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Family Canadian Winter Adventure
8 days
Canada - Trip code FCW

Family Canadian Winter Adventure

From snow-capped mountains to cosmopolitan cities, this tour explores Canada's natural winter highlights with a number of activities thrown in all set in beautiful surroundings. We are based in purpose built cabins located in the wilderness where we have the opportunity for plenty of activity from snowshoeing, ice fishing and cross country skiing to winter survival lessons and even snow sliding.

Trip highlights

  • Accommodation - Stay in a chalet set in the winter wilderness where we can see white tail deer from your doorstep.
  • Quebec - Discover Montreal and Ottawa, two of Canada's most historic and beautiful cities.
  • Ottawa - Skate 7.8km along the Rideau Canal Skateway.
  • Lac Simon - Enjoy cross country skiing through the winter landscape.
  • Canadian wilderness - Visit some of Canada's most spectacular wilderness areas, Learn how to build a shelter, make a fire and cook traditional bread.
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Moderate
Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you’ll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.
Group Size:
10 - 15
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join tour Montreal

Join tour in Montreal where the group meets for a welcome dinner (not included) - our hotel is in the downtown area of the city.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Faubourg Montreal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Travel to Montebello to view wildlife in Parc Omega before driving on to Lac Simon

After breakfast, we travel to Montebello on the banks of the Ottawa River and head to nearby Parc Omega - home to a wide variety of wildlife. Parc Omega is divided into specific natural areas including; prairie, forest, mountain and lake which all provide the appropriate natural setting for buffalo, red deer, wolf, bison, raccoon and birdlife (including eagle). We stroll down a wooden walkway, custom built for wildlife observation and where we can watch animals from above. Afterwards, we drive through the different habitats of the park to view more wildlife. In the afternoon, we continue our trip toward Lac Simon and our base for the next four nights. Close to a large forest, our chalets are set in the heart of a wilderness area where you are able to watch white-tail deer from your doorstep!. It is also the perfect location for the host of activities that we can experience during our stay.

Accommodation: Centre Touristique Lac Simon(or similar)

Standard Cabins
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 3 - Morning snowshoeing and Ice fishing with afternoon survival lessons

This morning, we put on our snowshoes for our first trip into the wild. From our chalets, we walk on mostly flat snowshoe trails on to the lake where we can try to catch a lake brook trout through a hole in the ice! Our fishing spot is only one of a few sites in the area where it is possible to go ice fishing. We then have a picnic in the great outdoors (or under a shelter depending upon the weather conditions), before hiking back on a different trail to our chalets. In the afternoon, your Tour Leader will give a winter survival lesson - try your hand at building a shelter, making a fire and cooking over a fire, weather permitting.

Accommodation: Centre Touristique Lac Simon(or similar)

Standard Cabins
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 - Full day cross-country skiing plus snow sliding on an inflatable rubber tube

After a short transfer, we reach the cross-country skiing area where your Tour Leader will teach you the basic techniques you need to enjoy this winter activity. Cross country skiing is fairly easily mastered and we should need just a few minutes to feel confident enough to head off on our day's exploration along mostly flat forest trails with a few small hills. We'll enjoy the tranquil splendour of Quebec's winter scenery and its forests covered in blankets of snow before returning to our chalets at the end of the day. Here we try out another exciting winter activity - snow sliding - which as the name suggests means sliding down the mountain on an inflatable rubber tube.

Accommodation: Centre Touristique Lac Simon(or similar)

Standard Cabins
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 - Optional dog sledding trip. Afternoon build an igloo

The morning is kept flexible to relax or try out dog sledding (optional). After a short technical and safety briefing from your guides, you embark on a three hour dog sledding trip where you can drive your own sled and travel on trails into the winter wilderness. For those that wish, you can chill out at your chalets or discover one of the many snowshoeing trails that are around the area (all equipment is provided). In the afternoon, we build a Quinze, otherwise known as a Southern Quebec igloo. Our Tour Leader will show us how to build the igloo and we can marvel at how people sleep in these wintery conditions.

Accommodation: Centre Touristique Lac Simon(or similar)

Standard Cabins
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 - Drive to Ottawa and explore on foot. Afternoon skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway

We drive along the Trans-Canada Highway to Canada's capital, Ottawa. Initially an Irish and French settlement, Ottawa has become a multicultural city with a diverse population and ranks second in the Numbeo quality of life index. Unique as a North American capital, the city is bilingual with English being the first language of the majority of the population although French is also used widely. Your Tour Leader takes you on an orientation tour on foot through the city, which includes a stop for lunch at the By Market. This is Canada's oldest continuously operating farmers' market and is famous for its fresh produce and flowers sold on the many stalls in the market building.

In the afternoon, we skate along the world's largest skating road, the Rideau Canal Skateway, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. After choosing your ice skates, we start our exploration from downtown Ottawa along the 7.8 km-long scenic canal. The canal is used by the locals as a means of getting around the city in the winter and we travel along this frozen 'road'. There are a number of heated rest stops with food vendors and toilets along the route. If the Rideau canal is not frozen, which can be the case in December, we will skate on the Sens Rink of Dreams located at the City Hall near the canal, within walking distance of the hotel. We can also take a stroll along the canal, visit the By Ward market and end the day viewing the Christmas lights on Parliament Hill after dinner.

Accommodation: Capital Hill Hotel & Suite(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Drive back to Montreal with included sightseeing

Travelling back to Montreal, we stop en route at Sugar Shack where we take a tour of the factory to learn about the way the maple syrup is made. We also have lunch here. On arrival in Montreal, we have an orientation walk of the Old Port, the Downtown area and through Mont Royal Park with some free time in the afternoon to enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city which has a distinctively French flavour.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Faubourg Montreal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 8 - Tour ends Montreal Airport

Depending on your flight times, there may be free time before you transfer back to the airport. There are a number of day rooms for use at the end of the trip to freshen up before your flight home.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Family information

Minimum age
7

Why book this trip

This adventure is designed for families who enjoy a wide range of winter activities and being in the outdoors in wilderness terrain. The itinerary is designed to capture the country's most beautiful landscapes and scenery with a range of optional activities including dog sledding to satisfy any adrenalin junkie. A perfect holiday for families who enjoy the outdoors and adventure as well as learning new skills when building an igloo or a camp fire.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 7
  • Lunch: 4
  • Dinner: 4
Transport
  • Maxiwagon
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader / Driver
Accommodation
  • 4 nights standard cabins
  • 3 nights standard hotel

Trip information

Country information

Canada

Climate

May-Sep is the best time to visit, when the weather is usually warm, dry and pleasant. Temperatures can be a little cooler on the coast and in the mountains; rain can be expected at any time. Early in the season, there can be snow in some areas which may limit walking possibilities.

Time difference to GMT

-7

Plugs

2 Pin Flat

Religion

Roman Catholic, Protestant

Language

English and French

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your Family adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for your family.

Lac Simon
Day 5: Dog sledding (3 hours). CAD$225 per person, or 2 hours at CAD$190 per person
Day 5: Snowshoeing - included with the accommodation Lac Simon.

Clothing

Pack for cold mountain conditions (temperatures range from -12 to -2). It's best to dress in layers of breathable fabrics with clothing such as waterproof jacket, jumper, fleece, hat, gloves, thick socks, scarfnood and thermal underwear.

Footwear

Walking boots with sturdy tread and trainers. Soft indoor shoes are recommended for the chalet.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

Bring a backpack or holdall plus a daypack for personal items carried with you while undertaking the winter activities. The luggage is stored in the closed trailer towed by the minibus. Bring plastic bags to keep things dry.

Equipment

We recommend you bring a small torch, sunglasses and camera and to get the best pictures of the landscapes. Small Rucksack/Daypack to carry clothing such as waterproofs, sweater, hat and gloves and sun cream.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
In North America tipping 15%-20% is a recognised part of life across the service industry, including restaurants, activity suppliers, taxis and guides. Local staff will look to you for personal recognition of particular services provided.

Unlike other Explore trips, during our trips in North America our Explore leaders will not operate a tips kitty. However, they will be more than happy to provide guidance throughout the trip on who to tip when and to suggest appropriate amounts.
Country Information

Canada

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£13.00
Dinner price
£20.00
Beer price
£3.00
Water price
£1.10
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Canadian Dollars.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Bring your money in Canadian Dollars or US Dollars cash which can be used almost everywhere, although local stores are not keen to change anything over $50.
Where To Exchange
Banks or 'Forex' offices in main towns/cities. Your tour leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
There are ATMs in the towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
Widely accepted just about everywhere.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Maxiwagon

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


The hotels in Montreal and Ottawa are centrally located which allows you to explore these cities. The stay in Lac Simon includes accommodation in self-contained chalets which can accommodate up to six people. There are three bedrooms with bedding provided, a toilet and shower room with an open plan living room and dining room with sofa and armchair. The kitchen has an oven, coffee machine and microwave. A communal area is located close to the chalets which is used for dinning. There is also free wireless internet connection. The tour leader will also be housed in one of the rooms and will therefore be sharing the chalet with one of the families on tour.


Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information


Canada: (Including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia and passport holders from several EU countries can enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required when flying into Canada or transiting via Canada. For more information and to apply see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

Please note you must also ensure you get an entry stamp when going through immigration on arrival. In most cases the border agents will provide this stamp automatically but if for any reason they do not provide one, please ensure you request one to ensure a smooth exit on departure.

USA: (including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding.

You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.

If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel.

Please note for your ESTA application you will be required to supply Point of Contact information. Explore' s USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. If you are leaving for the USA before this, please call the Explore team to get this information.(Not necessary if in transit)

For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Non refundable permits

Canada

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
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