Canada is a strikingly beautiful and vast country. Québec, its largest province, is especially endowed with stunning landscapes and vibrant, distinctive cultures. Proudly francophone, the province also has an English component to its history and lifestyle. Montreal and the Eastern Townships, or Montréal et les Cantons de l’est depending on your language, are the best places to explore these two key facets of Québec. Welcoming, authentic and fascinating, Montreal is truly one of the world’s great cities. By contrast, the Eastern Townships is predominately rural and wild, with rolling hills sheltering a mix of farms and forests. Lakes and rivers are everywhere. You will quickly understand why this is one of the favourite weekend and holiday playgrounds for Montrealers. Just right for our holiday too. La Belle Province is perfect for a Quebec rowing tour.
Québec is one of Canada’s centres for coastal rowing. It may seem inland, but do not be fooled. The St. Lawrence is a big river and the lakes that we will row are equally large. Coastal boats are perfect, given their extra stability and ease of dealing with any waves. Of course we may have water like glass. This tour takes us rowing on a river, lakes and a historic canal. Our club partner on this trip is the oldest rowing club in Canada, so rich in history and tradition. And to really mix it up, we will experience the Lachine Rapids in a jetboat – fast and modern! Interesting and varied, the diversity that you will experience on the water reflects the diversity of the land and culture that you will experience off the water. Yes, this Quebec rowing tour is just about the best of rowing and the best of travel
The rowing is magnificent, but there is more, a lot more. Get immersed in history and culture. We will be in the Eastern Townships for la Fête Nationale du Québec, St.-Jean Baptiste day. Expect lots of flags! The day that we return to Montreal is the first day of the Montreal Jazz Festival, officially recognized as the world’s largest. Plan to extend your stay and enjoy more of the city and the festival. Québec boasts a stellar reputation for its cuisine. We could start a meal with traditional pea soup. Tourtière is a tasty meat pie, but the lakes and rivers provide plentiful fish. Try local cheeses and quickly move on to delicious desserts made with apples and blueberries from nearby farms. And of course there are many treats made with maple syrup. Finish by sipping ice cider, a true Québec specialty. Oui, la vie est bonne.
Photos courtesy of Aviron Lachine
|Single Supplement||$375||$495||$340 €|
Note that 5% GST(tax) will be added to the invoice. We are looking for a rower who is willing to be the driver for our second van – we will be pleased to offer a discount on the tour price.
Non-rowers are welcome, especially what we call fully independent non-rowers. Please contact us to discuss options and price.
|Daily Distances||Boats||Group Size|
|10-25 km per day||Coastal coxed quads and doubles||Minimum 7, maximum 12 rowers|
This is the first year that we are offering this Quebec rowing tour. Exploratory trips are fun adventures, and require a willingness to be flexible and adaptable. Water conditions, especially as affected by the wind, will determine the exact time and location of the rows. Safety is a priority. Thus, on some days, the actual program may vary from this description.
Arrival in Montreal, an iconic and eclectic city. We will discuss the plans for the next few days over a wonderful welcome dinner. Enjoy your first taste of Québec cuisine.
We begin the day with a morning row exploring the waters of the St. Lawrence River from our base at Aviron Lachine. They call it Lac St. Louis, but the seaway with the big ships is right there. Very cool. We will explore Île Dorval and up to the Parc René-Lévesque. This afternoon we are back on the water, but this time in a motorized manner – jet boating in the Lachine Rapids. Billed as a wet, wild and wooly city boat cruise, the experience is one more example of the vibrancy of this modern city. We will round out our day with a visit to the McCord Museum or one of the fine art museums to understand more of the culture of Montreal and Canada. In the evening we will stroll Rue St. Denis, taking in the vibe of the cafés and perhaps sampling the bagels and smoked meat that Montreal is famous for.
Today is a full day of rowing featuring the historic Lachine Canal. It is so significant that it is a National Historic Site of Canada. From Aviron Lachine it is a short row to the canal entrance. Five locks intersect the 13.5 km length, giving us natural pauses and rest. In addition, lunch at Atwater, famous for its food market, will break up the time in the boat. We will complete the day by rowing into the old port of Montreal. A city is always best seen from the water. Magnifiique! Our final task is to load the boats onto the trailer, ready for our trip east tomorrow. Dinner tonight is on your own, we will have lots of suggestions for you to choose from.
After breakfast, we bid au revoir to Montreal and drive east into the countryside of the Eastern Townships. Soon urban and suburban landscapes are replaced by fields, pastures, vineyards and forests, interspersed with small towns, and of course lakes. Our initial destination is Knowlton, one of the seven villages that comprise Lac Brome. As you might tell from the name, Knowlton was founded by English Loyalists and boasts the oldest inn in the Eastern Townships. Perhaps a bit like New England but where the people speak French? What you probably don’t know is that Lac Brome is renowned for its duck! And more recently for rowing. A brand new club with a beautiful boathouse is under construction, as the lake is the new training centre for the provincial team, some of whom are rowing on Canada’s national team. We will have a chance to strut our stuff on the lake too, as well as meeting some of the local rowers. In the afternoon we will continue on to our new home in North Hatley. Our inn is the Auberge La Chocolatière – hmmm, what might we have for dessert tonight!
Lac Massawippi is best known as the deepest lake in the Eastern Townships. We love it because it is folded into the wooded hills and curves in a graceful swoop. We will row to Ayers Cliff for a picnic lunch and perhaps a swim. The back along the farther shore. We will ensure time to explore North Hatley itself. Founded in 1897, the village of North Hatley is considered one of the most beautiful small towns of Quebec, with its few streets lined with galleries and shops. Tonight dinner is on your own, and there is a great selection of options to choose from.
On this last day of rowing on our Quebec rowing tour, weather and water conditions will dictate our plans, but we might take the boats over to Lac Memphramagog or Lac Magog. Alternately, if we loved Lac Massawippi, we might just enjoy another row here. Today is a public holiday, la Fête Nationale. We might take in a parade in Magog. Alternately we might seek some quiet and solitude on the nearby hiking and bike trail, La Route Verte. If the weather is inclement, nearby is Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site, dedicated to the life of a former Prime Minister of Canada (1948-1957), as well as showcasing the history of the Eastern Townships. Then it is time for our farewell dinner, which will be a homage to the flavours of la belle province.
After a leisurely breakfast, we will drive back to Montreal and your next adventure. Perhaps you will head home, although we recommend that you extend your stay, particularly to experience the Montreal Jazz Festival. We hope that you will have enjoyed rowing Canada and especially rowing in Québec!