Explore the Quaint Charm of Quebec
With travel restrictions still in place, now is the ideal time to explore Canada! And no exploration would be complete without a trip to Quebec. Read on and find out why you should visit Canada’s largest province.
This is the fifth blog in our TierOne Travel ‘Explore Canada’ series, which provides a glimpse into some of the most incredible cities and regions to explore from coast to coast to coast. Our expert travel agents can put together an awesome itinerary to suit your interests, timelines and budgets. We also work with some of the best tour operators in Canada, so we can book the most amazing vacation packages for you.
Read our past ‘Explore Canada’ blogs and other great articles by visiting our website here.
Why Plan a Vacation in Quebec?
Quebec is amazing and well worth exploring. It is Canada’s largest province, but second-most populous, after Ontario. And although it is predominantly French speaking, you will find people are friendly and willing to speak English to visitors. Tourist areas are particularly sensitive to non-French-speaking folk. They will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
Most of Quebec’s residents live in the urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City. And you fill find that most English-speaking communities are concentrated in and around Montreal.
Quebec is an ideal destination if you are missing Europe. Each of its major cities – Montreal and Quebec City – have areas that will make you feel you are walking the cobblestone streets of Paris or sipping espresso in an outdoor café in Rome.
Discover the Allure of Quebec City
Quebec City, the captivatingly picturesque capital of the province of Quebec, is tremendously beautiful and alluring. Many who visit find themselves returning time and again to explore its old-world charm. You will love the picture-postcard views of the St. Lawrence River and the city’s historic core. Here are just a few of the attractions you might want to explore while you’re there.
Old Quebec (or Vieux-Québec, as the locals know it) is a UNESCO world heritage treasure. Located at the bottom of the cliff under the 125-year-old Fairmont le Château Frontenac, the architecture dates back four centuries and the many churches and chapels are worth exploring. Old Quebec is also the largest walled city north of Mexico. While there, you will enjoy wandering through Petit Champlain, one of the oldest shopping streets in North America.
Quartier du Petit Champlain
The Petit Champlain district (or Quartier du Petit Champlain in French), is nestled in Old Quebec. As you wander the narrow pedestrian-only cobblestone streets, you will discover unique boutiques and shops and have your pick of lovely restaurants and bistros. Make sure to pop into La Petite Cabane á Sucre to sample their maple syrup treats.
Hôtel de Glace
On the outskirts of Quebec City, you will find North America’s only ice hotel – Hôtel de Glace. This unique winter wonderland is only open from January to April, so if you’d like to experience the magic this season, contact a TierOne Travel agent today. You’ll be happy you did. Built from scratch entirely of snow (500 tons) and ice (30,000 tons), Hôtel de Glace is a glittering masterpiece. Every year, more than 50 people take six weeks to build the hotel that covers 32,000 square feet.The walls, ceilings and beds are made of ice … yes, really! There is even an ice bar. The temperature inside is between -3 and 5 degrees Celsius. There are inside firepits to keep you warm and the beds have insulating sheets and heavy-duty sleeping bags. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to stay here.
Montmorency Falls Park
Also located just a few minutes from Quebec City, you can explore Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency), which boasts a waterfall that is 1.5 times higher than Niagara Falls! The 83-metre-high waterfall will have you in awe as you experience it’s magnificence. You can hang out at the base, take gondola to the top or hike one of the three Via Ferrata trails. You can even zip line across the falls, and at the top you can enjoy fabulous food and drinks at the Manoir Montmorency. Step out on their terrace for an unhampered view of the falls. Simply stunning!
Enjoy All Montreal has to Offer
Montreal is an exciting, thriving city located 258 km (160 mi) southwest of Quebec City and 197 km (122 mi) east of Ottawa. And although the official language is French, there are many English-speaking communities and institutions. In fact, 59% of the city’s nearly two million residents are bilingual. The city is alive with culture, creativity and culinary delights.
Old Montréal and the Old Port make up one of Montreal’s most dynamic quarters. First established in 1642, you can still walk the narrow cobblestone, maze-like streets or choose to explore via bicycle. It’s a lovely way to spend a day … or two. Enjoy shopping in the boutiques and taking respite in the cafes. The architecture is a mix of old and new. One of the oldest building is Notre-Dame Basilica, a gorgeous Gothic Revival church with a stunning ceiling, wood carvings, stained glass windows and a massive organ. While in Old Montreal, you can stroll along the waterfront of the Old Port and even take a riverboat ride on Saint Lawrence River. And for an incredible view of the area, you can ride the Grande Roue de Montréal ferris wheel that lights up a night. Truly spectacular!
Montreal Botanical Garden
Located beside the Olympic Stadium and the Biodome, a visit to the Jardin botanique de Montréal (Montreal Botanical Garden) makes for a great day trip. Built on 75 hectares, there is plenty to marvel at no matter what the season. Come and explore the thematic and cultural gardens such as Chinese, Japanese and First Nations, along with 10 exhibition gardens. And be sure to visit the greenhouse collection of orchids.
Mount Royal is a triple-peaked mountain located in the heart of downtown Montreal in Mount Royal Park. The park was inaugurated in 1876 and was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City’s Central Park. Explore more than 200 hectares of biodiversity and natural beauty all year long. In the winter, you can snowshoe or skate on the river and in the summer, you can bike, walk or run. Many couples have become engaged on the mountain summit – Kondiaronk Belvedere – with its breathtaking vista of the city. You can also stop for a tour of three unique structures in the heart of the park: Smith House, the Chalet and the Beaver Lake Pavilion. If you get hungry, you can stop for a bite to eat at the Café des Amis.
Sucrerie de la Montagne
Did you know the province of Quebec is the world’s largest maple syrup producer? More than 100 million pounds of maple syrup are processed annually compared with a million pounds in Vermont, its closest rival. For an authentic experience, a visit to the Sucrerie de la Montagne sugar shack is a must. Located within a 120-acre forest of ancient maple trees, the sugar shack sits on top of Mont Rigaud, just west of Montreal. The sugar shack has activities and accommodations all year, but the best time to go is during the ‘sugaring off’ season from February to April. You will get to experience how maple syrup is produced tapping maple trees with a spout, collecting the sap in a pail and then moving it to a wood-fired evaporator where it becomes syrup. Contact TierOne Travel today and we can reserve you a spot for the 2021 season.
Between Montreal and Ottawa, you can discover the Canadian version of a safari at Parc Omega. It’s open all year round and affords visitors to see animals close up through their own vehicles or you can rent a closed-in golf cart for two people. The route is nine miles and takes you passed lakes, rocky hills, valleys, forests and meadows. And don’t forget to pick up a bag of carrots at the gift shop, as you will likely be able to feed deer, mountain goats and bison along the way. You might also get lucky and see wild boars and beavers. And in separate enclosures, you can view animals such as wolf, bear, coyote and fox. Halfway through the safari, you can stop at the Cookerie for a snack and a bio break. And for something extra special, you can stay overnight at one of the many lodges and chalets located within Parc Omega
Located in Quebec’s picturesque Laurentian Mountains is the exquisite resort community of Mont-Tremblant. Only 130 km (81 mi) northwest of Montreal, you won’t want to miss this opportunity for an incredible excursion. It is one of the top ski destinations in the province where you can also snow shoe and even go dog sledding. But in the warmer seasons, you can also hike up the mountain or ride the gondola to the top. In the surrounding area of the main village you can also canoe or go fishing in Lake Superior, and even golf on an award-winning course. The village proper is filled with little shops and cafes. The architecture is European and the streets are cobblestone. For a luxurious experience, you can stay at Fairmont Tremblant. As a ski-in ski-out hotel, it’s ideal for an alpine getaway, but you’ll love staying at this world-class resort any time of year.
Add Quebec to Your Bucket List
A trip to Quebec is always a good idea. The fall colours are amazing, Christmas is magical, spring is resplendent and summer is so much fun! You don’t have to travel to Paris to experience a little bit of France right here at home, in Canada.
Get Peace of Mind with Travel Insurance
Before you travel, be sure you have enough coverage. Travel insurance will provide you with peace of mind on your vacation. Find out more about Manulife travel insurance here.
Start Planning Your Vacay Today
When you’re ready to explore Canada and make your travel dreams come true, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents today! They have extensive experience in life-changing travel and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs. One call; endless experiences!
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous