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things to do in the province of Quebec (south and north)

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Plan your stay by choosing a destination from among our tourist regions. Each offers landscapes, history and activities that reflect the uniqueness of our territory.

 

For more information and travel tips about cities and what they have to offer, we suggest visiting our city guide with over 100 cities in the USA, Canada and many other countries around the world.

 

THE SOUTH:



Montréal City and Region:



To some, Montréal is just a city, but to us it’s a giant playground.


Mount Royal (our very own mountain) reigns over the downtown core and is home to a wide range of outdoor activities. All over the island, you can go biking, jogging, rollerblading or ice skating, kayaking and even surfing. You can also shop, taste local delicacies, visit museums or relax at the water’s edge.



Mount Royal



Mount Royal is our very own Central Park. This astonishing forest nestled in the heart of the city is an oasis of greenery set against an urban backdrop.


The view from its summit is simply breathtaking! The Kondiaronk lookout is the perfect spot for selfies, with the whole city spread out at your feet and the St. Lawrence River flowing beyond. The park is the best spot for glimpsing “authentic” Montrealers. They’re the ones jogging, walking, enjoying the many trails that criss-cross the mountain, or confidently climbing the wooden stairs to the top.



Old Montréal and Old Port



Affectionately dubbed “le Vieux,” meaning “old-timer” in English, Old Montréal and the Old Port may indeed be ancient but, for Montrealers, they have unique significance.


In spite of its long history, this area is constantly reinventing itself: every year, new activities emerge on its century-old streets in amongst the heritage buildings.


The La Grande Roue Ferris wheel and MTL Zipline have added a youthful touch. Visitors can peruse art galleries, handicraft shops and boutiques, and enjoy the restaurants and cafés along the cobblestone streets that date back to the days of New France. Steeped in history yet perfectly plugged into the 21st century, this neighbourhood is sure to charm you.



Quartier des spectacles



Looking for entertainment? You’re in the right place. This square-kilometre block, home to Place des Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain and the Opéra de Montréal, plays host to events, shows, artistic installations and a lot of other activities all year long in streets closed off to car traffic.



Laval:



Laval lets you enjoy the buzz of the city as well as the spontaneity of the region, with the beauty of nature within easy reach.


So many possibilities to have fun: go on a space mission, defy gravity in a free-fall simulator, play glow‐in‐the‐dark golf, try indoor surfing, take a kayak trip to enjoy nature’s charms and even pick strawberries and tulips. All that in a single day... or two. It’s up to you!



Explore space at the Cosmodome



This is the building at the foot of the replica of the Ariane shuttle, which you can easily see from the highway. It’s the only museum institution in Canada that is fully devoted to space sciences and exploration. The Cosmodome museum has themed exhibition rooms. You should definitely make time to see the museum’s actual lunar rock as well as the room that reproduces the solar system and its planets. During your visit, you’ll be able to take part in a space mission (three to choose from!), with virtual components and interactive games.


Even though the Cosmodome isn’t a training centre for real astronauts, its summer camps give young people an experience of space that’s out of this world. They even get to sleep in space modules just like those on the International Space Station.



Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles



The environment of the Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is said to resemble the bayous of Louisiana because of the park’s wetland forest and the natural setting of the river and its tributaries... fortunately, minus the crocodiles! Large populations of birds, turtles and other animals live there. As a wildlife reserve, the park has a mission to protect and conserve the environment, but also to showcase the river.


On the 42-km (26-mi.) river, you’ll have ample opportunities to marvel at the beautiful natural surroundings. Explore the archipelago by canoe, kayak, paddleboat, paddleboard, rowboat or rabaskaw, or take a cruise on the Héron bleu. You can even go fishing there, in summer and winter!


You’ll get a better understanding of the area when you visit the Exploration Centre and take in its permanent exhibition on the river’s biodiversity, entitled Believe it or not!).



Unwind at the Centropolis



The Centropolis in the heart of Laval is a commercial hub where the business world, entertainment venues and the pleasures of daily life converge. A great spot to meet up with friends. Enjoy gourmet food, have fun, go to shows and shop to your heart’s content.


In addition to pedestrian areas, the Central Square comes alive in summer: illuminated fountains, gardens, and ornemental vegetable gardens producing vegetables in original shapes and colours, which are distributed to local community organizations.



Outaouais:



A region shaped by Québec’s longest river that runs through it, and to which it owes its name and history.


Here, it’s one foot in the city and the other in nature. Enjoy an outdoor adventure in the morning and cultural discoveries in the afternoon or evening. Large parks await you, just a stone’s throw from Ottawa, the National Capital. Our land is vast and generous; our chefs, inspired and creative. Outaouais is 33,000 km2 (12,738 sq. mi.) of pure delight!


Canada’s most visited museum, a huge park right next to the city, and a small town with the world’s largest log cabin. Here, everything is measured.



Canadian Museum of History



The museum’s impressive architecture demands attention from afar, even as far away as Ontario! That’s not difficult, of course, as the museum sits on the banks of the Ottawa River, facing Ottawa. But there’s no denying that it’s eye-catching. The huge sand-coloured building of curving forms evokes “the emergence of this continent, its forms sculptured by the winds, the rivers, the glaciers,” says its designer, architect Douglas Cardinal, whose work has received many awards.


The museum’s interior is equalling striking, especially the Grand Hall, with its high ceilings—needed to display the gigantic totem poles—and massive windows offering up a view of Parliament Hill. The museum is so vast it is also home to an IMAX giant-screen cinema as well as a children’s museum, where little ones can have fun learning about people around the world.



Gatineau Park



It’s the National Capital Region’s playground, just a few minutes from downtown Ottawa-Gatineau. This conservation park, located where the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers meet, unfurls its hills and valleys over an area of 361 km2 (139 sq. mi.). From the Champlain Lookout, contemplate the vast landscapes... while perhaps snuggling up to that special someone? After all, it’s one of the region’s top five spots for sharing a kiss!


The park also offers access to one of North America’s most expansive trail networks. In addition to hiking and mountain biking (an extreme version is offered at Camp Fortune), you can go rock climbing, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, canoeing, camping and kayaking. In the summer, take a historical tour of the Mackenzie King Estate, the residence of Canada’s 10th prime minister... and apparently a few ghosts!



Montebello



Château Montebello is said to be the world’s largest log cabin. While this is true, Château Montebello is so much more. This Fairmont resort hotel boasts luxurious accommodations in natural surroundings as well as refined gastronomy. Plenty of outdoor activities are offered year-round, just as they are at the Château’s neighbour, Kenauk Nature, one of North America’s largest private nature reserves.


Close by, the former Montebello train station houses ChocoMotive, a chocolate shop and Économusée. Meanwhile, the Fromagerie Montebello gives historical names to its artisanal cheeses... you’ll truly savour the past!



Montérégie:



Its rich soil produces much of Québec’s food. Tasty stops along our Countryman’s Tour (Circuit du paysan) prove it.


Montérégie is the only Québec region with a Cider Route (Route des cidres)—not surprising given our number of apple trees—and it’s the birthplace of ice cider. Crossed by the Rivière Richelieu, our territory boasts a valley of forts and two biosphere reserves that are part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.



Hot-air balloon ride



Viewed from the sky, the Montérégie landscape may resemble a patchwork of fields and hills, sewn together with braids of rivers and adorned with forts jutting up like buttons.


Since 1984, when two hot-air balloon enthusiasts created a festival, the event has evolved into an international competition that doubles as a huge family outing. Many balloonists give visitors a chance to fulfill their dream of floating in the air. “Liftoff” is at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., weather permitting, of course.


The International Balloon Festival has had quite an effect on the people living in the region. Many have become amateur hot-air balloonists and it’s now possible to soar in the sky with them at any time of the year.



Michel Jodoin cider house



In Michel Jodoin’s case, the apple really didn’t fall far from the tree. Born into a family of apple producers who, for four generations, had been making a living off the red, crunchy fruit, he inherited an immense family business, which he successfully steered in another direction.


When Michel Jodoin opened his cider house in 1988, he started producing an artisanal cider, inspired by the traditional method and applying the knowledge he had acquired in... Champagne. That meant with bubbles, according to the champagne method. Since then, he has developed other ways to use his apples to make products that are very much in demand: ciders (sparking, ice, still, crackling) as well as spirits and apple juices (apple mistelle, brandy and vermouth). A visit to the cider house is best topped off with a short 3-km (1.8-mi.) hike along a groomed trail.



Fort Chambly National Historic Site



Fort Chambly is a site charged with history. Guides in period costume act out the military saga that occurred there, which you can also learn about through the site’s exhibits.


Where there’s a waterway, there’s a route that needs monitoring and enemies to watch out for. The French had to protect themselves from the First Nations in the 17th century, and then the English opposed the French in the 18th century (Canada’s history in a nutshell!).


Fortresses were therefore a necessity. Fort Chambly’s location, at the foot of the Rivière Richelieu rapids, was particularly strategic at the time it was constructed. At first built out of wood by the French in the 17th century, Fort Chambly later came under the control of the British, who raised the huge stone fort we see today.


It’s also now a great spot to have a picnic!



Eastern Townships:



The Eastern Townships are the cradle of viticulture in Québec. We know how to make good wine and we enjoy tasting it.


At the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, the Wine Route (Route des Vins) meanders through our beautiful vineyards. The surrounding parks and mountains offer up an abundance of hiking paths and ski trails. And the International Dark Sky Reserve is the ideal spot to gaze at the stars in total darkness and complete wonder. It's simply out of this world!



Wine Route (Route des Vins)



Pride in the quality of our wines is what prompted us to create what is the only signposted Wine Route (Route des Vins) in Québec. The gamble taken by wine enthusiasts that their vines would adapt to our climate paid off, and there are now some 20 wineries in the Brome-Missisquoi region.


Amid a magnificent setting, the 160-km (99-mi.) Wine Route takes you on a discovery of some of Québec’s most passionate artisans. Not only will you have plenty of opportunities to buy wine, but you can also taste different varieties and visit winery facilities and exhibition rooms. For example, the Vignoble de l’Orpailleur’s Vine and Wine Économusée is an engaging site. Elsewhere, you can enjoy a farm visit, go hiking or horseback riding, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride or even participate in a vine harvest. There's just no getting bored at our vineyards!



Foresta Lumina



There is no shortage of creative geniuses in Québec, and these prodigies have concocted a magical world that comes to life after dark in the middle of the forest. Combining art and the fantastical with nature, Foresta Lumina is an illuminated nocturnal experience along a 2.6-km (1.6-mi.) pathway bordering the impressive Coaticook gorge. This enchanted spot is the multimedia creation of Moment Factory, a Québec company that provides lighting for concerts and buildings around the world.


After nightfall, the stage is set for a stroll along the pathway where a soundtrack recreates the mysterious noises of nature. A light show brings the trail alive with wondrous creatures inspired by Québec’s forest mythology—fairies and goblins included. Already seen it? It’s time to go back, since Foresta Lumina changes every year. A magical experience to enjoy over and over!



Zoo de Granby



It takes a full day to cross its four continents, cool off in the Amazoo water park and take a dizzying spin on one of the fair rides.

Along the trails, you may not see all the 1,500 animals representing close to 225 species, but they’re definitely there. The newborns are particularly cute!


Take in some of the presentations by the zookeepers and educators—at feeding times, for example. Also, the popular “The Zoo at Night” immersion provides an evening of observation and a night in an African hut. A memorable experience is guaranteed!



Centre-du-Québec:



This corner of the province between Montréal and Québec City has a lot that’s worth exploring along its many scenic routes.


As seen from the thousands of snow geese that stop here during their spring migration, our region is worth the detour. In this land of maple trees and cranberries, Centre-du-Québec’s riches are waiting to be savoured and discovered from the St. Lawrence River to the Appalachian foothills.



Musée des Abénakis



Québec’s first Indigenous museum offers exhibitions, a multimedia show and authentic activities, both inside and outdoors. There’s plenty to see and do at the historical site of Odanak.


There’s a church to visit, a lookout, a picnic area and a trail along the river. The Tolba (turtle in Abenaki) Trail has interpretation panels on the flora, medicinal plants and animal species.



Parc Marie-Victorin



At the heart of Québec’s largest ecological garden, Parc Marie-Victorin puts on display a unique horticultural landscape that boasts six theme-based gardens, mosaicultures, gigantic sculptures of insects and a tropical greenhouse. Born in Kingsey Falls, Brother Marie-Victorin founded the Jardin botanique in Montréal.


Among the activities provided, you can sample edible flowers as well as vegetables grown in the park, and take in various demonstrations at the educational laboratory. A trail along the falls offers great spots for a picnic!



Centre de la biodiversité du Québec



Created to educate adults and young people about the existence and preservation of Québec’s species, this very lively science museum focuses on the sustainable development of our planet. It offers three experiences: a sensory corridor, urban fauna, and the immersive Journey to the bottom of the Saint-Laurent, a 360-degree wall projection.


A major evening attraction at the Centre de la biodiversité, the Echoes of origins forest trail runs for 1.8 km and raises visitors’ awareness of environmental issues.



 

For more information and travel tips about cities and what they have to offer, we suggest visiting our city guide with over 100 cities in the USA, Canada and many other countries around the world.

 

THE NORTH:


Nunavik:



It’s immense! Nunavik is about one third the size of Québec, and similar in size to France!


This territory, dubbed the Great North for its thousands of kilometres of tundra, boreal forest, mountains, rivers and lakes, offers adventure in its most authentic form. In summer, the sun almost never sets and you can experience four seasons in 24 hours. In winter, the sky comes alive with the northern lights, moving about like luminous marionettes. Stunning!



Nunavik's national parks



Nunavik spans 500,000 km2, so it’s no surprise that its four national parks are huge too. For example, the Tursujuq park, Québec’s largest at 26,000 km2, is almost as big as Belgium or the state of Massachusetts.


Originating between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter 1.4 million years ago, this meteorite, some 100 m (328 ft.) in diameter, left a crater that’s 3.4 km (2.1 mi.) wide. One can only imagine its massive impact as it slammed into the Earth!


The Arctic wildlife kingdom



This is the land of Rudolph and his friends, and it’s where the caribou reign supreme. In the spring, thousands of the animals migrate some 3,000 km (1,860 mi.) from James Bay to to the borders of Nunavik, between Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay. The caribou are a tireless species.


They share their territory with wolves, foxes and ptarmigan. Being Arctic animals, they turn white in winter, becoming virtually invisible. But polar bears can catch their scent from miles away.


A culture happy to embrace tales and games



A zest for life is part of the Inuit DNA. Their place names even have a humorous quality. And their throat singing contests always end in a burst of laughter—even though the person who laughs loses. The Inuit have a great sense of sportsmanship: it’s more important to take part than to win.


The Nunavik culture dates back four thousand years. Life is governed by nature and the seasons and by the topography of the land. It is said that the Inuit have 50 different terms for snow, given how important its precise description is to their way of life. In reality, they have 12 terms.



Eeyou Istchee Baie-James:



Above the 49th parallel, at the doorstep to the Far North, you’ll find one of the world’s most pristine lands.


Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is an experience beyond words: the endless silence of the tundra, taiga as far as the eye can see and fragrances of the boreal forest. Wherever you look, you sense the power and beauty of Nordic life. From the sunsets over James Bay to the frolicking northern lights, natu