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How many days for Toronto to Thunderbay sight seeing t

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  • Oct 6th, 2020 8:35 pm
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2010
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Brampton

How many days for Toronto to Thunderbay sight seeing t

I am thinking about visiting the most scenic but far off part of Ontario by road. As I understand it, the drive form Sault St Marie to Thunderbay has several nice scenic sights. Since I will be driving, I guess it is reasonable to leave 1 day each for drive to and back from Soo.
So, this brings up the question - How many days I should leave aside to enjoy the natural sights between Soo and TB? I do want to see as amny nice, natural sights as possible, drive at a comfortable pace and be in the hotel before nightfall. Those fo you who are familiar with this area/drive - what do you suggest? Should I plan for 4 days, 5...?
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Jun 12, 2007
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? The scenic section would be just north of SSM to Wawa / Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Arguably, taking the ferry from Bruce Peninsula National Park / Tobermory to Manitoulin Island/ Killarney Provincial Park/ Sudbury and then onto SSM is just as scenic

The scenic, but far off part of Ontario is Fort Francis to Kenora past Lake of the Woods
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Feb 7, 2017
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l69norm wrote: ? The scenic section would be just north of SSM to Wawa / Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Arguably, taking the ferry from Bruce Peninsula National Park / Tobermory to Manitoulin Island/ Killarney Provincial Park/ Sudbury and then onto SSM is just as scenic

The scenic, but far off part of Ontario is Fort Francis to Kenora past Lake of the Woods
Agreed

The one thing you do want to do is plan out where you are staying each night ... cuz there isn’t a lot of options (probably even fewer now during this Covid Summer).

Example ... when we drive across Canada via the TCan ... we know our best options for accommodations in Ontario are ... Ottawa - North Bay - Sudbury - Sault Ste Marie - Thunder Bay - and Kenora

And some of them are a fair bit apart. Like The Sault to TBay is about an 8 hour drive.

In between services are sparse. So you’ll want to have a daily plan ... esp if you are not camping (and even then). You can use the likes of Google Maps & TripAdvisor.

Sault Ste Marie, ON (pop 73,000 ) = https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g155 ... tions.html
Wawa (pop 3,000 ) = https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g182 ... tions.html
Thunder Bay (pop 110,000 ) = https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g155 ... tions.html

For ideas on what to see & do ... you’ll find lots of travel & tourism resources online, in addition to TripAdvisor you might want to check out:

Northern Ontario Tourism (this is the OFFICIAL ONTARIO TOURISM Wevsite ) = https://www.northernontario.travel/
Destination Northern Ontario (locally sponsored website ) = https://destinationnorthernontario.ca/
Ontario Parks (OFFICIAL ONTARIO Website) = https://www.ontarioparks.com/en
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Jul 26, 2007
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I recently drove back from alberta to toronto for a move, just be very aware that quite a few sections of the TCH between TB and SSM has road work. so they'll have set ups where they have temporary traffic lights where they close down one of the lanes (notice pretty much most of the TCH between the manitoba/ontario border up to about halfway between sudbury and toronto will be one lane each way) while the other one moves. expect that to add some travel time (~45min-1h or so). just fyi.

also stick to the speed limits (90km/h in most stretches, sometimes 100), lots of OPP on the highway just waiting to pull someone over.

also agree with the comment about services being sparse - plan your gas stops appropriately; between TBay and Sault I'd probably suggest Marathon or Wawa as a decent "halfway"-ish point where I'd stop, get gas, stretch my legs, that sort of thing. don't expect every little town in the sticks to have gas stations and restaurants open especially with covid going on right now.
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2010
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Brampton
Clement wrote:

also stick to the speed limits (90km/h in most stretches, sometimes 100), lots of OPP on the highway just waiting to pull someone over.
oh man!! Thanks for this tip, I am sure you saved me from a ticket
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Jul 14, 2006
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I just finished a Toronto -> Winnipeg drive and can offer some comments:

A lot of towns have different COVID rules. Just wear a mask whenever you go into anywhere. Even places where it wasn't mandatory and a lot of people weren't wearing them, I didn't get a second-look from anyone for wearing one.
Don't count on many dine-in restaurants yet. Even in smaller towns a lot of stuff is closed or on reduced days/hours. Heck, even a bunch of "take-out" places had to be ordered ahead and the food is brought out curbside. (McDonalds in Thunder Bay, for example: drive-thru or order on the app for pickup). No walking into the restaurant at all for ordering. Even in Stage 3 areas.
Washroom break? Look for the picnic bench signs, those rest areas usually have outhouses.
The scenery is beautiful. There are hundreds of lakes, beaches, and hiking trails to suit any desire.
Plenty of motels and cabins are available to stay in along the way.
Highway 17 between Wawa and Thunder Bay has a lot of construction going on. It'll slow down the drive, but won't kill it. Google says 8 hours from SSM: I left SSM around 9 AM, stopped in Wawa for lunch, and was still in Thunder Bay by 6 PM.
I had my cruise set for 14-18 km/h over the speed limit without a problem (saw plenty of OPP).
There are passing lanes, be patient. The trucks can be annoyingly slow, just remember they're vital to our economy.
I didn't do any night driving, but saw plenty of carnage from deer/moose strikes on the road. Stay alert and safe!
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2010
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Brampton
Thank you for such a helpful reply. Much appreciated.
I plan to cover this trip in a week so I think there will be plenty of time to drive slowly and enjoy. Its the stretch between wawa and TB (Ouimet canyon) that worries me. Its about 400+ kms, single lane, construction delays and hardly any reliable places on the way to stop and use proper washrooms. And hardly anything worth a stop in between.
13inches wrote: I just finished a Toronto -> Winnipeg drive and can offer some comments:

A lot of towns have different COVID rules. Just wear a mask whenever you go into anywhere. Even places where it wasn't mandatory and a lot of people weren't wearing them, I didn't get a second-look from anyone for wearing one.
Don't count on many dine-in restaurants yet. Even in smaller towns a lot of stuff is closed or on reduced days/hours. Heck, even a bunch of "take-out" places had to be ordered ahead and the food is brought out curbside. (McDonalds in Thunder Bay, for example: drive-thru or order on the app for pickup). No walking into the restaurant at all for ordering. Even in Stage 3 areas.
Washroom break? Look for the picnic bench signs, those rest areas usually have outhouses.
The scenery is beautiful. There are hundreds of lakes, beaches, and hiking trails to suit any desire.
Plenty of motels and cabins are available to stay in along the way.
Highway 17 between Wawa and Thunder Bay has a lot of construction going on. It'll slow down the drive, but won't kill it. Google says 8 hours from SSM: I left SSM around 9 AM, stopped in Wawa for lunch, and was still in Thunder Bay by 6 PM.
I had my cruise set for 14-18 km/h over the speed limit without a problem (saw plenty of OPP).
There are passing lanes, be patient. The trucks can be annoyingly slow, just remember they're vital to our economy.
I didn't do any night driving, but saw plenty of carnage from deer/moose strikes on the road. Stay alert and safe!
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Apr 30, 2004
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Just did a four-day road trip to Thunder Bay (from Toronto); Highway 17 heading west is such a scenic route, though it snowed for about 30 minutes during the drive; wish I have more time to explore Sleeping Giant and Ouimet Canyon, as well as other National Parks along the way :)
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: Just did a four-day road trip to Thunder Bay (from Toronto); Highway 17 heading west is such a scenic route, though it snowed for about 30 minutes during the drive; wish I have more time to explore Sleeping Giant and Ouimet Canyon, as well as other National Parks along the way :)
Sounds like a nice road trip! A bit late this year, but definitely would consider this trip next spring/summer especially if we're still stuck in this situation.

Stupid question, but do gas stations on highway 17 offer 91 octane? Would love to make this a backroads driving trip for the twisties.
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bear20 wrote: Sounds like a nice road trip! A bit late this year, but definitely would consider this trip next spring/summer especially if we're still stuck in this situation.

Stupid question, but do gas stations on highway 17 offer 91 octane? Would love to make this a backroads driving trip for the twisties.

It was an excellent driving trip and accumulated close to 3,000km; would DEFINITELY do it again but feeling burnt out now from all the driving lol :)

For me I only stopped at "decent looking" gas stations along the way; they do offer 91 gas but no 93 or 95 on Highway 17 between small towns.

I had to stop at Canadian Tire to get a bottle of windshield washer due to snowing...I certainly didn't check the weather forecast beforehand...
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Feb 11, 2015
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I went to Sault Ste Marie, but never made it to the Agawa Canyon and sites that are on from there to Thunder Bay. I've seen the Grand Canyon though. Not the same, still maybe one day. Bit cold to be wanting to travel spontaneously, but I've been to Halifax in October, and though cold and chilly, it was well worth it seeing something new. Hope you enjoy!
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2010
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Brampton
stinastr wrote: I went to Sault Ste Marie, but never made it to the Agawa Canyon and sites that are on from there to Thunder Bay. I've seen the Grand Canyon though. Not the same, still maybe one day. Bit cold to be wanting to travel spontaneously, but I've been to Halifax in October, and though cold and chilly, it was well worth it seeing something new. Hope you enjoy!
The real beauty of ON begins from SOO and continues all the way to TB with first 40-50 kms stunning, Gotta go in summer and have at least a week to enjoy the superb Lake Superior beaches and hangouts.
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: Just did a four-day road trip to Thunder Bay (from Toronto); Highway 17 heading west is such a scenic route, though it snowed for about 30 minutes during the drive; wish I have more time to explore Sleeping Giant and Ouimet Canyon, as well as other National Parks along the way :)
Wow I was surprised to read snow but given the time of year I suppose it is normal BTW did you end up staying overnight at the local motels/hotels ? Were there enough on route or did you pre-plan to stop at a specific one? We were thinking of driving to TB this year but wasn't possible and now thinking maybe we can squeeze in before winter.
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TorontoEh wrote: Wow I was surprised to read snow but given the time of year I suppose it is normal BTW did you end up staying overnight at the local motels/hotels ? Were there enough on route or did you pre-plan to stop at a specific one? We were thinking of driving to TB this year but wasn't possible and now thinking maybe we can squeeze in before winter.


It was an amazing road trip and I have always wanted to do it, but just didn't have enough time!

Like most people on day one I drove from Toronto to Sault Ste Marie; day two from Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay. I did stop at the smaller towns along the way for sightseeing like at Terrace Bay, and others.
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[OP]
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TorontoEh wrote: Wow I was surprised to read snow but given the time of year I suppose it is normal BTW did you end up staying overnight at the local motels/hotels ? Were there enough on route or did you pre-plan to stop at a specific one? We were thinking of driving to TB this year but wasn't possible and now thinking maybe we can squeeze in before winter.
I did stop in small places both ways but had to book in advance and pay extremely heavy price because they were pretty much all full in summer. Plenty of motels in small places - the road is no longer deserted - it was full of tourists from as afar as Alberta. However, it is better to book in advance.

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