Île-des-Moulins is located 30 minutes from downtown Montreal and nearby Laval, on the north shores of the Riviere des Mille-Iles and of the Riviere des Prairies. This small island is considered one of the most important pre-industrial site of the 19th century, a historical site, as it used to have a large complex of buildings from that era (today only 5 remained). The first flour mill was built in 1721 and a sawmill in 1725. Many other mills were built in the 19th century. We headed to Terrebonne on a cold autumn weekend day and we discovered a gem! Enjoy the sounds of the streaming water, cross the dam towards Île Saint-Jean and be inspired by the old buildings and mills.
Halloween is just around the corner and autumn is definitely here. Head for this great place for pumpkin picking. Take a wheelbarrow & a pruner and start loading these beautiful pumpkins, choose from 300 varieties of squashes!! Play in the garden and learn about the pumpkin culture in the interpretation area.
Nearby Montreal, Mont Saint-Hilaire (elevation of 414 meters) is known for its apple orchards thanks to the soil which is ideal for the growth of apple trees. The orchard, located on the southern slopes of the mountain, offers a large playground, a mini-farm, a restaurant and a shop for homemade ciders and other local produce. In addition to a variety of 20 types of apples for self-picking, there are many other activities like a giant maze, a tractor ride (during the weekend only) and a treasure hunt.
A small museum on the St Lawrence riverside, great for young kids to keep them entertained and active! The museum (with its three small houses) invites you to learn about the history of Gananoque as a center for boats throughout the years. Your kids can craft a wooden boat and enjoy playing in a naval theme indoor playroom with lots of dressing up, related toys and books.
Built during the war of 1812 to protect against an American attack on a strategic and elevated location, nearby the Ontario Lake, the Cataraqui River which flows to the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal. Restoration work on the fort from 1832 to 1837 led to a second fort been built on the site of the first. The fort was occupied by British troops and then by Canadian troops until 1891. During the first and second world wars, it housed prisoners of war. Today, it is considered a National Historic Site and a World Heritage Site. The museum lets you experience a mid-1860 appearance and military life.
A great orchard for apple picking is Verger Lacroix. The orchard is known for its apple cider (fire ciders, ice ciders and sparkling cider), which are sold at the large and nice boutique shop at the orchard with other local produce. The orchard is offering about 11 apple types for self-picking, two big playgrounds, hay to jump on, a tractor ride and a mini farm.
Apple season is here! This cool orchard offers organic apple picking, along with picking of organic grapes, pears and plums. Several activities are available on site: playground, picnic area, farmhouse, a pastry shop with homemade produce and a small local store.
A must-see in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. This village is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the region. The village was created in 1901 with a purpose for one industry only, pulp and paper mill. The location was ideal for this industry as the energy required to operate the machinery was produced by two waterfalls on the Ouiatchouan river. However, the village has been deserted in 1929 due to low demand for non-transformed mechanical pulp and is considered since a ‘ghost town’. With more than 70 original abandoned buildings still standing, the convent-school, general store and the post office, you can feel the sense of community this place once held.
Passionate Brian Scullion, the founder of this massive garden, has purchased this land over 30 years ago. 2000 plants from all over the world were planted and have adapted well to the climate of the Saguenay region. This horticultural gem offers also a mini-farm, kids’ wooden playgrounds, walking paths (3.5km) and picnic tables. Choose between a walk or renting an electric cart to discover the garden.
A fun attraction park for very young kids (mainly 2-8 years old) in Saguenay. The staff at this small colourful and joyful park, play funny characters to entertain the kids. The main attractions include water activities (splash park), playgrounds, a train ride, car racing, a maze, inflatables and picnic area. Entry fees are reasonable and you can spend there half a day when the weather is good.
Known for its water activities (warm water & sandy beaches) and cycling (45km of cyclable paths which go around the peninsula), Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon lies on the north shore of Lac Saint-Jean. The park is part of Velo Route des Bleuets, the paved cycle trails around the lake. Our half a day at the park included cycling and playground. The cycling was easy and beautiful, riding along the beach felt like being in the south of Florida. True fun.
Considered the best place in Quebec to watch marine mammals, and internationally renowned as a prime location for whale watching, Tadoussac is located on the north-west shore of the Saint Lawrence River, at the junction of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Charlevoix. At this point, it confluences with the Saguenay River (which brings cold fresh water from Lac-Saint-Jean) and the warmer, salty water of the St. Lawrence, to create a rich marine environment.
We saw this orchard on our way to Oka beach. On the way back from the beach, we decided to stop here and we didn’t want to leave the place. The orchard has a variety of 13 different apple types for self-picking, a massive playground and a mini farm where you can feed the animals.
Oka National Park has two sectors: the beach (detailed in this post) and Calvaire (a historic site sitting on the high hills of Oka). Oka Beach is located on the north shore of Lac des Deux Montagnes. Why do we like this beach? On the day we visited, although there were so many people, the long beach allowed us to relax and to enjoy the day in a not-too-crowded way. Shallow water is perfect for young kids, sandy beach, two playgrounds, lots of picnic areas and several lifeguard stations along the beach – on the shore and in the water!
Only 1 hour away from Montreal, you can find the streaming Ouareau River surrounded by forest trees. This regional park has few lookout points of the Dorwin waterfall and 2.5km of trails along the river with information points. This is a good place to take visitors – a nice viewpoint of the falls and a simple & relaxed walk in the forest (and of course so close to Montreal).
This is a short post about the Verdun – LaSalle bike trail on Montreal island. This path offers many km of bike paths alongside footpaths and shoreline of the St.Lawrence river. The path has been widened along the riverbanks and includes lots of green area for a picnic. There are several viewpoints, kids playgrounds, a splash pad, a swimming pool and areas for paddleboard (SUP) and kayak. The view of the river is outstanding and you can feel the power of the water near the Parc des Rapides. The walking path which is parallel to the biking trail is very suitable for a baby stroller.
Aux Berges du Lac Castor is a large resort located on the shore of Lake Castor. The resort offers many accommodation options along with a sandy beach and a wooden deck. Canoeing, 30km of hiking trails, playground, beach volley, petanque, BBQ grill – all part of the entry fee. We went there only for a few hours for a dip in the water and relaxation time before heading to see the beautiful Trembles waterfalls, less than 10 mins away by car.
Rain or Shine, it’s outdoor time. We spent about 3 hours in this wonderful orchard in heavy rain and we loved it. Verger Champetre is offering lots of activities for kids: petting farm, animals (alpacas, ponies, sheep, gooses, deer), playground, shop, an interpretive loop trail and pick your own fruits & veggies (cherries, apples, prunes, pears, pumpkins and even garlic!). Unfortunately, the latter we could not do as the cherry season was over and the apple season did not start yet.
So close from Montreal, you can enjoy a full family day outdoor. This dream garden is offering a maze, lavender fields and beautiful monumental sculptures with living plants. We spent about two hours in the garden and then visited the nearby Hudson village with its charming flea market – Finnegan’s Market (open on the weekends).
Everywhere I go, I love to collect tourism brochures. Last Friday evening I was looking for a place to visit and I was going through my box, dedicated to activities in Quebec. I found a brochure about this place. After a search online, we decided to visit it the next day! We decided to combine a visit to the winery with wine tasting, a visit to a super nice antique tractor museum (ideal for tractor fans) and do a 4.5km hike (one way) which starts from the vineyards.