Fall foliage celebrations in Townships

Families can ride a gondola for panoramic views, enjoy gastronomic fare and pop-up parks, and hike or bike

Fall foliage celebrations in Townships

Photo credit: Getty Images

Maple trees abound in southern Quebec and are one of the reasons why the area looks so beautiful during the fall season — when the roads and forests offer an abundance of leaf-peeping drives and family portrait opportunities.

One of the prettiest spots near Montreal is Magog-Orford in the Eastern Townships, where the trees are just about to burst into their autumn splendour. Visitors of all ages are invited to visit the region during its annual Flambée des couleurs event that takes place over five weekends from September 18 to October 17, 2021. The seasonal celebration of nature is now in its fifteenth consecutive year and offers activities across five picturesque sites.

Head to Mont-Orford ski resort for programming that includes sporting, cultural, and gastronomic treats. Grab everyone for a ride on the mountain’s gondola (pre-purchase your tickets online) that offers the best seats to experience the reds and oranges of the landscape. At the summit, you can enjoy the picnic site or just stare at the view. You can also hike the beginner to intermediate trails, enjoy energizing yoga, visit the ski bazaar, or join in a mountain workout — all with a breathtaking panorama. More than 20 local artisans as well as a poetry trail will be set up at the foot of the mountain.


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For the adults in the group, the event’s first weekend kicks off with the Grande Coulée beer festival on September 17, 18 and 19. Ten Quebec microbreweries are participating, food trucks will be on-site, and music will entertain. You must buy your ticket online and present your vaccination passport to be able to participate in the Grande Coulée, which will be held at the foot and at the top of Mount Orford. 

Mont-Orford National Park (Sépaq) offers hiking, easy bike riding trails, and adventurous downhill biking through forests ablaze with colours. Get your questions ready because a park warden-naturalist will be on hand to help you learn about the wildlife that you may encounter at the biodiverse-rich Fer-de-Lance marsh.

The 190-hectare Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises invites visitors to discover or rediscover its trails, boardwalk, and the interpretation centre with its exhibition “D’âme nature” by surrealist artist Manon Potvin. This stroller-friendly and wheelchair–accessible site has four kms of family-friendly trails that even the littlest legs can handle. Look out for all sorts of birds, waterfowl, mammals, and amphibians who call the marsh home.

In the town of Magog, there are restaurants and boutiques to visit, a fully revamped main street, the Magog Visual Arts Centre, pop-up parks, the Sunday morning public market, and beautiful lake views to admire.

And if you’re looking for a night or two away, the Municipality of Orford offers accommodations and restos where you can relax and rejuvenate. There are also antique shops and artisans to visit, and cycling and walking trails to explore. Try out the Sentiers de l’Estrie or the parc de la Rivière-aux-Cerises.

The Magog-Orford Flambée des couleurs program takes place on September 17, 18, 19, 25 & 26 and October 2 & 3, 9, 10, 11, 16 & 17.

For details of the Magog-Orford Flambée des couleurs activities, visit the laflambeedescouleurs.com website. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health measures recommended by authorities will be applied at each site to ensure the safety of visitors and employees.

Related read: Play and hike this fall in St. Lazare nature park