Family routes: Montreal and Quebec City

Author: Canadian Living


Family routes: Montreal and Quebec City

Welcome to la belle province! There's much to see in this truly beautiful province, and its two most prominent cities -- Montreal and Quebec -- are within a few hours' drive of each other. That makes the offerings of both cities readily available to residents and visitors alike.

Montreal is a buzz of friendly activity, home to more than 40 annual festivals and international events, 5,000 restaurants, five professional sports teams and 1,000 parks and green spaces.

With all it has to offer, where does one begin? With summer festivals, of course.

Montreal Jazz Festival
Perhaps the king of Montreal festivals is the annual Jazz Festival. This year's festival, running from June 29 to July 9, will feature Bonnie Raitt, B. B. King, John Pizzarelli and hundreds of other performers.

While there are many charged-for performances, many more outdoor activities and performances are free to the public.

18th Century Public Market
August 26 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
August 27 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
At the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, visit an 18th-century marketplace -- stalls, an inn, a native camp, musicians, and demonstrations by craftspeople give a fun and interactive way of seeing the way the world used to be.

Quebec City
Just a few hours from Montreal is Quebec City, Quebec's historic provincial capital. As the only walled city in North America, Quebec City is divided into Old Upper and Lower Town, each with a unique appeal to visitors. For kids, a walk through Old Town is a little like stepping back in time.

Old Town retains an almost European feel, with an irresistible elegance and romance to captivate every family member. First stop? A place where elegance and romance have been brought to a kid-friendly level. Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Or take a peek at Lower Old Town from the Funicular, the only one of its kind in Canada.

Quebec City Summer Festival
The Quebec City Summer Festival is one of the most popular local festivals of the season. It runs from July 6 - 16, 2006, and features nearly 500 free shows and concerts. With circus arts, street performances and music (rock, pop, hip-hop, classical and folk), it truly has something for every taste.

Where are you going this summer? Discuss your travel plans with other readers in our forums!

Image courtesy, le photographe masqué.

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Île d'Orléans
The Île d'Orléans is a 34-kilometre island, five kilometres downriver from Quebec City. The tourist information office is visible as soon as you cross the bridge to the island -- bring (or rent) bikes to check out the island and its windmills, stone cottages and orchards.

Valcartier Vacation Village
Twenty minutes outside of Quebec City is Valcartier Vacation Village, home to the largest water park in Canada. Twenty-five water slides, a wave pool with eight types of waves, a half-kilometre tropical river, Game Island and acrobatic diving shows (June 18 through August 20) combine for knock-your-socks-off fun for the whole family. Summer admission rates are divided into Small (less than 52" -- $17.38 for a full day), Tall (52&" and taller -- $24.34 for a full day) and Elders (65 years and over -- $17.38 for a full day). A discount admission is available after 4 p.m. and ticket access to the ground activities and diving shows is an extra $5.22 per person. Kids two and under are admitted free.

The rainy-day option: Musée de la civilisation
Don't let summer rains derail your plans for family fun. Quebec City's Musée de la civilisation is the perfect antidote for a rainy day. Highly recommended is the costume workshop that is part of the Make Way for the Middle Ages offering. Aimed at children between the ages of two and 10 and their parents (and grandparents), the workshop takes kids back to a medieval French village where they are exposed to and participate in the operation of period markets, crafts, activities and businesses.

Teens will enjoy Wild and Whimsical Artifacts, a unique and quirky display of folk art, and Vox Populi, a look at the role of democracy in societal evolution. Both are temporary exhibits at the Musee de la civilization.

If you want to take a virtual trip to check out more fun things to do and places to visit, check out these sites:

Tourism Montreal
Tourism Quebec City
The Outaouais
Tourism Quebec
Village Mont-Tremblant

Where are you going this summer? Discuss your travel plans with other readers in our forums!

Image courtesy, le photographe masqué.

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Family routes: Montreal and Quebec City