Visitors hitting chilly or rainy weather during their cruise in “la belle province” don’t have to let it spoil their day. There are plenty of fun indoor activities to do when the conditions are less than ideal, or even just to get a break from the heat in the middle of summer. Art lovers, science geeks and history buffs hoping to stay warm and dry inside can find their fill of museums to visit in any of the nine ports of call along the Saint Lawrence River.
Gaze at masterpieces at the art museum
When thinking of art museums, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is certainly at the top of the list. With over 43 000 pieces in its collection, the largest art museum in Canada caters for everyone. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city has never been so inspiring!
Québec City’s Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is also worth a visit. Located on the famous Plains of Abraham battlefield, its four buildings (one of which was originally a prison!) host works of arts from the 16th century all the way to the present day. Recently, the museum has hosted exhibits showcasing paintings by Picasso and Frida Kahlo.
Have fun learning at the science museum
Whether your passion is science, technology, nature or energy, there are plenty of science museums to keep you busy. Montréal visitors can head to the Biodome to walk through the four ecosystems found in America. Once done, they can simply walk over to the Insectarium, the largest insect museum in North America.
The Musée de la civilisation in Québec City is also a great place to explore with the family. Its aim is to teach visitors about the human experience through its 10 live exhibits, some of which are permanent and most of which change regularly. The This is Our Story permanent exhibition is an absolute must see and features Indigenous men and women telling the story of First Nation and Inuit people in Québec in the 21st century.
Dive into the past at a heritage site
Historic sites are a great way to explore Québec’s cultural heritage, and to get to know some of the 11 Indigenous nations of the province.
Visitors alighting in Gaspé shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Micmac Interpretation Site of Gespeg and to meander through a faithful reconstruction of a traditional 17th-century village.
The Maison de la culture innue de Ekuanitshit is also a must for anyone stopping in Havre Saint-Pierre. Budding historians will want to take the opportunity to enter a traditional longhouse (or Shaputuan), while music enthusiasts can try their hands at playing the traditional drum.
The Huron Traditional Site at Wendake also features a reconstruction of a traditional village, and offers guided tours for anyone who wants to learn about this tribe’s way of life. And as a special treat, tourists can discover a cuisine inspired by the native terroir at La Traite restaurant straight after their visit.
Explore Québec’s history
The Québec province, despite its young age, has a rich and interesting history. At Sept-Îles’ Old Trading Post, guides and historians in period costume transport tourists back to the start of the French colonisation and discuss the fascinating role played by the fur trading industry.
In Trois-Rivières, visitors can follow the Saint-Maurice River to the Borealis Centre. Its state-of-the-art interpretation centre demystifies the pulp and paper industry and its famous floating logs, or “pitounes”.
While there, tourists should pop over to the Musée POP. The old prison, opened from 1822 to 1986, lets people experience what it was like to live there through a series of innovative interactive exhibits. Don’t worry, well-behaved visitors will be let out after their visit…
Whether they love art, history, biology, insects, astrology, trains, or even Barbie dolls, visitors enjoying a cruise on the Saint Lawrence River are bound to find a museum they can enjoy… Or two!
Find out more about the Cruise the Saint Lawrence sustainable development guidelines on our sustainability page.