I was on a cruise in Bordeaux, France last week and had one of those introductory bus rides around the city. Out the right side of my window I caught a brief glimpse of what’s La Grosse Cloche, or The Big Bell.
Later, after lunch, I borrowed a bike from the folks at Ama Waterways and set out to explore the city at my own pace. I was getting near the end of my ride when I suddenly remembered the bell.
In the old days I would’ve fumbled for a clunky, paper map and tried to find it. Or asked someone for directions in my almost non-existent French.
Instead, I simply typed in La Grosse Cloche on my Apple Maps app and got easy directions for a five-minute ride to one of the top sites in this surprising city.
Apple Maps is a marvellous feature for anyone who travels. And now you can use their transit feature in three of the biggest and most visited cities in Canada; Ottawa, Quebec City and Edmonton.
The transit feature is a fabulous tool for folks who prefer to explore like a local, as you can plan your trip, pull up schedules for the bus or subway system and get step-by-step directions for using public transit to get to your destination both easily and cheaply.
If you’re visiting Toronto and staying at an Air BnB on Roehampton Ave. in the Yonge-Eglinton area and want to hit the Eaton Centre, the transit feature in Apple Maps will tell you to walk to Yonge St. and go south to the Eglinton station. It will tell you to board the number one Yonge St. line heading south and that trains leave roughly every four minutes on a weekend. It also will tell you to exit at the Queen station and let you know that Queen is the station after Dundas, so you know what to expect.
It’s truly remarkable. And that same feature now works for folks visiting our nation’s capital for Canada 150 or for iPhone users heading to Quebec for those romantic, cobblestone streets and late-night poutine runs. It’s also now available in Edmonton in case you want to see Connor McDavid and the Oilers play an NHL game, or if you want try great food in the nearby Ice District.
Signs displayed on iPhone look the same as on the street so identifying things like exactly where the nearest bus stop is easy through Maps. The Siri feature on your iPhone also can be called on to serve as a guide to get from point A to B. Users can also pick a specific transit line as their favourite route and get up-to-date information and reminders about its operations and schedules.
And now those great features work for iPhone users in Ottawa, Edmonton and Quebec City; all excellent destinations with a variety of cool things to see and do.
This week Apple also is launching points of interest (POIs) for Edmonton, Ottawa and Quebec City within Apple Maps, showing local sites such as West Edmonton Mall, the Canadian Tire Centre (home of the NHL Ottawa Senators) and Laval University.
Ottawa has an increasingly sophisticated food and hotel scene, with cool hotels like The Alt and the sleek Andaz, with its Canadian art, craft cocktails and killer rooftop bar. The Byward Market has great shopping at shops such as MILK. Don’t miss a stop at Chateau Lafayette, where a fun folk-country singer named Lucky Ron (think Johnny Cash meets Stompin’ Tom Connors) performs every Saturday afternoon. Be sure to check out the fun and funky beers at Waller St. Brewing, or try the lively Lower Town Brewing.
Edmonton also is a city that’s very much on the rise, with sensational food options at the Asian-influenced Baijiu, excellent Mexican food at both Rostizado and Tres Carnales and such highly-rated spots as Clementine, Corso 32 or RGE RD. The Ice District has several very cool shops, as does the Old Strathcona neighborhood. And the Art Gallery of Alberta is one of the top museums in the country.
Quebec has long been one of the outstanding destinations in Canada, with those romantic streets and historic alleys teeming with artists and sidewalk cafes. There are any number of cool clubs for party-goers who want to keep things going after a night on the town or a day at the famous Quebec winter carnival. Or try a drink at the beautiful 1608 bar at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, a Canadian icon. Don’t forget the great skiing or summer-time mountain biking at nearby Mont St. Anne.
Apple Maps makes finding and getting Canadians to destinations faster and easier than ever. With turn-by-turn directions interactive 3D views and proactive suggestions, there’s a ton of great information to explore and make your visit easier, thus allowing you to do and see more of the things you want.
Transit is also live in the U.S., Great Britain, China, as well as over 40 metro areas globally, and Apple continues to add global support for metropolitan transit systems and schedules, working with more than 500 transit agencies. They’ve surveyed, and I find this amazing, 90,000-plus transit station entrances.
You can view the entire list of cities where Apple Maps: Transit is available here.
There are a lot of great options for finding your way around great destinations with your iPhone. For hands-free navigation when walking, just use Apple Watch on your wrist and say “Hey Siri, get me directions to…” to confirm and automatically start navigating. You can even ask Siri to search for the closet coffee shop or bank.
Apple Maps is on over 1 Billion active iOS devices and iOS 10 offers a convenient user interface, with more intelligence that helps you navigate through your day efficiently, with proactive suggestions and localized information tailored to your specific needs.
This fall with the launch of iOS 11, Apple Maps will add indoor maps for major airports and shopping centres around the world and lane guidance to avoid missing a turn or exit.