Travel

Best ways to travel from Toronto to Montreal

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 12th, 2021 6:47 pm
[OP]
Member
Mar 31, 2020
273 posts
185 upvotes
Greater Toronto Area

Best ways to travel from Toronto to Montreal

Suggestions, please? My planned travel dates, fwiw, is mid/late-second week (12/13) to early/mid-third week (17/18) August. A pity I couldn't have clarity on the dates until late evening yesterday.

I am new to Canada, and slowly hoping to travel again. I notice Air Transat and Porter aren't operational yet. For the price Air Canada is quoting, I'd rather fly to Europe or the U.S.

I'd love to take the train, but I see VIA doesn't offer the best rates either.

Annnddd I am reading some not-so-positive reviews about Megabus (and Greyhound have shut down).

Curious to learn what options people have explored in the recent past. Appreciate your time and thoughts.
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15 replies
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
6478 posts
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Montreal
People I know regularly use the train if they don't drive.
You can get to Montreal in about 4 hours if you choose an express trip that isn't a milk run.

If you don't have a car, it might be cheaper to rent one and drive the 401 east. It shouldn't take more than 5.5 hours to do the drive.
The only problem is that the drive between Toronto and Montreal is pretty boring.
Phils
[OP]
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Mar 31, 2020
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Greater Toronto Area
Thank you, @Phils!

Ah yes, driving - my old enemy... I agree though that this would be a good way to "overcome" my difficulty (lets just say I get the yips when I drive), but not quite ready to experiment given the distance!

On that note, did a quick search too: sucks that most of these rentals are all sold out for the days I'm trying to book (I do assume they will allow pick-up here in YYZ and drop-off, same day, in YUL).

Any bus services other than Megabus? And is Megabus really that awful?
Last edited by kartnite on Aug 2nd, 2021 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
If all the world's a stage, then where is my audience?
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23591 posts
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Eastern Ontario
TAKE THE TRAIN

It really is the best option

Esp so if you aren’t a keen driver
Looking forward to a 5+ hour drive on Canada’s busiest highway

Add in the obvious differences between Ontario & Quebec
(Their road signs are completely in French)

So if you’ve not been to the area before
It’s best to ease into this adventure

Maybe train to Montreal
And bus back to TO

Next time / trip you’ll have an idea of what you prefer
Or be up to self driving having seen what it’s actually like

* FYI … most Cdns who need to be in one of the 3 cities … Montreal, Ottawa, or Toronto for biz
Coming from one of the others
Choose to self drive
Or take the train
Train is extremely popular with biz folks
They even have biz class option = Via One
More expensive but nice for biz travellers
And often it’s just as quick to take the train vs fly
When you add in the issues of getting to & from airports
Check In, Security, Boarding, disembarking, etc
And train is way cheaper
But more comfy than the bus …

Hence why the train is so popular
[OP]
Member
Mar 31, 2020
273 posts
185 upvotes
Greater Toronto Area
Thank you, @PointsHubby!

Wow, did you say "Canada's busiest highway"? That now totally puts paid to the smallest of hopes I was nursing to get out and drive, lol, thanks for the reality check. You are right, its best if I ease in.

And yes, I see why you're saying train is, overall, the best option. Hope I get a deal on VIA.

I don't mind taking the bus truth be told (I love long distance bus rides; did that a lot in my previous country of residence), but some of those Megabus reviews here made me think otherwise.
Kiraly wrote: I'd love to cycle this route. 600km, could do it in 6 days. Really nice vistas of Lake Ontario along the way. If I had the time...
The thought is indeed quite dreamy..! But I know my limitations alas Face With Tears Of Joy
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Deal Fanatic
Jun 11, 2016
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kartnite wrote: Thank you, @Phils!

Ah yes, driving - my old enemy...
In that case do us all a favor and take the train or bus
Deal Addict
Dec 4, 2011
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Montréal
Yeah if you don't feel comfortable driving on the 401, you will be a road hazard in Montreal! ;)
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Jan 16, 2011
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The NORTH
kartnite wrote: Thank you, @PointsHubby!

Wow, did you say "Canada's busiest highway"? That now totally puts paid to the smallest of hopes I was nursing to get out and drive, lol, thanks for the reality check. You are right, its best if I ease in.
Just a point of clarification, the 401 has overtaken the Santa Monica Freeway in LA to become the busiest freeway in North America carrying about half a million people per day. It is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a bit of a drive, take the 401 to Brockville then hop on the train.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
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Toronto
Honestly, the 401 isn't that bad (once you get out of Toronto, and even then it's just because of traffic). It's busy, but the lanes are wide and you don't do much other than sit in your lane (not the left lane please) and move to overtake when necessary. The main challenge is remaining focused and getting used to driving for that long. It's not like driving in European city centres where it's actually technically challenging to drive. Personally I'd much rather drive on the 401 than even downtown Toronto.

In this case, assuming you're going to be staying at a hotel in Montreal and don't want to pay to park a rental car, I'd take the train or fly, probably whichever costs less. It's relatively expensive you're right, and part of that is because so many people would just drive it like it's nothing. I wouldn't even bother with the bus, I'd rather not go than take the bus.
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Jun 11, 2016
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admiralackbar wrote: Yeah if you don't feel comfortable driving on the 401, you will be a road hazard in Montreal! ;)
Nah.. probably will fit right in.

AAA had a survey a few years back and determined Florida had the worst drivers in North America.
If the survey had asked where do the worst drivers come from .. answer would have been Quebec (ie- Snowbirds)

Thanks you Florida for keeping Quebec roads safe in the winter...
[OP]
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Mar 31, 2020
273 posts
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Greater Toronto Area
KravenHead wrote: In that case do us all a favor and take the train or bus
admiralackbar wrote: Yeah if you don't feel comfortable driving on the 401, you will be a road hazard in Montreal! ;)
LOL Face With Tears Of Joy Point taken, good people! And I'm the last person to "be" the hazard for others.
kr0zet wrote: Just a point of clarification, the 401 has overtaken the Santa Monica Freeway in LA to become the busiest freeway in North America carrying about half a million people per day. It is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a bit of a drive, take the 401 to Brockville then hop on the train.
Thank you, this is a good option to have too, may be once I get comfortable driving :)
Manatus wrote: Honestly, the 401 isn't that bad (once you get out of Toronto, and even then it's just because of traffic). It's busy, but the lanes are wide and you don't do much other than sit in your lane (not the left lane please) and move to overtake when necessary. The main challenge is remaining focused and getting used to driving for that long. It's not like driving in European city centres where it's actually technically challenging to drive. Personally I'd much rather drive on the 401 than even downtown Toronto.

In this case, assuming you're going to be staying at a hotel in Montreal and don't want to pay to park a rental car, I'd take the train or fly, probably whichever costs less. It's relatively expensive you're right, and part of that is because so many people would just drive it like it's nothing. I wouldn't even bother with the bus, I'd rather not go than take the bus.
Gotcha - and yes, the more I read, the more it seems that taking the train is my best bet.
gr8dlr wrote: No one mentioned this...car pooling/sharing

https://www.poparide.com/travel/toronto ... -8fITgxTmU
Oh wow! Thank you. Didn't notice this in my search (although I came across many postings on Kijiji; wasn't sure how trustworthy those ads were). Will read up on Pop A Ride.
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Jun 6, 2007
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Toronto
kartnite wrote: I'd love to take the train, but I see VIA doesn't offer the best rates either.
Via Rail is pretty cheap imo. If you go economy it's usually cheaper than gas. Try buying your ticket 3 weeks in advance. There are always sales. Also don't have to pay for overnight parking which can be fairly expensive and limited in downtown Montreal. If you have never been to Montreal the traffic there pre COVID is awful. Luckily their transit system is decent. Plane is by far your worst option. It's really not any faster especially if you land at YUL during rush hour and have to sit in traffic to get downtown.

Getting there is not the expensive part of Montreal. It's the hotel prices if you want to be downtown.
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Dec 15, 2007
439 posts
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Quebec City
Just do rideshare. Plenty of vans going back and forth. Or hitch a ride with someone already going, pitch in the gas. Check kijiji, marketplace, Craigslist etc..
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Nov 6, 2010
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The VIA rail train is the best option if flying is too cost prohibitive.

That being said I have done Megabus in the past and while I wouldn't say it's comfortable, it's doable if you're on a budget and not super tall and considering it can be as low as $10-40 each way, it's hard to beat.

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