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Old 07-25-2015, 02:07 PM   #1
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Parking in Canada

We will be visiting Quebec and Ottawa in our AI.
Any tips on parking lots in these cities ?
Thanks
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Old 07-25-2015, 03:27 PM   #2
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We have parked all over the USA and Canada. No special tips - just keep looking for a spot big enough to park your Interstate. Also be sure when you enter s parking area like a lot that there is room to turn around or exit on the other end. I've gotten trapped is some historic areas where there was a metal banner over the exit I tried to use and has to back out.


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Old 07-25-2015, 04:11 PM   #3
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I was not in our Airstream Interstate when we visited there and Ottawa is a beautiful city well worth visiting, but it is old with narrow streets and parking is scarce. On street parking is very limited especially anywhere near the downtown or parliament areas. The vast majority of parking is in indoor garages a few feet too low for the AI — even without the roof mounted accouterments, and turns that would be a nightmare to negotiate in a 22 foot long vehicle. Even in a compact car I had to resort to backing and filling to get into a space in one garage. To this country boy some of the parking garages seemed to be cleverly hidden and not always easy to spot as well. The on street parking fills up very quickly and you can easily spend an hour or more circulating looking for an open spot on the street. Parking at the museums is a mixed bag. The Military Museum has relatively generous outside parking, but the other museums offer mostly underground parking — again not what I would attempt in the Airstream.

If I were to go to Ottawa in our AI I would tow our VW, setup camp somewhere on the outskirts or even further out and plan on using the VW for travel in town. But that is just me and Your Mileage May Vary.
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Old 07-25-2015, 04:28 PM   #4
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:46 PM   #5
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We were in Quebec City and Ottawa last September. Maybe we were lucky, but, we had no problem finding on-street metered parking for our AI.

We did NOT drive into the walled city of Quebec. We parked a couple blocks outside the city, and one day, we parked in a lot on the Levis side of the river and took the ferry across.

In Ottawa, there was plenty of street parking near the outdoor market, just 4-5 blocks from Parliament.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:38 AM   #6
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(1) I used to live in Ottawa, and their bus system (OC Transpo) is one of the best in the western world. So you might want to investigate the option of parking your Interstate somewhere convenient and taking buses from place to place, particularly if you are just wanting to go into town on a day trip to see the main attractions (e.g., Parliament).

Montreal is a very cool city and I recommend that you not miss it, but I don't know much about parking or public transport there, only that it's also a very old city with the typical old-city inconveniences like congestion and narrow streets.

(2) Someone else please chime in if they know more about this next bit --

I haven't had to fully research or deal personally with this yet, but I've heard claims that some Canadian jurisdictions categorically criminalize boondocking.

In internet articles, I've heard people complaining about this regarding my home province of Nova Scotia, but again, I haven't confirmed. Part of the confusion appears to derive from the "we boondocked there for weeks with no problems" comments that flood user forums. Well, just because something is not enforced consistently doesn't mean it's not on the books. Without question, some Canadian jurisdictions do have these laws but do not choose to exercise the authority unless there is a complaint. The selective enforcement is especially true if the offending activity takes place after government hours (which almost all boondocking does) when there is limited or no staff around to enforce. The forum debate gets particularly lively with respect to Wallydocking, because Walmart typically allows boondocking, but if a particular Wallyworld is located in an excluding juristiction, who trumps? Private property discretion or public laws?

Moral of that story is, if you intend to leave your rig in any non-conventional parking spot in Canada overnight, you might want to check the jurisdiction.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:39 AM   #7
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The forum debate gets particularly lively with respect to Wallydocking, because Walmart typically allows boondocking, but if a particular Wallyworld is located in an excluding juristiction, who trumps? Private property discretion or public laws?
Legally, that answer is simple. Private property rules can be more restrictive than public law, but never less restrictive. Something permitted by law can be forbidden by a property owner. But something forbidden by law cannot be permitted by the property owner.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:23 AM   #8
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Montreal is a very cool city and I recommend that you not miss it, but I don't know much about parking or public transport there, only that it's also a very old city with the typical old-city inconveniences like congestion and narrow streets.
Montreal...that was the one place we did have problems parking. The central downtown is extremely congested with traffic. So, not only can you not find parking, but you also will find yourself stuck in awful traffic! The old town area is a little better, but you will just have to be very lucky to find street parking. No problems at all (with our Interstate) with parking at Biosphere or at Habitat.
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:11 PM   #9
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It's ok Pro. I heard that the local constabulary spoke to them and they promised to behave. 😉


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Old 07-29-2015, 01:55 PM   #10
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We go to Montreal at least once a year and downtown parking is certainly a problem. There are many private surface lots but forget any garages. We generally leave the AI at home a take a smaller car although we have parked it outside the city in a secured lot and used a rental car.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:53 AM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for the advice.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:26 AM   #12
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Legally, that answer is simple. Private property rules can be more restrictive than public law, but never less restrictive. Something permitted by law can be forbidden by a property owner. But something forbidden by law cannot be permitted by the property owner.
What you say is true of America, but this thread is about Canada where the laws sometimes work in unexpected ways (e.g., the tent camping rule - in certain circumstances, campers in NS may occupy private property even if the owner explicitly objects). The phrase "We are not in Kansas anymore, Toto" comes to mind, and quite literally.

I will eventually be up-to-speed on all this stuff and will post back when I am. We were planning to do a partly-cross-Canada trip this summer but unforeseen family and work responsibilities have delayed both the trip and my research.

I DID find the reference to NS's categorical RV exclusion but it's 10 years old and its statements do not necessarily reflect current conditions. An excerpt: "Although zoning restrictions have been enacted in various Canadian and United States’ municipalities to protect local private campground interests by prohibiting RVers from parking overnight in parking lots such as at Wal-Mart stores, Nova Scotia is the only jurisdiction in Canada and the United States that has enacted a prohibition on a province-wide or state-wide basis." It was the "only" as of 2005. The status right now is anyone's guess.

All this is relevant to the OP's original questions because one needs to keep in mind that these laws are changing all the time, and that the best thing to do is check the destination in advance. Montreal is known globally for being a lively city with a vibrant night life. If someone is out on the town until 2 a.m., at that point, are they "parking" their Interstate or are they "boondocking"? One hopes that the answer need not be revealed via a nasty big ticket on the windshield.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:44 AM   #13
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When we visited Ottawa and Quebec City last year we camped outside of town and did not try to park my truck, which is pretty long.

We stayed south of Ottawa at Hither Hills Campground - nothing fancy but it suited us and the owner was very helpful. He suggested using the bus service, advised us to park at shopping center bus stop. He also changed some money for us so we would have exact change for the ride. The bus took all the worries about driving in the city.

As for Quebec, we stay at Camping Transit, which is on the south side of the St Lawrence and east of Levis. When we visit the Old City we park in the public lot near the ferry and ride over as foot passengers. When we land, we just walk at our own pace and feel as if we were in France. Lots of cafes and restaurants that offer delicious food at reasonable prices - it will be even better this year given the favorable exchange rate.

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Old 07-30-2015, 09:54 AM   #14
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Oh - one more thought: We camped at the Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary in Ontario after we left Hither Hills on the way to QC. It is on the banks of the St Lawrence in the area where the river was dammed when the Seaway was created. There is a very nice bike path between there and Cornwall, and many fine hiking trails. Plus you can see river traffic pretty close at hand. There is also a museum nearby that commemorates the disruption caused when whole villages had to move to higher ground.

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