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Activities

Tadoussac, where boredom is not an option...

Winter or summer, activities in Tadoussac are as diversified as the surrounding environment: lakes, mountains, the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers, everything is set for those who are into ecotourism.

Be it for a one-night stay or a longer visit of several days, Tadoussac is a village where boredom is not an option! A destination with leisure activities for everyone; sport, history, music or nature enthusiasts.

While in Tadoussac don't miss: the Parc national du Saguenay or the SaguenaySt. Lawrence Marine Park, sea kayaking, hiking, whale-watching or majestic Saguenay Fjord tours, a visit to the interpretation centres, historic site, art boutiques and workshops, bird watching, the sand dunes, a Finnish treetop trailseaplane tours, golf, pleasure boating and sailing school, musical or theatrical performances, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sliding, skating, winter... and many other activities to be discovered.

Parc national du Saguenay

The extraordinary nature of Tadoussac's surroundings led to the creation of two parks; one of them is the federal-provincial Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park and the other the provincial Parc national du Saguenay. Both were created to protect the environment—marine and land respectively—for future generations.
A pass is required to gain access to Parc national du Saguenay refuges and most trails.
For more information and for reservations, dial 1-800-665-6527 or 418 272-1556.

Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park

The Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park territory is exclusively a marine protected zone. With a total area of 1245 km2, it covers a large portion of the St. Lawrence Estuary and nearly the entire Saguenay Fjord.

The cold, salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean come to the surface and create an environment rich in krill (small crustaceans) and capelin (small, schooling fish), choice food for whales.

The main objective of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park is the conservation of the wealth of this ecosystem—as fragile as it is complex—for present and future generations.

Marine mammals can be observed from land. In Tadoussac and the surrounding area there are many little secret spots where you can observe those fabulous whales, with or without binoculars. If you feel lucky, and are patient, try sitting out on the tip of Islet Point, Rouge Point or on the sand dunes. The beauty of the scenery is on par with the grandeur of the cetaceans.

Pointe-Noire:
Baie-Sainte-Catherine
Telephone: (418) 237-4383

For those who would like to savour their stay in Tadoussac, we suggest you leave your vehicle at the hotel and walk aboard the Baie-Sainte-Catherine—Tadoussac ferry. Enjoy the crossing and, who knows? A beluga whale may pop up. After a short, 20-minute hike along route 138 you will arrive at Pointe-Noire.

Head to the interpretation centre by following the panoramic trail, an ideal place from which to observe beluga whales. Naturalists are on hand to present several interpretive activities, enhancing your appreciation of this natural heritage site.

From June to September, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
September-October, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sea kayaking

Right on Tadoussac beach

Mer & Monde Écotours
(reception on Tadoussac beach)
148, rue Bord-de-l'Eau
Tadoussac, Qc.
GOT 2A0
Telephone: 
1-418-232-6779
Toll-free: 1-866-637-6663

Guided sea-kayaking tours in the Saguenay Fjord and out onto the St. Lawrence Estuary. Half-day or two- to four-day packages are available.

For all packages we provide: kayak (tandem or solo), isothermal clothing, an experienced guide, camping material and meals, as well as training before departure. The three-hour tour departs daily at 9:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Every day, from June 23 to September 6. Reservations are recommended.

Hiking

The Parc national du Saguenay has set up two kilometres of interpretive hiking trails in the very heart of Tadoussac. These trails give you access to Anse-à-l'Eau hill and  Islet Point, with a magnificent view of Tadoussac and the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord.

Sentier de la Coupe trail (30-minute hike) 1.2 km. Situated in the middle of the village, Anse-à-l'Eau hill looks down on Tadoussac and offers up a 360º view that includes the Saguenay, the St. Lawrence and the village itself. The hill is an oasis of peace where you can capture rare and beautiful vistas on film.

Sentier de la Pointe-de-l'Islet trail (20-minute hike) 0.8 km. An ideal spot for a picnic and to contemplate the sunset, Islet Point is also an excellent place to watch minke and beluga whales frolic in the waves. Frequented by scores of ships, this is where the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord reveals its treasures. It is worth noting that a portion of the trail is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. You are also invited to participate in free activities offered by park naturalists and to read the various interpretive panels that dot the trail. Discovered the majestic scenery at your own pace.

Sentier de la plage trail (a 2 km return trip to Rouge Point). This trail allows you to hike along Tadoussac beach at low tide up to the rocky point that closes off the bay on the left. But please be careful; hiking beyond this point is not recommended due to recent landslides. The Parc national du Saguenay is not responsible for accidents. Thank you!

Sentier du fjord trail (43 km or 12 km). This trail is regarded as one of the most beautiful trails in the entire province of Quebec! With departures from Tadoussac, Sainte-Marguerite Bay or from Cap de la Boule (Sacré-Coeur). This trail should be a priority on everyone's lifetime to-do list. Unforgettable moments and grandiose scenery await you along the summits of the capes. Sainte-Marguerite Bay is another starting point for the sentier du fjord trail; bordering the north shore of the Fjord to Tadoussac, this portion of the trail requires three days (two nights) to hike. Frequent viewpoints keep you in close contact with the marine environment all along the route. The end point of the trail is situated in the parking lot along highway 138, across from the Tadoussac fish hatchery. Shelter can be either in refuges or wilderness camping. Reservations are required, dial 1-800-665-6527.

The first refuge is situated a mere four kilometres from the starting point, at Boat Cove. This refuge is situated on a rocky sill that overhangs the Saguenay. It is the only one with a sunset view onto the Fjord, and it will likely make you want to prolong your stay. Furthermore, the interior design of the refuge is a pleasant surprise; despite room for many hikers, with six rooms with two beds in each, a kitchen space and a living room, intimacy is assured.

The second refuge is situated at Creuse Cove. Here you may be fortunate enough to spot beluga whales swimming by on their way to, or from, Sainte-Marguerite Bay. This refuge includes six small, two-bed bedrooms with  a kitchen area and a living room. It is situated about half way along the 42-kilometre trail.

The third refuge is situated at Boule Cape. It presents an unrestricted view of the Saguenay. This refuge is situated approximately10 kilometres from Tadoussac.

The sentier du belvédère trail (1.2 km). Listed as easy and accessible with the Parc national du Saguenay pass, the starting point of this trail—the Maison des dunes—offers up an extraordinary view onto the St. Lawrence River and its sand cliffs. Parking and picnic tables are available.

Whale-watching tours

Historically, whale-watching tours began here in the Tadoussac-Les Bergeronnes area in 1979. At the time, nobody could have predicted the eventual magnitude of this fledgling industry. By 1997 a total of 50 whale-watching boats carried approximately 300 000 tourists in the Tadoussac area. (Statistics supplied by the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park)

There are essentially four zones of high cetacean concentration in the St. Lawrence. They are: the Mingan Islands, Sept-Îles, Pointe-des-Monts and Tadoussac.

Tours are an accessible form of ecotourism. They have the power to fascinate and educate. New management techniques, based on the precautionary principle, will enable this industry to make thousands of people more aware of one of the great challenges of our era: the protection of the planet's oceans.

In addition to whale-watching tours, there are a number of other ways to discover the wealth of the marine environment. We suggest a visit the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre, try whale watching from shore, at Pointe-Noire or go sea kayaking! It's up to you!

Visit cimmtadoussac.org to learn how to identify the various whale species.

There are approximately 80 different cetacean species worldwide. A few are well known, while others have only been observed on rare occasions. Some are abundant, others are on the brink of extinction or are threatened. Here are the 12 species that visit the St. Lawrence on a seasonal basis, along with the only full time resident: the beluga whale.

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Options abound when it comes to whale-watching tours. Several types of boats that range in capacity from 12 to 400 passengers are available. The choice is yours. However, whatever boat you do choose, dress warmly in order to better enjoy your excursion and observe marine mammals from the outer decks. Tours are generally three hours in length. It is also possible to admire the Saguenay Fjord, or the whales of the St. Lawrence, from the air.

How to prepare for a cruise ? (Of Whale-online.net)

A cruise on the St. Lawrence is an unforgettable experience. Here are a few hints to help you get the most from your cruise.

  • When is the best time to go?
  • What boat to choose ?
  • What to wear ?
  • What to expect ?
  • Ask around !
  • How to take good pictures ?

For more information about accommodation, whale watching tours or other things to see and do during your voyage of discovery of the St. Lawrence:

When is the best time to go?

The answer may be found…in a crystal ball! Observations vary from year to year and even from day to day.

  • By consulting The whale news network. you can look up the main sightings of past seasons.
  • Come and meet the naturalists at the CIMM when you get to Tadoussac and ask them for the most recent whale news.

Certain companies offer whale watching tours from May to October. In high season (from the end of June to the beginning of September) there are departures throughout the day. The midday cruise is the busiest in the Tadoussac—Les Escoumins area.
The months of September and October are a good time for whale watching: the whales tend to be both numerous and active.

What boat to choose?

"Shop around!"
There are different types of boats offering whale watching tours. Which one should I chose? Small or large? And with what company? It is important to "shop around."

  • Ask if the company and its captains respect the whale watching code of ethics
  • Ask about the onboard interpretation service. Is it given by a naturalist? What is his or her training? Will the naturalist do the commentary in English?
  • Will the cruise itinerary be diversified? For example, will the captain take the time to observe seals, birds, lighthouses or other elements of historical importance?

What to wear ?

  • Dress warmly!
    • Sweaters
    • Pants
    • Windbreaker or raincoat
    • Hat, gloves, scarf
    • Warm socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera (protect it from humidity)

What to expect ?

Each cruise is unpredictable.
One shouldn’t expect to see all the same things that are shown in television documentaries. Some of these shows involve hundreds of hours, sometimes years, of shooting.
On the St. Lawrence it’s almost a sure bet that you will see a marine mammal. How many will you see? Will they be near or far? All of this depends on the animals themselves. A captain who respects the code of ethics will not actively approach marine mammals closer than 200 m.
A cruise on the St. Lawrence is a special experience no matter what happens, especially for someone with an adventurous nature!

Ask around!

The Centre d'interprétation des mammifères marins (CIMM), located in Tadoussac, and the CRIMM of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study , in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, are a must for all to visit.

How to take good pictures.

  • Before taking a picture, take the time to observe the whales. How many are there? How often do they come to the surface? Where are they heading?
  • Concentrate on one individual when the whales are at the surface. It will be that much easier to frame and focus on your subject.
  • Frequently check the number of shots left on your film.

Make the most of your cruise: if your pictures don’t turn out, you will always have lasting memories!

Caution:  Seawater and rain can damage photographic equipment.
Don’t get discouraged: pictures in books and on postcards are the result of hundreds of hours spent with the whales.

 

Otis Excursion
431, Bateau-Passeur
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4537 or (418) 235-4197
Fax: (418) 235-4197


Boat type: inflatable

Boat names: Otis I, II, III, IV and V

Capacity: 12 or 36 passengers

In operation: from May to October

Number of departures per day: four

Tour duration: two to three hours

Cruises, Discover the Saguenay, Whale watching, Bird watching, Fishing, Excursions

 

Croisières AML
177A, rue des Pionniers
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone:(418) 235-4642
Fax: (418) 235-4491
Toll free: 1-800-563-4643

Boat types: Zodiac boats and passenger vessels

Boat names: Grand Fleuve, Zéphyr, Sentinelle, Express, Brasseur, Marsouin, Rorqual et Garrot.

Capacity: 24, 48, 243 ou 700 passagers

In operation: from May to October

Number of departures per day: two to four

Tour duration: two to six hours depending of the cruise

Cruises and Whale-watching tours

Saguenay Fjord tours

The valley through which the Saguenay River flows possesses all of the characteristics of a fjord, from Saint-Fulgence to Tadoussac. The Fjord is 100 km in length and 1 to 3.5 km wide. It occupies a deep notch in the Laurentian mountains, bordered by steep cliffs that average 150 m in height, with a few capes exceeding 400 m, such as Cape Trinité (411 m) and Cape Éternité (457 m). This deep and mysterious gorge resulted from the last ice age. It was invaded by the sea after the glaciers melted. The tide can be felt at the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers and as far upstream as Chicoutimi. Salinity levels average 3.1 percent.

The Saguenay Fjord exhibits diverse scenery. It is protected and showcased by two parks: the Parc national du Saguenay and the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park. Nature enthusiasts, kayakers, hikers and tourists are all able to easily travel through this territory thanks to the various infrastructures that have been specially conceived for nature tourism. Wilderness campsites allow kayakers to travel downriver over a period of several days. Thanks to the trails that border the capes or to the tour boats that depart from various wharves, navigating the Estuary and sailing up the Fjord as far as Cape Trinité, whales and seals can be observed upstream in the Fjord, in Sacré-Coeur-sur-le-fjord, Anse-de-Roche, Sainte-Marguerite Bay and in Tadoussac from shore.

Croisières AML
177A, rue des Pionniers
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4642
Fax: (418) 235-4491
To
ll free: 1-800-563-4643

Boat type: passenger vessel

Boat names: Cavalier Royal

Capacity: 275 passengers

In operation: from June to October

Number of departures per day: two

Tour duration: three to six hours

Cruises, Discover the Saguenay and whale watching

 

Otis Excursion
431, Bateau-Passeur
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4537 or (418) 235-4197
Fax: (418) 235-4197

Boat type: inflatable

Boat names: Otis I, II, III, IV and V

Capacity: 12 or 36 passengers

In operation: from May to October

Number of departures per day: four

Tour duration: two to three hours

Cruises, Discover the Saguenay, Whale watching, Bird watching, Fishing, Excursions

 

Interpretation centres/museums/historical sites

Interpretation centres, museums and historical sites give you great insight into Tadoussac's rich heritage. Interested in whales? Visit the CIMM! History buff? The Poste de Traite Chauvin, The maritime Museum of Tadoussac and the Maison des Dunes will present you with the village's history. A stop off at the Indian Chapel will give you a chance to take a break, relax and meditate on the beauty of the surrounding area.

The Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM)
108, rue de la Cale-Sèche,
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4701
Fax: (418) 235-4325

The CIMM is a unique exhibit where visitors can learn and have fun at the same time. Dive into the fascinating and mysterious world of the whales of the St. Lawrence. Where can we see them? How do we recognize them? Naturalists from the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) will help you better appreciate your encounters with these legendary animals by sharing with you information acquired through their various research programs. The CIMM is also a conference and projection room, where documentary films are presented on a regular basis. Don't miss the exhibit, the skeleton collection and marine mammal reproduction! If you want to learn more about the whales that visit the Tadoussac area, visit our Website at cimmtadoussac.org
Open from mid-May to mid-October. Reservations are required for groups.

Poste de Traite Chauvin
157, Bord de l'Eau
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4657
Fax: (418) 235-4433

The  Poste de Traite Chauvin is a replica of the first fur trading post built in 1599 by Pierre Chauvin de Tonnetuit.
Open from mid-May to mid-October. Reservations are required for groups

La Maison des Dunes
Chemin du Moulin-à-Baude,
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4238

The parc du Saguenay welcomes tourists passing through Tadoussac at the Maison des Dunes, located approximately five kilometres north-east of the village along des Pionniers Street. The parc du Saguenay restored this house, a local heritage site, and transformed it into an interpretation centre. A permanent exhibit and a team of naturalists will teach you about the phenomena that led to the creation of the sand dunes. Don't miss out on the chance to observe birds of prey and owls in this area!

 

Finnish treetop trail (Domaine des Dunes)

The trail is about 2 km in the boreal forest. Departure from your cabin or campsite.

23 challenges for the whole family (7-77 years).

Outdoor activities with exercises on modules cedar wood and rope on a floor chips as soft and comfortable as the foam forest.

 

La Petite Chapelle de Tadoussac
Rue Bord de l'Eau,
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0,
Telephone: (418) 235-4324
Fax: (418) 235-4433

Also known as the little Indian Chapel, La Petite Chapelle was constructed in 1747. Jesuit monks celebrated the inaugural mass on June 24, 1750. Classified as an historic monument of national significance in 1965, it is now protected and lovingly cared for. It shelters numerous religious artefacts from the time of its construction. It is the oldest wooden church still in existence in Canada. To enter La Petite Chapelle is to plunge into the past. Open from June 24 to mid-October. Reservations are required for groups. A guided visit is available.

Art Boutiques and Craft Shops

Atelier de Sculptures Gaétan Hovington
438, rue Bateau-Passeur
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4304
Fax: (418) 235-4649

Delve into the fascinating universe of wood sculpting. A visit to Mr. Hovington's workshop will allow you to discover his art. You can see him at work in his workshop where he will be more than happy to answer questions. A visit to his boutique is an enchanting experience, and you can choose an object that you will be proud to take home.

You may also discover his human and marine mammal statues scattered throughout the village of Tadoussac.
The workshop is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and visits are free.

Atelier- Boutique Limaçon
117, rue Coupe- de -L'Islet
Tadoussac, Qc, G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4900
(418) 937-2112

Specialized in the fabrication of rings and bands for men and women, craftsman and jeweller Martin Fournier uses noble metals and precious stones for his creations. Having studied cabinet making at the Institut des Métiers d'art, he completed his diploma as a stringed-instrument maker, only to end up as a jeweller amalgamating various materials, such as wood, gold, silver and resin.
Interested in acquiring one of his works? It's easy: choose the model you would like and the precious stones to go with it; the finished piece will be created on site in his Tadoussac workshop.

Visits are free and other craftsmen have joined him in his endeavour.

Ornithology/wild animal observation

L'observatoire des oiseaux de Tadoussac
302, rue de la Rivière
Les Bergeronnes, Qc.
G0T 1G0
Telephone: 1-877-MER-1877

The Observatoire d'oiseaux de Tadoussac (OOT) is the first bird observatory in Quebec and one of the most northerly in eastern North America. Over 4.5 million birds have been counted in 9 500 hours of bird watching over the past 10 years. The OOT is exceptional in that it is one of the rare observatories to be situated on the migration route of the boreal owl, a species of which very little is known. Consequently, the OOT has set up a surveillance program for owl migration that includes a nocturnal capture and banding activity of boreal owls and northern saw-whet owls.

The observatory is situated in the Parc national du Saguenay, in the Baie-du-Moulin-à-Baude sector. The observation and capture of migratory birds are carried out from the sand terraces—commonly referred to as the Tadoussac sand dunes—situated 60 m above the surface of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary.

Guide-interpreters are present in summer to answer questions.

Golf

Golf Club
367, rue des Pionniers
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4306

Inaugurated in 1902, the Club de Golf Tadoussac is one of the oldest golf clubs in Quebec, and one of the oldest in Canada that is still in its original location. The picturesque 9-hole course is surrounded by mountains and features spectacular views of the Saguenay river. Featuring natural grass and landscaping that reflects the area’s natural beauty, the par-33 course’s boasts hilly and challenging terrain, including many gullies and a pond.

The Club de Golf Tadoussac offers a variety of very reasonable daily, seasonal and 10- and 20-pack rates, as well as a  cozy clubhouse with a small pro shop, club rentals, and patio for drinks after your round. Local attractions including whale watching (excursions or from shore), hiking, beaches, sea kayaking, tennis courts next door to the golf club, swimming in the hidden lake, museums, and exquisite hotels, restaurants, and B&Bs make Tadoussac the perfect spot for your summer golf vacation.

Seaplane tours

Aviation du Fjord
231, rue des Pionniers,
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4640  
Toll free: 1- 877- 235- 4640
Fax: (418) 235-4859

Operating from Long Lake, near Tadoussac, Aviation du Fjord offers seaplane flights over the St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay Fjord and the backcountry, with its many lakes and never-ending forests. Open from July to October. Prices vary depending on the length of the expedition.

Sand dunes

The dunes sector of the Parc national du Saguenay opens out onto the Baie-du-Moulin-à-Baude, near Tadoussac. From here one can take in an exceptional view of a vast marine fresco, where the largest animals in the world come to visit. The dunes represent a portion of the heritage of the last glacial era. They are in fact two immense marine terraces. Here, the impressive scale of the phenomenon of migratory birds led to the creation of the Observatoire Ornithologique de Tadoussac (OOT).

The sand dunes are definitely one of the most beautiful corners of the village. The original village of Tadoussac—which has since disappeared—was first established in this sector. Agriculture led to deforestation and erosion led to desertification. A unique sport was invented in Tadoussac in the 1940s: sand skiing. The site of popular sand-skiing competitions up until the 1980s, the sand dunes attracted curious spectators from all over. In 1983, the Parc national du Saguenay bought the location from the Molson family to showcase it as a protected area. The dunes, an exceptionnal site to relax and contemplate the majestic St. Lawrence River.

Pleasure boating

Marina de Tadoussac
100 rue Bord-de-l'Eau
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone.: (418) 235-4585
Fax: (418) 235-4795


The marina: a natural port in magnificent Tadoussac Bay. One of the most beautiful marinas in Quebec! Room for over 100 boats, with a full range of services: water, electricity, and fuel.
The marina also harbours a restaurant and a bar with a panoramic view of Tadoussac Bay.
Showers, toilets and laundry services are available for boaters.
V.H.F. channel 68

The dry dock: boat accommodation from October to May. The dry dock has room for nearly 50 boats (water, electricity and boat launch). Boats leave the dry dock in May and enter in October. It is one of the oldest dry docks still in activity.

Information at the Tadoussac town office 418-235-4446, extension 221.

Voile Mercator
Sailing school

C.P. 684, L'Anse-Saint-Jean QC, G0V 1J0
Téléphone: 1.888.674.9309
Courriel:  info@voilemercator.com

 

Shows/theatre

Winter activities

Cross-country skiing
162, rue des Jésuites,
Tadoussac, Qc.
G0T 2A0
Telephone: (418) 235-4446, extension 245
Fax: (418) 235-4433

The village of Tadoussac is livened up in winter by cross-country ski trails, with starting points in the Languedoc Park area. Trails 4,5 km-long run along the historic summer houses of the Park. Snowshoeing trails can also be found troughout the village.

Pleasant and secure sliding trails are situated near the Tadoussac leisure centre. Inner tubes are available upon request at the centre, where there is also the possibility of ice-skating on the outdoor rink. Winter fun for the whole family!

The Trans-Québec TQ-3 snowmobile trail opens the doors to the Côte-Nord and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean regions. The trail passes near the village where you'll find accomodations to take a break or stop over for the night.

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