If you’re looking for a family-friendly outing this spring or summer, Fort Chambly National Historic Site makes a great day trip with the kids. And after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, all its regular activities will once again be on offer when the site opens on May 21.
Located about 30 kilometres south of Montreal, the imposing fort dates from 1711 and is located beside the Richelieu rapids and surrounded by a large park — perfect for an afternoon picnic or game of tag.
Designated a national historic site in 1920, the fortification features the restored main components of the original architecture and the indoor and outdoor installations offer a look into the lives of the French soldiers who worked and lived within its walls during the era of New France.
Families can watch the exciting presentation Soldiers, keep up the rhythm!, which is a military drill that was practiced between 1704 and 1755. Also, discover more about the history and architecture of the fort with a guided tour, check out the uniforms that soldiers wore (and maybe even try one on), or test your knowledge by taking part in a quiz.
Videos, models, 3D recreations, sound clips, and artifacts are located throughout the fort and walking around both inside and outside of the thick walls is an interesting way to observe the past.
During a pre-COVID visit with my two kids, we enjoyed a day out that was educational, fun, and interactive. Pick up a Club Parka Xplorers booklet on-site and use them to help kids’ exploration, and download the Photo Missions App to find and photograph specific items found around the site. Kids receive a small reward once one or both activities are completed. Parks Canada staff are on hand to greet you and tell you about the various activities available or to answer questions.
After visiting the fort, you can have a picnic in the surrounding park, enjoy a walk along the river or bring your bikes to ride the 20-kilometre trail that winds its way along the Chambly Canal . The fort is also located within walking distance of the lovely town centre where you’ll find cafés and restaurants.
Things to note:
The fort is accessible with ramps and an indoor elevator to the second floor. There is room to maneuver inside with strollers.
Wheelchair-accessible tables are available on the park grounds.
Parking is free and located right off the main road, and a short walk from the fort entrance.
The fort is located at 2 de Richelieu St., Chambly. Admission is $8.50 for adults and free for youth 17 and under. For more information, visit pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/qc/fortchambly.