Tuesday, April 14

New earth-friendly bike n'barge in Quebec riffs on Dutch tradition

Latitude 45 Nord lures ‘zoomers’ from May to October with ‘comfort deluxe’ from the seat of a hybrid bike and off-the-beaten-path charm of rural Quebec hamlets.

We just came across a cool, new slow-travel option based out of Valleyfield, QC that borrows a page from Holland’s bike-and-barge songbook—but improves on the formula.

It’s called Latitude 45 Nord, and it’s getting big buzz with zoomers—which is to say, boomers who aren’t quite yet ready to permanently install themselves in the recliner with a bowl of saturated-fat-whatever and a set of Blu-ray Rolling Stones concerts.

Latitude combines river and canal cruising with guided bicycle touring through the small towns around Montréal and along the banks of the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, the Ottawa and Richelieu rivers. Pedal between 35 and 65 km (22 and 40 mi) a day on comfy hybrid bikes, pass tiny très authentique rural villages along the way, then return to your ship, the Latitude Amsterdam, for a dinner of regionally-sourced artisanal food and wine, followed by a deep slumber in your cabin.

Repeat the next day, unless you need what competitive cyclists like to call a “recovery day,” in which case you can chill out on deck while the boat changes position to rendezvous with the rest of the group, which BTW is never larger than 16 people.

“We wanted to replicate the gourmet experience that you get with the ‘comfort deluxe’ barges in Holland in a place that is just as authentic, but very close to the Eastern Seaboard,” says Ronald Houde, the company’s president. “Most of our ports of call are smaller towns all-too-often forgotten on major tourist-driven circuits.”

courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission

Heritage workshop for francophones in Edmonton

Great Excursions’ Claude-Jean Harel will deliver a heritage workshop in Edmonton on Saturday April 18, 2009.

The session titled “Miser Sur Son Patrimoine” (tapping into one’s heritage) is intended for Alberta cultural tourism and heritage stakeholders seeking to develop stewardship initiatives that have the potential to contribute to the cultural industries, including tourism.

The all-day session in French will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Egge’s Barn, Fort Edmonton Park (Fox Drive & Whitemud Drive) in Edmonton).

Participants may register online.

Some financial assistance is available for distant participants.

For more information, call:

Isabelle Laurin, directrice des communications
Phone. : (780) 466-1680, extension 222
Cell. : (780) 904-5700