If you live in Southern or Eastern Ontario, you are probably used to entering the province of Québec either by way of Ottawa/Gatineau from the 417, or through Montreal, via the Trans-Canada Highway (Félix-Leclerc Highway), or Highway 401 to the south. Which is a great option!
This being said, have you ever considered entering Québec from the western end of the province? Motorcyclists in northeastern Ontario are usually familiar with this route as many of them ride the Abitibi-Témiscamingue on their motorcycles.
If you live in Toronto, you will no doubt be pleased to know that it does not take any longer to come to Québec by way of the municipality of Témiscaming than by Ottawa or Montreal. The Témiscamingue route is an interesting alternative if you want to reach the province, avoid the highways and add a few kilometers to the odometer of your mount. In that case, set aside more than one day to discover the local culture.
On your way, several circuits are available to you: the Deep Waters Route in Témiscamingue, the Gold Route and the Arts Fountains Circuits. On the menu: fields of corn, valleys full of flowers, forests and bodies of water as far as the eye can see.
For the return journey, you have two options: the short one, driving right back the same way; the longer one (and most varied), which will take you along the mythical Route 117 and let you enjoy the inspiring scenery of the Réserve faunique La Vérendrye. You will then have the pleasure of crossing the beautiful Outaouais region, where you can discover the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and the Pontiac before reaching the Ontario border in Ottawa or at Fort Coulonge.
Things to know:
- 26.7% of the people of Abitibi-Témiscamingue are bilingual. In Témiscamingue and Rouyn-Noranda, the percentage is even higher. The welcoming ways and generosity of the locals is such that you will have no problems getting help, services or directions.
- Abitibi-Témiscamingue is also your gateway to the Nord-du-Québec region (Eeyou Istchee Baie-James), known for its hydroelectric dams and wide open spaces. You can also access the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region famous for its gigantic lake and fjord.