Category Archives: Quebec

Golf Mont Tremblant

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Montreal’s playground, Mont Tremblant, is a 1.5-hour drive northwest of Montreal. In winter, it’s a top ski destination. But the rest of the year finds these same mountains and pristine forests transformed into great golf tracks.

Here, golfers can enjoy championship golf experiences, thanks to the topography of the Canadian Shield, which provides dramatic elevation changes in a beautiful setting unlike any other courses in North America.

The wide variation within the landscape ensures that no two holes are ever the same. With the elevation changes and steep climbs, golf carts are mandatory. They allow golfers to store up their energy for the various challenges presented on these tricky courses.

Many of these spectacular holes find golfers teeing off from a plateau sculpted into the mountainside, high above a tiny green that provides the ultimate thrill in golf.

The most impressive of these elevation changes for some heart-stopping tee shots can be found at Le Geant course, designed by Thomas McBroom, a leading Canadian golf architect.

Le Geant fairway and green
Le Geant fairway and green

The real danger playing these beautiful holes is the temptation to play from the very back tees, which will skew your score unfavorably but will add extra thrills. Your biggest challenge is keeping your eye on the ball instead of the spectacular scenery provided by the surrounding Laurentian Mountains.

Golfers can experience similar views on Le Geant’s sister course: Le Diable. In addition to imposing red-sand bunkers and long, narrow fairways, the course includes several holes with fairway waste bunkers that look more intimidating than they actually play.

This 7,056-yard course, designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry in 1998, offers a true test of driving precision. As an added bonus, both Le Diable and Le Geant courses play for as little as $50 after 5 p.m.

Le Maitre 18th green
Le Maitre 18th green

Two other championship courses in the region that deserve a mention include Le Maitre, whose designers include Fred Couples, and La Bete – designed by Graham Cooke. Cooke provided five sets of tees, making the course accessible to both novice and expert golfers.

The par-72 course plays from 5,150 to 6,825 yards. If you choose to play from the tips, you’ll see why they named the course La Bete (“The Beast”).

Both these tracks feature the variety of holes and elevation changes enjoyed at Le Geant and Le Diable, along with excellent dining and drinking facilities often found in Quebec. Head to the patio at Le Maitre for lunch and dinner, best savored on a large patio overlooking the wide expanse of golf course down below.

La Bete, situated along the Diable River, runs nearly 7,000 yards. For lighter fare and good micro-brews at excellent prices,summer check out La Bete’s quiet back patio overlooking the 9th hole viewed through a crop of tall alders.

La Bete Golf Course
La Bete Golf Course

Keep in mind this 19th hole closes fairly early in the afternoon.

A 10-minute drive away, Le Grand Lodge offers golf packages for these four courses.

Le Grand Lodge Mont Tremblant
Le Grand Lodge Mont Tremblant

Their bountiful breakfast buffet ensures golfers are properly fueled for a challenging day on the course. A rich, multi-course dinner offers good value gourmet dining.

The dining room and patio overlook pretty Lac Ouimet, perfect for a post-round dip. In the evening, you can enjoy a complimentary campfire on the beach – complete with marshmallows and roasting sticks.

A free shuttle service running every half hour will take you to nearby Mont Tremblant Village for dinner, drinks or evening entertainment, including a 10-day annual summer blues festival. Plentiful dining options range from a good brew pub – Microbrasserie La Diable – to Asian cuisine at O-Wok.

Chateau Beauvallon Mont Tremblant
Chateau Beauvallon Mont Tremblant

Nearby, Chateau Beauvallon offers similar accommodations, though more upgraded. The lake, however, is replaced by a busy outdoor pool.

It also features premium dining in the form of Prime Steak Sushi Bar for fans of sushi fusion and beef dishes, along with other choices. Free shuttle service to Mont Tremblant Village is also included, as is a substantial buffet breakfast.

Previously published on USA Today 10 Best

Cycle Montreal

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Tour la Nuit
Tour la Nuit

For a true cycling vacation, cyclists should consider La Belle Province. No other Canadian province does as much to promote cycling as Quebec. The best place to start your bike trip planning is at Velo Quebec, a non-profit organization that has managed cycling activities in Quebec for 40 years. They act as a cycling tour company, a publishing center and a lobby group for cyclists throughout Quebec. Velo Quebec organizes the internationally known Montreal Bike Fest that includes the 30 mile,Tour d’Ile de Montreal with a different route every year.

Cycling Tours with Velo Quebec:

Velo Quebec offers tours throughout Quebec, North America, Europe, Morocco and the Caribbean. The organization responsible for the 3500 mile award – winning Route Verte linking Quebec from end to end, runs tours on parts of this route. The ever-expanding 2000 mile “Route Verte” represents a concerted effort to connect the various regions of the Quebec and neighboring USA with a safe cycling route. Most Quebec highways whether or not they are part of the Green Route have wide shoulders to accommodate cyclists.

The “Summer Challenges”, a series of 50 to 90 mile long bike tours, range from moderate to challenging and include accommodations and gear transport. The annual “Grand Tour” and “Petite Adventure” complete the Quebec offerings.

Lobbying for Cyclists:

Thanks to Velo Quebec, Montreal is a safer and more enjoyable place for pleasure and commuter cycling. Montreal bike lanes, designed by Velo Quebec, are often separated from vehicular traffic by curbs. Research and lobbying by Velo Quebec will see another 60 miles of bike lanes added to Montreal streets. The “On the Move to School” program encourages elementary school children and their parents to adopt cycling as a daily activity and alternative mode of transport.

Cycling Books, Maps and Itineraries:

La Route Verte
La Route Verte

The independent cyclist, planning a cycling trip anywhere in the world should visit the bike bookstore at the Maison des Cyclists (Cyclists House) across from Parc Fontaine on the Route Verte in Montreal. Detailed maps, suggested itineraries and cycling magazines including Velo Quebec publications are all to be found here. The Cyclist House also functions as a good coffee and lunch stop that serves high energy, healthy foods such as the daily home-made soup and quinoa salad special.

Cyclist Friendly Accommodations:

In general, Quebec accommodations are cyclist friendly. Independent cyclists and those joining pre – arranged trips should consider these “bike friendly” accommodations in Montreal.

  • Boulanger Bassin Bed and Breakfast
  • Azul Bed and Breakfast

Bike transport from Toronto  can be arranged on Via Rail and Biketrain.ca

Vélo Québec

1251, rue Rachel Est
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2J 2J9
1.800.567.8356

Go Bike Montreal
May 25- June 1, 2014
Tour la Nuit May 3o, 2014
Tour de l”Ile  June 1, 2014