Holidays in Québec
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From vibrant cities to larger-than-life landscapes, electrifying festivals to outdoor adventures, let the places and people of Québec wash over you.
Whale watching - Québec is home to 13 species of large marine mammals that can be seen on the St. Lawrence River from May to October. You can spot humpbacks, dolphins and seals, to name a few! One rare species, the Beluga whale, spends the whole year in the St. Lawrence River. Take a ride on one of the largest river in North America. Excursions usually leave daily and are available from the regions of Charlevoix, Côte Nord, Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Bas-St-Laurent and Gaspésie.
Baby seal watching in Îles de la Madeleine – In late February to early March each year, around 250,000 harp seals migrate from Greenland to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to give birth to their pups on the ice floes surrounding the Îles de la Madeleine. Today these baby harp seals are protected, and for several weeks each year you can participate in a seal-watching excursions to observe the whitecoats up close. Round trips between Québec City and the Îles de la Madeleine are offered between February and March for visitors wishing to observe these unique creatures in their natural habitat. Visitors will be taken by helicopter to the ice, where they can observe the seals at a close range for a short period of time. During the excursions great care is taken to ensure that the seals are not disturbed by the presence of visitors. Excursions usually last for three hours and protective winter gear is often supplied.
Kayaking & Canoeing
Spend the day outdoors and discover Québec’s rivers and waterways. Kayaking is available in a variety of locations all offering different types of kayaking, Kayak Safari lets you explore the ecosystems of the Lake or try your hand at White Water kayaking in the Laurentians for beginners. Experienced guides will teach you manoeuvres, techniques and skills you will need to have a fun day out with the kids, or you can go on a self-guided tour and take a picnic to enjoy on the riverbank. Excursions can be a few hours to a full weekend and run from April through to September. If you are true daredevil you can even race on a Canoe in Québec City and join the thrill seekers sport of Ice Canoeing, only found in this part of the world!
Outdoor fun year round in Mont Tremblant
Mont Tremblant is one of the many outdoor “must-live” destinations. With a 3km long zip-trekking network, quaint pedestrian village with lively bars and condos, and epic outdoor activities like e-biking, golfing, trekking and climbing, it is no wonder Tremblant has won a plethora of different awards.
With 10 top ski resorts to choose from spread out over the Laurentians and Appalachian Mountains, Québec offers both skiers and snowboarders wide open pistes, fantastic snow-sure conditions, rarely a queue for a ski lift in sight, and an average season that runs from late November through to April and often even into May. Voted best overall ski resort in North America by readers of SKI magazine, Mont Tremblant is a world-renowned destination resort located just north of Montréal. With real European flair, Tremblant sits at 875m above sea level and offers a breathtaking view of the Laurentians mountain range. The resort’s ski area covers 269 hectares and includes 96 ski trails over four mountain faces for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Take a Sea Plane ride over Québec’s stunning landscapes
Take a scenic flight through the regions of Lanaudière and Mauricie, on a sea plane with Hydration Aviation. These excursions, varying from 30-75 minutes are a once in a lifetime experience for the whole family to enjoy and a fantastic way to view Canada’s exceptional forests and lakes from the air. The experienced pilots will talk to you about the areas you are flying over, such as La Mauricie National Park, Lac Sacacomie, the wildlife reserve and the St Mauricie River.
Québecers have always placed great importance on fine dining. Discover the real Québec through its culinary traditions and the terroir specialties of local producers! A melting pot of European, Indigenous and North American culture, with a vast and fertile territory, Québec hosts something for every taste bud and food critic. Visit local producers labour their land and offer produce such as fine cheese, ice wine, lavender, game, chocolates, beers and much more.
As you may know, Québec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup. Visitors are invited to follow the journey of how tapping for maple water was originally an indigenous custom through to the seasonal ritual it is today at sugar shacks across Québec who are responsible for the province’s thriving maple syrup industry. The Maple Delights museum-come-bistro in Montréal and Québec City offers visitors the chance to taste delicious maple products as experience Maple Taffy rolling where you roll maple into a delicious icy lolly.
Walk the streets of this city to admire the vestiges of its founding as a mission in 1642, and be charmed by the harmonious juxtaposition of its architecture, both old and new. In this French-speaking city of more than 4 million inhabitants and no fewer than 120 nationalities, French and English coexist alongside a myriad of other languages, and this mix of influences gives rise to a creative exuberance that’s all its own. Montrealers, who are warm and very often multilingual, are quick to strike up a conversation in the hope of getting to know you better. This innate sense of hospitality makes this city a natural hub for exciting international festivals that take place one after the other at a feverish pace. Toronto's the provincial capital of Ontario and is also the most populous city. Positioned on Lake Ontario, the skyline is dominated by the CN Tower, which itself is surrounded by numerous skyscrapers, that are home to some of Toronto’s best hotels.
Toronto’s diversity means there's something for everyone, for the sports fan there's the Toronto Maples Leafs NHL team, the Toronto Blue Jay baseball team and the Toronto Raptors. The Rogers Centre, which is home to the Blue Jays, also holds many concerts featuring world famous music stars.
For the foodies the choice is almost endless, from budget snack bars to Asian flavours all the way up to the revolving 360 Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower.
Let go of the urban scenes you’re used to and step into a modern city steeped in Old World charm. Québec City, the cradle of French civilization in North America, is a city that will fill you with wonder. Gaze upon a steady stream of cruise ships dotting the horizon of the magnificent St. Lawrence River while people move happily along the ramparts of the fortified city, a festive energy in the air. In winter, let yourself glide across outdoor rinks or take a heart-pounding ride down the famous ice slide. This beloved capital will energize you with its arts and culture, and just 20 minutes from the city is an astounding natural playground.
Québec’s southern latitudes are bisected by one of the world’s longest rivers:
the St. Lawrence, gateway to the Great Lakes and the North American heartland since time immemorial.
From its 16th-century charting by Jacques Cartier to the present day, the mighty river has been a veritable lifeline for the Québecers who made their homes on its shores.
Open and welcoming, ever-present but forever on
the move—just like Québec—the St. Lawrence is your invitation to fascinating discoveries.
For three weekends in February, Ottawa is taken over by the Winterlude Festival. Throughout the duration of the festival, numerous events take place across the city, many of which are free. Each year, ice artists from across the world carve amazing ice statues which go on display in Confederation Park, there's even a chance to see these artists at work. There's the world’s biggest snow playground, the Snowflake Kingdom, which can be found in Jacques Cartier Park, a great place for young children to have fun. In winter, the Rideau Canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the largest ice rink in the world, all ages will love to skate here! Another event not to be missed is the Annual Village Bed Race, where teams race decorated beds across the ice.
Every year between May and October, Niagara Falls hosts a spectacular firework display, that lights up the Falls and the city in an array of colours. The display occurs every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 10pm. There are many places to view the show, two of the best spots are from the Hornblower cruise as it travels up to the falls or from Queen Victoria Park. From the end of May to the start of September, the Queen Victoria Park also hosts music concerts on Fridays and Sundays, a great way to spend a night in Niagara Falls.
Most major cities host amazing festivals and events; Toronto is no exception. Throughout the year Toronto plays host to some of the biggest events in Canada. For fans of food and drink, there's Taste of Toronto, one the world’s top food festivals, held in June or in July. Toronto’s Festival of Beer showcases many of Ontario’s craft beers. Other festivals include the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival in July and August, Cavalcade of Lights in November and the Toronto Christmas Market in December. For sport and music fans, there's a variety of events, catch the baseball season and see the Toronto Blue Jays play between April to October, watch the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament in July and enjoy the North by North East Music Festival in June.
Time difference: GMT -4 hours.
Currency: Canadian Dollar.
Language: French and English
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately 7 hours
Arrival airport: There are three major international airports in Québec- Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau (Montréal), Jean-Lesage (Québec City) and Mont-Tremblant (Laurentians).
Entry details (for British passport holders): From the 29th September 2016, if you fly or transit through Canada, you must have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.