Spring in Québec brings with it the promise of endless possibilities. Smell the fragrance of new blooms in the air and feel the spring (pardon the pun) in your step as the snow and ice gives way to lush green flora and a whole new set of outdoor and urban adventures.
Here is our must-do springtime guide to Québec.
Spring is maple season
Spring time in Québec heralds the start of the sugar season and a time of celebration for Québecers. Join the festivities at one of the many sugar shacks along the St Lawrence River, from Île d'Orléans, to Portneuf and Jacques-Cartier. Learn how to gather the maple sap the old-fashioned way, using buckets and spouts, and enjoy a lively spring feast of traditional Québec cuisine and snow-cooled taffy. Can’t eat another bite? A sleigh ride through the woods is the perfect way to take in the enchanting scenery.
Cycle the city
Make the most of the sunshine and explore Montréal on two wheels. The combination of user-friendly bike paths that traverse the entire island, and the BIXI system of public, rentable bikes, makes Montréal a bike-rider’s paradise. Conquer the steep ascent of Mont Royal and then fly down the hill into the city. Alternatively, head out to Parc Jean-Drapeau, where you can explore more than 700 acres of parklands. Energy to burn? Practise your speed cycling at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the famous Formula 1 race track.
Hit the trails
To really immerse yourself in the diverse natural beauty of Québec, pick a region and hike the alpine trails. In the picturesque Eastern Townships, Parc écologique Jean-Paul-Forand offers 6.3 kilometres of trails along the mountain’s western slope, abundant with waterfalls and wetlands. Pack the snowshoes if you’re there in early spring, and explore this genuine winter wonderland. The Laurentian mountains are an easy day trip from Montréal, with an abundance of regional parks to navigate on foot. Choose from easy to advanced trails that meander along sunny meadows, rivers, and lakes, and stop for lunch in one of the beguiling Francophone villages.
Grab a bird’s-eye view
Whether you’re in Québec City during the early weeks of spring, when the snow still adorns the rooftops, or later in the season, it’s the perfect time to take in some of the cultural hot-spots. Get your bearings from above with a panoramic view of the city from the Observatoire de la Capitale. Next, take a walk through the cobblestone streets of this historic walled city and stop for photos at the incredible trompe-l’oeil murals that offer an insight into the history of the city. Finally, head to the Citadelle to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. This National Historic Site is an active garrison of the Royal 22e Régiment, famous for its star-shaped formation, typical of Vauban fortifications, and its amazing views of the city and St Lawrence River.
Ski Mont Tremblant
Head to Mont Tremblant during March and early April for long days of skiing under a blue sky, and lively après ski in the pedestrian village, full of friendly faces and sun-drenched patios. Spring time celebrations are out in full force, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids and a party for the older crowd in Place St-Bernard.
Head to the Huron-Wendat Museum, 20 minutes from downtown Québec City for a fascinating journey into the lives and history of the Wendat people and other First Nations. Attend a themed workshop, take an animated and guided tour, or simply spend a couple of hours perusing the rare collections that reveal the vibrant culture through historical objects and artefacts. Gather around the hearth in the Ekionkiestha ‘National Longhouse and listen to the stories and legends of another time, another world. Can’t get enough? Stay the night next door at the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations.
When it comes to being on-trend, nowhere does it better than Montréal. Spring is the perfect time to update your wardrobe or pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir to take home. Meander the charming stretch of Rue Saint-Paul, the oldest street in Montréal. Known as ‘Antiques Row,’ the street is lined with heritage buildings, galleries, and boutiques filled with old-world curiosities and vintage collectables. Alternatively, head to Sainte-Catherine Street and spend the day trawling the longest commercial street in the country. If there’s a chill in the air, take advantage of the underground labyrinth of tunnels spanning the city, linking shopping malls, eateries, and hotels, the largest network of its kind in the world.
Nowhere are the flavours of spring more distinct than at Montréal’s Jean-Talon Market, with its passionate providers selling everything from locally-produced fruit, vegetables, bagels, and smoked meats, to ice wines, teas, and pastry treats. Book with Montréal Food Tours to discover how the city’s multicultural population is reflected in its diverse culinary scene. Taste authentic gastronomic specialties in Chinatown, feast on mouth-watering poutine, and savour hand-made chocolates as you explore Montréal’s eclectic neighbourhoods.