His Take: How to Stretch $1,600 Across the Best Spots in Canada

I would like to think that Jamie and I agree on everything, but that would be a far cry from the truth. Most things, maybe. Definitely not everything. That’s part of the reason why we started this blog after all. Recently we were debating how to spend $1,600 on A Grand Adventure traveling (not including flights, because even thinking about that is too frustrating to deal with), and it quickly became clear that we each had very different opinions on the best way to do so. What we did agree upon was that we would be best to put it towards seeing Canada, which just so happens to be in our backyard. We figured the best way to do it was split the money in half, write up our own list, and see what each of us comes up with. Taking this into consideration, I’ve calculated how I would spend my $800. How would you spend your half?

Surf Tofino:

(Tofino, British Columbia, Canada)

Cost Breakdown

Lessons/Rental: $105

Food: $45

Accommodation/Transport (2 nights): $140

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 11.52.11 PM

Anyone who has been to Tofino B.C. can tell you that it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. They will also tell you that for the majority of locals, surfing is life. This may come as a surprise to many who would normally associate Canada with skiing, skating, and heaps of snow. Tofino provides waves and currents that are perfect for beginners. Conditions are difficult enough to give you a taste of what surfing’s all about, but calm enough to give you a fighting chance of standing up on your board for the first time without killing yourself. However, Tofino is not the warmest of places, and even in August a wet suit is required to face the brutally cold waters. This may turn some off, but they are underestimating the power of the wet suit. Aside from your hands, feet, and face the rest of your body would think you were in the Carribean with how toasty the suit can get. For proper surfing lessons (as well as board and wetsuit rental) hit up the Pacific Surf School, ranked as a top 10 surf school in the world by National Geographic. Lessons are $75, and surfboard /wetsuit rental is $30 for 6 hours. If you’re especially terrified of Canada’s cold ocean waters, you can rent gloves, boots, and a hood for an extra $5.

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Original Photography From: Couple of Yuppies

While in Tofino, splurge a bit on the food… it’s quite possibly the best you’ll ever eat. To start the day, grab some breakfast at Fiesta Taco for $6. You can even return for lunch and grab a burger for $9. Dinner is where things get serious. Most will point you towards the Point Restaurant, and it is phenomenal, but I would suggest a dinner at Shelter Restaurant instead. The atmosphere is livelier due to a younger clientele and the seafood is at least ten times better than any you have ever tasted. I guarantee it. A selection from the seafood portion of the menu, which is all that you should be looking at, will cost around $30. The Whalers on the Point Hostel is a great spot and is relatively cheap at rates of $20/night, a good deal to be within walking distance of everything that Tofino has to offer. Note, if you are a member of Hostelling International you will get 10% off the bus between Tofino and Victoria (the local airport on Vancouver Island), which would bring your bus total to $100 round trip.

Calgary Stampede Club Crawl:

(Calgary, Canada)

Cost Breakdown

Tickets: $50

Food: $40

Accommodation/Transport (2 nights): $78

Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is a 9-day rodeo and hands-down one of the craziest parties you will ever experience. For the duration of the Stampede, everyone in Calgary from big time oil executives to city construction workers deck out in cowboy gear to enjoy the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The best way to a get a whirlwind guide to this annual spectacle is the Bustloose Calgary Stampede Club Crawl. The club crawl convenes at a pre-determined bar, and from there everyone is rallied on to school buses that ship the raving partiers across the city on a trip that is filled with debauchery to a degree that needs to be seen to be believed.

Calgary Stampede

Original Photography From: Couple of Yuppies

Club crawl tickets are approximately $50 each, and offer savings in that they also include free entry to the Stampede grounds, one night of chuckwagon races, and the grandstand show. Save some cash by staying in the HI Calgary City Centre hostel from $31/night, perfectly located in walking distance from the grounds. Bus to and from the airport will cost $16 total. Your best bet for food is to grab a dirt cheap Stampede breakfast at 5th and 5th downtown, followed by stuffing your face with treats like pizza on a stick, mini doughnuts, and deep fried pickles on the grounds. Count your total food cost at $40.

Winnipeg Jets Hockey Game:

(Winnipeg, Canada)

Cost Breakdown

Tickets: $22

Food/Drink: $30

Accommodation/Transport (1 night): $78

Jets FansSource: Winnipeg Sun

Grab a cheap pair of tickets off of Craigslist for $22 each (which saves you almost half the regular rate) and witness the most electrifying atmosphere in the NHL. Those from Montreal will argue that the Bell Center has the most passionate fans in the league, and they do put up a good fight. However, Jets fans have had to suffer through their team vacating for Phoenix in 1996 and have been waiting for the Jets miraculous return ever since. In the fall of 2011, they were granted their wish and the festivities haven’t stopped since. In Winnipeg, hockey is life. Take it from me personally. I lived in Winnipeg for 5 years, and when I wasn’t playing in my community hockey league, I was playing on the lake behind my house. When I was inside, I was playing hockey with mini sticks in my room. When our knees got tired, we would play table hockey. If the table broke, it was Wayne Gretzky ’99 on Nintendo 64. Seriously, this city is hockey central and there is no better place in the country to see an NHL game. Paint your face, bring your cowbell, and get rowdy.

While staying in Winnipeg, your best bet for accommodation is the UWinnipeg Hostel, which offers suites from $58/night. The hostel is clean, and best of all within walking distance from the MTS center where the Jets play. Save another $20 each for the bus between downtown and the airport (roundtrip). To avoid spending a fortune on food, grab a cheap breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Tim Hortons which will come to about $20 in total. That way, you can save another $10 for a few beers at the game.

Igloofest in Montreal:

(Montreal, Canada)

Cost Breakdown

Tickets: $40 all inclusive (weekend pack)

Food: $120

Accommodation/Transport (2 nights): $80

Igloofest Montreal

I would bet my life savings that Igloofest in Montreal is one of the most unique clubbing events that the world has to offer. World class DJs fill the lineup and ensure the crowd’s packed to capacity, despite temperatures hovering around -20 C. To help fight the cold, huddle close to your fellow partiers for the body heat and just keep dancing. There’s no better way to flip the bird to winter at the center of historic Old Port in Montreal than to party like you’re in Ibiza.

His Take Igloofest

Igloofest the boys

Original Photography From: Couple of Yuppies

If you want to make the most of your weekend in Montreal, pick up the Iglooweekend pass for $40, all inclusive, online. This way, you can make the trek back to your hostel for a few hours and warm up if need be, and not have to feel guilty that you’re missing any of the action. The Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal is a great spot that’s within a few minutes walking distance of Igloofest, highly rated by backpackers worldwide, and dirt cheap with prices as low as $20/night. Since you’re in the Old Port, you might as well make your way over to Trois Brasseurs for a few pints, or hit up one of the numerous spots along the St. Lawrence walkway that sell the always delicious Beaver Tails. Whatever you choose to do for food, do not miss out on Garde Manger, the master of poutine (a classic Canadian dish consisting of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds). If you need any more convincing, this spot is home to a past Iron Chef winner. His poutine might just be the best possible way to warm yourself up after hours partying in the harsh Canadian winter. For a weekend in Old Montreal, your food cost is going to be roughly $120, and for shuttle bus from the airport (round trip) you’re looking at $30.

What would you do with $1600 for A Grand Adventure?

Authored By: Kyle Foot

See what Jamie would do with the other $800: Her Take

Note: This post is entered in A Grand Adventure competition.

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One response to “His Take: How to Stretch $1,600 Across the Best Spots in Canada

  1. Pingback: Her Take: How to Stretch $1,600 Across the Best Spots in Canada | coupleofyuppies·

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