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Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and Splendours of the St. Lawrence River

Canada (Departs from Toronto, Hamilton,Whitby and Kingston)
The beauty of the Canadian coastline is legendary, especially in Quebec where it is adorned by the rugged Atlantic shores and the majestic St. Lawrence River.  
Explorers and scientists alike have all been dazzled by the beauty, bio-diversity and colossal size of the St. Lawrence. The river consists of over 1200 kms of waterways dotted with charming villages, rolling hills, picturesque coves and quaint inlets. 

On this delightful tour we will enjoy the fresh sea air as we explore the scenic route along the south shore of the St. Lawrence, including the loop around the extraordinary Gaspé Peninsula. At this isolated promontory, which boasts one of the most stunning coastlines in Canada, you will see remnants of a colourful colonial past, as well as rusting shipwrecks and migratory whales. Just like the whales, centuries of visitors including Normans, Bretons, Basques and Portuguese have been attracted to the rich fishing grounds here, while English, Scottish and Irish fugitives settled on the south shore during upheavals back home such as the Great Famine. Small communities of colourful farm buildings and silver spired churches contribute to the striking landscape, not to mention the famous pierced rock in Percé, glacier-patterned cliffs, endless beaches, mountainous, forested hinterlands and the breathtaking Parc Forillon.  

Our meals will feature regional local specialties.  Hotels for this tour have been carefully selected based on location, and, they are family-owned, so that we may experience the hospitality and “joie de vivre” the local inhabitants are so well known for. 

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart by coach for Montreal. Upon arrival we check-in to our centrally located hotel, and enjoy our Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

We begin the day with a sightseeing tour of Montreal’s highlights; Mount Royal, lively Saint-Catherine Street, Notre-Dame Cathedral and quaint old Montreal.  In the afternoon, we will take a fascinating guided cruise on the St. Lawrence River.  Sailing from the Old Port of Montreal to the Boucherville islands, you will be carried away by the maritime history of the Metropolis.  

Our first stop today is Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. For generations the local artisans here have depicted French Canadian customs through sculptures displayed throughout the village. We will visit the Woodcarving Interpretation Centre and enjoy some time at leisure. Later we continued to Rivière-du-Loup on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River for a 1-night stay.

We continue along the St. Lawrence through the picturesque Matapédia Valley - renowned for its salmon rivers, heritage homes, historic churches and covered bridges. We enter the Gaspé Peninsula and this afternoon visit Miguasha National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will see incredibly well-preserved plant and fish fossils from the Devonian period (some 380 million years ago). We overnight in New Richmond, located on the banks of the Cascapédia River.
Today we enjoy the views of picturesque century-old fishing villages, pristine rivers and mountains as we follow the shores of Chaleur Bay - a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. En route we visit the “Banc-de-Pêche-de Paspébiac” historic site which once belonged to Jersey’s most important dry-salted cod exporting company. We will learn about the history of fisheries in Eastern Canada through images, artifacts and live story-telling. Then we head to quaint Percé village, with the famous nearby Percé Rock rising out of the sea. We will visit Percé’s new attraction, Geopark. Supported by UNESCO, one of the main features of the park is a suspended glass walkway offering spectacular views over Percé Rock, and trails to some other local geological wonders. We will enjoy a 2-night stay in this wonderful place. Tonight we enjoy a dinner of fresh lobster at a local restaurant.
This morning we enjoy an unforgettable cruise around Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island, where we can view the spectacle of 250,000 nesting birds (including puffins) on the rugged cliffs. You may want to disembark on the Island for a close encounter with the largest community of Northern Gannet in North America. The afternoon is at leisure to either enjoy a nature walk on Bonaventure Island or Percé Rock, or take in the spectacular views from the promenade along the seafront, lively with boutique shops and cafés.
We enjoy the scenic drive around the Gaspé Peninsula, with its perfect blend of sea and mountains, coastal villages and sheltered fishing coves. En route we visit the Musée de la Gaspésie, and then venture into Forillon National Park, bordered by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gaspé Bay. The scenery is stunning here with its boreal forest, unique geological formations and abundant wildlife. In the afternoon we travel to Matane, famous for its “Nordic shrimps”, windmills and the Matane River - the only place in Quebec where you can fish in the town square!
Our first stop today is Reford Gardens, internationally renowned as an exceptional horticultural achievement with its 3000 native and exotic plants. Then we visit the town of Kamouraska, with its old-world charm, ancestral homes and mesmerizing seascape. There will be some free time to perhaps enjoy some smoked eel or browse in the handicraft shops. We end this wonderful day in charming Quebec City for a 2-night stay by the old city walls.

On our guided city tour we see Place Royal, little Champlain Quarter, the Plains of Abraham and more. In the afternoon we visit the iconic Château Frontenac for a guided tour and a special lunch overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. The rest of the day is free to explore Old Quebec’s enchanting streets, historic buildings and views of the majestic St. Lawrence River from the Governor’s Promenade.

We depart for Montreal, where we will have an afternoon at leisure. There is so much to do and see here, and your Tour Manager will be on hand with suggestions. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We bid “au revoir” to La Belle Province and return to Ontario by coach.
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