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I can’t believe that just one hour from Montreal, you can find a place with amazing history, landscapes, locals, restaurants, great herons, swamps, and activities! Let’s be honest, when we think of Sorel-Tracy, we don’t think of breathtaking scenery. That’s why I spent a weekend there with three of my best friends.
I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. I’ll TRY.
10:45: We met Kimmaly from Statera expérience and Roxanne from the Tourist Information Office. They planned a 36 hour itinerary full of activities for us!
We started with a bike ride on the water’s edge at parc Regard-sur-le-Fleuve. There are beautiful bike paths and I tried out a tandem bike. It was a little tight but SO funny. We even popped a small bottle of Du Minot cider. Yum.
So Vanessa, a little tipsy, rode a one person bike to the next activity that happened to be lunch. Very cool!
We went to eat gibelotte at Marc Beachemin’s little restaurant on the Île d’Embarras in Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel! It’s a beautiful cabin off the beaten path without cell service. Slight Chainsaw Massacre vibes… We brought our own wine and ate UNLIMITED gibelotte!
Two of us tried the famous yellow perch (the only fish that can’t be caught for fun in Sorel) and it was delicious!
On the way back, we stopped at Maison du marais. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. There’s a 1.2 km trail in the largest marshland in eastern North America. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in nature! I haven’t even told you about the spectacular view at the top of the tower.
After our little excursion, we set off for Passion Planches to try paddle boarding! It was SO cute! The business is run by a couple who lives on the waterfront. We had an instructor (it was VERY necessary, trust me) who showed us how to stand on our board and how to face the waves (oh and she’s also a paddle board yoga teacher). In short, I tried, fell, and got back up on my board of pain and misery. I was so proud of myself! Special shoutout to my friend Max who managed to stay on his two feet the entire time!
Instagram : @passion.planches
We continued the day with cocktails at Les Années Folles, a new cabaret/restaurant which is owned by the son of Ginette Reno. It was amazing! I always dreamed of having a cabaret (I swear!). Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to see the show because of our jam-packed schedule, but I’ll be going back for sure!
Instagram : @cabaretlesanneesfolles
The day was far from over. After cocktails, we headed to the Royal Square to observe the work of muralists Dodo Ose and Ankh One of the A’Shop artists’ collective. They’re the artists behind the CSL St-Laurent ship’s spectacular mural commemorating Canada 150 and Montreal 375.
Instagram : @ashopcrew
We also listened to Dorimène Desjardins’ story, which gave rhythm to the 1,200 suspended lights. It was a great little show, and I recommend going when it’s dark!
The before last activity on Saturday: DINNER.
We were invited to l’Annexe, located on the terrace of the restaurant Fougasse. EXCELLENT restaurant, the service was fantastic, the view on the water was stunning, and the food, mouth-watering. I highly recommend l’Annexe (open only when the weather permits it) and Fougasse because yes, we had the chance to sample both menus!
Instagram : @le_fougasse
Last stop before going to sleep: Statera – The 104th Island, an immersive multimedia experience. Guys, the setup is sick!! WE WATCHED A 360° FILM WHILE LAYING DOWN. It was their first year of operation and since the rooms are always full, I feel like they’ll be around for a long time!
Instagram : @statera104
We stopped for the night at Darvard Island on the Saint-Ours Canal for luxury camping in oTENTik accommodations. These are pretty wooden cabins that can host up to six people. There are three double beds and you have to bring your own bedding (not your mattress, just your sheets or sleeping bag and pillows). There’s equipment on site to cook and even barbecue! You’ll also find communal toilets and showers (which lock, for the divas who will read this article). Congratulations and thank you Parks Canada!
Instagram : @parcs.canada
We got up too early because my friends have “normal” jobs and are used to hearing their alarm clock go off at 7 am. But hey, the day started off on the right foot because we discovered a wonderful little restaurant just in front of the camp. It’s called Écluse no 10 and it’s bursting with cuteness. It’s beautiful and delicious! The owner served us and told us a little about her old life and why she and her husband decided to open a restaurant. GOALS. They have a ton of great food on their menu but if you stop there, have breakfast! Their eggs, which look like pastries, taste like pure happiness.
Instagram : @ecluse_no10
We went back to Statera again, but this time for a cruise! We spent an hour and a half listening to Yves, our guide, tell us the story of Sorel-Tracy’s waters. We learned so much in so little time! We saw an old one-room schoolhouse on l’Île de Grâce, saw a heron take flight, learned about the monk who lent his name to the channel, and ESPECIALLY enjoyed Yves’ jokes. He was so endearing!
Instagram : @statera104
The cool thing about Statera – the 104th Island is that the activities are all near each other. Biking, the cabaret, the film under the dome, the cruise, and the immersive Statera journey… WE FLIPPED OUT for the latter, which is an interactive quest that takes you through four zones, each representing a different element of nature (water, earth, air, and fire). You’re provided with headphones and a sort of big flashlight and throughout the entire experience, a voice accompanies you and guides you. Your senses are super stimulated.
Our Sunday could not have ended better. We visited a micro distillery located in an old church in Sorel-Tracy which will soon open its doors. Les subversifs are the ones who make the popular Piger Henricus gin as well as other spirits. We were lucky enough to meet one of the two founders, Mr. Fernando Balthazar, who gave us a tour of the site, made us taste several liquors, and explained the distillation process to us. We hung onto his every word! In addition, the marketing surrounding their new location is on point. Congrats! Stay tuned for the grand opening!
Instagram : @les_subversifs
That pretty much sums up our 36 hours in Sorel-Tracy. We loved our stay and plan to return very soon (especially for paddle boarding!). It’s crazy that I didn’t know there was so much to do and so much natural beauty just an hour from home.
Thank you to Statera expérience, the Sorel-Tracy Tourist Information Office, Marc Beauchemin’s restaurant, Passion Planches, L’Annexe and Le Fougasse restaurants, Parks Canada and Les subversifs for making our weekend in Sorel-Tracy so special!
Let me know if you guys visit the area anytime soon!