We have spent the past two weeks within 35 miles of Montreal, first in the downtown area and then exploring the lakes (Lac Saint-Louis and Lac Saint-Francois) and satellite communities (Lachine, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue) to the west.
The city core of Montreal is quite familiar to us from our visits with our daughter, Vanessa, when she attended McGill University. This time we spent a full week there, revisiting old favourites (Mont Royal for its excellent views, the Old Port for its restaurants, fireworks, and always vibrant street scene) and discovering new gems (the Botanical Gardens). We went for two extended bike rides, one along the Lachine Canal (a National Park because of its natural setting and impressive historical significance) and another beside and across the St. Lawrence to view the Lachine rapids (which also took us through extensive parkland). Great cycling – another reason why we love Montreal!
The areas we explored in the second week were new to us. We had imagined this section of the Seaway would be quite industrialized and perhaps not that appealing to recreational boaters, however we found the river setting to be very enjoyable. The waters of the two lakes that comprise the St. Lawrence here are very clean and warm, excellent for watersports. We swam often, because it was very hot! Even the Seaway locks and connecting canals are mostly framed by green surroundings (and impressive for their size and engineering too). The satellite communities were also fun, Salaberry de Valleyfield in particular. It caters to boaters – for $20 per night we tied up right next to a splendid park adjacent to downtown. Free evening entertainment we could enjoy while lounging on the bridge included a sound and light show on the old canal and an oldies rock concert at the park bandstand.
We`ll soon begin our trip up the Ottawa River to our nation`s capital. When we turn to port to enter the Rideau Canal we`ll have spent about seven weeks travelling through Quebec by boat. The desire to see this province and other parts of eastern Canada from the water was one of the compelling reasons for purchasing His Idea and embarking on this trip. Without a doubt, the time we have spent in Quebec has provided a great experience.
Next up, Ottawa and the Rideau Canal.