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Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada: Land of the Three Rivers
Trois-Rivieres, was named by early settlers for the three (trois) rivers that surround it. It wasn’t until later that those three rivers were discovered to be only two, the Saint-Maurice and the Saint Lawrence. Still, this fact hasn’t stopped Quebecers from enjoying these rivers as much as they can, incorporating those views into riverside parks, walking trails, and a boardwalk area close to many area hotels. Situated between Montreal and Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres is a great escape. It has the feel of a small cosy town, yet has much to offer visitors.
Walking, Biking, and Touring
Trois-Rivieres is perfect for those who enjoy time spent outdoors. There are walking and biking trails throughout the town, and specific tours that focus on showing the unique features of the area. A popular walking tour begins at Monumental Staircase, located at the site where the city was founded. This staircase has illuminated historical facts engraved on the steps as you stroll up its grand length. Another great walking tour is at Harbourfront Park which has a three-level walking bridge offering stunning views of the river and Laviolette Bridge, as well as restaurants and terraces for picnicking and relaxing. This is also the site of many festivals and shows that take place almost all year round. There are touring and walking paths surrounding almost any interest, such as the archaeological circuit, the religious heritage tour, and the heritage trail which has 70 informational panels scattered throughout the city’s historic district.
Those wanting to be outdoors have much to choose from. Trois-Rivieres offers extreme sports adventurers such thrills as Énergie CMB, with cross-country ski trails and snowshoe and fat bike trails which serve as mountain bike trails in warmer weather. Other adventures to be found include paintballing, an indoor climbing centre, an equestrian centre, and the Grand Prix De Trois-Rivieres, an annual car and motorcycle racing event that takes place along the river and includes a firework display. There are also plenty of opportunities for fun and sport on the water, such as kayaking, kitesurfing and winter and summer sailing schools on the shores of Lake Saint-Pierre. A meeting in the middle between landlubbers and those with sea legs might best be met at Aqua Parc H20, an outdoor water park with slides, a lazy river pool, and water fountains that all ages can enjoy.
Fun for Foodies
Those who enjoy food adventures will find much in Trois-Rivieres to delight, such as Cabane à Sucre Du-Bois-é, which serves up traditional sugarhouse meals and gives guided tours of how to “sugar”, or sap, the local trees. Cabane à sucre Chez Dany is another sugarhouse in Trois-Rivieres that offers tours, informational lectures, and sampling of the goods, fresh or in baked treats. While there are plenty of fun and delicious restaurant and café offerings, the real treat is with the specialty food stores in the area. OLiV is one such option and is a boutique that specialises in superior grade olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Those with a sweet tooth might better enjoy the artisan chocolate shops Chocolats Favoris or Chocolaterie Samson. Another sweet treat is Macaron-Tea House which serves homemade macaroons in a tea house setting. Foodies will enjoy the food-included hotel choices like the Le Gîte Loisell B&B, situated in the centre of the historic town.
Sample the Culture and History
Trois-Rivieres sits in the shadow of two gothic masterpieces. One is Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-du-Cap (Our Lady of the Cape Shrine), the largest Marian shrine in Canada. With a dome soaring to 38 metres high, the shrine sits on the shore of the river and has beautiful gardens and a large basilica with stunning stained glass. The other cathedral is Trois-Rivieres Cathedral of the Assumption, which is located closer to the centre of town. Here, there are 125 stained glass windows focusing on the life of Christ and Mary. The interior architecture is simply breath-taking. Those interested in architecture will want to make plans to see Forges-du-Saint-Maurice National Historic Site, the location of Canada’s first iron industry and industrial village. Today, it serves as an architectural and archaeological wonder with exhibitions and walking tours. Those interested in history will have many hotel choices, such as Le Gîte de Chemin du Roy, a Queen Anne home more than a century old and overlooking the river.
While going with the tourist flow is fine for some, others seek out truly unique experiences. Trois-Rivieres will not disappoint in this department. One such experience is L’Allumeur de réverbères, a historic walking tour led by a lamplighter who explains the city’s interesting past. A treat awaits at Boréalis, a museum focused on the history of the town’s paper industry. Don’t expect a dry recitation of facts; instead, there are several tours designed to make that history more interactive, including the Experience Tour. Teams venture into an underground vault searching for clues with a flashlight to solve a mystery about history. If interactive exhibits are on the list for fun, then CSI: Trois-Rivières will also delight as you work with partners to solve a crime. Finally, relax at a unique hotel or bed and breakfast, many of which overlook the river with expansive views that can be enjoyed while lounging on the veranda.