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scenic route toronto to montreal, is highway 7 worth the detour?

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  • Oct 9th, 2010 10:39 pm
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Sep 6, 2002
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scenic route toronto to montreal, is highway 7 worth the detour?

Hello,

Headed to montreal this weekend and not really in too much of a rush to get there. Really don't want to just take 401/20 since I imagine the fall colours will be in full force this weekend.

I've taken highway 2 and the 1000 island parkway before and wasn't too impressed. I drive a bit of a sportier car so I'm looking for good twists, turns and elevation changes (I'm not expecting anything dramatic but something other then straught road would be nice)

My plan is to take 401 and head east til about 35/115 then switch to highway 7 continue east to ottawa (no plans to stop in ottawa) then take the 417 to montreal to make up a bit of time.

I'm thinking this might take 8-9 hours? Any other routes or minor detours? Going via algonquin park is a little too out of the way.

Thanks for the advice.
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Newbie
Jul 6, 2006
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I have driven this route many times to Ottawa and it probably isn't the ride you are expecting. Before the 416 was built this was the main route to Ottawa. I would describe it as gentle turns with very minor changes in elevation - not a great driving experience. The leaves will probably be nice however you go through some stretches of leaves on the boring 401. IMHO its not worth the extra time.
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Mar 8, 2002
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Ottawa
A slight deviation from the 401 is going to cost you time, and the trade off in scenery is nothing special. Plus highway 7 has limited passing opportunities and lots of cops hanging around. IMHO The fall colors are past their peak now, in Ottawa anyway.
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Jul 30, 2005
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Mississauga
Alternatively you can take Hwy 2 (aka Ontario King's Highway). This used to be the main highway between Toronto to the Quebec border before Hwy 401 was built.
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Great advice guys, really apprecaite it! I think I'll skip the highway 7 route.

I'm not going to take highway 2 all the way there but might jump off for a 100 km detour. Any suggestions on which part might be best (minimal towns / 50 km/h zones) and of course, nice twists and turns :) Is the Quebec side of highway 2 at all scenic or twisty?

I did some googling and others mention doing a detour on the loyalist parkway through picton. Any comments?
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Dec 31, 2009
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GangStarr wrote:
Oct 7th, 2010 10:56 pm
Great advice guys, really apprecaite it! I think I'll skip the highway 7 route.

I'm not going to take highway 2 all the way there but might jump off for a 100 km detour. Any suggestions on which part might be best (minimal towns / 50 km/h zones) and of course, nice twists and turns :) Is the Quebec side of highway 2 at all scenic or twisty?

I did some googling and others mention doing a detour on the loyalist parkway through picton. Any comments?
When I first read the thread title I was going to mention Hwy 2 as opposed to Hwy 7, but I see you already did it.

I grew up in Madoc and the OPP detachment there made a killing patrolling Hwy 7 and nabbing every out-of-towner they could. The highway is nice and in good shape. It's 4 lanes in more places nowadays but it really won't be much of a drive because the fall colours would be practically done by now. Otherwise it's a long boring drive. I would take Hwy 2 over Hwy 7 any day, but they both can be very boring. Trust me.

I now live right close to the Loyalist Parkway. It is a gorgeous drive and I love going thru Wellington, Bloomfield, and Picton. I grew up in a small town and always enjoy their charm. I always said that when I retire I was moving to Wellington.

The Glenora Ferry is nice (and free) too, but you might have to wait a bit because I think it might be an hour between launch now that the tourist rush is over. I'm probably wrong, but I seem to remember waiting ages and ages one time when we crossed it in November.

But the drive from the other side and into Kingston is gorgeous too.
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Aug 13, 2009
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sure - Havelock and Norwood are fantastic places to visit.
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Looked up the ferry and it runs every half hour, best part it is free! Rfd style.

Great suggestion I think I'll be taking that route, the ferry should be a perfect break to stretch our legs.

Thanks again all, still open to suggestions but I'm pretty sold on the ferry ride.
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Just as you're coming into Wellington from the west on Hwy 33 there is a little dairy bar on the north side of the road. If it's open, go in and get a milkshake. It's been a couple years, but the last time I was there they made them the 'old way', with the tall metal cup, ice cream, syrup, milk, whatever, and they shove it into that tall single mixer thingy-a-ma-jig that dates back to the 1950's. Then it's poured into a glass (if you're staying there, or a tall paper cup if you're taking it out.) Best damn milkshake between here and Milkshake Heaven. They charge somewhere between 2 and 3 bucks for it, but they're sooooo worth it. They're huge.

The problem is they have the wierdest hours. Or maybe they simply shut it down if it gets slow...I don't really know. I've driven by on a Saturday afternoon, early summer, tourists are all over the place - and it's closed for some strange reason. Whoever runs the place is either super-wealthy and doesn't care....or they just don't have a clue about running a business.

They also have awesome burgers too.
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Milkshake spot noted.

Any food stops along the loyalist that are good? We will probably be hungry right around that time.
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Hello all,

For any curious folk or future readers of this thread ended up taking the loyalist parkway detour. The boats were running every 15 minutes. Waited about 4 minutes to board and the ride was about 10 minutes. For those who've never driven onto a ferry its painless and easy. 22 cars fit (that's quite small so loading / unloading is quick) on the boat and there are free pretty clean public toilets at both ports, making it a productive break from the drive. Highway 33 is also well signed with signs for the ferry as soon as you leave 401. For the cheap skates Picton was serving gas for 99 cents a litre compared to $106.6 charged on / near 401. Mind you these were ultramar and pioneer stations.



Total moving time from dvp/lawrence to montreal convention centre area was 5 hours and 57 minutes plus the 10 minute ferry ride. I had to take a few detours in whitby/oshawa to dodge 401 traffic. Toronto to mtl usually takes 5.5 hours so I think iy was worth the extra 40 min / 40. Approx km. Total of 562.5 km ( I love gps stats)

The colours were quite nice and not one opp officer on the parkway. Spotted at least 4 opp on 401. moving average I managed 95 km/h for the whole trip. Not bad considering that a couple hours were spent on side highways.

Thanks for the tips!

No milkshakes but if your looking for a quick non chain bite there's a family restaurant in bath ontario at highway 33 and church rd to eat at. Nothing special but decent $8-$20 meals and friendly service you'd expect from a small town.

Also some good spots near the water to stop at for picnics. You'd need a gps to spot what roads take you to the water but there's a signed picnic area leaving picton.
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