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A Guide To Lake Temiskaming: 1 Destination, 2 Provinces, 3 Cultures

There’s this lake in Canada. It sits in a gorgeous, lush area where the air is so fresh you can’t help but breathe deeply, where the people are so friendly you can’t help but keep a smile on your face and the views are so stunning, you’ll want to keep coming back for more. It’s a lake that divides two provinces but manages to bring them both together in a completely unique and fascinating way.

Three cultures, two provinces, one lake. It’s called Lake Temiskaming but to us, it is one of the most fascinating destinations and experiences we’ve had during our travels.

Where Still Waters Run Deep

Lake Temiskaming, Ontario

Lake Temiskaming is aptly named after the Algonquin word Temikami, or Temiskaming, meaning deep waters as the lake can reach depths of 709 ft. But it’s not just the water that runs deep, the communities living on the lake have untold depths we only scratched the surface of while we were there.

It seems as though no matter where you are on the lake, you’ll find the influence of all of the surrounding communities – you’ll encounter a mix of French and English in language and heritage and a growing integration and influence of native culture around the lake. It’s fascinating to visit from town to town and see that each has its own vibe yet are also all intrinsically connected. Whether you spell it Temiskaming (a decades-old error), Timiskaming, or Temiscamingue depends on where you are around the lake and which language you are speaking but to us, they all refer to an area that is as peaceful and beautiful as it is complex and rich in character.

We were extra fortunate to be able to explore the lake with locals, especially a couple (Vivianne & Roger) who are pillars of the community and who have incredible knowledge about the lake, both past and present. They were our keystone from which we were able to connect to the whole and through them we saw how interconnected everyone was and what a beautiful place it was to be – thanks to the people, the cultures and the landscape.

boating on lake temiskaming, ontario and quebec

It was with them that we were able to delve deeper into life on Lake Temiskaming and experience so much of what the area has to offer for both residents and tourists alike. It was also with them that we got to witness first-hand the connectedness of the communities through Vivianne and Roger, and all of those we met along the way.

It truly is a phenomenal place to visit and if you get a chance, here are some things to do whether you’re on the Ontario side, Quebec side or plan to make your way to both:

Ontario Side of Lake Temiskaming – Temiskaming Shores

Temiskaming Shores makes up a large portion of the Ontario coast of Lake Temiskaming and is where we spent our time while on that side of the provincial border. It’s here that we found an interesting bilingualism of French and English in a way we’ve not seen anywhere else, spoken in soft accents, at times not noticeable no matter the language used. We also found a lively atmosphere, full of friendly people who all seemed to know one another… or at least have very few degrees of separation.

What To Do

There’s so much to do in the area but here are some of the highlights of our time there!

Vivianne and Roger were instrumental in getting us out onto the lake and in showing us some of the best spots to enjoy. If you’re able to venture to the lake with a motorboat there are some interesting sights to see, like the ancient cliff called Devil’s Rock, and many islands to observe, like Farr Island. It’s truly a pleasure to spend some time on the water and with marinas located in various towns in both provinces, you’ll even be able to dock and explore (i.e. Haileybury on the Ontario side and Ville-Marie on the Quebec side).

Tip: For now, if you’re looking to rent a boat or boating equipment, like kayaks or canoes, you’ll have to plan on your way into the area by stopping at one of the larger cities or rental places along the way and bringing it with you the rest of the way. For those travelling north into Temiskaming Shores, a stop in North Bay would be perfect.

Devil's Rock Lake Temiskaming

One of our most memorable outings was our hike and picnic at Devil’s Rock. We had seen this giant cliff from the water below while boating but it wasn’t until we hiked to it and got to see the view from the top that we truly appreciated it. It’s easy to pick out Devil’s Rock from below – rising 300 ft from the lake, one of the top peaks of the escarpment looks very much like a face. We took a hiking trail that led straight to the cliff and enjoyed a picnic with one of the most stunning views in the province.

If you plan your time in the area right, the craft beer festival – North on Tap – is a great local event to attend. Featuring Ontario craft brewers, as well as some local fare and music, the festival is a ton of fun and a great way to get a taste of the community, both literally and figuratively.

Where To Stay

Some of the accommodations in the area also offer boating experiences. Presidents’ Suites is a collection of historic homes that have been restored and reopened as B&Bs. They will also take you over to Farr island where you’ll find some of the many activities they offer. While there is treehouse glamping available for those that want to stay on the island, they are looking to build and open several glamping cabins in the near future.

Waterfront Inn New Liskeard Ontario

We had the pleasure of staying at the Waterfront Inn which, as its name suggests, sits right on the lake and offers a spectacular view. It was such a great room with a perfect location and we were thrilled to be able to open our patio doors and literally step out to the lake whenever we wanted. They were also closeby to a lot of the areas we wanted to see, as well as the marina.

Where To Eat

Not only did we enjoy our accommodations at the Waterfront Inn, we also loved their restaurant: Rooster’s Bar and Grill. Casual dining with a patio overlooking the lake and some really great tasting food made it a go-to spot whenever we were in the hotel around meal-time.

Cafe Meteor Bistro was another favourite of ours. Located in Haileybury, this cafe-at-day/bistro-at-night was brilliantly put together by the same owners of Presidents’ Suites which meant it was not only serving some amazing food but also jam-packed with history. Their food is made from fresh, locally sourced products when possible and offers an insight into the uniquely grown and raised culinary ingredients of the region as well as the cultural influences in the cuisine. The decor revolves around, and is based on, the famous S.S. Meteor passenger steamboat which was an integral part of lake life in the late 1800s until 1926 when it caught fire.

cafe meteor haileybury ontario breakfast

One of the local recommendations for the New Liskeard area was Ali’s Bar and Grill and it did not disappoint with it’s diverse menu large portions and delicious food. Though we enjoyed everything we tried, we really liked the firecracker shrimp and

Finally, if you’re looking to taste more of the local cuisine and see exactly what this area produces, you’ll want to check out the Riverside Farmer’s Market during the warmer months. It’s here you’ll see all the different kinds of food and produce grown and created around Temiskaming Shores.

Quebec Side of Lake Temiskaming – Temiscamingue

While native culture permeates Temiskaming Shores and all three cultures coalesce along the lake’s coast, it’s in Quebec where you’ll find the core of Timiskaming First Nations and the Timiskaming First Nations reserve. We were so fortunate to be able to speak with an incredibly talented artist on the reserve, Karl Chevrier who not only creates stunning works of art in all different kinds of mediums and materials but also teaches art forms to local students. His words were moving, his artwork enthralling and we learned so much from him about the history of his people and his community.

Karl Chevrier Lake Temiskaming Quebec

After Ontario, we got to explore First Nations culture and then head further along the Quebec side of Lake Temiskaming. Exploring this area – Temiscaminque – meant we only added to the list of things to do and see while on the lake.

What To Do

One of the best things to do on the Ontario side, is also one of the best things to do on the Quebec side – get out and enjoy the outdoors. Boating on the lake can take you to waterfalls and islands or you can kayak and take your time to enjoy the nature surrounding you. There are also recreational trails for hiking or biking in the summer and snowmobiling and winter activities in the colder months.

While it was an unplanned stop, we were so happy that we took the time to visit Fort Temiscamingue National Historic Site. It was this trading post that played an important role in the history of the area and of the country and its fur-trade. There’s also a significant number of displays and exhibits focusing on the thousand-year presence of aboriginal peoples.

lake temiskaming muskoka chair

One of the coolest things we did was visit the Fossilarium and got hunting for fossils of our own. The area is rife with fossils of living organisms that were previously living underwater but, over centuries, are now fossilized and exposed throughout the area. After learning about what used to inhabit the area and seeing examples of their fossils, we got to go on an excursion ourselves and find our own fossils. Not only did we find some, we were able to keep and preserve them before they became crushed or eroded by human activity.

Every year people from across the lake and all over come to attend one large food festival – Foire Gourmande – and if you’re able to go we highly recommend you do. Food from all over the region and northeastern ontario, craft beer and art by local artists are all available at this weekend-long festival. We had a chance to taste so much of the local food and produce and enjoy some truly fantastic music as the live bands played late into the night each day. This is something that unites the entire lake together while at the same time reaching to other areas of both provinces and beyond.

Where To Stay

We were able to stay in several different accommodations on the Quebec side of Lake Temiskaming and while we were impressed by all of them, two stood out to us. Miwapanee Lodge in Kipawa was a perfect B&B for a getaway. Beautifully appointed rooms, absolutely amazing food (Ask for the pancakes for breakfast. You won’t be disappointed!) and a beautiful setting on the lake. It was both private and romantic and we have already talked about going back.

Domaine TemiKami had us in another piece of wilderness paradise as we stayed in a cabin by the water. Here we had a fully equipped kitchen, an outdoor hot tub and a peaceful view. We loved that it was located close enough to Ville Marie to get to the town, restaurants and the Foire Gourmande Festival but was secluded enough so that we could truly enjoy nature and the beauty that is Temiscamingue.

Where To Eat

If you’re visiting during Foire Gourmande, you’ll have a bunch of food to taste and try but if you’re not, there are a few places that we tried and highly recommend.

fresh produce at farmers market ville marie quebec

If you look up or go to Station Centre-Ville, you’ll probably be a bit confused as to why we would suggest it. Yes, it’s a gas station but it’s not just a gas station. It was the vision of the owners to create something more and be something more in the community. Here you’ll not only find the best (and cheapest) selection of craft beers from both sides of the provincial border, but you’ll also find some gourmet, ready-to-eat meals like sandwiches and pizzas.

At Le Bistro Elle et Louis Bistro, you’ll find two menus playing off the name of the restaurant: one directed to men (Louis) and one directed to women (Elle). While you’re not limited to whatever menu you get, it’s fun to see who orders what in a larger group of both men and women. Both menus are packed with dishes that offer a fusion of flavours of the area and we especially loved their gourmet burgers and poutine.

L’Eden Rouge is a truly interesting restaurant on the site of a vegetable farm meaning the produce makes it to the table extremely fresh. Though they change their menus frequently, they are truly inspired and we ate every bite of each dish we were served.

We kept hearing about the restaurant La Bannick no matter where we were on the lake – Ontario or Quebec – so we knew we had to make it there for at least one meal. While we heard a lot about how good dinner is, we only managed to sneak in a Sunday brunch buffet but if that was anything to go by, it’s definitely a great place to eat! La Bannick also offers campgrounds and cottages, a spa and other outdoor activities if you’re looking for more than just a good meal.

If you’re looking to explore the area, you can always check out their Lake Tour Passport. While the contest is over, the passport map is a great guide for hitting up some of the great stops all around the lake! 

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An Epic Quebec Trip In A Room With Many Views

One room. Transported by helicopters, trains and trucks. One couple. Opening the curtain to the room each day in a new destination, with a new view. Unbelievable? Watch it and believe it:

Exploring Quebec, One View At A Time

This was just part of the journey this couple, Glennis LaRoe and Kip Geddes of New York, took in Quebec as they were transported from location to location in a mobile room. Each time they opened the doors to their room they faced a new and amazing view in the province. From the Chateau Frontenac to the Foresta Lumina to whales in the St. Lawrence River, the sights were epic and just a glimpse of the stunning scenes Quebec has to offer.

While the two of them had no clue where they would stop, or what they would see next, taking the same route while fully aware of what is to come is as much of a breathtaking experience. If you’re planning your own trip to Quebec, you can follow along with their itinerary, or use it to springboard an adventure of your own in the vast, spectacular province that is Quebec.

The Diversity of Experiences in Quebec

What this video highlights the most is the sheer diversity of experiences, attractions, sights and adventures to be found in the province. In just ten days, Glennis and Kip travel through only a portion of Quebec but manage to delve into the culture, witness some of the incredible landscapes and enjoy so much.

Though you can find a fantastic look at the various spectacular views and facets that the couple delved into, along with in depth information, on the QuebecOriginal’s site, here’s a quick look at what Quebec has to offer including a video for each that highlights what the two of them were able to experience as they travelled along in their room with many views.

Outdoor Activities

Quebec is truly a playground of outdoor activity no matter the time of year. Each season offers incredible opportunity to partake in, or witness, a whole host of stunning landscapes and exhilarating recreational activity. In the summer there is cycling, camping, watersports and views aplenty that are equally matched by the wintertime sports and sights that can be found throughout.

Gastronomy

You definitely won’t have a hard time finding good food in Quebec. From traditional Quebecois cuisine to dishes from around the world, the province offers a truly enjoyable gastronomic experience. There’s the classic poutine (as well as the variations that have been created around it), the wines and cheeses, the breads, the meats and game and the international fare all come together to create a culinary landscape to drool over.

Culture

With centuries of history, changing political and religious landscapes and influences from various countries throughout time, it’s no wonder Quebec is teeming with French culture. Through architecture, art, music and literature, you can witness culture around every corner, breathe it in with every step.

Adventure

With so much to do and see it’s no wonder Quebec offers an abundance of adventure and whether you’re into extreme sports or softer experiences, there’s something for pretty much everyone. If jumping out of a plane isn’t for you, ziplining may be the thrill you’re looking for. Hiking, with all the views of the province, can also leave you just as breathless.

 

For Kip & Glennis, this trip in the room with many views was a once-in-a-lifetime experience but for the rest of us, it offers a glimpse into a province that has everything any traveller or tourist could want and gives us all a small taste… not enough to quench our thirst but enough to leave us hungering for more and anxious to get out and plan our own adventure to la belle province: the beautiful province of Quebec.

 

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A Selfie Tour Of Quebec City In The Winter

Quebec City has become one of our favourite cities in the world and it seems that no matter what season you visit, there is so much to do and see. Even in the winter, the city is alive with activity and with so much to do and see, and we found ourselves spending much of our days and nights simply walking the streets, visiting the various attractions and taking in as much culture and history as we could.

It was during our attempts to document our time in the city that we realized something was missing from all the videos and photos we were taking – us! So, flipping our LCD screen of our Fuji X-A3 180 degrees, we began a self-guided tour of Quebec City taking photos of the two of us in some of our favourite places around the city.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city or are just looking to see it from the comfort of your own computer screen, we’ve put together a selfie tour of Quebec City in the winter to give you a glimpse of just some of the amazing things around the city… and an even bigger glimpse of our smiling faces!

You may want to take note of the places you’ll want to see. To help, we’ve provided direction for how to find your way to each of these spots!

Exploring The City

There may have been snow on the ground but we grabbed our hats and gloves, zipped up our coats and set off to explore the city – what we found were views and streets beautiful enough to warm us up all on their own!

We loved the parliament building in Quebec City and you can catch a glimpse of it in the background!

These steps behind us are called L’Escalier Casse-Cou or Breakneck Steps and can be found in the Petit Champlain neighbourhood. This happens to be the oldest staircase in Quebec City and, as you can tell by their steepness, have probably earned their name!

Dufferin Terrace is an area of Old Quebec that we love to stop at every chance we get. The view is spectacular and there is so much history surrounding the area. This statue of Samuel de Champlain is just an example of what you’ll find there. It’s a pretty spectacular place to place a monument to the father, or founder, of the city itself!

It’s impossible to tour the city and not want to stop at one of the most iconic of buildings. You don’t have to be familiar with the city to recognize the Chateau Frontenac, arguably one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Opened in 1893, it’s also a National Historic Site in Canada and a fully operational hotel… we couldn’t miss the chance to snap a photo of us with this landmark.

Or two photos… there are great views of the Chateau Frontenac from all over!

Look past those baby blues of ours to the beautiful building behind us – Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. It holds huge historic and religious significance for the city, the province and the country and since it’s over 350 years old, it only makes sense that it has a prominent place in the landmarks of Quebec City and is a National Historic Site of Canada as well as a World Heritage Site.

Even city hall is beautiful! The City Hall of Quebec City, or the Hotel de ville de Quebec, is a National Historic Site of Canada. Inaugurated in 1896, it is built in the heart of the Old City and it a pretty landmark to see.

Of the gates you can go through to enter the Old City of Quebec, the Porte Saint-Jean is perhaps our favourite! As part of the Ramparts of Quebec City, which are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America (not including Mexico), it is a gateway to history in the city and this one also leads to Place D’Youville, a public square that also has an outdoor skating rink in the winter!

Finding Amazing Views

One of our favourite views can be found by the Plains of Abraham and La Citadelle de Quebec, two other amazing places to spend time in Quebec City. It’s here at the Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de Mons, where you’ll find one of the best lookouts in the city. We stayed for quite some time taking it all in and even got a chance to see ice kayakers practice for the big race that happens each winter!

Like we said, it’s not hard to find amazing views of the Chateau Frontenac and though photos can never do a beautiful view justice, this is a great spot to look up at the Old City. Find your way down to the lower part of the city and to Rue Dalhousie, near Quai Chouinard.

We mentioned that we keep finding our way to Terrace Dufferin, multiple times whenever we are in the city and here is just one part of the view. It’s a stunning look over the water and surrounded by the beautiful buildings and lively activity of this area in the Old City.

Then there are those times that we just wander and stumble upon some amazing views as we do. The city is chalk full of scenic spots – from nature to architecture, history to urban settings – it’s a pretty fantastic place to witness no matter what the season happens to be!

Enjoying Winter Activities

About 20 minutes north of Quebec City sits a winter wonderland called the Village Vacances Valcartier, or the Valcartier Vacation Village. With a whole resort available, you can find a whole assortment of winter activities – like tubing and ice skating, as well as the famous Ice Hotel itself. To warm up from the cold, you can enter the hotel complex, head to your own room, one of the restaurants or the tropical indoor waterpark!

Though the entire region around Quebec City offers unlimited options for winter activities, you don’t really have to go far to find some fun in the ice and snow. From outdoor skating rinks, to snowshoeing across the city, Carnaval festivities and so much more, you’ll be surrounded by things to do and ways to warm up outside. We especially love the Nordik Village, or Village Nordik du Port de Quebec, located in the Louise Basin that offers skating, sliding AND ice fishing! The indoor Old Port Market that is right on site also offers fresh food and hot drinks as well as artisanal goods. Best of all, if you catch trout while ice fishing, you can bring it in to be cooked and served at a small extra cost!

Experiencing Carnaval

One of the most anticipated festivals of the year in Quebec is Carnaval and it doesn’t take long while in the city to see why. The energy and excitement are contagious, the festivities and celebrations are thrilling and the city is alive with people having fun almost everywhere you look.

From ice castles to human foosball, maple taffy to caribou (a traditional Quebecois beverage), you’ll find something for everyone and enjoy all the winter has to offer – as you can see below, we definitely enjoyed ourselves!

The king of Carnaval is Bonhomme, and you’ll see him represented throughout the city – if you don’t get a chance to see him in person! We found him everywhere!


Chasing Down Ice Sculptures

Though a part of the Carnaval festivities, the ice sculptures are a force of their own. Spread throughout the city, taking on a variety of shapes, sizes and designs, we went on a walk to see all the ones that were completed, as well as watch as some were being made!

Chowing Down On Food

Quebec City has an amazing culinary scene and our stomachs took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it. From churros at the Old Port Market after ice fishing, to an amazing traditional Quebecois meal at La Buche in the old city (now one of our favourite restaurants), we enjoyed drool-worthy fare wherever we went!

Keep this post for later or share with others on Pinterest – just hover over the image below & click “Pin it”! If on MOBILE, tap a photo below & click ‘Pin It’ when it appears!

selfie tour of quebec city in the winter pin

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Breakfast in Montreal – L’Avenue Restaurant

It was early, we were tired and we were very hungry. We were in Montreal and looking for a place to eat breakfast. We searched online for “the best place to eat breakfast in Montreal” and decided on L’Avenue.  The reviews warned us about long lines and advised us to get there before opening and although it was already 9am, we were now set on trying this restaurant.

Breakfast in MOntreal - Lavenue Restaurant Front

It wasn’t hard to find the restaurant’s location since we could see the lineup as we turned onto the street.  (At the point when the picture above was taken, we were still by the light post on the left-hand side of the photo.) By the one hour mark, we contemplated leaving but by then, we were committed. If you do happen to try this restaurant we, like the rest of the reviews, recommend you get there as early as possible but if you don’t, we recommend you stick around and wait – It’ll be worth it.

Lavenue Front of Restaurant

A Meal At One of the Best Places to Eat Breakfast in Montreal

Approximately an hour and a half after we first stepped in line we were ushered into a completely packed, narrow dining area. The décor was colourful and fun, the menus and waiters were predominantly French, and the smells emanating from the kitchen were tantalizing. We were waited on fairly quickly and although it was early, it was the weekend and the bar was open and drinks seemed to be flowing. We managed to get by on the minimal French we know and as per usual, ordered two different meals: pancakes and French toast.

Lavenue Bacon and Cheese Pancakes breakfast in Montreal

Crepes Bacon et Cheddar: Pancakes with bacon, cheddar cheese, sautéed apples and maple syrup – $12.89 CDN

At first we were conflicted. Bacon, cheese and apples on pancakes sounded both brilliant and crazy at the same time.  When we tried it, we found that it was a great blend of sweet and savoury. We would never have thought to put those ingredients together but they worked wonderfully. The syrup may have made it a little too sweet by the end, but it was delicious overall.

Lavenue Peach and Granola French Toast

Pain Grillé Français, Peches et Granola: French Toast with peaches, granola and a peach reduction syrup – $13.98 CDN

We were a little more confident with this choice and it turned out to be just as good as the pancakes. The different textures of the peaches and granola were a perfect contrast and while there was little  that was savoury about this dish, the sweetness was not overpowering, even with the syrup.

Somehow, the combinations of ingredients in both dishes created explosions of perfectly blended flavours that left us both wanting more long after we had demolished our breakfasts. The meal left us satiated and we were glad we had waited in line.

Lavenue Dining Room

If you are not sitting in a booth, the tables themselves are only inches apart and while this may lead to some people feeling crowded, we happened to strike up a pleasant conversation with the couple next to us and were glad for the chance to meet new people and discuss their experiences as Montreal residents.

We had an amazing overall experience and would highly recommend eating here at least once for breakfast/brunch. We would love to try dishes from the rest of the menu, for lunch or dinner, and have added this to our list of places to try again should we have the opportunity.

We also found out L’Avenue was featured on at least one TV show, and if you know us, we always enjoy learning about and hunting down restaurants on shows like “You Gotta Eat Here” or “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and determining for ourselves just how good they are! We’ve already stopped by Stoney’s Bread Company in Oakville, Ontario and 11th Street Diner in Miami so we can add L’Avenue to this list and keep on the hunt for more!

Have you been to L’Avenue or any other “As Seen on TV” restaurant? If so, comment below and tell us about your experience!

 

You Can Do It Too

Looking for a great place to eat breakfast in Montreal? Here’s all the info you’ll need to find amazing food to satisfy your morning cravings:

 

L’Avenue

922 Avenue du Mont Royal Est

Montreal, QC

H2J 1X1

514-523-8780