that appeals to all tastes, and the attention to detail is truly appreciated. Cozy tables near the window give patrons a street view, especially desired during our renowned Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in September. Website:

A JUICY DELI IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — writes Maureen in Vancouver — I recommend the Dirty Apron Deli (and cooking school, if you are interested). The classes look fun but I have only eaten at the deli. They offer super fresh gourmet grilled baguette sandwiches, two soups of the day, three salads and the desserts – oh my!. All have interesting flavour combos and ingredients like grilled vegetables, faro and creamy cheeses. They are packed at lunch, so go early or later and you will have a delicious, freshly made meal. This place is perfect for a traveller who needs a break in her sightseeing schedule. Address: 540 Beatty St. Website:

A CUP OF TEA AND A QUICK BITE IN EDMONTON, ALBERTA — writes Angie in Edmonton — The Tea Girl is a locally owned tea shop that also serves food and it’s my favorite place in the whole world. This is how they describe themselves. ‘Sit, enjoy tea or grab a quick bite to eat. We have a fantastic selection of tea, food items and tea-themed gifts. The tea girl has over 100 tea and tea-blend choices. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask one of our lovely team members. Our staff complete extensive training and are very knowledgeable. They can help you choose a tea to suite your palate. We have a kitchen on site where we bake almost all of our own desserts. We have a daily soup selection and chili as well as a few sandwich selections for a light lunch menu. We are often trying out new food options for our menu selections. Although we are not a gluten-free facility, we offer a wide selection store baked gluten-free and wheat-free items. We also have some dairy free and egg free items, and vegan selections. Website:

BEST CHOCOLATE IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO — writes Ruth in Ottawa — Hello from Canada’s capitol. This is my newsletter tip submission for 2015. I’d like other women visiting my city to know that I recommend and love the European feel of Stubbe (since 1845), a chocolate shop and bakery that also makes great spiced cocoa and truffles. I really like their lavender and their balsamic dark chocolate, but they also do gorgeous and delicious German-style tortes. You can find them downtown at 375 Dalhousie Street in the Mercury Court building. Check out their (delicious) website at:

Gros Morn National Park in Newfoundland…

It took Mother Nature 485,000,000 years to mould Gros Morne National Park into the geological and visual wonder we know today. Encircled by tiny seaside communities, and encompassing forests, freshwater fjords, bogs, barren lowlands, moose, and striking cliffs and shorelines, this area is also world-renowned for its complex geology. This is a picture album about what happened when General Motors invited me to test drive a brand new 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 Pickup in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland. Those who know me appreciate the fact that I love cars, adore road trips yet have absolutely no desire to drive the vehicle myself. I simply yearn for the thrill of the open road and like nothing better than being the pampered passenger. When I explained this to my General Motors hosts they agreed to do all the driving while I soaked up the luxury of the vehicle and the fabulous sights everywhere we drove. Click here for photos to entice you to visit this gorgeous part of Canada.
(Source: Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman Editor and NewfoundlandandLabrador)

Visit website:

Evelyn started Journeywoman in 1994, and unknowingly became the world's first female travel blogger. She inspired a sisterhood of women, a grassroots movement, to inspire women to travel safely and well, and to connect women travellers around the world. She passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on.


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