We have created some tours for you to enjoy before and after the AGM. Tour registration will be handled directly by Altima-Concept Tours on their website. The tour registration deadline is Thursday, September 19, 2014. After this date, registrations will be accepted on the basis of space availability. Waiting lists will be kept and new tours opened if justified by demand. Please make your choice carefully; Altima-Concept Tours charges a 20% fee for cancellations.
Québec City and Montmorency Falls
(Thursday and Monday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm)
Québec City, founded 200 years before Jane Austen settled in Chawton, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only walled city in North America. Our tour begins at the Montmorency Falls: more impressive than Niagara, the falls cascade 83 meters to the mighty St. Lawrence below. After a 90-minute guided visit, including some history lessons and a thrilling cable car ride across the falls, we’ll lunch at the Manoir Montmorency overlooking the falls. Then we will have a brief bus tour of the main sights of Québec City, followed by a chance to explore for an hour or so with a guide or on your own.
A Day in the Eastern Townships (Estrie)
(Thursday and Monday, 8:30 am to 4 pm)
The Eastern Townships southeast of Montréal (bordering Vermont), a region of pastoral farms, quaint villages, and wooded mountains, was first settled by Loyalists in Jane Austen’s lifetime. Our tour will mix scenery and local tastes—what Québecers call “terroir.” We begin with a “VIP Tour” of the celebrated Cep d’Argent Vineyard, in a micro-climate on the shores of Lake Magog, where Sevyal Blanc grapevines, originally from France, now flourish in the Townships, followed by a leisurely three-course lunch (including wine) with local specialties—duck, cheese, lamb, apple cider, etc.—at the Magog mountain-top B&B Aux Jardins Champêtres. After lunch, we’ll visit a local artisanal soap-making enterprise, Savons des Cantons, before returning to the hotel.
Maison Trestler and Pointe-du-Moulin Historical Park
(Thursday, 8:30 am to 2:30 pm)
The Montérégie region, including the towns and countryside south and west of Montréal island, is known for vineyards, orchards, and delicious products as well as the Montérégian Mountains for which it is named. We will drive through scenic countryside west of Montréal to visit historic, sixteen-room Maison Trestler built at the end of the 18th century, where we will enjoy a hot buffet lunch, then on to Pointe-du-Moulin Historical Park on Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, a still-functioning 18-century grist mill.
The Montréal Botanical Gardens and the Château Dufresne
(Friday, 9 am to 1:00 pm)
Founded in 1931, the Montréal Botanical Gardens ranks as one of the largest collections of flora in the world, with 180 acres, over 22,000 species of plants and flowers, 30 thematic settings, and 10 exhibition greenhouses.&nbps; Of particular interest are the Chinese and Japanese gardens. In October, the Gardens host the Grand Pumpkin Ball Exposition. After your guided tour of the greenhouses, you will have to chance to tour the thematic gardens or admire the pumpkins. (Note: the gift shop is unusually interesting!) Afterwards, we’ll visit nearby Château Dufresne, a Beaux-Arts mansion built between 1915 and 1918, which today houses a museum dedicated to the history of Montréal’s east end.
Canadian Centre for Architecture
Golden Square Mile Walking Tour
(Friday and Monday, 9:30 am to 12 pm
Sunday, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm)
The Golden Square Mile, a fashionable neighbourhood developed between 1850 and 1930 between Mount Royal and Old Montréal, was known as “the Square Mile” in the 1930s; “Golden” was added in the 1950s. It boasted architectural opulence unrivalled in Canada and never since equaled. By 1983, however, only 30% of the original homes remained. Most are now owned by McGill University or private clubs, and many are now dwarfed by modern towers.
Old Montreal (Vieux Montréal)
(Friday, 9 am to 12 pm; Sunday, 1 pm - 4 pm)
Discover the birthplace of Montréal, with one of the largest concentrations of 17th, 18th, and 19th century buildings in North America. Your guide will lead you through a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, providing historic commentary. Frequent short stops include: Place d’Armes; Place Royale; Hôtel de Ville (City Hall); Bonsecours Market; Château Ramezay (the 18th-century governor’s manor); magnificent banks on St-Jacques Street—formerly known as “Little Wall Street”; Place Jacques-Cartier, site of 17th century skirmishes, then a market square, and now a tourist destination; and the Old Port.
And on your own …
You can easily explore Montréal with self-guided walking tours (Montréal is a walking city), or by using our excellent métro and bus system. To book a guided walking tour, or to keep your Companion entertained on Saturday, we suggest:
- For free walking tours of Old Montréal (and other places): www.freemontrealtours.com
- For excellent walking tours of trendy Mile End eateries and brew pubs: www.localmontrealtours.com
- For guided bicycle tours of Montréal, all equipment provided: http://guidatour.qc.ca/en/gr_guided_bicycle_tours.htm
Or just head north on any nearby side street, passing stately survivors of the Golden Square Mile, toward Mount Royal Park. This magnificent Olmstead park offers great views and wooded walks. Note the hammered-beam Chalet with carved squirrels instead of angels.