Ski Val Saint-Côme

Ski Val Saint Côme is a ski resort located in the Lanaudière region (under 2 hours drive from Montreal). It offers a 300 meters vertical drop, 37 trails, two snow parks and evening skiing. The resort has recovered well from the fire in September 2018 which destroyed the main buildings. New buildings have been built, completely functional (although the outside part is not yet completed). Trails types: beginner (25%), intermediate (36%), expert (28%), extremely difficult (11%). We enjoyed a sunny day, skiing, at the beginning of February at this nice resort. 

Best winter activities in Île-d’Orléans

Île-d’Orléans, on the St. Lawrence River nearby Quebec City, is devoted to agriculture & horticulture and is benefiting from agrotourism all year long. The island consists of 6 municipalities, it is about 34km long and 8km wide at its widest point. The island is accessible via the Île d’Orléans bridge from Beauport. I have listed a few ideas for a half day visit during winter time.

Chocolaterie de L’île d’Orléans
Promenade Horatio-Walker
Cidrerie Bilodeau
Ice Skating in Saint Laurent de l’île d’Orléans 

Domaine du Radar – Austrian sledding​​

The place for some winter adrenaline rush! Riding on an Austrian sled down the slopes of Mont Sainte-Marguerite. Enjoy 4 consecutive descents of 2.3 km each ride. Choose between a Family or a Kamikaze trail. The place was once a military communications base (part of the Royal Canadian Air Force) during the Cold War from 1952 to 1964 as it has the highest peak in the region (summit at 698 meters). These days, the small mountain resort also offers hiking trails, bike trails, survival training, visits to the military bunker and more. We were happy to find this place as most activities with Austrian sledding in the area do not allow young kids to participate. Here you can ride with your kids from a very young age (taking the risk into consideration).

Village du Père Noël – Santa Claus Village

A colourful theme park for young kids (designed mainly for 2-8 years old) with lots of activities; tubing (three options), treehouses, inflatables, train ride, slides and houses with different stations. This park is open mainly during the summer and is open briefly during the winter (until Jan 6th, 2019!). Super friendly staff dressed as elves will keep you entertained in each station. 

Marché de Noël de Terrebonne

We had a lovely afternoon visiting the Marché de Noël de Terrebonne. Open from November 29th until December 16th, 2018, the market is located in old Terrebonne. Main attractions are the exhibitors; decorated stalls with various offerings (food, wines, clothing, house decorations and more). There is a main stage with performing artists (check online program). The market is relatively small so you can continue walking along the decorated streets of Old Terrebonne to discover this charming area. Add to your walk a quick visit to Ile-des-Moulins just nearby the market. 

Saint-Joseph Oratoire

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic basilica and a national shrine based on Mont Royal’s Westmount Summit. The construction of the chapel started in 1904, continued in 1924 with the basilica and completed in 1967. This is the largest shrine in the world dedicated to Saint Joseph who was credited with healing power. Many ill, handicapped and pilgrims pour into this Basilica. The basilica is built from Canadian granite and copper. This Montreal landmark is truly worth seeing. Take your visitors from out of town to visit this place and admire the architecture of this basilica and the wonderful views from its terrace. 

Musée pour Enfants – Children’s Museum​

This is the place for kids to learn about different professions in a super joyful way, with 22 professions to discover. The venue is designed for the ages of 2-8 years old. One rainy day (a statutory holiday) we visited this place and the kids had lots of fun. We spent there about 3 hours, exploring each station and enjoyed two funny shows from the nice staff. Good for rainy/snowy days.

Maison Saint-Gabriel

Maison Saint-Gabriel is a national historic site located in Montreal (Pointe Saint-Charles). This museum will take you back in time to show you how the new settlers of New France lived in the mid 17th century. The place was founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys who bought the land in 1668 to support agricultural and educational activities of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. We spent a few hours at this wonderful site. I highly recommend a visit, it is an ideal place for rainy/snowy days.

Île-des-Moulins

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.

Mont Saint Hilaire – Orchard Petit et Fils – apple picking

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.

1000 Islands Boat Museum

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.

Fort Henry (1000 islands)

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.

Verger Lacroix – Apple Picking

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.

Val-Jalbert

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.

Jardin Scullion

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.

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