With its marshes and channels, the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles park, in the Sainte-Rose sector of Laval, reminds me a little of the islands of Sorel or Boucherville. But as the archipelago is less vast than on the river, it is more accessible.
No need for a motor boat to explore the islands, just rent a canoe, kayak or pedal boat. You can even get to the rental center on boulevard Sainte-Rose by bus, from the Cartier metro station.
We may find ourselves in an inhabited environment, among the thirty or so islands, several are surprisingly wild. Moreover, a large part of the park is recognized as a wildlife refuge.
From the first strokes of the paddle, near Île Gagnon, it often happens to see painted turtles on floating tree trunks. It is common to come across broods of ducks.
Occasionally, a great blue heron is seen, flying slowly and majestically. I have already seen great egrets around the large marsh, west of the A-15. With luck, we can spy a beaver, especially at the end of the day. There are quite a few in the archipelago.
on the islands
Surprisingly, there are no less than six islands where you can stop for a picnic or for a short exploration on foot. A few paddle strokes are enough to get to Kennedy Island.
A little further, the island of the Jews is worth landing there to take a footbridge penetrating a swamp and a wooded area where a few hundred-year-old trees stand. If you look carefully, you should see a funny birdhouse, which serves as a nesting box for the crested duck.
Before heading out on the water, a visit to the Exploration Center makes all the difference in seeing all there is to discover in the archipelago. You also learn amazing things about the history of the place.
Thus, in the years 1920 to 1950, the sector was intensely frequented for the beach and for the chalets. Also to say that great jazzmen like Louis Armstrong performed at the Ideal Estate in the 1940s to 1960s. The title of the exhibition Incredible, but true! could not be better chosen.
THOUSAND ISLANDS RIVER PARK
Ephemeral village in Coaticook
The UNIQ Hotel (Unités Nomades Insolites Québécoises) is located in the Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook until August 1, 2022. The type of accommodation is a compromise between camping and hotels.
At the top, a belvedere gives a panorama of the rural expanse of Victoriaville. The mountain is ideal for short hiking. Trails: 10 km. Dogs on a leash admitted. Picnic areas. FREE ENTRANCE.
Alain Demers is the author of the book Rediscovering Quebec: 101 destinations, published by Éditions du Journal.