Tadoussac is a tiny village of fewer than 1000 people, sitting where the St Laurence and Saquenay Rivers meet, on the edge of a boreal forest. North America's oldest permanent European settlement after Florida, it was settled in 1600 and missionaries stayed until the middle of the 19th century.
Its interesting history includes a time when it was a major trade area for aboriginal people, a whale and beluga hunting ground, a safe harbour for explorers Cartier and Champlain and, as early as 1864, a holiday resort.
The St Lawrence River is one of very few places on earth where you can see up to thirteen species of whale in one spot, attracting tourists, specialists and naturalists from around the world. Year-round icy Atlantic currents bring loads of krill and plankton, favourite food of the whale.
Taking centre stage is the Hotel Tadoussac, one of Canada's oldest resorts. It was built in 1864 and has been a landmark for generations of navigators piloting ships along the river. Its whitewashed walls, maritime colours, red roof, dormer windows and cupola marking the centre of the building make it reminiscent of an enormous lighthouse standing near a magnificent sandy beach. Beautiful year round, it is even more so during autumn when the maples turn to red, orange, purple and yellow.
The hotel was long considered the jewel in the crown of Canadian Steamship Lines and showcases a wonderful collection of Canadian furniture and objets d'art. The Quebec government purchased the hotel and its sizeable collection doubled. The Great Hall is the nerve centre of the hotel and has a most impressive collection on display, including original china and illustrations and photographs.
The hotel has 149 rooms decorated in floral and nautical themes, some with balcony, and all without noisy city sounds. Plan your day while watching boats coming and going and whales frolicking right before your eyes.
There is fine dining to be enjoyed, pale beer on tap, golfing, massage and more stars in the sky than you could ever imagine.
Opportunities to cruise on the river are many and Croisieres AML is Canada's largest company. Their fleet of Zodiacs provides close-to-the-water viewing for the adventurer. For those who would prefer to whale-watch from higher up, there are larger boats. Amongst the whales you might see are killer whales, northern bottlenoses, sperm or minke whales, humpback, northern rights, fin or blue.
Tadoussac in Quebec, Canada.
Hotel Tadoussac rooms start at around $180 a night. The hotel is open from mid-May to mid-October.
Croisieres AML Cruises whale watching tours are around $65 for adults and $25 for children.
Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Quebec with Air Canada. On sale until May 30, 2005, for travel November 1 to December 9, 2005, and February 1 to March 31, 2006. Fares starting at:
Sydney $2249 + tax $310
Brisbane $2349 + tax $358
Melbourne $2349 + tax $360
Adelaide $2549 + tax $370
Perth $2849 + tax $365
To book call Flight Centre on 131 600
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
More informationHotel Tadoussac
165 rue Bord de l'eau
Tadoussac PQ G0T 2A0
Ph: 418 235 4421
Fax: 418 235 4607
124 Saint-Pierre Rue
Quebec QC G1K4A7
Ph: 418 692 1159
Fax: 418 692 0845