The Bear visits the Charlevoix region

Here’s Junior Bear on top of Le Massif last Easter weekend.

It was an exceptionally warm day.  Temperatures were over 20 °C, and people were skiing in shorts (myself included)

Le Massif has the highest vertical drop (2425 ft.) of any Canadian ski hill east of the Rocky Mountain.  It’s located about 75 km east of Quebec City.

This is part of the Charlevoix region, an exceptionally beautiful area in Eastern Quebec, where rolling mountains meet the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River.

The scenery is quite stunning.   From the top of the hill, you can look northeast and see Ile aux Coudres, about 20 km alway.

The island itself is about 5 x 11 km, to give you an idea of the scale.   It can be accessed by ferry-boat, from St. Joseph de-la-Rive.

The ski hill is located right next to the navigation lanes of the St. Lawrence Seaway, so it’s not uncommon to see ships passing back and forth during the day.    As far as I know, this is the only ski hill where you can look down on ocean-going vessels thousands of feet below you.

Who knows where these ships are going?   As far west as Thunder Bay, Ontario?     Or Duluth, Wisconsin?

Anyway, the ski hill ends quite abruptly at the river’s edge, right at the town of Petite Rivière St. Francois.

The river is on the verge of becoming the ocean, at this point.  The water brackish…not quite salty, not quite fresh.

And yes, there definitely are tides.

One of the highlights was some guy who apparently had a pet fox who liked to hang out around his house.

The critter didn’t seem to be too concerned over “rush-hour” traffic.

While we were in the area, the Bear and I also did a side-trip to check out Baie St. Paul.

And also Ste. Irénée

PS:   In case you haven’t noticed, pretty much every town east of Montreal has “saint” or “sainte” in its name.   (Either that, or “Notre-Dame”)

I think it must be mandatory, or something.

It just goes to show how prominent the Catholic Church was, when Quebec was first settled in the 1600-1700’s.

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19 Comments on “The Bear visits the Charlevoix region”

  1. Brett Legree Says:

    Was someone holding the bear for ransom in that railroad track photo?


  2. Friar Says:

    Naww…and from the looks of those tracks, I’m not even sure they’ve been used recently.

    Though apparently there’s talk about running a train from Quebec City to La Malbaie, where there’s a casino. (Oh, wonderful).

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    It is pretty sad when the only business that could potentially make a railroad profitable is a casino!

    (Of course I could see the government using tax money to pay for the train… then taxing the casino revenue, of course.)

  4. Friar Says:


    What else would there be to do in La Malbaie, anyway?

  5. Steph Says:

    I love that fox!!! I have yet to see one in real life.

  6. XUP Says:

    I like the word “brackish”. Do you know that the Amazon river dumps so much fresh water into the Atlantic that the ocean is actually brackish for hundreds of miles?

  7. Friar Says:


    We have some tames ones at work. They’re so used to people, you can almost pet them.

    I read that somewhere, about the Amazon. That would be pretty amazing, so still have some fresh water, out of sight of any land.

    For Quebec, the boundary where the true salt water begins is at Tadoussac. That’s where the cold fresh water of the Saguenay River mixes with the St. Lawrence. It forms song kind of unique current/water inversion that’s good for the little fishies. And all the bigger critters that like to eat them. Hence, that’s where all the whales (and whale-watchers) like to hang out.

  8. Hiya DF
    I saw on FB that no one was reading your blog posts so I stopped by to read it. Love the pictures. I live near a ski resort (Winterplace, WV). I got a little afraid when I saw the pic of the fox. I was hoping that you kept the little bear out of sight when that fox was around. Whew! I saw more pictures of little bear after the picture of the fox so I’m assuming that he was not fox-food.


  9. Karen Swim Says:

    Hi Friar! These photos made me long for vacation, they were so peaceful and serene, I could use a bit of that! Although, with just a tad more sunshine 🙂 Did the bear survive? 🙂

  10. Friar's Mom Says:

    @ Wee Friar,

    Your post takes me back decades ago when your dad and I skied Le Massif. We were really impressed with the challenging skiing, the length of the trails, and the awesome view of the river and ocean vessels.

    At that time, Canada was in the process of bidding for 1988 winter Olympic Games. Quebec City was in the running and proposed Le Massif as the skiing venue. Le Massif met the necessary criteria for the slalom and giant slalom venues; however, it did not have the length requirement for an official downhill race.

    To solve the problem Quebec proposed to build a ramp into the St. Lawrence River to provide the necessary length for the finish area for the downhill race. This structure would have to go through town of Petite Rivière St. Francois, at the foot of the hill. We actually saw the mock-up model.

    Quebec’s plan was not accepted and Calgary hosted the 1988 Olympics.

    You too can learn from Friar’s Post.

  11. Friar Says:


    Hey! Thanks for checking me out.

    The fox came really close…within 2-3 feet. I got photo of him, but he was trotting by me, and I just got his body and tail in the picture. (Too bad!)

    I like to look up ski resorts on the Internet. So yes, I DO know where WinterPlace is!

    Suprising to see so few ski resorts South of the Mason-Dixon line. I suppose despite the mountains, the winters are probably too mild.

    Though there is one ski in Cloudmont, Alabama, believe it or not!


    Oh, don’t let the snow fool you. There was plenty of sunshine. In fact, it was downright HOT. Temperatures were well into the 70’s.

    People were mostly hanging out in shorts (even bikinis) at the lodge, drinking beer outside.

    The Bear had fun…but he had to stay in the knapsack while I was skiing down the hill.

    @Friar’s Mom

    At the top of the downhill ski run at Le Massif, there’s a small man-made hill, where it seems the skiers climb up by stairs.

    I wonder if was the solution to adding to the hill, to make it a little bit longer?

    PS. We don’t necessarily learn from Friar’s Posts. We learn from Friar’s MOM! 🙂

  12. Friar's Mom Says:

    @Wee Friar,

    You mentioned the man-made hill at the top of Le Massif, and curious person that am; I found out that there have been sanctioned downhill races held at Le Massif. Le Massif is known as a steep and intimidating course.

    Eric Guay, from Quebec, has competed in downhill races at Le Massif. He ranked fifth in downhill in the 2010 Olympics.

    So I learned from your post. The plan to build a ramp into the river was scrapped and instead they build a mountain on a mountain.

    Is that the same as making a mountain out of a mole hill?

  13. Eyeteaguy Says:

    I read your post. And I commented. Happy now?

  14. Donald Mills Says:

    That Baie St. Paul looks quite lovely.

    I’m going to have to find you the link to this Eastern Eurpoean chap that commented on my blog a while ago. His blog is written in some Eastern European language (I hear there is more than one) and while I have no idea what the Hell it’s about – it seems to figure largely around some stuffed squirrel being photographed in nightclubs, with celebrities and in front of tourist attractions around the world.

    He’s no “bear” mind you but it is rather amusing.

  15. Friar Says:

    @Friar’s Mom

    I wanted to try the downhill run. It’s called “Le Charelvoix” and it’s supposed to have places where there’s a 65 degree incline. It’s a “Triple Black Diamond” (Whatever that means).

    But the trail has mostly brown. Too close to the end of the season. I’ll have to wait till next time.


    Well…just so long as it’s a SINCERE comment, and not a Pity-Comment.


    That sounds like an interesting chap. But I wonder if he got that idea from me. I’ve been taking travel photos with my Bear since 1993.

    I’d be interested in seeing that link, though, if you can find it.

  16. Davina Says:

    Hi Friar.
    Popping in ta say hi. My fav pic here is the one where Bear is sitting on the rocks and quite camouflaged. Would have been cool to build a rock tower beside him (can’t remember what those things are called). Nice of you to not tie him to the railway tracks. 🙂

    Looks like you had a good adventure exploring and snooping around. I used to do that with friends just north of Toronto. There were some cute, quiet little spots to explore up there.

  17. Friar Says:


    Actually, some people had just built a few of those Inukshuks, just adjacent to Junior. But I wanted the photo fo the Bear by himsel.f.

    But I wouldn’t tie him to the tracks. Maybe a squirrel…yes. But a bear…NO.

  18. Davina Says:

    Inukshuk… yes, that’s it! Thanks. I Googled the name so I’d look more intelligent, but couldn’t find it. Friar’s Mom is right, you can learn things on the Deep Friar.

  19. […] Visit to Le Massif About a year ago, I wrote a post where I went skiing at Le Massif, which is about an hour northeast of Quebec […]

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