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Toronto and Ottawa: Signature Cities of Canada

Program Number: 21431RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/8/2014 - 6/14/2014; 8/16/2015 - 8/22/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Price starting at: $1,698.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities; History & Culture
Meals: 15; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Embark on an exploration of Toronto and Ottawa to learn about these world-class Canadian cities, the former the largest city in Canada and an internationally renowned center of art and culture, the latter the nation’s capital and a great repository of European and First Nations history. With cultural enthusiasts, authors and historians, discover not only the highlights of each city, but also the out-of-the-way corners only the locals know about, and move between the two cities in the comfort of train travel.


• Explore multicultural Toronto and the neighborhoods of Kensington Market and Chinatown; and in Ottawa, experience the treasured Parliament Buildings.
• An architect takes you through the evolution of the Royal Ontario Museum, right up to the 2007 opening of the architecturally significant Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.
• Examine the relationship between Canadians and Americans; two countries that share the longest undefended border in the world.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily; stairs to access public transit on field trips.

Date Specific Information

6-8-2014, 8-16-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Toronto, 3 nights; train to Ottawa, 3 nights; departure.


This world-class city located on the north shore of Lake Ontario is a mosaic of distinctive neighborhoods with numerous parks and miles of beaches, boardwalks and trails. Canada’s largest city is home to a vibrant downtown core, thriving fine and performing arts groups, extensive green space and a global citizenry.

Toronto: Full-service hotel downtown. Ottawa: Hotel near Parliament, the National Arts Center and the National Gallery.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Robert Burchill

Robert is a retired lawyer and Canadian diplomat. He retired in 1997 after 35 years of service, spending half of his career in Ottawa and half in foreign assignments including Brazil, South Africa, Jamaica, and Chicago. Robert served as Canadian Consul General in Sydney, Australia, and as Minister of Commercial and Economic Affairs in London, England.
Rick Kohler

Lyle Richard (Rick) Kohler has dedicated most of his professional life to furthering Canadian interests internationally through the Canadian government's Foreign Service. A specialist in trade and economic issues, Rick has managed trade, investment, science and technology, tourism and economic programs in a number of capitals including Paris, Bucharest, São Paulo, Sydney, Los Angeles and Bangkok. In 2007, Rick retired from the Foreign Service and accepted the position of assistant deputy minister and chief of protocol for the government of Ontario. In 2009, he moved into the private sector to pursue personal interests including accepting a position as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce. Rick is a member of the Directing Group of the Retired Heads of Mission Association (RHOMA). In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of significant contribution to Canada and is listed in Canadian Who’s Who.
Bruce Bell

Bruce Bell — journalist, author, playwright, actor and curator — is considered Toronto’s most famous historian and was named the Official Historian of St. Lawrence Hall by the city of Toronto. An award-winning playwright, he also published “Amazing Tales of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood” and “TORONTO: A Pictorial Celebration.” Bruce’s mission is to tell Toronto’s history through his writings and lectures, including his sold-out shows at Toronto’s famed Winter Garden Theatre.
Kathryn Hewlett-Jobes

Kathryn Hewlett-Jobes is a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs where she teaches and researches on the role of business and NGOs in international development. During her career with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, she served in Switzerland, Argentina, the Philippines and Denmark and was appointed High Commissioner to Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize. Later, she joined the Inter-American Development Bank as Senior Advisor for the Multilateral Investment Bank (MIF) where she introduced new mechanisms to promote inclusive growth and managed the MIFII Replenishment process which resulted in $500 million new donations from 39 member countries. She was chairman of the board of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) from 2009-2011.
Brian Northgrave

Brian Northgrave is senior advisor with Trade Facilitation Canada, presenting seminars on Latin America to exporters on accessing the Canadian import market. He previously worked in an investment firm that extended longer-term financing to privately held companies, then joined the Canadian Foreign Service. During 36 years in diplomatic service, he was posted to Pakistan, Morocco, the U.S., Brussels, Spain and Uruguay.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown)
  Toronto, Ontario 3 nights
   Novotel Hotel
  Ottawa, Ontario 3 nights
 Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown)
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Experience the largest full-service Courtyard by Marriott in the world, Courtyard Toronto Downtown. One of the great Toronto hotels downtown, we are near shopping, entertainment, businesses and subway transit. The Eaton Centre, Canada's premier Toronto shopping destination is minutes away and find some of Toronto's finest restaurants and entertainment on trendy Yonge Street.
  Contact info: 475 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1X7 Canada
phone: 800-847-5075
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, alarm clock, bottled water, coffee maker/tea service , iron and ironing board and hair dryer. Luxury bedding - crisp linens, thicker mattresses, custom comforters, fluffier pillows. Free high speed wireless Internet in public areas and guest rooms
  Facility amenities: Fitness centre (open 24 hrs), indoor lap pool and whirlpool. On site restaurants - Yonge Street Grill, The Bistro and Second Cup coffee shop. Free high speed wireless Internet in public areas and guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel for rates Contact hotel directly for current rates and availability.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Novotel Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Novotel Hotel is located in the heart of the nation’s capital – close to Parliament, the National Arts Centre, and the National Gallery and minutes away from restaurants and the Byward Market.
  Contact info: 33 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 9M7 Canada
phone: 613-230-3033
  Room amenities: The hotel offers a number of amenities, including in-room coffee and tea, hair dryers, iron, and ironing board, high speed internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a fitness center and an indoor pool. A laundromat is located two to three blocks away from the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Check for availability. Please contact the hotel directly on your own OR if you require personal assistance contact Cleland Travel toll free at 1-888-905-5959. A service fee MAY apply.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals to the hotel in Toronto, Ontario. Dinner is 6:00 p.m. at the hotel. You will be staying at Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown) that night.
  End of Program:
Independent departures from the hotel in Ottawa morning presentation (approximately 10:00 a.m.). Check-out is 11:00 a.m. Breakfast is served starting at 7:00 a.m. You will be staying at Novotel Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. PASSPORTS: Passport requirements are subject to change. Visit for up-to-date info.
  Parking availability:
Long term parking at the airport; also at some public parking lots. For hotel parking contact the hotel directly.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Toronto, Ontario
  Nearest city or town:  Toronto
  Nearest highway: Queen Elizabeth Way or Highway 401
  Nearest airport:  Pearson International Airport-Toronto
  From End of Program
  Location:  Ottawa, Ontario
  Nearest city or town:  Ottawa, Ontario
  Nearest highway: Highway 417 - Nicholas Street Exit
  Nearest airport:  (Ottawa) Macdonald-Cartier International Airport - airport shuttle to hotel is available for approximately CAD$14 one way.
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Airport Express
phone: 800-387-6787


Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $30.00 one way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 - 45 minutes depending on traffic 




The shuttle stops at the Delta Chelsea on Gerrard Street, less than a 5 minute walk from your hotel.


Terminal 1. Shuttle departs from Posts B and E. Customer service locations at arrivals level (outside domestic baggage claim area) and arrivals level international (U.S.) (located behind the "blue clock"). Terminal 3. Shuttle departs from Curbside area #25. Tickets can be purchased at customer service counter or from bus driver. Shuttle stops at Delta Chelsea (5 minute walk to hotel). Go east on Gerrard St W toward Yonge St. Turn left onto Yonge St.




From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $60 - $65 (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30-45 minutes depending on traffic 


Taxis are available at curbside from arrivals level at all terminals. Alternate transportation: Bloomingdale Limo Service (call hotel directly); $71(one way) Public Bus service, $3 (one way)




To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


$30 CDN (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




To Airport




Public Transportation
OC Transpo
phone: 613-741-4390


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 - 40 minutes 


Bus service is available from the hotel to the Ottawa airport with OC Transpo. Please visit for more information.

Driving Directions
  From Highway 401 (via Don Valley Parkway) Starting from the 401 east or west, continue in your direction to the Don Valley Parkway (DVP). Travel south on the DVP all the way to the Gardiner Expressway. Take the Yonge Street exit, continue north on Yonge. The Courtyard Marriott Downtown Toronto is just above College/Carlton Street on your right. Turn right on Wood Street - the entrance to the hotel and parking are on Wood Street.
  QEW (Toronto) From the QEW Toronto, continue to the Gardiner Expressway East. Take the Yonge Street exit continue north on Yonge. The Courtyard Marriott Downtown Toronto is just above College/Carlton Street on your right on the corner of Yonge and Wood Street. Turn right on Wood Street - the entrance to the hotel and parking are on Wood Street.
  Toronto Pearson Airport From Toronto Pearson International Airport: Upon exiting the airport, take highway #427 south to Gardner Expressway (EAST). Follow directional signs to downtown Toronto. Exit onto Yonge Street north (LEFT), continue until you come to Wood Street (one block north of College Street on right hand side). The Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown hotel entrance is located off of Wood Street just east of Yonge Street.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrivals and Orientation
(Sunday, June 8)
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel. Check-in after 4:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p.m.
 Evening: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and site orientation including detailed information regarding use of Toronto's public transportation (buses and subways), and optional sites to explore while you are in Toronto. A weekly transit pass will be provided to participants.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown)
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Toronto: Past and Present/Corktown and the Distillery District/Elgin Winter Garden Theatre
(Monday, June 9)

Note: Today we will use the TTC (public transit). Stairs will be encountered.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the enchanting neighborhood of Corktown and the popular Distillery District. Learn about the fascinating history of this incredible factory complex, dating back to 1832, with its original cobblestone pathways. Walk through Corktown, now a highly sought after residential and business district of Toronto, it was once the great Irish slum of 19th Century Toronto See Toronto's oldest Cemetery, one of the finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. Hear about the lives of some of Toronto's most prominent residents who are laid to rest there.
 Morning: Join Bruce Bell, a local Torontonian author and well known historian for an entertaining and enlightening presentation on the city of Toronto and "how it went from here to there".
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch in the Distillery District.
 Afternoon: Visit the historical Elgin Winter Garden Theatre, a National Historic Site and hailed as one of the most beautiful theatre complexes in the world. It is the last operating double-decker theatre in the world – containing two completely separate and restored Edwardian theatres. With its history of vaudevillian roots, the Elgin is now a sumptuous affair with royal boxes. Magic casts a spell in the Wintergarden so named for its lovely trompe l'oeil paintings and pastoral ambiance. Only open to organized groups when the theatre is not booked for specific special performances.
 Dinner: Dinner at Hothouse.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Architecture of the ROM/Royal Ontario Museum/Free Afternoon
(Tuesday, June 10)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: A presentation by an architect or member of the design team will explore the evolution of the ROM's architecture from the beginning of the 20th century to the June 2007 opening of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The Crystal, a structure of organically interlocking prismatic forms, turn this important corner of Toronto into a luminous beacon, a veritable showcase of people, events and objects, transforming the entire museum complex into a world-class destination.
 Morning: A guided exploration of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will provide an overview of the many galleries and exhibits followed by free time to explore on your own. Explore an exceptional array of themed galleries throughout the Museum, spanning both world cultures and natural history. The ROM is the fifth largest museum in North America and contains more than six million items and over 40 galleries. It is also the largest museum in Canada and has notable collections of dinosaurs, Near Eastern and African art, East Asian art, European history, and Canadian history.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free for independent exploration. Some options: Performing Arts (Sony Centre, Young Peoples Theatre, Canadian Stage Theatre); Gardens & Historic Homes (Toronto Sculpture Garden, Mackenzie House, Allan Gardens Conservatory, Casa Loma); Museums (Art Gallery of Ontario, Bata Shoe Museum, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Tatar Gallery, University of Toronto Art Centre, Gardiner Museum);Other (Queen's Park and the Parliament Buildings, University of Toronto).
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Toronto (Downtown)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Old Town Toronto/Train to Ottawa
(Wednesday, June 11)
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Discover Canada's largest and most ethnically diverse city with Toronto's foremost historian Bruce Bell - he will take you to places that even locals don't even know about - the hidden gems often overlooked. Explore Old Town Toronto on foot with stops at The Farmers Market, St Lawrence Hall, Toronto's First Post Office (1834) St. James Cathedral as well as various historical sites along the way. The fusion of classic architecture and modern amenities is enhanced by the stunning view of Toronto's skyline.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Joe Badalis.
 Afternoon: Board the Via train en route to Ottawa, Canada's capital city.
 Dinner: Box dinner on the train.
 Evening: Arrive and check-in to hotel in Ottawa.
Accommodations: Novotel Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Canadian Politics/Parliament Hill/National Gallery
(Thursday, June 12)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Learn first-hand about the inner workings of Canada's government on a guided visit to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Canada's Parliament Buildings are historical monuments, architectural treasures, and an important national symbol cherished by all Canadians. It is within the walls of these buildings that Senators and Members of Parliament debate the important issues of the day, and make our nation's laws. Your visit is completed by exploring the outside grounds of Parliament Hill.
 Morning: Meet with an expert who will speak about federal politics and how Canadians are governed. Examine the Parliamentary Government in Canada and the roles of the Crown, the House of Commons and the Senate. Discussions will touch on the electoral system; the Prime Minister and the Cabinet; appointive powers; the legislative process and the judiciary. The presentation will also explore Canada's Evolution from Colony to Nation.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Empire Grill.
 Afternoon: Optional Cocktails at the Chateau Laurier (Dutch Treat).
 Afternoon: Whether you're a novice or expert, historical or contemporary art-lover, the National Gallery is constantly putting on engaging events to encourage learning in a stimulating, informal environment. Your guide will give you a fascinating new perspective on the works of art found throughout the collections.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Novotel Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Museum of Civilization/Victoria Island Aboriginal Experience
(Friday, June 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Visit the Museum of Civilization, the nation's leading museum of human history and one of the largest museums in the world. Internationally recognized for its spectacular architecture, the CMC is acknowledged as a museological institution of international stature. Go behind the scenes with an expert curator and meet with one of CMC’s research divisions, the Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies for an incredible exploration of Canadian human history. The Museum also presents an ever-changing program of special exhibitions that expand on Canadian themes and explore other cultures and civilizations, past and present.
 Lunch: Lunch and entertainment on Victoria Island.
 Afternoon: The Ottawa River, which runs through Ottawa, was once a major water highway, navigated by many native nations from across North America as they searched for food, technology and trade goods. Today, this rich history is brought to life on the historical and sacred Victoria Island, located in the heart of downtown Ottawa under the shadows of Parliament Hill. For thousands of years, the Algonquin nation used this very island as a meeting place for gatherings, trading and celebrations. Experience this tradition today with a unique celebration of our contemporary urban native culture including a traditional meal and ceremonial dance.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the Metropolitain Brasserie
Accommodations: Novotel Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: US/Canada Relations/Independent Departures
(Saturday, June 14)
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel; breakfast is served starting at 7:00 a.m.
 Morning: Examine the relationship between Canadians and Americans; two countries that share the longest undefended border in the world and the largest bilateral trading relation on the planet. Canadians and Americans are hard-wired across politics, person-to-person, defense and cultural links and merrily claim "we are each other's best friends, whether we like it or not!"
 Morning: Independent departures from Ottawa after the morning presentation (approximately 10:00 a.m.) Check-out is 11:00 a.m.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Toronto, Ontario Performing Arts
Toronto is home to a number of theatres and other performing arts venues. Mirvish Productions owns and operates four magnificent theatres in downtown Toronto - the Royal Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, the Ed Mirvish (formerly the Canon) and the Panasonic - each offering its patrons a unique theatre-going experience. Visit Other venues include: Sony Centre for Performing Arts, Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, Young Peoples Theatre, Canadian Stage Theatre, Peoples Theatre, Canadian Stage Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre, Four Seasons Centre, Massey Hall and many more. For additional information, visit
  Gardens & Historic Homes
Toronto is home to an array of gardens, green spaces and historic homes. Casa Loma, Toronto Botanical Garden, Toronto Sculpture Garden, Kew Gardens, Toronto Music Garden, Mackenzie House, Allan Gardens Conservatory. For additional information, visit
  Arts, Culture, History
Toronto has a number of world-class museums and historic sites including the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Bata Shoe Museum, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Museum of Inuit Art, Gardiner Museum, Tatar Gallery, University of Toronto Art Centre, Textile Museum, Queen's Park and the Parliament Buildings and historic Fort York. For additional information, visit
Other sites of interest: St. Lawrence Market, CN Tower, Canadian Air & Space Museum, Hockey Hall of Fame, Air Canada Centre, Toronto Islands, City Hall, University of Toronto, The Distillery District, Chinatown and P.A.T.H. the underground city. For additional information, visit
  Ottawa, Ontario Byward Market
Established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By himself laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and gathering place. You'll find museums, cafés, specialty food shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, hair & aesthetics salons and more! The ByWard Market offers a unique experience for all. For additional information, visit
  City Tours
Ottawa is filled with Capital sights and attractions – and just about as many ways to explore and see them. Some options include walking tours, amphibious boat tours and even bi-plane tours over the city. For additional information, visit
Ottawa is home to many museums including Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, Currency Museum, Bytown Museum, Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, Canadian Museum of Science and Technology and the Royal Canadian Mint. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Toronto: A Pictorial Celebration

Author: Bruce Bell

Description: Bruce Bell's latest book on Toronto, including fantastic photography. A look at the top 100 sites in Toronto. Bruce is a noted historian, journalist, author, playwright, actor, and curator and is part of this program experience.

Lost Toronto

Author: William Dendy

Description: An intriguing portrait of the 19th- and early 20th-century city, Lost Toronto fills in the gaps of architectural history. Using almost 150 archival photographs, William Dendy identifies and discusses buildings destroyed or significantly defaced as the 20th century progressed. Not just an architectural history, Lost Toronto is a plea for more stringent regulations to preserve historic buildings. Lost Toronto and Toronto Observed: Its Architecture, Patrons, and History (1986) won Toronto book awards.

Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been

Author: Mark Osbaldeston

Description: Unbuilt Toronto explores never-realized building projects in and around Toronto, from the city's founding to the twenty-first century. Delving into unfulfilled and largely forgotten visions for grand public buildings, skyscrapers, highways, and subways, it outlines projects like St. Alban's Cathedral and the Queen subway line. Readers may lament the loss of some projects, be thankful for the disappearance of others, and marvel at the downtown that could have been. Featuring 147 images, Unbuilt Toronto casts a different light on a city you thought you knew.

No Mean City

Author: Eric Arthur/revised by Stephen Otto

Description: First published in 1964, it sparked the preservation movement of the 1960s and 1970s and became its bible. This reprint of the third edition, prepared by Stephen Otto, updates Arthur's classic to include information and illustrations uncovered since the appearance of the first edition. (CND395, $43.95)

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