This is part 2 of the article about travel and tourism opportunities in Quebec. The information about the various travel regions and tourism providers was gathered at an information luncheon that was organized by Tourism Quebec. La Belle Province is always a great place to travel to, and easily reachable for people along the entire Eastern Seaboard. Every year millions of people from places like New England, New York, Washington, Ottawa and Toronto travel to Quebec’s urban destinations and into the countryside to explore the province’s boundless outdoor opportunities. In addition to its unique heritage, culture and history, Quebec offers countless festivals, special events and outstanding hospitality.
The following information covers different tourism providers and regions and will be helpful to you in planning your next trip to Quebec.
Quebec Maritime is the tourism organization for the regions of Bas-Saint-Laurent, the Gaspé Peninsula, Côte-Nord and the Îles de la Madeleine. Located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River, the Bas-Saint-Laurent (Lower Saint-Lawrence) Region is a land of seafarers and farmers. Travellers will enjoy activities and adventures in the forests, islands and the shoreline of this pleasant region. The Gaspésie (Gaspé Peninsula) is one of Quebec’s most well-known tourist destinations. Its interior is rugged and boasts a section of the International Appalachian Trail. Cap Gaspé juts out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the famous Percé Rock at its tip. One of the main attractions on the North Coast (Côte-Nord) is the Whale Route where 13 species of whale found in the St. Lawrence River can be observed along this scenic drive. Tadoussac Bay is a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club and a great starting point for ocean excursions. Îles de la Madeleine, the Magdalen Islands, are a small groups of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and offer many kilometres of white sand beaches and sandstone cliffs. Quebec Maritime offers a combination of stunning landscapes, history, culture and friendly hospitality.
Quebec’s National Shrines
Canada has five national shrines, four of which are located in Quebec. Many of these shrines are popular pilgrimage sites, and the following Quebec shrines have been recognized by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Our Lady of the Cape Shrine, the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and the Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette. Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal is known as the largest shrine in the world dedicated to St. Joseph while Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, located at 20 minutes from Quebec City, is dedicated to Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. Our Lady of the Cape Shrine is located in Trois-Rivières – its chapel, built in 1714, is one of Canada’s two oldest churches. The Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette is located near Lac Saint-Jean and is connected to the 215 km Notre-Dame Kapatakan hiking trail. More than 3.5 million people visit these shrines every year to experience their spiritual and historical significance.
Reseau Sepaq (Parks Quebec Wildlife Reserves)
The largest nature and outdoor network in Quebec features a collection of national parks, wildlife reserves and tourist resorts. 23 national parks offer trails, campgrounds, discovery and service centres, while 15 wildlife reserves cover huge tracts of forest and wilderness which are ideal for hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing or showshoeing. 8 tourist resorts will accommodate travellers in truly unique settings, from mountain lodges to cabins and tents. On 16 hectares of indoor and outdoor grounds, the Aquarium of Quebec in Quebec City houses 10,000 marine animals, some of the most popular include polar bears, walruses and seals. Nature lovers will enjoy Sépaq Anticosti which includes summer vacations, fishing and hunting on Anticosti Island. Quebec’s scenic routes showcase some of the province’s best cultural and natural treasures: the Whale Route is one of the rare places where you can watch gigantic blue whales right from the coast. The Navigator’s Route focuses on the capes, bays, coves, islands and mountains of the St. Lawrence estuary. The Fjord Route highlights the glacial landscapes of the Fjord-du-Saguenay. The Mountain Route covers the majestic heights of the national parks of Grands-Jardins and Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie while the Summit Route offers hiking trails that lead up to three mountains with an altitude of more than 1000 metres.
Located in the heart of Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been one of the city’s most elegant hotels since its opening in 1912. Upscale boutiques, galleries and museums are just steps away from this luxury hotel. Acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud will create a fine restaurant in this legendary hotel. Born in Lyon, France and trained by renowned French chefs, Daniel Boulud has won multiple awards and runs restaurants in New York City, Miami, Palm Beach, London, Beijing, and Singapore. Recently the Ritz-Carlton has been totally reconstructed at a cost of $150 million. It is expected to be fully operational by 2012 and will feature 130 completely redesigned rooms and suites as well as 46 new luxury condominiums.
The Laurentides are located in the southwest part of Quebec and include renowned ski resorts such as Saint-Saveur and Mont Tremblant. With its mountains, hills, plains and valleys, the Laurentian area is an extremely popular year-round getaway area for Montrealers, many of whom own vacation homes here. The Upper Laurentians boast 4,500 lakes and rivers set among mostly untouched nature while the Laurentian Heartland offers countless opportunities for action and relaxation. The Laurentian Gateway furthest south is minutes from Montreal and boasts a combination of agricultural tourism, heritage buildings, cycle paths and family attractions. All the makings of a romantic, family or sports vacation are there. Opened in 2010, the “Chemin du Terroir” (literally translated: “Local Road”) is a 226 km long signposted trail that covers agricultural tourism, heritage, culture and history, where locals await to share their Laurentian experience with you.
Montreal is perennially one of Canada’s most exciting cities. As Quebec’s largest metropolis, the city offers a great combination of culture, entertainment, architecture, culinary delights and festivals. Montreal’s lively nightlife has made it an attraction with visitors from all over the world. In an effort to cater to different crowds, the city has recently developed some new tourism packages with the themes For Foodies, Romantic Getaway, Family Package and LGBT. Other recent additions include the Vista-Architecture Tour, a three-hour bicycle outing that covers some amazing historic architecture and great parks. Other cycle tours include Montreal City Highlights, Montreal Neighbhourhood tours, and the Montreal Sunday Urban Culture Experience. For the winter, Snow Tours Montreal offers guided experiences that cover Montreal’s major sights as well as activities such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing. The Montreal Science Centre offers an exciting event called “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology” while the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier can be experienced at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Bell Centre will feature a special show by the Cirque du Soleil called “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour”.
Tourisme Saguenay – Lac – Saint – Jean
The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is located in the centre of Quebec and features two major bodies of water: the Saguenay River and Lac Saint-Jean. The region is a fertile enclave within the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield, and its culinary offerings include a variety of cheesemakers, specialty farms, microbreweries, fruitpicking operations, sugar shacks and farmers markets. First Nations culture and industrial tours highlight the special heritage of this region, while galleries and museums will enchant art and culture lovers. The region also has unique offerings for religious and science-focussed travel. All sorts of summer and winter outdoor activities are easily accessed while whale watching and cruises on the Saguenay Fjord, the only navigable fjord in North America, are also popular activities.
The Mont Tremblant Ski Resort has become Quebec’s premier ski and golf resort. Its pedestrian village offers shopping, dining and nightlife in a charming car-free environment. There are a wide variety of accommodation options, from hotels to condos, chalets and vacation homes. The resort has an Adventurer’s Club, a panoramic gondola, the Beach and Tennis Club and a mini-golf course that is free for guests that stay at participating hotels. Skiers and snowboarders have long discovered Mont Tremblant, and a wide variety of activities await active summer vacationers as well: from hiking, biking, horseback riding to swimming and golf. Special events and activities keeps young and adult guests entertained. Naturally a visit at the spa will provide much-deserved relaxation at the end of the day.
Being headquartered in Montreal, Via Rail is an important part of Quebec’s travel landscape. Via Rail offers great connections in the Windsor- Quebec City Corridor for leisure and business travellers alike with complimentary Wi-Fi Access along the entire route. The famous Ocean long-distance train service from Montreal to Halifax departs in downtown Montreal and travels across New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. Frequent connections also exist between Ottawa and Montreal. Via Rail is one of the most convenient ways of getting to Montreal and Quebec City, without the hassles of airport security.
Located in southwestern Quebec, Granby is the fifth largest city in the Montérégie region and one of its most popular attractions is the Granby Zoo. Founded in 1953, this zoo now features more than 1000 different animals of 200 species and attracts more than half a million visitors a year. Nearly $10 million have been invested in new facilities and two new and rare feline species will be featured: the Himalayan snow leopard and the Russian Amur leopard. The Amazoo water park is located next to the zoo. The zoo offers a variety of special experiences, such as An Evening at the Zoo which includes international culinary delights in exotic surroundings. Travellers can stay overnight at the Auberge Zoo Granby or experience a Night Safari, with presentations, dinner and a night spent in the Discovery Hut.
Enjoy your time in Quebec…..
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Check out our photo collection from our 2008 trip to Quebec City.
Have a peak about our article series about our 2006 trip to Montreal.
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Here are our travel tips for Montreal.
This article talks about Canadian train travel with Via Rail.