QUÉBEC

LIV­ING AT THE HEART OF IT ALL

2017 Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS

What you can say about Québec is that it al­ways leaves you want­ing more.

There’s a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery­one—for the well-heeled cul­ture di­vas as well as those who pre­fer laced-up hik­ing boots and a crack­ling camp­fire at the end of the day. The unique­ness of these ex­pe­ri­ences is found in five-star re­sorts and camp­grounds, the joie de vivre of Québé­cois fes­ti­vals—many rich in song and mu­sic—as well as on the din­ner plate, along tast­ing trails and in craft brew­eries.

Canada’s largest prov­ince, la belle prov­ince is known for its deep tra­di­tions rooted in cen­turies of French his­tory and cul­ture. The heart-warm­ing tra­di­tions of the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties are found in their warm smiles and pride of place and his­tory.

That fa­mous Québec pas­sion is in the air. Vis­i­tors find them­selves im­mersed in an ir­re­sistible tableau of ex­pe­ri­ences, sights and emo­tions that spark the begin­ning of a love af­fair with the prov­ince. Visit, share and open your­self to be­com­ing wrapped in the heart of it all.

FOUR SEA­SON AD­VEN­TURES

Québec is a land­scape of su­perla­tives eas­ily ex­plored through­out the en­tire year. There’s warmth, plus an en­ergy and glow that blan­ket the prov­ince. Québe­cers love to cel­e­brate by fill­ing their months with spe­cial events and fes­ti­vals. It’s their way to mark dig­nity and joy in their vi­brant her­itage and, hap­pily, doors are wide open to vis­i­tors.

Ev­ery­where, Québec’s Na­tional Hol­i­day is cel­e­brated on June 24th with shows, pa­rades, bon­fires and fire­works. When the sun shines and the air is warm, there are mu­sic fes­ti­vals—Mon­tréal In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val (Fes­ti­val In­ter­na­tional de Jazz de Mon­tréal), Québec City Sum­mer

Fes­ti­val (Fes­ti­val d’été de Québec) and many oth­ers—as well as cul­tural fes­ti­vals, in­clud­ing the Just for Laughs Fes­ti­val (Juste pour rire).

Sum­mer­time is glo­ri­ous in both the cities and the coun­try­side. It is the per­fect time to visit pick-your-own farms, fol­low the prov­ince’s food trails, or be­come im­mersed in the un­spoiled wilder­ness by hik­ing, climb­ing and pad­dling. There is some­thing for ev­ery­one who is drawn to the out­doors.

As the sea­sons peak, au­tumn brings a dra­matic splash of colour to the hard­wood forests, and spring­time fol­lows with the sweet­ness of maple syrup. A large per­cent of the world’s maple syrup is pro­duced in Québec, mak­ing its many sugar shacks a pop­u­lar spring­time des­ti­na­tion for sam­ples of just-boiled syrup and treats like tra­di­tional maple syrup taffy.

When snowflakes fall, the peo­ple of Québec em­brace the nat­u­ral won­der of win­ter­time. Snow­mo­bil­ing, cross-coun­try and down­hill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skat­ing and dogsled­ding are just the tip of the ice­berg. Québe­cers cel­e­brate hockey like no other spot on earth—the Mon­tréal Cana­di­ens are the old­est hockey team in the world that has played with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

The Québec Win­ter Car­ni­val—the world’s largest—an­chors the win­ter­time with its snow slides, ice sculp­tures and ca­noe race on the frozen St. Lawrence River. Across the prov­ince, they pay homage to the cooler sea­sons—from Po­lar Nights (Les Nuits Po­laires) in TroisRivières to the fall Ok­to­bier­fest in Sainte-Adèle, and all points be­tween.

HIS­TORY IS A PART OF THE CUL­TURAL FABRIC

His­tory is not for­got­ten in Québec. Rather than be­ing relics that are swept aside, his­tory and her­itage are em­braced and cel­e­brated. Lo­cals and vis­i­tors dress up in pe­riod cos­tume at the New France Fes­ti­val (Les Fêtes de la Nou­velle-France) in Québec City, a place that knows how to show off its roots. Canada’s most “Euro­pean” city, Québec City, is known for her­itage build­ings that harken back to the days of New France, nar­row cob­ble­stone streets and ex­cel­lent cui­sine.

The Old Port of Mon­tréal stretches for two km (1.24 mi.) along the St. Lawrence River. An his­toric clock tower marks the en­trance to the port, a pedes­trian-friendly area of bou­tiques, bistros, small mar­kets and street en­ter­tain­ment.

In Sague­nay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the Site of New France (Site de la Nou­velle-France) recre­ates the daily life of the colony of Que­béc in the 17th cen­tury. Nearby, the his­tor­i­cal vil­lage of Val-Jal­bert is a way to ex­pe­ri­ence com­pany town life in the 1920s, com­plete with 40 or so orig­i­nal pe­riod build­ings.

FOL­LOW YOUR TASTE­BUDS

There’s a deep con­nec­tion be­tween land and peo­ple—from the soil that pro­duces a bread­bas­ket of crops and the ded­i­cated

farm­ers who cre­ate this culi­nary magic. Québec’s gas­tro­nomic trails link the har­vest of the coun­try­side with the mar­kets of the cities. The trails are known for ar­ti­sanal cheese pro­duc­ers, small pro­duc­tion vint­ners, lo­cal grow­ers and spe­cialty pro­duc­ers. Ex­plor­ing the trails is a way to meet the peo­ple who cre­ate the prov­ince’s sig­na­ture prod­ucts, from foie gras to spring­time maple syrup.

The Farm­lands Route (Chemin du Ter­roir) loops through the Lau­ren­tians coun­try­side, with stops at pro­duc­ers of wines and ciders, maple goods, fresh­picked ap­ples and Québec’s fa­mous fro­mageries.

The Gourmet Route (Le Par­cours gour­mand) links restau­rants and craft pro­duc­ers in the greater Québec City area, in­clud­ing those on his­toric Île d’Or­léans, fa­mous for pick-your-own berries in the height of sum­mer.

Charlevoix’s Flavour Trail (La Route des Saveurs) links more than 40 lo­cal grow­ers, pro­duc­ers and restau­ra­teurs who pro­duce and serve re­gional prod­ucts such as ciders, ar­ti­sanal beers, pâtés, cheeses, spices and fine choco­lates.

Grape grow­ers and vint­ners—and many bistros and restau­rants—are a part of Québec’s Wine Route (La Route des vins). The wine­mak­ers in five dis­tinct re­gions have cre­ated an on-line tool to help vis­i­tors de­sign cus­tom­ized routes (www.vinsdu que­bec.com/en/route-des-vins).

THERE’S AL­WAYS ROOM

Whether in the big city or the small vil­lages, the peo­ple in Québec know how to open their doors and make vis­i­tors feel wel­come.

It could be quirky and fun, like Zoobox, an in­no­va­tive so­lar-wind-pow­ered loft where ev­ery­thing is flex­i­ble—even beds and the bath­tub can be moved out­side! Or Parc Aven­tures Cap Jaseux’s tree houses, sus­pended spheres and rus­tic log cab­ins. In the Québec Mar­itime re­gion, the light­house at Brandy Pot is run as a B&B that re­tains its his­tor­i­cal charm. In Charlevoix, Mai­son du Boot­leg­ger is a colour­ful house with hid­den doors and se­cret pas­sages that date back to the era of Pro­hi­bi­tion.

Of course, there are the re­sorts and his­toric prop­er­ties that the prov­ince is fa­mous for: the much-loved Le Château Fron­tenac perched on a bluff in Québec City; the bou­tique Auberge Saint-An­toine; and, in Mon­tréal, the lux­u­ri­ous Hô­tel Le St-James; The Queen El­iz­a­beth (un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tions and re­open­ing mid-year); and Le Saint Sulpice.

QUICK FACT

THE LE MASSIF DE CHARLEVOIX SKI HILL HAS THE HIGH­EST VER­TI­CAL DROP EAST OF

THE ROCKY MOUN­TAINS.

WHAT’S NEW?

The new Pierre Las­sonde Pavil­ion at Musée na­tional des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is an ar­chi­tec­tural gem—the four mu­seum gal­leries cover ev­ery facet of Québec’s art his­tory.

Those look­ing for an adren­a­line rush can brave the new 300-m (984-ft.) dou­ble zip-line cross­ing spec­tac­u­lar Mont­morency Falls. The trip can be done duo or solo (www.sepaq.com/ct/pcm/?lan­guage_id=1 ).

Val­cartier Va­ca­tion Vil­lage com­pleted the ad­di­tion of a ma­jor in­door re­cre­ation and tourism com­plex to com­ple­ment the sea­sonal out­door water­park. It fea­tures an in­door water­park and four-star ho­tel. The site has also ac­quired the unique Hô­tel du

Glace—Ice Ho­tel—with its 44 rooms, huge snow vaults and crys­talline ice sculp­tures (www.val­cartier.com).

Vis­i­tors to Car­naval de Québec can now par­tic­i­pate in an ice ca­noe race ex­pe­ri­ence. The chal­leng­ing ac­tiv­ity in­cludes equip­ment, in­struc­tion, guide and even a warm-up hot choco­late on the ice (www. que­be­ci­ce­ca­noe­ing.com).

Ulit­ta­ni­u­ja­lik Na­tional Park is a new park in Nu­navik, Québec’s far north re­gion. As Québec’s sec­ond largest park, it pro­vides a sanc­tu­ary for caribou calv­ing grounds on the ex­pan­sive Ge­orge River Plateau.

Win­ter 2016/17 was the first sea­son for a new win­ter­time ex­pe­ri­ence pack­age at Tur­su­juq Na­tional Park, lo­cated near the shores of Hud­son Bay. Nine-day ex­cur­sions to ex­plore the Inuit way of life in­clude snow­mo­bil­ing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, guided ex­cur­sions and camp­ing (www. nunavikparks.ca/en/parks/tur­su­juq).

The Na­tional Hockey League (NHL) will be cel­e­brat­ing its 100th an­niver­sary and Mon­tréal will be host­ing some of the ac­tiv­i­ties, joined by Wayne Gret­zky, the cen­te­nary’s of­fi­cial am­bas­sador (www.nhl.com).

Nova Lu­mina is a new 1.5-km (0.9-mi.) mul­ti­me­dia night­time walk un­der the starry skies at Chan­dler in the Gaspésie, where the land meets the sky (www. no­va­l­u­mina.com).

Îles de la Madeleine has added two new flavour trails — the Food Trail and the Tour of Typ­i­cal Dishes—with stops at lo­cal food pro­duc­ers, grow­ers and ar­ti­sans, and sam­plings of authen­tic Is­land dishes served in lo­cal restau­rants (www.tourism eiles­de­la­madeleine.com).

Want to stay in a shel­ter re­sem­bling gi­ant bird nest­ing boxes? The un­usual glamp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is found at Parc Na­ture de Pointe-aux-Ou­tardes on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Tucked into an old-growth pine for­est, a “nest” stay in­cludes sleep­ing bags, propane stove, cooler, dishes and uten­sils (www.que­bec mar­itime.ca/par­coutardes).

An­ima Lu­mina is a mul­ti­me­dia night­time for­est walk re­cently opened at the Zoo Sau­vage de Saint-Féli­cien (www.zoo sau­vage.org/en/an­ima-lu­mina).

A new seven-day, hop-on/hop-off pass is now avail­able on the Sague­nay Fjord marine shut­tle. The pass al­lows trav­ellers to cre­ate their own cruise on the fjord by hop­ping on and off at the five stops be­tween La Baie and Tadous­sac, from July 1 to Septem­ber 4 (www.croisieres­dufjord.com). 2017 marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the Fes­ti­val d’été de Québec (July 6-16). Ten stages on the Plains of Abra­ham and in the Old Town show­case world mu­sic.

CITY LIGHTS

The prov­ince’s unique Euro­pean sen­si­bil­ity flavours the in­ter­sec­tion of art, cul­ture and his­tory. This is a big part of the city cen­tres— Mon­tréal and Québec City—with their wealth of mu­se­ums, gal­leries and spe­cial ex­hibits.

In Québec City, small mu­sic clubs, funky bars, boîtes à chan­sons (in­ti­mate venues for the prov­ince’s singer/song­writ­ers) and mu­sic fes­ti­vals like the Québec City Sum­mer Fes­ti­val (Fes­ti­val d’été de Québec), one of Canada’s big­gest mu­sic fes­ti­vals (www. in­fofes­ti­val.com), con­trib­ute to a vi­brant arts scene.

Cos­mopoli­tan Mon­tréal sits at a cul­tural crossroads, rooted in both An­glo and fran­co­phone her­itage. This year, Mon­tréal cel­e­brates this di­ver­sity as a part of its 375th an­niver­sary. The city has put to­gether itin­er­ar­ies to help in­spire vis­i­tors (www.tourisme-mon­treal. org/blog).

Mon­tréal abounds with theatre and dance, mu­sic and cir­cus arts, and mu­se­ums and art gal­leries show­cas­ing ev­ery­thing from cut­tingedge works to time­less clas­sics. An un­der­ground sys­tem of pedes­trian pas­sage­ways, RÉSO, con­nects Métro sta­tions and cor­ri­dors filled with bou­tiques and small shops.

Mon­tréal is renowned for its lively sum­mer gath­er­ings—from jam­ming ses­sions to dance fests. In cool con­trast, take in a con­cert at Old Mon­tréal’s NotreDame Basil­ica, a neo-Gothic mas­ter­piece with mar­vel­lous acous­tics (www.basilique nddm.org/en). Or visit the quays of the Old Port on foot or by Seg­way, where per­for­mances range from reg­gae to har­bour sym­phonies cre­ated with ships’ horns.

Year-round, chic pre­vails in Old Mon­tréal’s clubs, trendy bistros and the freespir­ited Latin Quar­ter’s cock­tail bars. The city teems with bars, discos, mi­cro­brew­eries, cigar lounges, cafés and out­door ter­races.

THE GREAT OUT­DOORS

Out­door en­thu­si­asts can soak up Québec’s un­tamed wilder­ness by vis­it­ing the prov­ince’s nu­mer­ous parks. With thou­sands of crys­tal-clear lakes and an im­pres­sive range of wildlife, they are idyl­lic for camp­ing, ca­noe­ing, fish­ing, cy­cling, moun­tain bik­ing and hik­ing. In win­ter, the guar­an­tee of snow cre­ates a par­adise for down­hill and cross-coun­try skiing, dogsled­ding and snowshoeing (www.sepaq.com).

Ev­ery Au­gust the sky be­comes a can­vas for the shoot­ing stars of the Per­seid meteor show­ers, and in Trem­blant they mark the oc­ca­sion with a fam­ily-friendly event, “Trem­blant Be­neath the Stars” (www. trem­blant.ca).

Two-wheel­ers take to “la Route verte,” a 5,300-km (3,293-mi.) web of cy­cling and multi-use paths that criss-cross the prov­ince, cre­at­ing the largest cy­cling net­work in the Amer­i­cas.

Spec­tac­u­lar sight­lines are the norm at about 300 Québec pub­lic golf cour­ses. One of the most chal­leng­ing is Le Géant at Mont-Trem­blant, a master’s 18-hole cham­pi­onship course carved out of the Lau­ren­tian land­scape.

In the Lau­ren­tian Moun­tains north of Mon­tréal, Le P’tit Train du Nord Lin­ear Park is a for­mer railroad track con­verted into a 230-km (143-mi.) level bik­ing trail—and a cross-coun­try ski trail in win­ter—be­tween Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Lau­rier (www. lau­ren­tides.com/en). Or ride a panoramic gon­dola to the sum­mit of Mont-Trem­blant.

Whale watch­ing from Tadous­sac, BaieSainte-Cather­ine and Rivière-du-Loup, gets vis­i­tors close to na­ture with sight­ings of minke, hump­back and even the rare blue whale, as do boat cruises from the tip of the Gaspé Penin­sula to the se­abird sanc­tu­ary at Bon­aven­ture Is­land (www.que­bec mar­itime.ca).

HER­ITAGE AND CUL­TURE

Mon­tréal has de­signed a unique way for any­one with a good help­ing of cu­rios­ity and an in­ter­est in her­itage to learn about the city. “Mon­tréal en His­toires” is an in­ter­ac­tive way to play with his­tory and test knowl­edge us­ing a mo­bile app that guides users through 60 points of in­ter­est. The project in­cludes day­time and night­time sce­nar­ios, in­clud­ing 19 short movies pro­jected on build­ings, streets and trees through Old Mon­tréal (www.mon­trealen his­toires.com).

Québec City is the only walled city north of Mex­ico, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site and a text­book of 17th and 18th cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture. Be­gin with a visit to

Bat­tle­fields Park, also known as the Plains of Abra­ham, the site of piv­otal clashes be­tween French and English forces (www.ccbn-nbc. gc.ca ). Catch the view from the Duf­ferin Ter­race over­look­ing the St. Lawrence River, or stop for tea at Le Château Fron­tenac, the world’s most pho­tographed ho­tel (www. que­be­cre­gion.com).

One of Canada’s pre­miere com­mu­nity fes­ti­vals hap­pens in the Old World am­bi­ence of Québec City. The sum­mer­time New France Fes­ti­val (Les Fêtes de la Nou­velleFrance) is a show­case of the roots of fran­co­phone cul­ture. Cos­tumed rev­ellers cel­e­brate all that makes Québec unique, from mu­sic and his­tory to food and lit­er­a­ture (nou­vellefrance.qc.ca/home).

The Québec Abo­rig­i­nal Tourism Cor­po­ra­tion is home to the Pow-Wow Trail, a one-stop list of First Na­tions spe­cial events in­clud­ing mu­sic, dance, hand­i­crafts and food (www.que­be­ca­bo­rig­i­nal.com ).

MUST SEE, MUST DO

More than 40 tall ships will be ral­ly­ing at Québec City (July 18-23) as part of Ren­dezvous 2017’s cel­e­bra­tion of the 150th an­niver­sary of Canada’s Con­fed­er­a­tion (www. rdv2017.com).

The re­gion of Sague­nay-Lac-Saint-Jean is well-known for its pre­mier bik­ing routes, in­clud­ing the Vélor­oute des Bleuets (Blue­berry Route) en­cir­cling a scenic lake (www.velor­oute-bleuets.qc.ca/en).

The city of Mon­tréal is mark­ing its 375th an­niver­sary with a year-long cel­e­bra­tion of more than 175 events in­clud­ing mu­si­cal shows, world-class dance, par­ties, his­toric ex­pe­ri­ences and gi­ant mar­i­onettes (www.375mtl.com).

In the Gaspésie re­gion, Plongée Fo­ril­lon and Auberge Grif­fon Aven­ture pro­vide un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ences swim­ming with har­bour seals, starfish and lob­ster (www.plongee fo­ril­lon.com; www.auberge­gaspe.com/en).

Foresta Lu­mina in the East­ern Town­ship’s Parc de la Gorge de Coat­i­cook is an in­ter­ac­tive mul­ti­me­dia trail that wan­ders along a night-il­lu­mi­nated path­way for a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence (www.fore­sta­lu­mina.com/en).

Vis­i­tors to Hut­topia Canada’s get­aways in Sut­ton ex­pe­ri­ence a serene out­doors stay in chalets and high-end eco-tents tucked into for­est set­tings with a river nearby for pad­dling (canada.hut­topia.com/en).

SCENIC DRIVES

Dom­i­nated by the high­est moun­tain peaks of south­ern Québec, the East­ern Town­ships’ 193-km (120-mi.) Sum­mit Drive re­veals one gor­geous panorama af­ter an­other.

Forged by glaciers, the pic­turesque Fjord Route fol­lows the wind­ing Sague­nay fjord —one of the longest in the world (235-km/ 146-mi.)—with a never-end­ing show of im­pos­ing rock faces and ma­jes­tic capes.

Route du Riche­lieu’s his­toric 265-km (165-mi.) trans­porta­tion road traces both sides of the lovely Riche­lieu River, en­com­pass­ing his­toric vil­lages, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal digs, mu­se­ums, her­itage churches and bu­colic land­scapes.

The 280-km (174-mi.) King’s Road (Chemin du Roy) is Canada’s old­est road­way, link­ing Québec City to Mon­tréal along the St. Lawrence River’s spec­tac­u­lar north shore.

FAM­ILY FUN

Mon­tréal’s Bar­bie Expo is the largest per­ma­nent ex­hibit of Bar­bie dolls in the world. More than a thou­sand one-of-akind Bar­bies are dressed in the haute cou­ture of world-renowned de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Chris­tian Dior and Diane Von Fursten­berg. There are celebrity Bar­bies— Cher, Jen­nifer Lopez, El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor— and movie themed Bar­bies like The Wizard of Oz and Cleopa­tra. Ad­mis­sion is free.

ST. PAUL ST., OLD MON­TRÉAL • SHUTTERSTOCK/BAKER JARVIS

8,326,100

Québec City

www.que­beco­rig­i­nal.com/en

Mon­tréal-Pierre El­liott Trudeau In­ter­na­tional Air­port,

20 km (13 mi.) from down­town

Québec City Jean Lesage In­ter­na­tional Air­port,

16 km (10 mi.) from down­town

MINGAN ARCHIPELAGO NA­TIONAL PARK RE­SERVE • LE QUÉBEC MAR­ITIME/ÉRIC MARC­HAND

SPE­CIAL EVENTS JAN­UARY – FE­BRU­ARY

• IGLOOFEST, MON­TRÉAL

• MON­TRÉAL SNOW FES­TI­VAL

• QUÉBEC WIN­TER CAR­NI­VAL,

QUÉBEC CITY

FE­BRU­ARY – MARCH • MON­TRÉAL EN LU­MIÈRE

APRIL

• SAGUE­NAY JAZZ & BLUES FES­TI­VAL

MAY – JUNE

• GO BIKE MON­TRÉAL FEST

JUNE

• CANA­DIAN FOR­MULA 1 GRAND PRIX,

MON­TRÉAL

• LES FRANCOFOLIES DE MON­TRÉAL

JUNE – OC­TO­BER

• IN­TER­NA­TIONAL GAR­DEN FES­TI­VAL,

GASPÉSIE

JULY

• IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FIRE­WORKS FES­TI­VAL,

MON­TRÉAL

• IN­TER­NA­TIONAL PERCUSSIONS

FES­TI­VAL, MON­TRÉAL

• JUST FOR LAUGHS FES­TI­VAL,

MON­TRÉAL

• MON­TRÉAL CIRQUE FES­TI­VAL • MON­TRÉAL IN­TER­NA­TIONAL JAZZ

FES­TI­VAL

• QUÉBEC CITY SUM­MER FES­TI­VAL • TREM­BLANT IN­TER­NA­TIONAL MU­SIC

FES­TI­VAL

AU­GUST

• MON­TRÉAL FIRST PEO­PLES FES­TI­VAL • MON­TRÉAL PRIDE

• NEW FRANCE FES­TI­VAL, QUÉBEC CITY • ROGERS CUP, MON­TRÉAL

AU­GUST – SEPTEM­BER

• GATINEAU HOT AIR BAL­LOON FES­TI­VAL

OC­TO­BER

• FRIGHT FEST, MON­TRÉAL

• QUÉBEC IN­TER­CUL­TURAL

STO­RY­TELLING FES­TI­VAL, MON­TRÉAL

www.que­beco­rig­i­nal.com/en-ca

PLACE ROYALE • QUÉBEC CITY TOURISM/JEAN-FRANÇOIS BERG­ERON/EN­VIRO FOTO

SNOWSHOEING • TOURISM LAU­REN­TIANS

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