As temperatures drop in Quebec, many of us are dreaming of hopping on a plane and landing in a tropical paradise like the Caribbean — sparkling blue waters, white-sand beaches, lots of sunshine and the promise of adventure, like a scuba diving excursion.
Since COVID-19 is making international travel harder, we'll fill you in on a local secret. There's a place nicknamed "The Caribbean Of The North" because of its clear waters and it's only two hours by car from Montreal: Brockville, Ontario.
It's surprising how many Canadians are ignorant to the beauty — and even existence — of Brockville, which is located in the 1000 Islands region.
Like Montreal, Brockville sits along the St. Lawrence River. However, the river meets Lake Ontario around Brockville, which results in warmer waters.
Below the water, lie dozens of shipwrecks waiting to be explored because of the St. Lawrence River's history as a major shipping route.
The ships range from wooden schooners to 1800s warships to modern-day freighters, according to Dive Brockville Adventure Centre.
One of the ships, the Muscallonge, was travelling from Montreal to Port Credit when it caught fire before sinking.
It was the biggest tugboat on the river at the time — 1936 — and is now one of the most popular sites for the local fish population, according to the Dive Brockville webpage, which makes it a popular site amongst divers, too.
The wrecks are another reason for the Caribbean comparison.
Remember Pirates of the Caribbean?
In Brockville, there's also the Centeen Memorial Dive Park, which is essentially an underwater art exhibit with over 45 statues — some of which are life-sized.
Between the clear, warmer waters, the wrecks and the underwater attractions, Brockville has gained a reputation as being one of the best freshwater diving spots in the world.
Admittedly, Brockville feels most Caribbean when diving. And it's not immune to the Canadian climate.
But regardless of whether you dive, it still makes for a lovely weekend getaway.
You can always just go for a swim and enjoy the water that way. Or take in the views from a hike or a park.
There's also plenty to explore on dry land, as the town itself is so picturesque.
If you want a taste of Caribbean waters, without stepping foot on an airplane, Brockville's a great choice for your next vacation. Go before the weather gets cold — or even after.
Dive Brockville Adventure Centre told MTL Blog via Facebook that, weather permitting, they run dives until November or December.
When: Before December
Where: Eastern Ontario in the Thousand Islands region
Why You Need To Go: Caribbean-esque water makes for world-renowned scuba diving and picture-perfect views
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.