As one of the largest countries in the world in terms of landmass, it’s not surprising that Canada’s natural landmarks show great diversity. The Maritimes showcase dramatic tectonic activity, the plains of Alberta are as wide as they are fruitful and the Canadian Rockies are as stunning as they are tall. A cross-country road trip from Halifax to Vancouver is sure to show you an incredible selection of the beauty of Canada’s physical landscape, but what if you’re looking for something more?
If you want a little more life in your sightseeing, Quebec might be the place for you. As Canada’s largest and only predominantly French-speaking province, Quebec incorporates an immense amount of unique cultural history into its architecture and landmarks. If you’re sick of staring at mountain after mountain, brush up on your “Français,” contact your local LASIK MD clinic to see if they can improve your eyesight for the trip and take a jaunt across the St. Lawrence River to check out these four must-see attractions in Quebec.
1. Notre-Dame Basilica – Montreal
One of the cultural aspects that sets Quebec apart from the rest of Canada is its strong religious history. From its founding until today, Quebec has erected monuments to its spiritual past – though none might be more stunning than the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.
The basilica’s website explained that the entire structure took about 35 months to complete. Work began in 1824, and the final ornamentations were added in 1829. When it first opened, the Notre-Dame Basilica was the largest house of worship in North America, though it still boasts impressive figures today – the “Jean-Baptiste” bell in the basilica’s belfry weighs more than 11 tons and had to be lifted into place by equipment used to hoist railroad cars.
LASIK might not help you “see the light,” but it will make the ornate basilica as clear as possible.
2. Old Quebec – Quebec City
If you seem to have trouble picking the best cultural sites to visit, it might be a good idea to follow what the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has to say about the best spots in Quebec. According to UNESCO, Old Quebec has enough cultural character and significance to warrant being designated as a world heritage treasure.
Once the political epicenter of colonial Canada, Quebec City’s historic quarter features such stunning landmarks as the Fortifications of Quebec and the Citadel, two structures built to defend the entrance of the St. Lawrence River into the city. You’ll definitely want to get your eyes checked before you go, though – the old world-style architecture of the residential and shopping districts in Old Quebec might fool you into thinking you’ve traveled back in time.
3. Percé Rock - Percé
Like the rest of Canada, Quebec’s beauty isn’t limited to the cities. In fact, venturing out into the wilderness often yields amazing views you might not have known about. Be honest – when you think about Canada’s greatest natural landmarks, your mind might wander west to the Rockies or east to the Maritimes. But really, it should navigate straight for Percé Rock.
At the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Percé Bay lies one of the largest natural arch formations in the world. While the formation stretches more than 80 meters into the air, the real attraction is the several holes punched through the lower half of the rock. Millions of years of erosion have created these arches that have drawn explorers, artists and tourists to northern Quebec for centuries. If you’re looking for a great picture to take home to your friends, go at low tide – the water recedes to such a degree that you can actually approach Percé Rock by foot.
4. Parc Omega – Montebello
So you want to explore Quebec but you’re not really into the whole outdoorsy, survivalist thing? You don’t need to drive north for half a day to see wildlife and natural beauty – about an hour north of Montreal will lead you to Parc Omega, and – you might think – another world.
Part wildlife preserve, part ski resort, Parc Omega offers visitors the ability to get right alongside some of the animals that have been staples of the Great White North for centuries. A car trail leads straight through areas where visitors can feed animals like fallow deer, ibex and wapitis. Wolves, bears, coyotes and arctic foxes are also all within view, but kept within enclosures for safety’s sake. There are also on-foot hiking trails without animals where you can take a quiet stroll among snow-covered pine trees.
If any of these trips sound exciting to you, you might already be thinking about what you need to pack. While you might jump immediately to clothes and a camera, think about laser vision correction as an investment into your trip – the clearer your vision, the more beautiful Quebec’s best sites will seem.
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Also available in/Également disponible en : French