Summertime and the livin’ is easy…..in the Eastern Townships!
Sherbrooke, March 8, 2011 – Summer in the Eastern Townships offers thousands of delightful pleasures. Amid a stunning landscape of mountains, lakes and rolling farmland, visitors can find actitivies to appeal to every taste, restaurants to suit every budget and cosy hostelries to sink into a blissful sleep after an invigorating day in the fresh air! The sweet summer season also brings with it a host of new things to see and do.
The Grand Cru weighs anchor
Grand Cru is a brand new cruise boat designed specifically for Escapades Memphrémagog. Starting in mid-June, the 172-passenger vessel will offer 3-hour gourmet cruises on magnificent Lake Memphremagog. Grand Cru’s luxurious interior is elegantly furnished and the menu offers delicious, innovative dishes. Cast off (literally!) your daily routine and « dive » into one of the packages on offer this summer. There are four options – brunch, lunch, the cocktail hour (4-6pm) or dinner. No matter which cruise you choose, you’re sure to enjoy this maritime gourmet experience – from start to finish!
Information : (819) 843-7000 / 1-888 4BATEAU or www.escapadesmemphremagog.com
The opening of a new pavilion « Pacifique Sud » (« South Pacific ») is the first stage in the monde d’Océanie (World of Oceania). This pavilion leads visitors on an expedition across the waters and islands of the South Pacific and it’s themed around the marine and terrestial landscape in this region of the globe. The complex houses several aquariums where visitors can observe a variety of creatures – jellyfish, penguins, lizards, sharks and corals (yes, they are alive!).
A large observation pool is being constructed to feed the skates, allowing the public to interact with the large kite shaped fish and also as to be used a venue for educational events featuring the intriguing creatures who live in the zoo.
One section of the themed pavilion is devoted to « The Odyssey », a veritable ocean voyage. During the course of this fascinating marine exploration, visitors will be able to observe « the Rock of Penguins » and « Lizard Point », just before hitting the « Typhoon ». At « Carried away by the waves » visitors will have a sense of being « Under the Ocean » where they’ll be able to observe turtles, sharks and reef fish swimming around a rainbow of coral. (There is a supplementary charge.)
This addition is the second phase of the modernization project launched in 2004, to give the Granby Zoo a larger profile on the world stage.
Snow leopards and Amur leopards (panthera pardus orientalis), will have new living quarters that in addition to coming up to international standards, will allow visitors to observe these magnificent big cats in a setting that mirrors their natural habitat. Information : (450) 372-9113 / 1-877 472-6299 or www.zoodegranby.com
What lies behind a wetland…
One of Magog-Orford’s key attractions is the Centre d’Éducation et d’Observation LAMRAC (COE) – an educational centre run by LAMRAC (Friends of the Cherry River, an environmental group) – which offers fun activities for families, schoolchildren and tourists. As well as housing a permanent exhibition, which marries educational displays with a sensory experience, the centre runs a number of events. Visitors can discover the complex ecosytem of the marsh, its history and its ecological role – i.e. the natural phenomena that lie behind the wetland. Not suprisingly, the centre itself is also a major attraction. Constructed using the latest building techniques, it incorporates energy efficient and environmentally friendly features.
Information : (819) 843-8118 or www.lamrac.org
A one-of-a-kind covered bridge
The Ulverton Woolen Mill is expanding, with new attractions for the 2011 season. Last fall, the covered bridge beside the mill (used for transporting the wool more than a century ago) was restored once more – the third time in its history. Painted postbox red, it will be officially named and reopened during the summer. It’s the one and only covered bridge fitted out with an automatic fire protection system!
In the refurbished boutique, visitors will able to purchase new products and to enjoy demonstrations and tastings. A snack bar and a brunch package round out the new offerings, making a visit to the mill more appealing than ever!
Information : (819) 826-3157 or www.moulin.ca
Waterville recalls the age of chivalry!
This summer, a medieval park will open at Camp Val-Estrie in Waterville. The new installations will include three ‘encampments’ for wannabe knights, a cemetery, a cave, a tomb, a medieval moat, an obelisk and a den for trolls! Period costumes and other role-playing accessories are available on site and organized activities will help participants (up to 48 people) to imagine what life was like in the age of chivalry. Camp Val-Estrie is designed for youngsters, families, schoolchildren, get togethers with friends and all kinds of groups.
Information : (819) 837-2426 / 1-800-667-3923 or www.espacesjeunesse.qc.ca
Cafés de villages
Here’s something new that will appeal to all you foodies! Eastern Townships Tourism has created a network of Cafés de villages (Village cafes) which, in 2011, includes around a dozen establishments. These small eateries are a great place to meet new people (or old friends !). Moreover, they are friendly, warm and easily accessible. Frequented mainly by locals, they give tourists the opportunity to take the pulse of every day life in the region – a behind the scenes look at the Eastern Townships.
The concept of Cafés des villages was inspired by a similar network of simple eateries found throughout four regions of France – Brittany, Normandy, Aquitaine and Languedoc. Independently operated establishments without links to large, commercial coffee franchises (did I hear Starbucks ?), these cafes nonetheless maintain good links with the tourist attractions, accommodations and organizations within their communites – a great source of information for visitors !
The village eateries obviously do sell coffee and at least one brand of local wine or beer, as well as snacks and a selection of Créateurs de Saveurs products - regional produce showcasing the Townships’ terroir.
Information : 1 866 963-2020 ou www.easterntownships.org
Don’t forget your cooler !
This summer, tourists who visit the Eastern Townships can enhance their stay with a visit to one of the public markets. The 14 markets that are scattered around the region have got together to produce maps showing a brief description of the markets, where they are located and their opening hours. Visitors can pick up the maps at information, tourist and municipal offices and at certain restaurants and businesses around the region. At each of these markets you’ll find fresh, local tasty produce. A visit to any one of them is a unique opportunity to meet food producers from around the Townships – truly the « artisans » of regional fare !
There’s another new way of finding local food producers as well. Agritourism is a prime activity in the Eastern Townships and a «Créateurs de saveurs» designation has been created to identify regional farmers and food producers. These « creators of flavors » grow and cultivate their produce in the region, helped along by the unique characteristics of the Townships’ terroir.
Information : (819) 346-8905 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2011 Rosés en Fête, a celebration of rosé wine, which for the past three years has been a huge hit with the general public, is once more on the agenda. This year, the underlying theme will be women – because wine that is colored pink, evokes femininity! To that end, hotels, country inns, restaurants, spas and wineries are organising packages and actitivites aimed particularly at the female segment of the market. On offer are wine tastings (with expert sommeliers) along the Wine Route, spa visits (glass of rosé in hand !) and « rosé » Sunday Brunches at the wineries.
Dates to note are the weekends of May 28 and June 4 for the activities at the wineries and May 28-June 26, when the « rosé » packages will be offered at hotels, spas and restaurants.
As well, on May 21 and 22, you will be able to taste the new rosé vintages from the Wine Route vineyards at the Marché des Saveurs at the Jean Talon Market in Montreal. A dozen winemakers will be on site.
Information : 1-888-811-4928 or www.laroutedesvins.ca
Spa Eastman expands
Spa Eastman is updating its facilities, to the tune of $2.5 million. The expansion and renovations include a balneotherapy area comprising two hot exterior baths, one Nordic bath, a hammam (steam bath), a Kneipp hydrotherapy circuit for the legs, a new relaxation area, three new bedrooms, a conference area that holds up to 100 attendees and a greatly enlarged kitchen. Starting at the end of March, the dining room will be open to the general public (previously it was available only to spa-goers) who will be able to sample the nutritious cuisine for which Spa Eastman is renowned.
Information : (450) 297-3009 / 1-800-665-5272 or www.spa-eastman.com
Hovey Manor makeover
A fire last February in the main section of the Hovey Manor has forced the owners of the inn to undertake some major renovations, somewhat earlier than planned! The makeover includes a new kitchen and a completely transformed dining room featuring bright colors and a contemporary decor. The number of rooms has been cut from 41 to 37, but some will be larger than before because they are being transformed into suites. The menu will also be revamped. Chef Roland Ménard and his team are currently testing out some new dishes to delight gourmet diners! The reopening of the dining room is scheduled for the beginning of April.
Information : (819) 843-2421 / 1-800-661-2421 or www.manoirhovey.com
Skate away your stress!
Auberge La Destinée houses - of all things - a synthetic skating rink in the basement! Situated near Magog, the inn opened its doors in February. It has 12 bedrooms, meeting rooms and a cosy lounge and offers all sorts of facilities for business meetings, wellness workshops (led by the inn’s therapists) or get togethers with friends. All this in a scenic, natural setting overlooking spectacular Little Lake Magog, a stone’s throw from the Venise Golf Club and Le Cep d'Argent vineyard.
Information : 819 612-5510 or www.ladestinee.ca
SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS
Rivers, food and would-be Indiana Joneses
Two new exhibitions and a themed summer camp are being offered this summer at Sherbrooke’s Museum of Nature and Science.
Eau vive (March 16-September 5, 2011)
Each river has its own secrets. The exhibition – « Living Water » - reveals some of the lesser known ones. During this journey of discovery designed for the entire family, you’ll be drawn into an experience that stimulates the senses – a whirlwind of activities showcasing the richness of our waterways that are, nonetheless, constantly under threat. This important exhibition is organized by the museum with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Qu'est-ce qu'on mange? (June 1-September 5, 2011)
The question of what exactly we are eating isn’t an easy one to answer! This exhibition goes some way towards solving that dilemma, through larger-than-life exhibits. On the « menu » - the history of food, production methods, transformation of raw materials, food science and for small fry, a mini-market filled with goodies. Bon appetit!
Summer camp for wannabe archeologists aged 11-16
Imagine playing at being an archeologist on a real prehistoric dig! Junior Indiana Joneses have the chance to spend five days at an Amerindian site under the guidance of a professional archeologist. After their adventure, they learn how to catalogue, analyse and classify the artefacts uncovered during the excavations. The archaeology day camp runs from June 27-July 1, July 4-8 and 11-15 and August 1-5, 8-12 and 15-19. Places are limitied, so be sure to book as soon as possible!
Information : (819) 564-3200 or www.naturesciences.qc.ca
Recalling a massive fire
In 2001, the exhibition at Musée de Sutton features the devastating fire that destroyed over 35 homes in the heart of the village in 1898. Compiled with the help of volunteer firefighters and Hermitage Sutton, the exhibit comprises 13 photographs taken by Frank Wheeler of Richford, Vermont, as well as a small model of the village of Sutton as it looked during that era. Sutton’s museum is open from midday to 4pm, every weekend until October 30.
Information : (450) 538 2883 or www.museedesutton.com
Learning about slate roofs
To enable visitors to discover the historic anglophone region of Richmond, the Centre d’interprétation de l’ardoise (Slate interpretation centre) has designed a walking tour that leads visitors around town with the help of an audio guide. A dozen interpretative panels will also be installed this spring, to inform visitors about the architectural features of the beautiful Victorian-era homes and their slate roofs. While you’re in Richmond, don’t forget to visit the permanent exhibition inaugurated last summer!
Information : (819) 826-3313 or www.centreardoise.ca
Following in the footsteps of Joseph Armand Bombardier
In 2011, the J. Armand Bombardier Museum turns 40! It was on September 11, 1971, that the museum officially opened its doors. On April 21, the museum will inaugurate a temporary exhibition entitled Bombardier aujourd’hui (Bombardier Today). This exhibition, which will run until February 2012, puts Bombardier under the global spotlight from a socio-economic and geographic perspective, profiling its role as the world leader in providing rail transportation and its third place ranking as a manufacturer of civilian aircraft.
As well this year, a series of new workshops inspired by the entrepreneur and inventor Joseph Armand Bombardier, will be developed for school groups. During this year of celebrations, a variety of activities will augment the museum’s regular programs.
Information : (450) 532-5300 or www.museebombardier.com
Rand : Iron giants and Brave men
The Sherbrooke Historical Society is staging La Rand : des géants de fer et des hommes vaillants (Iron Giants and Brave Men), an exhibition of archival photographs documenting over a century of one of the biggest factories in Sherbrooke’s history. You’ll see the valiant men who operated the giant pieces of machinery making equipment destined for mining companies, paper mills and munitions for the Canadian army. The photos also show them entertaining themselves and having fun at the parties organized by the company – a window into a bygone era. The exhibition runs from March 1- May 10, 2011.
Information : (819) 821-5406 or www.histoiresherbrooke.com
History recounted by personalities from the past
In Coaticook Valley, five new historic personalities have been added to the Pioneer Trail, bringing the number of characters up to 10. Situated in Saint-Herménégilde, Waterville, Saint-Malo, Coaticook (Baldwin sector) and West Barnston, these new figures from the past seem to spring into life even although they are made of a silhouette of steel. A photo of the period that each character represents and an audio recording allows visitors to listen as he or she recounts important milestones in his or life - in English, as well as in French. Information : (819) 849-2088 or www.voiedespionniers.com
What’s new in our national parks
June 12 is ‘open day’ for our national parks when visitors can explore them free of charge!
A new face for Mont Megantic National Park
2011 is a year of change for Mont Megantic National Park. It heralds the opening of Franceville, a new sector of the park with a welcome centre, a convenience store and another camping area with 47 sites – 20 of which are serviced. Sentier des Cimes de Franceville, a brand new hiking trail stretching for 5.8km (3.6mls), part of a 10.1km (6.2ml) loop has been laid out, augmenting two other trails - la Boucle du Sentier de la Promenade du ruisseau (2,6 km/1.6mls)) and the la Piste de la Vallée (3,9 km/2.42mls).
Information : (819) 888-2941 / 1-800 665-6527 or www.sepaq.com/pq/mme
Frontenac National Park
A new Centre de Découverte et de Services au secteur Sud (an interpretation and service centre) will open in the fall of 2011. It will house a visitor centre, nature boutique and an exhibition
Construction continues on the bike trail in the southern sector of the park, linking the visitor centre with the camping area at baie Sauvage. The bike trails winds around a succession of easy-to-manage hills and a forested area with occasional views of the colorfully named baie des Ours (Bay of bears) and lac à la Barbue (Catfish Lake).
Four new Huttopia tents (adapted bivouacs with wooden floors) are being installed in the Saint Daniel sector of the park, within the Rivière aux-Bluets loop. They will be in place by June 17th, bringing the total number of Huttopia tents within the the Frontenac National Park to 16.
Two new areas for boating - baie Sauvage (Wild Bay) and baie aux Rats-Musqués (Muskrat Bay), for a total of 3.
Guided, exploratory walks across the march at baie aux Rats-Musqués, in the Saint Daniel sector. Discover aquatic plants in full bloom and a range of interesting, diverse birds – the Great Blue Heron, wild geese or even a mighty bald eagle, soaring high above you! For departure times, reservations and a route map, check with the service centre. The guided walks run for between one-and-a-half and two hours. The level of difficulty is easy to moderate, depending on the winds.
At baie Sauvage, secteur Sud (the southern sector of the park): Escale – a boat trip to the Felton River waterfall! Paddling a canoe or a kayak you can meander in and out of the little bays or simply let the wind carry you along. Enjoy stunning views over the wetlands and surrounding countryside. For this trip also, you can pick up a route map at the service centre when you rent a boat. The Escale trip runs from between three to five hours, with the possibility of a shorter run (1hr30m-2h30min) which is geared to intermediate paddlers.
Information : (418) 486-2300 / 1-800 665-6527 or www.parcsquebec.com/frontenac
Mont Orford National Park
SEPAQ (the organization that runs the national parks) is erecting five new Huttopia tents in the Fraser sector of Mont Orford National Park. The camping season in the Fraser sector will be also be extended during weekends (but only for the Huttopia tents) until Thanksgiving (October 10 in Canada).
Among the new activities is a guided walk entitled « Foulez la forêt, un pied dans le lac » (roughly translated as « Tramp through the forest, one foot in the lake ») By following the trail along the shores of Fraser lake, you’ll get an insight into the forest and lake environments, with the help of one of the park’s interpreter guides. The guided walk is offered every Wednesday at 10am, from June 24-August 20, in the Fraser Lake sector of Mont Orford Park. Another great way to explore the park, is to explore magnificent Fraser Lake from the vantage point of a canoe. You have to sign up for this activity but the park provides equipment. Cost is $8.75 for adults and $4.39 for children aged 6-17. (Not recommended for those younger than 6). Taxes extra. Every Saturday at 4:30pm.
Information : (819) 843-9855 / 1-800 665-6527 or www.sepaq.com/pq/mor
Yamaska National Park
A Discovery and Services Centre which will be constructed near the beach. It will house a visitor welcome centre, a nature boutique, a convenience store and a discovery area highlighting the park’s main attractions. It’s situated next to an outside amphitheatre that will stage talks and other activities during the evening. In the camping area, five new Huttopia tents will be added this spring, bringing the total number available for rent to 19.
During the time that construction is under way, the park management hopes that the public will understand if they are inconvenienced from time to time.
Information : (450) 776-7182 / 1-800 665-6527 or www.sepaq.com/pq/yam
Other outdoor activities…
Grand St-François Lake
Situated two kilometres from the heart of the village of Lambton, this 11-acre park offers 296 meters (971 feet) of waterfront – the only public access for boating on Grand St-Francois Lake, the second biggest stretch of water in the Eastern Townships. The park is updating its facilities and will offer 27 campsites and numerous outdoor activities – a playground for children, volleyball and basketball, bowling, horseshoes, a picnic area, rest areas, benches, a walking trail along the lake and much more…. Other facilities includes a gazebo to stage live acts or events, a four-season service lodge with a terrace, a place to pick up water and wash down boats (a unique feature of this park) and a dumping station for grey water, the only one on Grand St-François Lake.
Information : 819 583-5515 / 1 800 363-5515 ou www.tourisme-megantic.com
Get on your bike in granite country!
The region of Granit (granite to you and me) is developing bike trails with the Veloroute du lac Aylmer and they will give access to the following: the Grand St-François Tour (not yet finished), the Grand Tour of Lake Megantic (June 12), the Beauce Tour (the third sector, June 16, will end at the at the Mount Megantic Observatory) as well as other circuits along the way.
Information : 819 583-5515 / 1 800 363-5515 ou www.tourisme-megantic.com
PACKAGES AT YOUR FINGERTIPS….
This summer, some 150 promotions and packages etc…, themed around Romance and the Pleasures of the Palate, Romance and Spa, Golf, Family Pleasure and Cycling will be available on our website at www.easterntownships.org.
(819) 820-2020/1-866 963-2020
Other press releases
- [2013-03-07] The Eastern Townships Grands Prix du tourisme Desjardins awards the innovative winners
- [2011-12-08] Holiday season atmosphere at Mont SUTTON
- [2011-12-01] New installations, more fun at Ski Bromont!
- [2011-07-07] Jouvence Launches Sustainable Development Action Plan
- [2011-04-18] Easter weekend with a range of activities at Mont SUTTON
- [2011-04-13] The Grands Prix du tourisme Desjardins des Cantons-de-l’Est