| by KATE POCOCK|
Family Travel Ink
Quebec's Top Ten Family Vacation Experiences
Whale watching on the Saguenay, Tadoussac with Croisières AML: less than three hours east of Quebec City lies one of the best whale watching areas on the continent. Some ten species of whales, including the belugas that winter here, congregate where the warm water of the Saguenay meets the icy water from the ocean. Perfect for kids as it’s generally calm, and you only have to travel a bit offshore to see whales, seals and bird life. Good Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre. Younger children should ride on the larger boats with room to run around rather than on the fast-speeding Zodiacs.
Quebec City: a magical place for families in summer and winter with forts, castles, cobbled streets offering street entertainment, good family-friendly museums such as the Museum of Civilisation with its basement costume room and kid-friendly eateries. Summer offers a slew of festivals such as the music-based Summer Festival with hundreds of performers.
Huron Village of Onhoua Chetek8e at Wendake, just north of Quebec City: visit this small native village to see pow wow dancing, taste pumpkin soup or buffalo stew and learn about Huron life. Guided tours at a kids’ level and children’s activities on site.
Mont Ste-Anne ski resort: perfect for families in both winter and summer. Home of the mountain biking summer championship, hiking trails (the resort borders on the Trans Canada Trail) and special activities such as a week of magic and magicians. Good choice of apartment accommodation.
Golfing and tennis weeks for the whole family in the Laurentians. Both Mont Tremblant resort and Grey Rocks resort offer golf and tennis camps for kids and adults. Boating, swimming, water-skiing and hiking in the forest.
Sugar shack experience: just as in the old days of the fur traders, enjoy a hearty Quebecois meal family style at a Cabane à Sucre. Just 20 minutes west of Quebec City is Le Chemin du Roy, where after a tour of the facility showing how sap is boiled into maple syrup, visitors sit at long tables to sample pea soup, meat pies, baked beans, ham and potatoes and crêpes with maple syrup. The evening is rounded off with fiddle music and playing the spoons. Between Ottawa and Montreal is La Sucrerie de la Montagne, where there’s music, dancing and hearty home cooking.
Montebello: halfway between Ottawa and Montreal is the largest log cabin in the world. You can stay there (Fairmont Le Château Montebello) or in the nearby nature reserve (Kenauk) for fishing and boating with a naturalist. Nearby is the drive-through reserve, Omega Park, featuring Canadian animals like fox, wolf and elk in a woodland setting.
Family cycling holiday with Voyages du Tour de l”Île: set out on the Green Route of bicycling paths or sign up for the giant family annual bike ride over many kilometers of routes safe for kids. Quebec is known for its many bicycle pathways.
Forillon National Park, Gaspé Peninsula: watch for whales from the cliffs or see sea creatures in the saltwater aquarium at the interpretation centre. Good camping.
The Ice Hotel, Quebec City. Stay in an igloo castle of ice and sleep on caribou hides. A family resort is right next door for further adventures such as dogsledding or snowmobiling