One of the few things we can still actually enjoy while the weather is chilly is a hike up Mount Royal. For a lot of Montrealers, there's nothing like exploring our own backyard and seeing the fall colours completely transform the mountain. As an added bonus, this year's new fall programming on Mount Royal includes a taco picnic at Beaver Lake.
A "tempting" variety of picnic boxes awaits all autumn hikers at the Beaver Lake Pavilion, where you can snack on scrumptious pulled pork tacos, vegan sandwiches and shrimp rolls. It's pretty much the perfect complement to a bottle of wine or some hot cider.
So put these amazing fall destinations in your back pocket. And, one fall day, you can simply get in your car and drive off on an adventure.
Distance from Montreal: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Why You Need To Go: Just across the river from Ottawa, you'll find Gatineau. It's home to Gatineau Park which — with its beautiful trees, hiking trails and famous Pink Lake — cannot be missed, especially as the leaves change colour. If you've had enough nature, you'll find plenty of other things to do from visiting The Canadian Museum of Civilization to eating at amazing local restaurants.
Why You Need To Go: This city in the Eastern Townships is a favourite for visitors because it has a little bit of everything: Lake Memphremagog, a mountainous backdrop, and a lively downtown. Parc national du Mont-Orford is just an 11-minute drive from town and it offers stunning trails where you can appreciate the fall foliage.
Why You Need To Go: Hear Ontario, and most people think of Toronto or Ottawa. But Kingston is a quaint yet lively waterfront city that deserves your consideration. From the majestic architecture (check out City Hall) to the historic Fort Henry site and Queen's University, there's a lot to explore. Martello Alley, an art-themed alleyway representing numerous local artists, should also be on your to-do list.
Why You Need To Go: The Vignoble Riviere du Chene is one of the province's most popular wineries for a reason. Not only do they have incredible wine, but the vineyard itself looks like a work of art in itself. Nestled in the charming Quebec countryside, this place will take your breath away.
Between enjoying yummy food, sitting outside in nature (after being stuck inside all winter) and spending time with loved ones, it's no surprise why picnics have become a summer staple in Montreal. This has been especially true during the pandemic.
The team started doing these picnics during the pandemic after years of visitors coming to the orchard and asking to explore the grounds.
They offer monthly menus based on what's in season on the farm and in the area, packed in a beautiful picnic basket that you can take anywhere on the property, whether it's on the tables and chairs scattered throughout the rows of apple trees or on your own picnic blanket.
We booked for five of us to go to celebrate lots of birthdays this month. I went for the first time last year in October, so it's no surprise the menu was different in July — lots of fresh veggies, cold dishes and light sauces, but there was one thing that was consistent: the UNBELIEVABLY fresh quality.
For July, the chicken was the only hot dish, so we decided to eat that first, and let me tell you, it was probably one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had IN MY LIFE. It was quite reminiscent of a Thanksgiving turkey in a light, yet creamy gravy and I could have easily had a whole basket of it.
We then moved onto a veggie sandwich. If you know me, you know I'm a mega-fan of sandwiches. I couldn't decide which was better: the fresh veggies or the fluffiest, doughiest bread that tasted like it was pulled out of the oven five minutes earlier. The rest of the menu was filled with lots of great dishes like salads, porchetta, cold soups, and some fish, too.
Of course, there's always a sweet treat to end off the meal. This month's menu included a fruit shortcake. I'm not much of a shortcake person, but this was honestly so light and delectable that I think I may be one now.
It was such a great day on the farm that we didn't want to go home. It's only 40 minutes outside of the city and felt like a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle. At $80 per basket (a basket is made for two people), it was actually great value for money and I cannot wait to see what's on the menu next month!
La Cabane d'À Côté Picnic
Price: $80 for a basket for two
Address: 3595, Montée Robillard, St-Benoît de Mirabel, QC
Why You Need To Go: For one of the coolest and tastiest picnics you can have less than an hour from Montreal.
The Ciel en Fête hot air balloon festival in Quebec is floating its way through Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu next month, accompanied by a host of activities, including yoga, a Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) picnic and an illuminated night show.
In the event of good weather, the hot air balloon festival will take place every weekend during the month of August.
The festival will host two free yoga sessions at dawn, where you can practice your downward-facing dog surrounded by breathtaking floating hot air balloons.
The SAQ'scinq à sept style Pique-nique découverte allows you to picnic beneath the balloon-dotted sky. Tickets include a basket with a selection of wines or bubbles from Quebec, paired with agrifood products from the region.
Night Glow on August 7 will create a hot air balloon spectacle under the stars, illuminated in the likeness of Chinese lanterns, which you can view through your car.
On several dates, two professional acrobatic divers will perform extreme dives from a hot air balloon in mid-flight — they'll be jumping 20 to 25 metres, equivalent to an 8-storey building, and diving into the water below.
Food trucks and beer will be available at the free Budweiser tailgate on August 14, where you'll be able to watch the Volaria aerial festival.
Reservations for each activity are required, but entrance is free for most events.
Ciel en Fête Festival
Price: Mostly free entry, but prices vary
When: Every weekend throughout the month of August — dates for each activity vary
A new report from Royal LePage suggests that while Montreal's real estate market might start to cool down, home prices are still projected to increase more overall than any other market in Canada.
The company recorded a 21.7% year-over-year increase in the "aggregate price of a home" ("a weighted average of the median values of all housing types collected") in the Montreal area in the second quarter of 2021, bringing it to $514,000.