Saguenay Souvenirs: whale watching, outstanding cuisine, craft beers and stunning scenery

By Nancy Truman

Surely, the dream of every whale-watcher is to snap a perfect photo or video of the world’s largest mammal leaping from the depths of the ocean, water splashing in all directions. I expected no less when I travelled to the Saguenay and Maritime regions of Quebec. Sadly, no whale breached while I was out in the Saguenay St-Laurent Marine Park. But that doesn’t mean the couple of days spent in this corner of Quebec weren’t full of lasting memories.

Every May to October, Tadoussac, a town of 800 perched on a hill overlooking the spot where the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers meet, swells with tourists hoping to see whales. On a sunny August day, we arrived via the north shore to a postcard-worthy view of the 154-year-old, whitewashed, red-roofed Hôtel Tadoussac and Mission Church of Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac from 1747.

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Arriving a day before our pre-booked excursion afforded time to enjoy the town and its surroundings. We spent our time whale-spotting from shore; visiting the oldest wooden church in Canada, built in 1747; and seeing the replica Chauvin Fur Trading Post commissioned by William Cloverdale, president of Canada Steamship Line and onetime owner of Hôtel Tadoussac.

The best part of an afternoon was spent honing up on our whale knowledge at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre. Members of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals — a non-profit dedicated to whale research and marine conservation education — were on hand to walk guests through the interactive displays.

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