Rumour has it that fall is coming to Montreal, and there’s no better time to get out there and enjoy some fresh-air activities. Whether you’re a newly-arrived student, a family with a penchant for the wild side, or a young professional looking for a radical break from your computer screen, we have got you covered.
There are few things as quintessentially ‘Quebec’ as this wonderful outdoor activity. There are a many orchards ("vergers" in French) within an hour's driving distance from Montreal. Some very popular places are likely to be crowded (Rougemont and Mont St. Hilaire, for example), but you might find a much more enjoyable experience in places like Frelighsburg (Au Coeur de la Pomme) and Dunham (Paradis des Fruits or Domaine de Dunham). Both towns are right on the U.S border southeast of Montreal. Closer to Montreal, on l’Ile-Perrot, is La Ferme Quinn .
If you don’t have a car, don’t worry! An apple orchard tour is offered by the Metropolitan transit company every Saturday from September 14 to October 5, 2013; departures from Gare Centrale, 895 de la Gauchetière West, Bonaventure Metro.
Hiking and Cycling
Hiking is a great way to see the outdoors, get exercise, and fresh air at your own pace. There are a few mountains close to Montreal -- Mont St-Bruno, Mont Tremblant and Mont Orford -- to name a few favourites. Larger, more challenging mountains are found just south of the border. The Adirondacks in New York and the Green Mountains in Vermont make great day trips. If you don’t want to go alone, there are various clubs in Montreal to help. One of the most active is The Montreal Outdoor Adventure Club , which also organizes frequent cycling trips. If you want to get out on your own on your bike, Velo Quebec’s Route Verte is at your disposal, as are over 350km of bike paths in Montreal.
If the above suggestions are too tame for you, here are some that will really get your blood flowing!
White-water rafting gives a very special, soaking-wet adrenaline thrill. Two of the largest organizations doing this are New World Rafting and Eau Vive Rafting . Both are about an hour outside of Montreal towards Ottawa. If you want to stay a bit closer to home, Saute Moutons will operate until the end of September for individuals and middle of October for groups of 15 or more.
Zip lining is a great adrenaline rush. It tests your balance and coordination, often high up off the ground, but don’t worry, you are always wearing a harness and attached to cables. Arbraska in Rigaud and Mont Tremblant are two of the most popular.
Rock climbing, both indoor and out, is gaining in popularity. Indoor locations in Montreal such as Allez-Up and Shakti Rock Gym give you the feeling of being out of the city, even when you are only steps from home. Outdoor climbing is also available at a few places not far from Montreal – Val David, La Conception, and Rigaud, to name but a few. Check out this site for a good listing of outdoor climbs. The group Montreal Adventure Rock Climbing organizes climbs, both indoor and outdoor, and offers the opportunity to meet up with some very experienced climbers.
Paintballing -- a chance to take out your aggression on your friends -- is offered in several locations in and around Montreal. In Lasalle, Arnold Paintball has 30,000 square feet (2,787 square metres) of indoor fields, including a replica hotel, prison, and church. Action 500 in Laval offers go-karting, laser tag, and a huge indoor paintball field with old school buses and sandbags to hide behind. Wednesday nights are paramilitary nights, so all you army fans can face some real competition! Skorpion Paintball, also in Laval, has two indoor fields for the strategy lovers and a 65,000 square foot (6,039 square metre) outdoor field, complete with old beat-up cars to make it look like a war zone. A little further out on Ste-Marguerite Rd., Mirabel, is Canada’s largest paintball facility, Paintball Mirabel. It has 33 fields and realistic replicas of Normandy beach and crashed airplanes – a near perfect place to paintball!
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is perhaps the ultimate thrill. Just imagine a full minute of freefall! In Quebec you can skydive until about until mid-October. Two of the best-known places are Nouvel Air in Farnham and Parachute Montreal in Saint-Esprit. It is a bit pricey (about $250+tax), but it really is a special thrill!
Autumn in Quebec is a must-see, must enjoy. So shut down your computer, go outside, breathe in the cool, crisp air, and get moving!