To have a complete travel experience in Montreal area we decided to visit the Yamaska National Park, well known as a wonderful family escape whether you are camping, just came to enjoy the beach, like to hike or bike.
That morning weather outlook promised some rain and cloudy, so the beach option was not on the list, so we opted for a bike ride.
We did not bring our bikes, so had to rent – you know that feeling when you take someone’s else bike – I hope it’s good… – well, the bikes were not just good, they were great – all in perfect condition, had all the proper gear installed and ready to roll!
The Yamaska National Park is located on the Choiniere Reservoir, is represented by great variety of trees, small animals and birds. The park was created in 1983 and is a perfect for all kinds of activities combined in one great location – boating, paddling, fishing for those who prefers to be on the water and hiking, biking, camping as an addition and for those staying on land. The water is very clear, we saw a lot of small fishes close to the shore.
The beach is well equipped with water bikes, kayaks and paddle boards… we would be very happy to try them all, however at that time decided to go for a bike ride to explore the trail which is about 19 km and runs through he forest for some distance along the shore and later through the woods.
As navigation help we also got i-pods with map, detailed information about the location and some interesting facts about where we were in real time!
Yamaska National Park
Address: 1780 boulevard David-Bouchard, Roxton Pond, QC J0E 1Z0
Phone: (450) 776-7182
We arrived in Valcourt QC to see the place where the man known as the pride of Valcourt created his company that would be renowned by the world. The visit begins with the simple garage where Joseph Armand Bombardier decides to overcome the challenges of driving in the deep snow.
By adapting the tractor wheels into treads and skis to become parts of the vehicle he was able to make the first snowmobile- the B7 – that within a very short period of time became in great demand not just in Quebec but all over Canada. In the garage there is still his officefilled with tools and papers, as if he just stepped out for a moment.
And you can see the first original snowmobile that looks quite bulky, since it was made of wood and various parts from other machines, stands in the middle of the garage.
The new creation became so popular that the company moved to the new larger building and was supported by the whole community of Valcourt. The larger sized vehicles followed and the business was prospering until… after World War II, the Quebec government passed a law that required cities to remove the snow from highways and streets and the need for the snowmobile as a transportation quickly faded. The creativity of Joseph Armand Bombardier never stopped and he
brought new ideas into growing the business… a few months later the “Ski-Doo” comes out of his production and quickly gives raise to the new sport and gives all new outlook for winter fun.
From section to section we could see the machines created in different times for the variety of purposes – snowmobiles of all sizes, all terrain vehicles, the rail transport – here you can get on the actual streetcar and image being on the streets of the busy downtown.
In the next hall we were impressed by the original subway wheels that are used in Montreal Metro – and these are produced by Bombardier Inc. as well.
One of the expositions is dedicated to the aircraft industry, here the imagination will take you up to the skies – yes, you can fly! And feel like a pilot of the commercial aircraft, which destination is any place of your choice!
And not just the destinations you can reach here, you can build the totally new vehicle of your own creation. In the room filled with I-pads there is big screen with the images of all sorts of surrealistic machines moving, floating, flying, zooming… it’s a wonderful world of imagination; and no matter the age – it is a great fun for all!
One more surprise at the end of our tour – so called ‘’ FabLabs’’. Anyone who likes to create, is in need of tools and good technical advice can come here and for a very reasonable fee get it all including materials, software and a helping hand! Really impressive and well done! And so encouraging!
During the last couple of years the topic of visiting Quebec was coming up several times in our discussions. Finally in May 2017 we booked a hotel and planned out the itinerary that would include some of the places that we thought would be interesting for everyone in the family.
The main destination was Quebec City and its beautiful downtown was so well preserved and such a distinct French heritage. We spent most of our time just strolling the streets, window shopping and watching the street performers who really amazed us with their skills – fire jugglers, drama characters and musicians…
One of the destinations that excited our kids most was the Granby Zoo, which is about 3 hours drive from the downtown Quebec, and about an hour from Montreal. We were welcomed in the nice reception hall, got our tickets and went to explore the animal world.
Right as we entered there was a gigantic size dinosaur’s head and a line up of kids willing to climb inside of it! No matter how big or small – they were very about the opportunity to see the real size dinosaurs! And there 21 of them right in front of you, so be very careful – but don’t try to feed or pat these creatures!
Enough of the dinosaurs – the kids forgot about dinosaurs right at the sight of the farm animals. And there were lots of them – pigs, sheep, and goats – so friendly and ready to make friends!
After some hugs exchange with farm inhabitants we decided to go see some of the exotic creatures on display.
Oceania seemed to be a good place to start – first the stingrays and the variety of tropical fish and then all way around the Australian continent to see black swans, parrots, emus, and kangaroos. Stingrays seem to be attracted to the hand emerged in the water – some of them will come and allow us to gently touch their backs…
The Kangaroos were too busy to discuss any matters of their life, so the visit to the Oceania Garden was quite interesting as it is extremely rare you get to see kangaroos that close and with no fence!.
We entered the aviary and right away we were surrounded by many colorful parrots! For $1 you can buy a special nectar – just hold the cup tight and they will sit on your hand and drink it!
We spend some good time there – the parrots are so colorful and it is such a great experience to see them so close.
But there was a lot see and the time was limited.
Our next destination was Africa! Who doesn’t like to observe the grace of big cats, see elephants shower using trunks, slowly moving zebras and giraffes, and the hilarious monkeys?
One of our major observations about Granby Zoo was the design of the areas, nice fences that imitate greenery and well maintained grounds. We later learned that Granby Zoo received an Award for the Energy Consumption Reduction Efforts project that was implemented during the renovation of 2005-2010.
The Zoo is well mapped and organized – it was no problem to find any continent or animal of interest. And yes, the zookeepers definitely speak many languages, no worries if you don’t speak French!
After Africa we had just a bit of time to make a short tour of South America. We stopped by llamas who stretched out their necks asking for treat…
it was a lot of fun to feed them some green leafs that we found on the trees around; we were impressed by the spread of the wings of the Andean Condor and spent some time waiting for the alligators to wake up from the afternoon nap; finally one of them yawned and slowly moved towards the water… at the end of the South American trail we saw a powerful jaguar, at the moment it was quite relaxed and not interested in any aggression.
On our way to South American continent we made a snack stop at “Le Marcher”. The restaurant offers a variety of foods and drinks and nice dining area; there is also a large area outside with tables under umbrellas.
Next to the Restaurant there is an Amusement Park – where kids found some free rides while we were resting our feet; there is also an Amazoo Water park that offers quite the variety of water rides, not now however… we may visit it some other time when the day will be hot enough for water fun…so long for now, the Zoo is closing and we are tired enough to get to our hotel and have some dinner.
MOSAÏCANADA 150 / GATINEAU 2017
From June 30 to October 15, 2017, discover MOSAÏCANADA 150 / Gatineau 2017, a major international horticultural exhibition that combines various art forms with horticulture. The theme of the exhibit will reflect 150 years of history, values, arts and culture in Canada, represented by some 100 different arrangements. The free exhibit will be in the form of a route extending over almost one kilometre. Each visit will last approximately 90 minutes.
THE CANADIAN HISTORY HALL
On July 1, explore the Canadian Museum of History’s brand new 40,000-square-foot gallery, the Canadian History Hall! This signature gallery will trace Canada’s history from the dawn of human habitation to the present day. It is the largest and most ambitious exhibition project ever undertaken by the Museum. Authentic artifacts and stories are explored through various lenses, as visitors encounter the events, movements and personalities that have shaped our nation, and whose influence on our lives can still be felt today.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – VOLTA
From August 3 to 27, experience Cirque du Soleil’s new show, VOLTA. It tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics into a visually striking world driven by a stirring musical score. VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and the power of the group to make that possible.
AS FAR AS EYES CAN SEE (EXHIBITION)
From June 28 to August 30, view the exhibition À perte de vue, a major exhibition of large-scale works by 10 Canadian visual artists. The historic La Fonderie building, a remnant of Gatineau’s industrial heritage measuring nearly 58,000 square feet, will be the site of this unique exhibition organized by AXENÉO7 in partnership with the Centre de production DAÏMÔN and Galerie UQO, as part of the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene festival. Admission is free!
16 March 2017: Over 250 iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated green over the coming days – as part of Tourism Ireland’s 2017 Global Greening initiative to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The annual initiative, now in its eighth year, which sees a host of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day, has grown from strength to strength, with many new landmarks signing up to take part this year.
Stadiums, statues, castles and towers will go green to celebrate our national day (17 March) with exciting additions for 2017 including the One World Trade Center in New York – the main building of the re-built World Trade Center in New York and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Canadian landmarks going green this year include the Toronto Sign, Casa Loma, Whistler Ski Resort, Calgary Tower, Cabot Tower, The Big Fiddle, the Museum of Nature, the Big Nickel, the Distillery District, the Sails of Lights, the Futalognkosaurus (dinosaur) in the Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal City Hall, Complexe Desjardins, and La Tour McGill.
Click Tourism Ireland’s Global Greenings for footage of the world turning green.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This is the eighth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and each year I am delighted to see even more well-known attractions and landmark sites wishing to get involved. The eagerness of cities and countries everywhere to take part underlines the strength of the deep connection that people all over the world feel to Ireland. More than 70 million people around the world claim links to the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.”
Of course, the ‘greenings’ are just one part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The place to be on 17th March is Ireland where there are two festivals which shouldn’t be missed.
In Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, the ‘St Patrick’s Festival’ will last for four great days, taking in the weekend and running from 16-19 March. The city will be alive with music, film, arts, dance, culture, fun and even international rugby.
Each year the festival has a different theme with this year’s ‘Ireland We Are’ giving the city a chance to showcase all that Ireland stands for today. Festival favourites include the world’s largest outdoor céilí, world-class museums hosting free workshops and guided historic walks including famous sites such as the Guinness Storehouse. The main event, the St Patrick’s Festival parade, is held on Friday 17 March in Dublin’s city centre.
In Northern Ireland, the newly curated ‘Home of St Patrick Festival’ celebrates St Patrick, the man and the saint, as one of the world’s most inspiring and loved saints of all time. Taking place in the beautiful landscape of Counties Armagh and Down, which was once Patrick’s home, the festival will culminate on Sunday 19 March with ‘The Voice of the Irish’ closing concert in spectacular Newry Cathedral.
The Gaspésie Tour is a legendary seaside drive that loops around the huge Gaspé Peninsula. Begin your journey in the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent. From the Kamouraska area, Route 132 will take you all the way to Gaspé, at the tip of the peninsula, via famous Percé Rock. Read more about this road trip itinerary.
This itinerary follows Route 138 from Tadoussac to Kegaska. From there, you can continue your journey aboard an authentic supply ship that will take you from village to village all the way to Blanc-Sablon. Out at sea and from the shore, you can observe up to 13 species of whales in this region, including blue whales, the largest animals on earth. Read more about this road trip itinerary.
In the maritime regions of Québec, ferries serve as an extension of the road network. In addition to allowing you to visit both shores of the St. Lawrence without retracing your steps, they are a novel way to travel and offer unique perspectives on the surrounding scenery and marine mammals. Read more about these road trip itineraries.
For a complete change of pace and scenery, nothing beats the Îles de la Madeleine. Whether you visit to enjoy the water and wind or to explore the rich culture of an island people surrounded by the sea, you will leave with wonderful memories and only one thought in mind: to come back for another visit! Read more about this road trip itinerary.
Fall is an awesome time to be in Montréal. Things get cooking city-wide with three major food fests, a major photo exhibition and the best and brightest in new cinema. Plus, culture vultures can take in oodles of contemporary dance, a major indie music fest and a glittering line-up in symphony, ballet and the opera. Be here!
Visit the blog and see what’s happening in Montréal
Montréal’s got a crave-worthy calendar of events cooking for foodies. From August 20 to 24, Omnivore features the freshest new talents in the SAT’s Foodlab kitchens. Celebrated Montréal chefs dazzle taste buds at the YUL EAT Festival in the Old Port, September 5 to 7. And MTL à TABLE invites everyone to explore the city’s ebullient restaurant scene, October 29 to November 8. New food trends, up-and-coming chefs, cranked-up culinary classics, demos, dinners, parties: all this and more on the Montréal menu!
Montréal shows off
Montréal’s cultural calendar shines big and bright this autumn. Sensory Stories at the Phi Centre invites visitors to rediscover narrative through virtual, interactive and immersive experiences until September 27. The World Press Photo exhibition at Marché Bonsecours captures hearts and minds with prizewinning images until September 27, while the Festival du nouveau cinéma provides a one-of-kind film fix by reeling in the planet’s newest and hottest works and talents from October 8 to 19.
Montréal is seriously festival
Fall’s bona fide festival time in Montréal too. Proving it is Festival Quartiers Danses , which kicks it up with a fresh program of contemporary dance from September 9 to 20. On its heels is POP Montréal , where seasoned and emerging musicians and plenty more happenings rock the city from September 16 to 20. The three-year-old Phénomena Festival brings more boundary-pushing performances from October 16 to 23, while M for Montréal breaks out a huge new line-up of genre-spanning music, November 18 to 21.
Montréal keeps it classy
Montréal rolls out the red carpet to the classics this fall, with Maestro Kent Nagano conducting emBolero at the Maison symphonique de Montréal from October 20 and 21. The Opéra de Montréal thrills audiences with the emotion and intensity of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Strauss’s Elektra in September and November, respectively. And dance lovers can watch and wonder as the Grands Ballets steps it up with Kaguyahime by choreographer Jiří Kylián, October 15 to 30.
New guided tour of the Olympic Park
As the Olympic Park’s 40th Anniversary fast approaches, we are offering guided tours that will teach you all about the highlights and proud moments of this mythic place —located right in the city. The one-hour visit will take you on an informative tour of the Stadium and its brand new installations, showcasing the architectural masterpiece and its stunning history.
Three all-out food races around the Eaton Centre Food Court, with $1500 in prizes to be won! Place an order with a competitor, and they race around the food court at top speed to deliver the meal as fast as they can, without making any mistakes. Information at montrealeatoncentre.com
Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal September 5 to October 5, 2013 More than 25 exhibitions deployed in different sites will transform the city into a vast yet coherent photography exhibition. This event will chart the changing relationship between the camera and the human body.
September 6 to November 3, 2013 The two star features of the Botanical Garden, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, will be illuminated at dusk to reveal two distinct atmospheres, each showcasing in its own way the outstanding beauty of nature.