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From the Biodome, Casino complex, and Botanic Garden in Montreal to Quebec City’s National Battlefields Park, Citadelle, and Capital Observatory, the metropolitan areas of provincial Quebec enlighten and entertain visitors.
In the second-biggest French-speaking city on earth, Montreal dazzles as a true cosmopolitan gem of the north. Be sure to visit the Montreal Biodome that now occupies the original velodrome structure built expressly for the 1976 Olympic Games. Meander through four captivating indoor ecosystems replicating a South American rainforest, North American forest, marine estuary, and polar zone. Watch carefully during your Biodome walk for animals ranging from fish to penguins that typically live in each environment. The five-story Casino de Montreal features a variety of restaurants including dinner shows, musical entertainment, thousands of slot machines, and more than 100 gaming tables. Natural offerings are best captured at Montreal’s Botanic Garden, which contains more than 30 themed gardens and 10 greenhouses, representing flora from France, China, Japan, and the Sonoran Desert. The Garden’s affiliated Insectarium is one of North America’s premier centers for observing and learning about bugs, bugs, and, well, more bugs.
From Montreal, drive northeast on Canada Hwy 40 all the way to the province capital, Quebec City. If you’re traveling Canada this year, take note that Quebec City, the birthplace of New France, celebrates its 400th anniversary, from January - October 2008 with commemorative stage performances, festivals, and unique cultural exhibits. At National Battlefields Park – The Plains of Abraham, you can view historic exhibits, go cross-country skiing, indulge in an old-timey “mystery meal,” see the Martello towers, and view a multi-media show, all at one fascinating location. Be sure to tour the Official Residence of the Governor General of Canada at the Quebec City Citadelle. The elegant home has been occupied by Canada’s governor generals since 1872. For the finest overviews of Quebec City and to learn about the area’s colorful history, visit the 31-story Capital Observatory. Breathe deeply. Say, “Ah.” Repeat.
; 877/BONJOUR, ext. 839.