Highlights From The Road to 150 Quebec Episode
Quebec is a big province full of history, nature, and diverse cities. As Canada’s only primarily French-speaking province, it’s quite different than the rest of the country. Also, due to the complicated history between the English and the French, Quebec has always strived to create and keep its own identity, which is quite apparent in the pride they have for their own flag and other cultural practices. We learned so much during our time in the province and had a lot of fun exploring the cities and the surrounding nature.
With historical cities like Old Quebec, diverse cities like Montreal, and natural attractions like Mont Tremblant and the St. Lawrence Saguenay Seaway, Quebec is an exciting province to explore.
Things to Do in Quebec
We had less than two weeks to explore Canada’s largest province and thanks to a lot of rain, some activities were cut short. Below is a list of what we did and the companies that helped make it happen.
Things to Do in the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Seaway
Whale Watching in Tadoussac
Located just three hours from Quebec City in the small town of Tadoussac, the best area in Quebec for whale watching. Choose the type of boat you’d like to board or find a good viewpoint from the shoreline and get ready for some action. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a number of marine animals (including 12 specifics of whales) breaking the surface of the water in the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay Rivers. We’ve done this tour a couple of times and have seen dozens of humpback whales breach the water!
Things to Do in Quebec City
Historical Walking Tour
Thanks to its charming cobblestone streets and a European feel, Old Quebec is one of the most visited areas in all of Canada. It really is a beautiful place but it’s much better if you take a historical walking tour to learn about the history of one of Canada’s oldest cities. We did ours with Xavier from Toursbylocals.com and he was both excellent and passionate at telling us all about local areas and taking us around the city for some good vantage points to take photos from. highly recommended!
Old Quebec (Vieux Quebec) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of museums, restaurants and shops. Horse-drawn carriage rides and the New French-style architecture give the quarter a distinct European feel.
If you’d like a relaxing sightseeing tour of the surrounding area, this might be the tour for you. You’ll get live commentary from a costumed member of the crew and you’ll get to see Old Quebec, Montmorency Falls, and other sights from the boat. Another option if you’re just looking for a view of Old Quebec is to take the ferry to Levis.
Learn more at www.croisieresaml.com.
If you like waterfalls, Montmorency Falls is a great place to go! This powerful waterfall is actually taller than Niagara Falls and can be seen from all sorts of angles thanks to the walking loop, which includes a bridge that lets you peek down over the falls. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can then walk to the lower platform where you’ll feel the power of the falls as the water, wind, and mist pelt you like a hurricane. This was my favourite part of the walking loop as it felt like such an adventure. It’s really impressive how powerful the waterfall is. You can then take a scenic gondola back up to the top.
If you’re looking to learn about the indigenous culture around Quebec City, this is the place to go. Not only is it a beautiful building filled with artifacts but there’s also a real traditional longhouse that you can walk in and experience. I had no idea these existed until I visited this museum. We then made bannock over the fire. Amazing place!
Things to Do in Montreal
This is where it all started. Home to cobblestone streets bordered by 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century buildings, Old Montreal is the best place to explore. Wander the old streets, check out the art galleries, eat at the French restaurants and shop at the many souvenir shops while taking photos at every corner.
Local Montreal Food Tours
For a city known for its vibrant food scene, taking a food tour around the city is a good thing to do. We did the Old Montreal food tour, which consisted of a very special bagel, poor man’s pudding, ice cream, shepherd’s pie, and some craft beer. I’m sure the “menu” changes all the time but if you want a little bit of Old Montreal history mixed with some food, this is the tour for you.
Visit Place d’Armes and the Notre Dame Basilica
While wandering around Old Montreal, take the time to visit Place d’Armes, which is the second oldest site in Montreal. You’ll probably make it here regardless since it’s where you’ll find the Notre-Dame Basilica, which is one of the most visited monuments in North America. While the square is free to visit, there is a charge to enter the church ($15 CAD). The Notre-Dame Basilica is a 17th-century Gothic Revival Basilica with dual towers that easily capture the eye from the outside. Inside, however, is regarded as one of the most dramatic in the world with religious paintings, intricate wooden carvings, religious statues, deep blue vaults, and gold-lead decoration, not to mention the 7,000-pipe organ.
See the Biodome
Whether you visit the city in the summer or the winter, the Montréal Biodôme is a great place for the whole family. Home to five ecosystems from the Americas, it’s a wonderful place to get immersed in nature while learning about the different environments. The biodome houses more than 250,000 animals from about 220 different species and 500 plant species and is one of the few places in the world to reproduce the complexity of the natural environment and the interactions between animal and plant species.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
If you’re into the arts, this is the place for you. This is the largest art museum in Canada by gallery space. Located in the historic Golden Square, this museum is spread out over a massive total floor area of 571,510 square feet. Inside, you’ll find a permanent collection of over 44,000 works and is home to the oldest art library in Canada.
Visit the Jardin Botanique
If you’re looking for a slice of nature within the city, you’ll want to visit the Jardin Botanique, which just so happens to be the second-largest botanical garden in the world. Opened in 1931 and designated a National Historic Site in Canada in 2008, it showcases ten indoor greenhouses, such as a Chinese garden, Japenese garden, a beautiful First Nations Garden, and a rose garden. In total, the botanical garden comprises 190 acres of thematic gardens and greenhouses and is considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world.
This one-of-a-kind museum is dedicated to the environment and is located in the former pavilion of the United States for the 1967 World Fair, Expo 67. It’s a beautiful place and a great way to learn about climate change, how the environment works, and our effect on the planet. There’s really cool exhibits and a 4D, 360-degree theatre.
Climb Mount Royal
The city of Montreal stretches across the horizon from the lookout atop Mount Royal, a 200-hectare park in the middle of the city that includes the highest point in Montreal. Walking trails throughout the park offer an airy, green relief from the developed city.
Located almost half-way between both Montreal and Ottawa, this Canadian safari park is home a range of local wildlife, including elk, bison, black bears, caribou, and perhaps the most famous of them all – grey wolves. Open year-round, guests drive around the park while admiring the animals from inside their vehicle. However, there are two additional activities that make this place unique. First, you are able to feed carrots to some of the animals right from your window. Second, you can actually stay the night in a wolf cabin and have wolves wander up to your floor-to-ceiling window all night long. Please note that motorcycles are not allowed.
Things to Do in Mont Tremblant & Surrounding Area
Just 2-hours outside of Montreal is the Mont Tremblant ski resort and national park. This is a great place to go for experiencing nature and trying a variety of activities.
Whether you take the gondola both ways or hike to the top and take it down, seeing the surrounding area from the top of the mountain is a must-do. You’ll see the beautiful Laurentian mountains in all their glory as well as the village.
If you like zip lines or have always wanted to try one, this is one of the best in Canada! Five zip-lines, some of which are over 3,000 feet long, will take you across various mountains, allowing you to reach speeds of up to 100 km/h while enjoying mind-blowing views. You can even go upside down! Ziptrek Ecotours also takes the time to teach you about the local environment and ecology. This was a blast!
Birds of Prey Apprentice-Falconer Walk
Have you ever wanted to see a hawk up close? How about having one land on your arm? The Apprentice-Falconer Walk is an incredible experience. I was mesmerized by the incredible agility of the hawk and how effortlessly he flew from tree to tree and right onto my arm to eat his raw chicken. It was a beautiful experience and afterwards, we went to the Birds of Prey show, where we got to see different owls, birds, and a bald eagle up close and personal. Highly recommended.
If you’re looking for a place to get into nature, I highly recommend staying at Les Refuges Perches, otherwise known as Mont-Tremblant Treehouses. Located right on a quiet lake, the only annoyance you might find is a woodpecker in a nearby tree. You can’t even drive to the treehouse. You either have to walk 20-minutes or paddle a canoe for 12-minutes, which adds to the adventure. You’ll get a campfire, a dock for the canoe, and a beautiful tree-house that’s fully equipped. We really loved swimming in the lake, paddling the canoe, and walking around the various trails. Back at the main lodge, you’ll find hot clean showers and WiFi if you need it. This was one of our favorite experiences during our trip across Canada.
It might not be the Caribbean but it sort of looks like it in the photos. The Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) have a unique ecosystem that has become a popular vacation spot for Quebecers and Canadians alike. Home to spectacular beaches, fauna, flora, fisheries and landscapes rich with red and grey sandstone fill the islands, visitors can partake in a plethora of activities such as hiking, cycling or just relaxing on the white-sand beaches.
Once again, two weeks was just not enough to fully explore the huge province of Quebec but it certainly gave us a good taste! We hope you find this list useful in planning your next adventure and if you have any other recommendations, please let us know!
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