My love of Parks Canada sites goes way back to our weeks-long cross-country trip my family took when I was just a wee 8-year-old.
From province-to-province, we stopped at iconic sites like Glacier National Park (where I unwittingly stuck my had in the frigid water to “test it out”), camped in the shadows of mountains at Jasper National Park and in the forests of Riding Mountain National Park, and explored our past at National Historic Sites.
Continuing the exploration with my own kids, for the past couple of years we’ve been touring Parks Canada sites located around Montreal including National Historic sites in Coteau-du-Lac, the Lachine Canal, Carillon, and our most recent visit to the Fort Chambly National Historic Site.
Located about 30 kilometres south of Montreal, the imposing fort dating from 1711 is set directly beside the Richelieu rapids and surrounded by a large treed park that’s perfect for an afternoon picnic.
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.
Our day-long visit was educational, fun, and hands on. The kids picked up Club Parka Xplorers booklets on-site and used them to help their exploration, and kids are also invited to download the Photo Missions App to find and photograph specific items found around the site. You can download the app for free before visiting and 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.
While some presentations such as the Soldiers, keep up the rhythm! exercise and the costume dress-up are on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, the self-guided tour of the Fort and its surroundings, followed by some relaxation and snacks in the park, is enough to occupy a half or full-day outing.
Did my kids love the Parks Canada site as much as enjoyed I did when I was their age? They sure did. And at the gift shop, I made sure to pick up a new hat for myself with the familiar Parks Canada beaver logo.
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.
- Fort Chambly is a short walk from the Chambly Canal National Historic Site, as well as numerous restaurants, ice cream parlours, and cafés. On your way home you can also stop for some local treats at Ferme Guyon.
Fort Chambly National Historic Site
2 de Richelieu St., Chambly, J3L 2B9
2021 hours of operation
June 21 to September 6, every day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 7 to October 11, Wednesday to Sunday and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The last admission is 45 minutes before closing time.
Daily admission rates
Adults 18 to 64 years of age pay $7.90, seniors 65 and older are $6.60, and youth 17 and under enter for free.
For more information, COVID-19 health protocols, and up-to-date information on the various tours and activities, visit pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/qc/fortchambly