Big bus - good for 50 people. Seats were reclineable. It was clean and the driver was good.
Spoke in English first then Mandarin then Cantonese maybe because these were the proportion of people in the tour. His english is passable, some mistakes in grammar but overall we knew what he meant. He really knows a lot about the places like history, background, etc. I don't care if he just made up the specific dates. Although he was annoying in asking for donation for the church, he was generally OK; showed some sense of humor and signs that he gives a **** on the tourists. Much better than what I was expecting after reading some reviews online.
Montreal - Holiday Inn Midtown (only location is commendable).
Quebec - Hotel Universal (cheapest), Hotel Plaza Quebec (mid), Loewes Le Concorde (highest). Stayed at the Le Concorde, much much better hotel than the Holiday Inn and location was fantastic. Those who stayed at the other 2 hotels couldn't walk to the Old Quebec anymore.
Everyone had the option of joining the buffets. 1 Dinner ($18) and 2 Lunch buffets ($13) including tax per person. The guide collected the money without telling the name or type of restaurant. He eventually allowed our group to check the buffet first before paying.
Good thing the places these buffets were located had other restaurants around them.
Civilization Museum - $12
Biodome and Montreal Tower - $27
Thousand Island Cruise - $20
8AM: Left Pacific Mall in Scarborough
1030AM: Reached Kingston. Drove by Prime Minister McDonald's House, the jail museums and then gave us 30 minutes to take pictures around the harbour.
12NN: Reached Brockville, 1 hour for lunch at our own among fastfood chains.
230PM: Reached Ottawa, gave us 30 minutes to take pictures in Parliament Hill. Obviously not enough time.
330PM: Spent roughly an hour in the Museum of Civilization. Why they chose this museum, I don't know.
7PM: Dinner at Fu Lam fake Chinese buffet for those who went with the tour. A couple of restos in the area including a McDonalds.
8PM: Check-in at Holiday Inn Midtown Hotel. Very tired and old hotel with soft beds. Walked to Rue St. Catherine on our own.
730AM: Arrived at St. Joseph Oratory. Guide asked for $5 donation each. Not everyone gave of course. Spent an hour here; too much considering only 30mins was given for the much nicer Notre Dame Basilica.
9AM: Arrived at Notre Dame Basilica. Barely appreciated the place because of the time constraint.
10AM: Arrived at the Biodome for the optional tour. Didn't bother joining.
Lunch at Fu Lam fake chinese Buffet again before reaching old Quebec.
4PM: Arrived at Old Quebec. Free time for the rest of the day.
1130AM: Brunch at Win Wah, another fake Chinese buffet. Ate at Eggs and Crepes which wasn't great either.
12PM: Reached Thousand Islands; cruise for 1 hour.
530PM: Stopover at the Big Apple before heading back to Toronto.
Pros: Cheap and you get to see 3 cities in 3 days.
Cons: Very tiring (wake up at 6am for 3 days but you get back to the hotel early also). Barely enough time to take in the grandeur of the places. Limited food choices.
I don't know why they included the Civilization Museum, the Biodome and the Montreal Tower while skipping Old Montreal and some more popular sites. I'm guessing the tour agency gets a cut from these places. The tour would have been better if we were given alternatives (or free time) to these places.