Guided Tour: Centre d'Interpretation de la Courge du Quebec
There are tons of places to pick pumpkins in Montreal – from your local grocery store to the nearest public market. But if you want to go right to the source, you head to the Centre d’Interpretation de la Courge du Québec in St. Joseph du Lac, about 45 minutes from Montreal. Though the name sounds academic, a family visit is really all about pumpkin baked goods, wheelbarrows and a two-storey treehouse. We didn’t even buy a pumpkin, and it was totally worth it.
The centre’s General Store has a casual lunch area, and a fancier restaurant with wine bar in the back. We happened to arrive around lunchtime, and enjoyed several of the squash-based dishes on the menu: squash soup, squash lasagne, spaghetti squash with sauce, chicken-squash wrap, pumpkin muffins, etc.
Outside the main building is the play area, which is like a dream backyard for kids. There’s the treehouse built around a large, old tree, plus tire swings and big see-saws. Forget about picking pumpkins for at least half an hour!
For a fee (about $5) kids can get pumpkins painted with faces or characters – check out Spider-Man!
When it is time to go out to the fields and pick a pumpkin (and pretty much any other kind of squash you can think of), grab one of the wheelbarrows. If your kids are about 6 and under, they will probably love hopping a ride. There is also a squash museum, which we didn’t go into.
Good to know: The area of St. Joseph du Lac is PACKED with apple orchards. On our way to the Centre d’Interpretation de la Courge, we passed Les Vergers La France, which caught our eyes because the music was pumping and it looked like a dance party was happening. The mascot (yes, mascot) Seedy the Apple does shows several times daily on weekends in the midst of a sprawling play area and mini farm. It’s like the Chuck E. Cheese of Apple orchards. Plus, there’s a swank pâtisserie (apple brownies!), coffee house and cidrérie. We couldn’t resist stopping there, and it was the opposite of our zen, rustic organic apple orchard experience.
Centre d’Interpretation de la Courge du Québec
839 Chemin Principale
St. Joseph du Lac