I grew up in small-town and rural Ontario, Canada, and all I ever wanted was to escape it and get to the big city. As soon as I turned 18, I headed to Toronto. Except for four years of studying in Montreal, and lots of travel, I have spent the ensuing three decades here.
So, when I received an invitation from Abitibi-Temiscamingue Tourism to visit small-town Quebec, I thought I had a pretty good idea what I would find. After all, it's our neighboring province – how different could it be? I expected that I would nod and smile a lot, but be somewhat bored in that irritating way that we urbanites can be, due to the fact that we have some of the best art, culture, and food at our fingertips all the time. I anticipated that the food would be plentiful but unremarkable, that the art would be amateurish, that the culture would be familiar and uninteresting.
Thank goodness I travel to have my assumptions blown out of the water!
I could not have been more wrong. I stayed in the town of Ville-Marie and met some of the most interesting, passionate, creative people that I have met anywhere – artists, chefs, farmers, chocolatières – and I traveled around to surrounding places like Lorrainville, St-Bruno-de-Guigues, and Duhamel-Ouest enjoying the most delicious local food, soaking up the culture, and admiring the art.
I will have more to tell you about this area soon, including why it is perfect for solo travelers, but for now, here is a photo preview of lovely Ville-Marie and surrounding areas.
My thanks to Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue for making this trip possible.