A LAND AS GENEROUS AS ITS PEOPLE
In the 16th century, the explorer Jacques Cartier, on peaceful terms with the Iroquois, founded the first European colony on these lands bathed by the North Atlantic. But the jagged coastlines of the Maritime Provinces were already frequented by French fishermen, drawn by the cod of Newfoundland’s Grand Banks and the many sheltered bays. Often shrouded in mist, New Brunswick is a land of folk legends: a ghost ship haunts Chaleur Bay and fairies live in the forests around it… A place of refuge for many British Loyalists at the end of the 18th century, this is still a region of sailors and carpenters, of small villages built around wooden churches, of shipyards, lumber and paper pulp terminals dominating the docks of fishing ports that fy the Acadian flag.
Nature is the universal language of Canada, and here, on the country’s eastern coast, the dialect of the Micmac Indians blends with French and English in the daily conversations of a congenial population. In serene, charming Québec, visitors can enjoy whale watching from atop the sheer cliffs overlooking the Saint Lawrence, whose waters come alive with dark tails and white spouts. The skyscrapers of Montréal have sprouted up in osmosis with nature — a fusion as successful as the mix of European and American cultures in this trendy, cosmopolitan city. Ice fishing on the small frozen lakes that punctuate the countryside, sailing among the hundreds of tiny islands in Lake Ontario, home to elegant cottages hidden away in the gilded foliage of the birch forests, the red of the sumacs and the silver maples… And when spring comes, hunting the riverbanks for “fiddleheads,” curled-up young fern shoots that make a delicious salad. Even Toronto, the sprawling metropolis, lives to the rhythm of the seasons that set the pace in this land of glacial winters and Indian summers. English-speaking Toronto offers a lively theater scene, while the capital Ontario perpetuates, in its own way, the very British traditions of gardening and horse breeding — one way to keep in touch with one’s roots.
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. New Brunswick is one of the most beautiful parts of Canada, famous for its constantly changing beaches and coast inhabited by whales. On the heights of St. Andrews, on the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the world’s highest tides, overlooking the little harbor, stands a romantic country house built in 1897. The house has been decorated in polished wood and marble, with period fireplaces and four-poster beds. Seasonal dinners include fresh fish from the Bay of Fundy with organically grown produce from the kitchen garden. Next door, discover the famous 11-hectare Kingsbrae Garden, which is home to a dizzying array of horticultural treasures. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. Like Charles Dickens, you will be fascinated by the city of Québec, the “Gibraltar of America” with “its giddy heights, its citadel suspended, as if it were in the air, its picturesque steep streets…” In the heart of the first city to be founded in North America, standing on an archaeological site that formerly housed wharves, cannon emplacements and warehouses, the Auberge Saint-Antoine bears witness to the history of this important commercial and military port. Many relics from the French and English colonial times were discovered when the Auberge was built. Now they can be found among the elegant designer interior of this irresistibly charming museum-hotel. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. “Epicurean” and “romantic” are the words that best describe Langdon Hall: warm interiors with silky fabrics and wood paneling, tranquil grounds with century-old trees and a pond reflecting the elegant manor house… In the kitchen, every detail counts. Each meal is unforgettable, transforming the finest local ingredients into sophisticated dishes that are as elegant as the setting. For added relaxation, the spa offers sublime body and beauty treatments and there are guided visits to an extraordinary garden. Just a 90-minute drive from Toronto and the Niagara area, this is the place for those who love beauty. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. At Europea, Chef Jérôme Ferrer prepares refined, creative, market-fresh cuisine with a Québecois accent, calling upon his Catalan roots to glorify the flavors of the earth and the sea. In this Victorian house modernized with an ultra-contemporary décor, try the Gaspésie lobster cappuccino with shavings of truffle, ravioli of Alaskan crab claw with rice lettuce, bay scallops with yuzu and cucumber juices, buffalo tartare, mixed watercress salad or carpaccio of smoked Boileau venison with crunchy vegetables. The à la carte menu, based on the best produce Québec has to offer, is a delightful invitation to explore some of the natural wonders of Canada. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on a big river Classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco, the region of Charlevoix is one of the best-preserved places on the planet. It is also one of the largest inhabited craters in the world: the impact left by a meteorite 350 million years ago has given this part of Québec a unique landscape. In this stunning location, in the heart of the biosphere reserve, on the banks of the majestic Saint Lawrence River, you can see spouting whales. The Authier family has created a beautiful, restful little hotel with opulent interiors, an excellent wine cellar and delicious authentic food including homemade pastries and fish smoked on-site. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. A stay at Manoir Hovey comes with the promise of an abundance of fresh air in a scenic, unspoiled part of Québec, close to the U.S. This charming manor was built at the turn of the century and modeled on George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. It is nestled in English gardens in a forest on the shores of a lake, and there is a romantic and authentic way of life here. Rates include an array of onsite recreational facilities that make Manoir Hovey a destination in itself. The artful cuisine is enhanced by the wine list, which features 900 wines, and an exceptional selection of Québec’s finest cheeses. A wonderful getaway in all seasons, only 80 minutes from Montréal. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. In the heart of Montréal, the Restaurant Toqué!, with its light-filled dining room and contemporary atmosphere, is the meeting place for gourmets in search of new flavors to share with friends. Try Venison loin and tongue, matsutake mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke purée and wild blackberry. Chef Normand Laprise supports local suppliers and farmers. These artisans of taste help turn his dishes into truly great moments of discovery. From vegetables, wild herbs, seafood and wild mushrooms to edible flowers, duck, beef, lamb and fish, the finest products from Québec go into Laprise’s cuisine, accompanied by a superb and audacious wine list. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. Yvan Lebrun’s motto is “simplicity and precision.” And it seems to work well for this Chef, originally from the fishing village of Cancale in Brittany. Together with his partner Rolande, he has created one of the best restaurants in North America. His love of food and the pure delight of his guests spur him on to combine the very best of French and Québecois culinary tradition. The gifts of the sea and the land, the noble and the rustic all combine to create exploding and harmonious flavors. Here, hearts of palm are made into flour, dandelion honey becomes a smooth ice cream, maple syrup appears regularly and, of course, oysters have a starring role. ... Learn moreless