15 Best Things to Do in Terrebonne (Quebec, Canada)
An off-island suburb of Montreal, Terrebonne sits along both the Rivière des Mille-Îles and the Rivière des Prairies just north of the large city. Still, it’s a city in its own right, as well as being Montreal’s fourth largest suburb.
Terrebonne is divided into three separate sectors, all of which have their own charm. Plus, the city as a whole has a lot of history, stunning scenery, and many things to see and do. It is easy to spend a few days here, taking in all that it has to offer. If you are planning on visiting, these are the 15 best things to do in Terrebonne.
1. Go back in time
The city’s Île-des-moulins was once one of the most important industrial complexes in all of Quebec. Today, it’s a historic site as well as a riverfront park complete with trails and picnic tables.
People of all ages are encouraged to visit the site to go back in time and learn what it was like to work on a mill or in a bakery in the 18th century. There are five buildings remaining today, one of which is now a museum that houses a rich collection of artefacts.
Île-des-moulins has guided tours all year, as well as offering art workshops for the kids. They also have annual events, like the Terrebonne History and Wine Festival, and Halloween on Île-des-Moulins.
2. Cycle around
Anyone that cycles will tell you not to miss the chance to cycle along the TransTerrebonne, which offers over 100 kilometres of trails. They trails start in the Parc écologique de la Coulée (Ecological Park of La Coulée) in the Terrebonne sector of the city.
Although it starts in Terrebonne, the northern section of the TransTerrebonne runs through the La Plaine sector. There is also a new section that runs for nine kilometres through the city’s Lachenaie sector.
A total of 26 kilometres is a family route that is suitable for all levels, while 24 kilometres of the trail is for expert cyclists. There also happens to be nine picnic areas and 21 rest stops along the trail network.
3. Attend a festival
The city hosts many throughout the year to celebrate the different seasons, holidays and life in Terrebonne. No matter when you visit, you are sure to be able to find a fun event to attend.
The most popular events take place around the Christmas holidays; the Salon des métiers d’art (arts crafts fair), the Terrebonne Christmas Market and the Christmas Concert of the Terrebonne Classical Orchestra. In the warmer months, enjoy the city’s massive garage sale, outdoor symphony concerts and family day celebrations.
If culture is your thing, be sure to visit the city in June for the Terrebonne is Arts event where over 200 artists display their work. You can also go to the theatre in one of the city’s parks!
4. Walk across water
You can literally walk across the Rivière des Mille Îles between the islands of Île-des-moulins and Ile Saint-Jean. You don’t actually walk on the water, but along the Moulin-Neuf dam.
The dam, which was built in 1979, has a pedestrian walkway, allowing visitors to walk right across the water. It’s also a great way to enjoy views of the river and the city’s riverfront.
The walkway is for pedestrians only and is a great way to get from one island to the next. They are not linked by a vehicle bridge, but both islands are linked to the rest of the city by road.
5. Play a round of golf
There are a few in the city itself, as well as right outside of it. What this means is that if you’re an avid golfer, or want to try your hand at golf, Terrebonne is a great place to do this.
The city is home to three golf clubs, all of which are in the Terrebonne sector. One of these is private (Le Mirage Golf Club), with the other two being semi-private.
The semi-private Terrebonne Golf Club boasts two 72-par wooded courses and is a favourite amongst many. Le Versant Golf Club features four courses, all of which are 18-hole courses offering different pars.
6. Be a fashionista
There is only one shopping mall in Terrebonne, but what a mall it is! Galeries Terrebonne is home to numerous international chain shops, as well as Canadian chains that European travellers probably won’t see at home.
Buy new beachwear at Bikini Village, lingerie at La Senza or trendy street wear at Ecko Unltd. Other names seen here include Vincent d’Amérique, Pentagone and Lilianne Lingerie.
A great thing about Galeries Terrebonne is that some of the shops here can only be found in the province of Quebec, making them fantastic for fashionistas that want something unique to people back home.
7. Go ice skating
Anyone that visits Terrebonne in the winter should definitely find the time to go ice skating; outside. In fact, there are nearly 60 outdoor ice skating rinks in operation throughout the city.
The city maintains these rinks, most of which are located within school zones or in high traffic areas of the city. They are open in parks in all three sectors, some of which even have two skating surfaces.
Joseph-Bourgoin Park, Vaillant Park and Armand-Corbeil Park are popular rinks in the Terrebonne sector, while Pierre Le Gardeur Park and Arc-en-Ciel Park are great if you’re in Lachenaie. Visitors staying in La Plaine should skate at Laurier Park.
8. Stare at outdoor art
There is public art all over the city just waiting to be discovered. Go for a leisurely walk and be inspired while staring at public art. Be sure to bring your camera, as these pieces are definitely worth snapping photos of.
Public art can be found on the walls of buildings, in city parks, along the riverfront and even at schools. They are made from wood, metal, aluminium, concrete and steel, amongst other things.
Norman Forget’s ‘At the Currents’ that stands at the Sophie Masson Bridge is made completely out of recycled metal beams, while ‘The Blow Flow’ by Linda Covit is constructed from plants, light and land at the Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne. Head to Île-des-Moulins to stare at ‘The White Lady’, ‘Five Tables…’ and ‘Duality’.
9. Ride along the river
The Rivière des Mille Îles is a beautiful river that is lined with parks, trees and city skylines. Enjoy the scenery by riding along this 42 kilometre river.
Passenger pontoon boats sail along the river, allowing passengers to enjoy the mesmerising scenery. Pass by castles, boating clubs, beaches and riverside bars with their jazz music being heard in the distance.
Cruises usually last around 90 minutes, running from mid-June until the end of September. Most leave from Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles on the opposite side of the river in Laval.
10. Hit the slopes
In Terrebonne this means the tobogganing slopes, and there are a few in both Terrebonne and La Plaine. Tobogganing is a favourite past-time for people of all ages, and what better way is there to enjoy a snowy day in the city than by hitting the slopes.
Centre de la Côte Boisée is one of the best places to slide down the slopes in Terrebonne, while Parc de l’Hémérocalle is where La Plaine locals like to do it. Other great spots include Parc des Vignobles and École De L’Étincelle.
Visitors that would rather go skiing can do so outside of the city at the nearby Parc du Domaine Vert or Parc régional de la Rivière-du-Nord.
11. Relax in a park
There are over 130 parks in Terrebonne, making it extremely easy for anyone visiting the city to spend time relaxing in a park. Whether you want to have a picnic, chill under a shady tree or go for a walk, there is a park here to do this in.
The majority of parks in the city are in the Terrebonne sector, although La Plaine and Lachenaie also have their fair share. Parc écologique de la Coulée is the city’s largest, offering picnic tables and a lovely hiking trail.
Parc Arc-en-Ciel is one of the more lively parks, what with its basketball courts, tennis courts, football field, baseball field, horseshoes and ice skating. Parc des Aînés is a quieter park with a picnic area and green space.
12. Enjoy the food
Although it’s a much less visited city than nearby Montreal, Terrebonne does not disappoint in the food department. In fact, the French cuisine here is magnificent.
Some of the best French food can be found inside the upmarket hotels, or head to the Restaurant Le Folichon that is located inside a historic house. There is also the impeccable Les Fous-Braques.
Foodies that wish to try other flavours are in luck, as Terrebonne is home to many other types of food. Italian, North American and Japanese is also available, as is pub grub.
13. Go to the theatre
Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne sits in in the heart of the historical Old Terrebonne and is a must for any theatre lover. The theatre shows everything from comedies to beautiful concerts, and even hosts a summer series.
Listen to live music, watch dancers glide across the stage or laugh to stand-up comedy. The theatre even has shows that the entire family can enjoy, especially during holiday seasons.
In total, Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne hosts around 350 shows per year, so there is sure to be one that you will enjoy.
14. Enjoy the city from above
You can literally soar 330 metres above Terrebonne, taking in all of its beauty from above. This is done from Aviation À Vol d’Oiseau, who operates a flying ultra-light airplane and gyrocopter.
This is a rare thing to do in Canada, although it’s been done in Europe since 1923! You get to see the entire region from above, giving you the chance to be awed by the St. Lawrence River, the peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, and the cities of both Laval and Montreal.
Tours are offered for 20-, 30-, 45- and 60 minutes, or you can create a customised package and go wherever you’d like within the region. You can also take this one step further and actually be a pilot for a day.
15. Be surrounded by nature
The 261 hectare Pointe-aux-Prairies Nature Park is the place to do this. Not only is home to several ecosystems, but also to 184 species of birds.
This truly is a nature lover’s dream, what with its 15 kilometres of hiking trails, 14 kilometres of cycling paths and various picnic areas. Plus, it’s also home to a nature centre, an art gallery and two observatories.
Pointe-aux-Prairies Nature Park is located at the easternmost part of the Island of Montréal, just a 20-minute drive away. It’s also possible to cycle here or to take public transportation.