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Alfresco Adventures in Quebec City

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A great way to get the lay of the land in Quebec City is on two wheels, which I did at Cyclo Services, one of the many popular bike shops that offer reasonable prices for bike rental and/or tours for individuals, families, or groups.

Among our stops was the Old Port District Place Royale, set along rue Saint-Paul. The district is chocked full of historic structures including Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, built in 1688 and today the oldest stone church in North America, and the Musée de la civilization (Museological Complex), one of the most visited museums in Canada focusing on “cultural and educational activities and collection development and preservation,” and designed to inspire and enlighten visitors about the city’s history.

The district is also home to numerous quaint sidewalk cafés, fountains, overlooks, oodles of boutique shops and art galleries. For me, one of the most impressive entities here was the fresque des Québécois (Québécois is what the residents here call themselves), an enormous fresco adorning one wall of one of the towering buildings here that retraces and details four centuries of city history. Today the Old Port, which was one of the world’s five largest ports in its early glory days, is now a popular cruise destination.

Our tour also included scenic Boulevard Champlain and promenade Samuel-De Champlain, brimming with abundant green spaces, that run parallel to the mighty St. Lawrence River. Along the way you can stop at various vistas and benches to view the river and town on the other side of the river, and the city high above on the other side of the Boulevard. One of those overlooks includes the Anse Brown cantilever bridge and historic interpretive center.

All you water adventurers out there will love have numerous aqua adventures here from kayaking to canoeing, rafting, floating, and hydro speed escapades. If hitting the trails is your thing, choose from a woodland adventure on foot, horseback, or mountain bike.

Some of my co-travelers chose rock climbing followed by rappelling in a canyon through a waterfall,which you can also opt for in the winter albeit on ice instead of water. For a spectacular bird’s eye view why not embark upon a paraglider or in a hot air balloon?

Winter sports enthusiasts will be thrilled as well, whether snowshoeing, ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, winter camping, ice skating, dog sledding or tubing.

No matter what you really enjoy, or want to try for the first time, you will find it here. And most activities can be tailored for enjoyment by the entire family regardless of age or physical ability.

Located at just 30 minutes from downtown, Arbraska Duchesnay is a fantastic, 76 tree-top, forest adventure where participants are outfitted witha harness, double lanyard, pulley and carabineers to move them along steel cables through a series of fun challenges. There is a children’s course (for ages 8 to 11), as well as gradually challenging (Discovery, Sensation, Emotion, and No Limit, from easiest to most difficult) adult courses to suit any athletic level.

First there is a trial mini-course, then for the next three hours, if you embark upon the entire course, with guides situated at both the front and back of your group, you’ll swing, fly, ascend and descend, and more from tree to tree via monkey bridges, wooden footbridges, nets, cables, zip slides, beams, and more, all the while enjoying the lush greenery, fresh mountain air, soaring trees, and gorgeous hillsides surrounding you every step of the way.

Experiencing a new rush of adrenaline and sense of accomplishment with the completion of each course, it wasn’t long before we were screaming with joy from the top of our lungs, and swapping cameras to catch us in the act! The company also offers moonlight adventures in the summer months where participants wear headlamps for a unique nighttime challenge.

In addition to the detailed safety overview, I appreciated the fact that the courses were designed to have minimal impact on the trees and surrounding vegetation, and that for those not able or willing to embark upon the courses, there were walking and hiking trails that paralleled many parts of the courses so that they too could enjoy the natural setting and watch the participants high above.

Written by Lysa Allman-Baldwin


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