U.S. -> Canada mobile question


  • Fake News

    Right, so my fam and I are planning a trip to Toronto and Southern Ontario. The S.O. has an iPhone 6, and xe wants to take the phone on the trip. Xe uses Straight Talk on Verizon; ST doesn't do international roaming, and we're looking for options that don't involve a permanent switch to another provider (unless it's really worth it). Mobile data is xir top priority while we're in the Great White North; xe couldn't care less about voice service or SMS. Again, this is a short trip to Canada; we don't even know when we'll leave the U.S. next. I know you motherfuckers have opinions...


  • SockDev

    Hardware shouldn't be an issue (the iPhone 6 supports pretty much all mobile technologies up to LTE at all defined frequencies, from what I can tell), so it sounds like what you want is a Canadian pay-as-you-go SIM with a decent data allowance. Unfortunately, that's as far as I can go, as I don't know what Canuck mobile providers offer.

    /me hands over to @TimeBandit and @Lorne-Kates (IIRC, they're both Canadians)



  • So you're fleeing the country before Canada starts building a wall?

    That's smart.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zecc said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    That's smart.

    Particularly if they're going to make the USA pay for it!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @RaceProUK said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Canadian pay-as-you-go SIM

    I thought Canada was nearly as terrible for making such roaming models unviable as the US? (The amount of locking down I hear about from US people is just bizarre from the perspective of the rest of the world, where it's much more common do disaggregate the phone hardware costs from the service contract, even if not universal.)


  • BINNED

    @RaceProUK said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    it sounds like what you want is a Canadian pay-as-you-go SIM

    The problem with that is that iPhones like to lock themselves to the carrier of the first SIM they get, so it's not quite as simple as sticking a new SIM in for the duration of the trip.

    Are there any options on the Verizon contract to add a roaming data plan for a month?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dkf said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    The amount of locking down I hear about from US people is just bizarre from the perspective of the rest of the world

    Are you daring to propose regulations against that oligopoly? Stop that heresy, you communist ginger-beer nazi!!!!1111111oneeleven

    This is just a cheap joke, please don't start a flamewar in this category, thankyouverymuch.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Jaloopa said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    The problem with that is that iPhones like to lock themselves to the carrier of the first SIM they get

    And there's no way to reverse that? I remember having to ask my carrier for a "SIM unlocking code" the last time I was stupid enough to buy a phone from a carrier. To get it, you either had to have the contract for at least two years (at which time you've paid off the phone) or immediately pay the whole amount you'd be charged for the remaining months on the contract.


  • SockDev

    @asdf And that's why i buy my phones outright and SIM-free


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @RaceProUK said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    And that's why i buy my phones outright and SIM-free

    Me too, but at least that procedure kinda made sense, since you've basically purchased a credit / financing deal plus the phone contract. If unlocking is completely impossible in the US, turning your hardware into a brick if you want to or have to switch providers, that'd be TR:wtf:.


  • Fake News

    I should add that Straight Talk is actually an MVNO that resells service on at least three of the Big Four U.S. carriers, one of which is Verizon. The phone in question was probably bought from Verizon and did have a Verizon plan originally. However, my S.O. is the second owner of the phone, and when we got it, we were able to pop in a Straight Talk SIM, no problem. Thus, the phone is certainly not unable to get any service other than Verizon-network-and-plan. That being said, I'm uncertain whether the phone is locked to Verizon-network-but-any-Verizon-MVNO; however, what little I've seen out there suggests that iPhone 6 phones sold through Verizon aren't locked in such a way.


  • Fake News

    @Zecc said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    So you're fleeing the country before Canada starts building a wall?

    They're building a wall? I thought Trudeau II was welcoming of refugees! Well, except those with a DUI. And, uh, U.S. citizens who aren't HNW.



  • @Jaloopa said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Are there any options on the Verizon contract to add a roaming data plan for a month?

    This is what I did when I went to China for a week. I called up Verizon and added international roaming and data to my plan. You have to call them when you get home to cancel the international stuff. You only end up paying for the time you were gone, not a whole month.



  • @Jaloopa said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    The problem with that is that iPhones like to lock themselves to the carrier of the first SIM they get

    Depends where it's bought from.
    In the UK if you buy it from Apple (obviously) or Three or John Lewis then it's permanently unlocked. O2 or Currys then it'll lock to the first network but you can just get the carrier to unlock it.



  • @asdf said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    And there's no way to reverse that?

    Yes the carrier it locks to can do it, if it's locked.



  • @Zecc said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    So you're fleeing the country before Canada starts building a wall?

    Too late.



  • @lolwhat one option is buying the cheapest phone that can act as an wifi router and get a temporary prepaid plan



  • When I went to the States last year, I bought a phone that was locked to Verizon. I then paid a guy some bux to unlock it. I then bought a burner phone some voice+data for the month, and plugged the SIM into my phone.

    I assume you can do this in reverse, with some burner plan from a Canadian 7-11?

    All I know is that nearly every single plan is shit and you will get shit from it and it comes with shit minutes and shit data. Welcome to Canada.

    Where in Toronto are you visiting?


  • Fake News

    @Lorne-Kates

    We're staying by the Falls for a couple nights - Canadian side of course (the west side is the best side, as any fule kno). The kids have never seen them, so they should enjoy. Maybe take in Fort Niagara also - but not Marineland, fuck me that's expensive! Then we head up to Hogtown for a couple nights and do the usual kid-friendly noise - CN Tower, Science Centre, Aquarium, Zoo, probably ROM, maybe Centre Island. What else might be good?

    Re: the phone, looks like we can grab a Koodo prepaid SIM for cheap(er) data/text. Wifey's iPhone should handle it no problem - both unlocked-wise and frequency-wise. Given the exchange rate, we should be able to find enough in the couch cushions to cover it (C$35-40). Of course, we won't have enough left over to take the ETR. Motherfucker, I can go from the very western end of New York State to the NY-MA line on the Thruway and pay less toll than to drive from Burlington to the 410. How in Christ does the province justify that?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Xe

    @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    xir

    @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    motherfuckers

    Ah, politically correct pronouns I see... ;)



  • @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    We're staying by the Falls for a couple nights - Canadian side of course (the west side is the best side, as any fule kno). The kids have never seen them, so they should enjoy. Maybe take in Fort Niagara also - but not Marineland, fuck me that's expensive!

    The Falls is a nice place to visit. Fuck Marineland, though. Especially if you're going when it might be really cold, not sure how much you'd get out of it. You're almost better just to do the Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto (which is also stupid expensive, but at least it's indoors).

    There's some walking tours of the Falls, season pending. I don't know if the "behind the falls" is open or not. There's a butterfly conservatory somewhere, but I've never been.

    On the strip, there is a Hershey's World. I'm sure it isn't as big as anything in Pennsylvania, but it has a gigantic Hershey's Kiss to take a picture with, and various chocolate products. The kids might like that, and you can get a coffee. =)

    If you're looking for dinner in the Falls, and haven't been roped into eating at the hotel, two places I can recommend highly:

    Four Brother's Cucina
    http://www.fourbrotherscucina.com/

    Within walking distance of all the hotels, though they do have free parking, too. One of the few independent restaurants. Average price for the area. But the food is all home made, generous portions, and tastes really good. Yes, it's "plain vanilla Italian white people food", but honestly, that's the best you'll get in Niagara Falls. Save your exotic cuisining for Toronto.

    Also, family friendly.

    AG Inspired Cuisine
    http://www.agcuisine.com/

    Again, an independent restaurant. Higher-end fancy-pants stuff. Theoretically family friendly, but if you can escape for date night :thumbsup: Rotating menu based on what local ingredients are available.

    Then we head up to Hogtown for a couple nights and do the usual kid-friendly noise - CN Tower, Science Centre, Aquarium, Zoo, probably ROM, maybe Centre Island. What else might be good?

    Check the ROM website to see if there's any "free" days going on for when you're there. Same with the AGO. If you're going to either of those places, you are also right near China Town (Spadina Ave), and Kennisngton Market. Both have lots of neat little shops, and excellent, cheap food. Same with the St. Lawrence Market, and indoor bazaar.

    Science Centre is never free, but I'm sure you can find family coupons for it. Try to get the passes that include the IMAX. You get to see a REAL imax movie (not a lie-max), plus it's a chance to just sit down and relax for a bit. =)

    Zoo: be aware there's a parking fee, unless you know someone with a season's pass who gets free parking.

    Centre Island may or may not be worth it, depending on the weather. If you do go, plan an extra couple hours. The wait for the ferry can sometimes be huge.

    Soma Chocolate there are two locations, depending on where you are. High end fancy chocolate. You can indulge in a bar of something fancy and/or get some expensive truffles. For sure get a hot chocolate for everyone-- regular or spiced.

    If you are into shopping, there's the Eaton's Center-- it's really just a big mall, but the foodcourt is nice, and they do have a few "unique" shops-- Disney Store, Microsoft Store (with demos of all their tech)-- umm, the Chapters there is one of the only distributors of American Dolls, if you're up for dropping hundreds of dollars on a fad.

    Also for shopping, I mentioned Kensington Market. It's a much nicer experience-- a few city blocks in the old neighbourhood with little shops and food places. There's a Jamaican bakery in there that does rum cake!!!!

    Oh yeah, shopping also: if you do go to one of the Soma's, you'll either be on King Street, and will be near a gigantic MEC-- co-op owned outdoor sporting good store-- or you'll be in the Distillery District, fancy-pants hipster shop area.

    If you are into shopping for imported oddities, and don't mind going SLIGHTLY outside of the city, check out Pacific Mall. Huge Asian mall with all the cellphone stores, unlabeled DVDs and Mikhail Coors purses you can shake a stick at.

    If you are into sports history, there's the huge Hockey Hall of Fame, and the tiny Boxing Hall of Fame.

    There's nothing saying you can't go into one of the various office buildings, get in an elevator, go to an upper floor, and enjoy the view for free. =)

    There's plenty of theater going on at any given time. Mirvish is the main theater company, but there's a ton of "off broadway" theaters in the city. I'm sure if you Google for your dates + theater, you can see what's going on.

    Getting around the city: If you're just going to do core downtown stuff that is on, or within walking distance, of the subway-- get a daily family pass. It's cheaper than taking two rides, and gets you and your family unlimited access to the subway, buses and trolleys. Ground transportation: the streetcars are not bad, but infrequent. Buses are-- well, crowded and annoying. Avoid if you can. If you HAVE to bus to somewhere on the edge of the city, you're almost better to drive, even in rush hour(s).

    If you do drive and park anywhere, rely on the Green P parking lots. They're run by the city (so you're supporting the city), usually affordable, and reputable. You aren't just leaving your car with Joe the Shifty Guy. The Green P site lets you search for lots by location, gives you information about rates, etc. http://www.greenp.com/

    Food
    You can accurately rely on Blog.to http://www.blogto.com/ for restaurant reviews of all the neat little places around wherever you are. ALWAYS phone ahead just to make sure the restaurant hasn't gone out of business, though. Some places of my favorites downtown are, depending on where in the city you are:

    Salad King - despite the name, it's actually an Asian restaurant. Lots of soup, noodle, rice. Very inexpensive, and tasty. Community seating, fast service. Good on the go.

    UJA Noodle House - Close to Bloor & Yonge. Also inexpensive, but has a mix of Chinese, Japanese, Korean foods.

    Korean Village Restaurant - Old school sit down. Amazing food, not too expensive. Get the bim bim bap!

    If you're up for something completely different:

    Ethiopia House - One of the few Ethiopian restaurants. Meats and veggies in really different sauces, served on a giant flatbread made from grass flour. You eat by ripping apart the flatbread and scooping up bits of food. At the very least, get the sample platter to try a bit of everything-- and get something with berbere. Very relaxed atmosphere in a converted house.

    That's off the top of my head. If there's any specific interests you have, i can make some suggestions.


  • Fake News

    @Lorne-Kates Your political leanings may be wrong :trollface: but you sure can help a brother out anyway. Thanks man.

    We'll be up there in early July - arrive at the Falls on Wed nite, head to TO on Fri morning, head home Sun - so the snow should have melted by then. I knew about the TTC family day pass, but it's valid only on weekends and holidays, sadly. The TO game plan is thus:

    • grab a hotel in Markham
    • do the Zoo and Science Centre on Fri or Sun - no subway service to either of those, might as well drive
    • on Sat, drive to Finch TTC (free parking weekends/holidays), then take the subway to Union/Museum/wherever

    I did Marineland when I was a little kid. It was exciting to my young self, but reading up on it now and knowing I'm gonna be the one paying for it, it just looks like a total tourist trap. If we feel an urgent need to see marine mammals, we can do that at the zoo here anyway.

    And yeah, I've been doing some research already. I've been there a few times, and so have my 'rents, so I'm somewhat hip to the jive. This bad boy takes care of admission to just about all the major attractions, so we won't be bent over as much (except on parking):

    Good call on the restaurants. You savvy the Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries? Wife and I plan to hit one of those while my 'rents keep the kids in line.

    There's nothing saying you can't go into one of the various office buildings, get in an elevator, go to an upper floor, and enjoy the view for free. =)

    I like the way you think. Still, the view from the Tower is pretty damn good (assuming the weather doesn't suck).

    I remember walking around the underground shopping when I were a lad. Holy shit that goes on forever. I don't know whether the rugrats have the stamina... I'll need to ponder.

    J'aime le hockey, but the rest of the fam don't, so the HOF isn't likely.

    You mentioned the AGO, which I didn't even know existed until you dropped it. Is it really that good for kids? We'll have little if any time for non-kid stuff (except evenings), but if it can entertain kids who range in age from older-toddler to almost-teenager, then I'm all ears.

    Zoo: be aware there's a parking fee, unless you know someone with a season's pass who gets free parking.

    We know literally no one in the 6. I may ask an Ontario native cow-orker whether he could hook me up.

    Disney, MS, American Girl... believe it or not, we have all those stores here, so we're good. :D My daughter has an "American Girl" doll, but don't fucking tell her that it actually isn't.



  • @Lorne-Kates said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Especially if you're going when it might be really cold

    Is there any other time in Canada?



  • @Luhmann said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    @Lorne-Kates said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Especially if you're going when it might be really cold

    Is there any other time in Canada?

    When it might be really really cold.



  • @Luhmann said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Is there any other time in Canada?

    Summer time

    0_1488997768307_upload-19d42713-90d4-4625-938d-9cd8f677b2b6



  • @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Of course, we won't have enough left over to take the ETR. Motherfucker, I can go from the very western end of New York State to the NY-MA line on the Thruway and pay less toll than to drive from Burlington to the 410. How in Christ does the province justify that?

    Just for the record, nobody takes the 407 ETR. As far as I can tell it's like a giant angler fish waiting for truckers, tourists and business travellers to accidentally drive under its overhead lights and cameras.

    Travelling around Toronto (Don't call it Hogtown. The locals refer to it as "Chrawnuh", an Ojibway word meaning "Traffic Jam Caused By Road Construction") is never fast, even if you're driving. Seeing all of that in only a couple nights could be hectic. The Aquarium and CN Tower together would make a good day trip, and you could follow up with dinner at Kama if they hadn't suddenly and mysteriously closed down. Centre Island is lovely, but things like the Centreville amusement park don't open until May so you may have some bored and irritable kids on your hands. Head up Yonge Street to 401 Games (which is no longer at 401 Yonge Street) and Silver Snail (which was much cooler when Mer El worked there) if your interests lean in those... um... interests.

    The Science Centre is fun, but it's an all-day trip to the middle of nowhere. Okay, Don Mills, but that's practically the same thing. The Zoo can also be nice, but it's on the far side of Scarborough. That's not terrible if you have your own car, but without one you'll probably end up flying a bush plane out to a frozen lake and then taking dog sleds the rest of the way to the Zoo. Your food choices consist of either eating hot dogs and popcorn from the concessions or hunting for caribou and raccoons out on the tundra.

    The ROM and AGO try hard, but they're really what happens when someone who has only read about museums and art galleries but never actually been inside of one decides that they are going to open one. By all means go if there's an exhibit that interests you, but don't expect a life changing cultural experience.

    The cultural centre of Toronto was Honest Ed's, up until the end of last year. You can, however, still walk near its boarded up windows and see the signs explaining how all of the local businesses like Suspect Video and The Beguiling have all moved to make way for a giant construction site at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor.

    While you're there you could head a bit to the south to visit Kensington Market where the locals do NOT take kindly to parking in the no stopping zones or west into "Koreatown" which is home to all the Bibimbap you can eat, as well as at least three bubble tea shops within a one block radius, one of the two finest ice cream shops in the neighbourhood (The other being Gregs, just outside of the JCC at Spadina), fish waffles at the PAT (which have no fish in them), Snakes and Lattes for all of your hipster board gaming needs, and some of the finest tacos in Toronto. Yes, that's kind of like saying it's the driest part of the ocean, but El Asador really is pretty good. Even people from LA agree, once they get over the residual screaming terror which comes from walking unarmed into an El Salvadoran restaurant in a Korean neighbourhood.

    (You can do that in Toronto. Really. It's okay. In Toronto a "bad neighbourhood" is one where the panhandlers don't say "please" and the Tim Hortons runs out of Iced Capp after midnight.)


  • Fake News

    @DCRoss We'll be driving our own car, and we'll be staying northeast of town anyway (see upthread). We'll be there in July, like I said earlier (heh, it's like you haven't read much of this thread :passport_control:).



  • @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    We'll be up there in early July - arrive at the Falls on Wed nite, head to TO on Fri morning, head home Sun

    There may still be Canada Day fireworks going on over the falls in the evening.

    Markham

    That's where I live. Ironically, though, you will be arriving JUST after I head out on a 6-8 week road trip to the West Coast and back. Markham's great. Almost all the hotels are practically brand new, since there was a huge hotel boom in the past few years. Also means prices are low, it's right near the DVP/404, and tons of restaurants.

    Good call on the restaurants.

    =) One more, if you do go to the Science Center. Just a couple blocks up Don Mills is "Taste of Japan". At-the-table Japanese cooking. Very good, super affordable (which is rare for that kind of service). Make sure to ask for a Flaming Volcano with the onions.

    You savvy the Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries?

    Alas, that's one area I know pretty much nothing about.

    I remember walking around the underground shopping when I were a lad. Holy shit that goes on forever. I don't know whether the rugrats have the stamina... I'll need to ponder.

    The PATH. http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=f537b454b35a2410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=04708b7a29891410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

    It's underground and air conditioned, and connects a fuckton of buildings.

    AGO... Is it really that good for kids?

    Yup, they usually have activities geared for kids. Check the site for a schedule closer to the date.



  • @Zecc Before Trump builds the wall with Canada. They are letting in a lot of Terrorists in these days.



  • @TimeBandit You tend to get a better Tan in Granada than in Gibraltar just saying ....



  • @DCRoss said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Just for the record, nobody takes the 407 ETR.

    +infinity on this. Not only should you not take it, you should avoid it like the plague. There is a non-zero chance that they'll fuck up your bill, suddenly decide you owe hundreds or thousands of dollars, and send you to collections. All without notifying you. They're a horrible, evil, shit-scum corporation. Fuck the 407.

    Yonge Street to 401 Games (which is no longer at 401 Yonge Street) and Silver Snail (which was much cooler when Mer El worked there)

    Also, Bakka Phoenix Books. It's a genre bookstore with an entire basement of used books. It's also the sort of place where a litany of who's-who of sci-fi/fantasy authors have worked there (and still do).

    one of the two finest ice cream shops in the neighbourhood (The other being Gregs, just outside of the JCC at Spadina)

    Bite your fool-ass tongue for excluding Dutch Dreams. (It's the ice cream store that "starred" in Half Baked, with special appearance by Dave Chappelle).



  • @lolwhat said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    on Sat, drive to Finch TTC (free parking weekends/holidays), then take the subway to Union/Museum/wherever

    You may also want to think about parking at Don Mills/Sheppard. Take the DVP/404 right to Sheppard, get off directly into Fairview Mall, park in the (covered!) structure. It's easier to get to by car, plenty of parking, and the washrooms in the mall are nicer than the washrooms at Finch Station.

    Don Mills/Sheppard is the terminus for the fucking useless, pointless, Conservative-government neutered "Sheppard Line". (Long rant short, they defunded it and turned a useful cross-city line into a 5-stop line to nowhere that doesn't even connect the YUL loop). But still, get on at Don Mills/Sheppard, and stay on until the end of the line in 5 stops and you're at Sheppard/Yonge. It's MUCH nicer than trying to drive across down and go anywhere near Yonge Street in a car.

    If you DO go to Finch Station, take Steeles Ave, and just before Yonge Street there's Willowdale. Take that south, and just before Finch there's a back entrance to the massive Finch parking lot. You avoid a lot of insane traffic and left-turns that way.




  • Fake News

    @lorne-kates said in U.S. -> Canada mobile question:

    Four Brothers Cucina

    Went for lunch today. Damn good stuff, sir! Reasonable prices, too.


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