Art, culture & heritage

An Outing to Waterloo: Art, Gastronomy and Festive Discoveries

101 km

14 stops

3 days

Well known by cyclists for the three bike paths that come together at an old railway junction dating back to the golden age of its Anglo-Saxon past, and neighbouring Granby, Shefford and Bromont, the town of Warterloo, bordered by a lake and surrounded by plenty of green spaces, offers a wide range of activities. But beyond these assets, the town exudes a freshness that makes it a great place to live, have fun, learn, feast and to stock up on local flavours. I’ll be taking you on a journey of discovery featuring a few great new addresses gathered during my three-day visit.

By Natalie Sicard

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3

Discovering Waterloo's Heritage Trail

I was immersed in the city’s cultural effervescence as soon as I arrived, with the 15th edition of the Waterloo Symposium presenting the creations of some sixty professional painters from Québec and those offered by the members of the Peintres Unis de  Waterloo, which has been active for 40 years. The members also exhibit annually at the Maison de la Culture de Waterloo’s art gallery. Located in a former Universalist church built in 1870, later converted into a Masonic hall, the Maison de la Culture is established here since 1989. It’s now one of the 42 points of interest on the Waterloo Heritage Trail. Founded in 1867, the town has preserved several superb homes. You can walk or cycle your way across town to discover them. A little bonus: download the dedicated Discovery Podcast. The venue also houses two intimate concert halls renowned for their excellent acoustics and varied program.

Explore the World of a Local Ceramist

Another stop on the circuit is the Roberts and Robinson House. Waterloo’s first general store was opened in 1841 by Hezekiah Robinson, who gave Waterloo its name. This house is now home to the family of ceramist Coralie Huckel. She established her workshop/boutique here, where she welcomes visitors on weekends. I truly enjoyed browsing through her unique pieces, vases, cups, small bowls, tea sets and her collection of jewellery delicately crafted in different clays, sandstone and porcelain.

Visit the Yannick Déry Gallery and Enjoy an Aperitif at Sissi Buvette

The former bank on Foster Street has recently been transformed into an art gallery and a café/wine bar. On one side, we have the gallery of photographer Yanick Déry and his exhibition Welcome to Waterloo. This end result of several months of work, capturing the city’s architectural treasures, secret corners, and residents going about their daily lives, we delve into the community in an intimate way. His partner, choreographer Anne Séguin Poirier, with whom he moved to the area early on during the pandemic, has taken over the other half of the building and turned it into a café/wine bar, Sissi Buvette. With a keen eye for combining materials and finding the most beautiful decorative pieces, she’s created a unique and stunning decor.

Stay the Night in Waterloo

After a full day of cultural discoveries, who wouldn’t dream of sleeping above a ceramist’s workshop? A wish come true in Waterloo at L’Alcôve des céramistes. You may have guessed it: this accommodation is located above Coralie Huckel’s workshop in her ancestral home. A most inspiring place in the form of a large open space with a well-equipped kitchen, dining room, a spacious living room—which hides a second bed behind the sofa—a bedroom, and a good-size bathroom with a bathtub. In short, a (big) cozy little nest. In addition, Coralie and her husband Juan will warmly welcome on the sunny covered terrace where you can enjoy breakfast as you admire the gardens, and the ceramist’s lovely pieces placed here and there throughout her home.

SUP yoga on The Lake

Early Sunday morning, I planned a paddleboard yoga session at the municipal beach on Lake Waterloo. What a relaxing moment to contemplate the horizon between two breaths! Louve Studio, gives yoga classes several days a week in her downtown space or, weather permitting, outdoors on the lakefront! (Until October.) Check their website for the schedule.

I then took this opportunity to do some paddling and explore the 1.5 sq km lake, where you can see the rowers of the Club d’aviron Waterloo gliding along in their elegant boats. The lake’s shores, with its children’s playground, picnic tables and two docks for launching your own boat (paddleboard or kayak) attracts paddlers, walkers and cyclists. You can also just sit on a bench and enjoy the view!

Berry, Squash and Pumpkin Picking

The weather was perfect for spending a few hours at Fruitière des Cantons. Located only 5 minutes from Waterloo by car, this organic fruit producer and pick-your-own operation is the perfect site to stock up on apples, squash and pumpkins during autumn.

Window Shopping and Browsing

The heart of Waterloo, which is centred around Foster St., the town’s Main Street, is where you’ll find a number of small businesses, some of which have only recently been opened. Espace Boho is both a café, tastefully decorated in a somewhat vintage style, and a boutique selling local products, including candles, body care products and bulk food, with a second-hand space and a thrift shop in the basement.

A little further down Foster Street, designer Mélanie Bonneville presents her clothing line at the Dames de pique boutique, featuring comfortable, eco-friendly and stylish pieces for all sizes. The same venue is also where Kim’Allume has recently set up shop. The boutique offers soy wax candles and mood-setting products, handcrafted by Kim Dulude, that enhance a room with delightful scents such as dragon fruit, pink grapefruit, caramel coffee, lavender and mimosa. There are even candles with fragrances specifically chosen for each astrological sign!

Combine Cycling and Vineyard Hopping

To be in Waterloo without riding a bicycle on one of the 3 bicycle paths—the Estriade, the Campagnarde and the Montagnarde—is almost impossible. So I spent a whole morning pedalling! I headed for Artria Park, with its monumental sculptures set in a French-style garden. From there, I took the Estriade towards Granby and set out to climb the Montée Western/Chemin de Fulford. For cyclists wanting to leave the beaten path, this is where it really gets going! We leave the path to follow the Davis loop, in part on a country road. The slope is steep, but the scenery is sublime. The reward at the end? A tasting at the Vignoble La Belle Alliance with a winemaking couple who invites us to taste their four wines: Toujours (white wine), L’Amour (red wine), Entre (orange wine) and Nous (grey wine). Isn't Toujours l’Amour Entre Nous a charming ode to love? The loop covers a 12 km in all.

Admire the View from Atop Mount Shefford

Located in the 200-acre Canton de Shefford Nature Reserve, this mountain offers three trails to reach the summit cover 4.5 km. It’s a fairly easy climb and the view from the top allows you to gaze out over Brome Lake and the Green Mountains. You can also hike in the Jean-Paul Forand ecological park located in the same sector. This conservation area, through which the trails will have you walk a total of 6.3 kilometres, consists of a forest environment dominated by maple trees, a marsh, a beaver pond, a stream and some waterfalls. The perfect place for a forest bathing session!

Local Flavours

During these three days, I sampled a host of delicious treats, because Waterloo offers some very attractive addresses.

Savouring Farmhouse Beers

My journey ended with a tasting of farmhouse beers on the beautiful terrace of the microbrewery Robin Bière Naturelle. The beers are made with local ingredients produced by Waterloo Region growers, including grape marc from nearby vineyards, and matured in barrels. My personal favourites: both the raspberry and the rhubarb Nature morte. At the helm of this microbrewery are two passionate brothers, Mathieu and Hugo Noiseux-Boucher. But then, who’s Robin? Well, it seems it’s their great-aunt! They also participate in the Festival des bières de Waterloo, an annual event that showcases Québec’s brewers and spirits producers.

Good addresses

Among the delicious establishments in Waterloo you’ll enjoy these as well:

La Bouchère: a boutique based on Foster Street with an online outlet. Mélanie, a passionate butcher, offers fresh or marinated meats, prepared meals, fine local products and Everything’s-in-the-bag meal and theme bags ready to simmer or to eat. A well-designed concept to end a busy day!

The Marché Foster in Waterloo is more than a grocery store; in addition to finding great local products, it offers a fine selection of beverages, beers and wines from the region and from all over Québec.

Gâteaux Duvoquic, an address for your sweet tooth: from traditional cakes to cupcakes, their pastries have been the talk of the town since they opened in 2017.

Enjoy your visit!



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