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Top Five Winter Photography Locations in Val-d’Or

Top Five Winter Photography Locations in Val-d’Or

Ah, the joys of winter! Thankfully, the snow, sun, walks in the woods and our magnificent landscapes all help us to forget the cold. Winter is the perfect time to take in the scenery and capture the beauty that surrounds us.

Here are five wonderful places in Val-d’Or for taking photos of people in your life or capturing the landscape in images.

Le parc des Marais (Des Marais Park)

Des Marais Park, on Dennison Boulevard, offers some great scenery for photos. This beautiful space (green in summer and white in winter), its impressive stone sculpture, the gorgeous trees and two footbridges is a testimonial to the classic beauty of the Abitibi region in winter. The Park also makes a gorgeous backdrop for portrait pictures.

Le parc Belvédère (Belvédère Park)

tour rotary belvédère en hiver à Val-d'Or

Photo | Élodie Doua

Whatever the season, Belvédère Park on Sabourin Boulevard is a must. The Rotary Tower is a Val-d’Or highlight: it’s on top of a hill (great for tobogganing), surrounded by a forest. The lookout structure is 18 metres high and commands a view of the whole city. Some mine headframes can be seen on the horizon and there are beautiful lakes that freeze up in winter. The views will certainly not disappoint, and your photos are guaranteed to be fabulous.

Val-d’Or Recreational Forest

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Photo | Élodie Doua

The recreational forest is a place for movement, enjoyment, and family time and it also happens to be gorgeous! The iceway is a perfect place to take photos, while indulging in one of our favourite winter activities. The iceway is a frozen path that runs right through the middle of the forest for 2 kilometres. It’s even lit at night. There’s always a campfire going at the start of the iceway where skaters can warm up. Needless to say, opportunities abound for getting some shots of yourself on skates. The recreational forest is right near the airport.

Blouin Lake

Blouin Lake is one of the best-known lakes in Val-d’Or. A municipal dock makes access easy. The beauty of this place in winter is striking in its simplicity – a great expanse of white surrounded by forest. Val-d’Orians love ice fishing and this is one of the many spots available for it in winter.

Village minier de Bourlamaque (Bourlamaque Mining Village)

Standing as testimony to one of the most important chapters in the city’s history, the Village minier de Bourlamaque offers up awesome images. And when the Village is covered by a white blanket and it’s snowing out, the landscape is so magical that  it feels like being inside a snowglobe! This was the first village in the area surrounding Val-d’Or and the log houses still look the way they did at the time. The feel is very rustic in winter and a beautiful representation of Abitibi’s culture and heritage. A bright yellow mine headframe dominates the skyline at the old Lamaque Mine, now the Cité de l’Or.

Whatever the scene, be it man-made or natural, the winter here in Val-d’Or and Abitibi-Témiscamingue is definitely highly photogenic. Why here, particularly? Well, with the wide-open spaces, purity of the driven snow and stunning candyfloss sunsets and sunrises, a lot of the winning conditions are naturally present for gorgeous photography. All you have to do is choose a location and capture the beauty.

village minier de bourlamaque en hiver- cité de l'or

Photo | Caroline Gélinas

Five Good Reasons to Hire a Hunting Outfitter

Five Good Reasons to Hire a Hunting Outfitter

Perhaps your plans include some hunting this fall? Well, the season is fast approaching! Luckily, there are plenty of outfitters in the RCM of Vallée-de-l’Or and their services can make a big difference in your hunting experience. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a novice, here are five good reasons to hire an outfitter.

A Guide Makes Life Easier

As far as I can tell, of all the benefits an outfitter provides, a hunting guide is top of the list. A guide really makes life a lot easier.

 

Outfitting guides know the terrain like the back of my hand. They are readily able to get you to the hunting grounds, either by vehicle or boat. Guides are skilled at adapting their service style and approach to each and every hunter, veteran and newbie alike. A staff member at Fournisseurs du Nord, an outfitter specialized in bear-hunting, talked to me about hunters’ various different intentions and goals as they head out. Some want to head home with a hunting trophy, others with the first bear they see. Guides can help them to reach their objective, whatever that may be.

High Success Rate

Another great part about an outfitter is that everything is geared to maximize your chances of success. No one wants to come home empty-handed! Luckily, outfitters are based in areas that are ideal for hunting.

 

The hunting areas are usually baited. Fournisseurs du Nord does this with bears and so their success rate is 100%. What more could you ask for in a hunting trip?

Accommodation and Meals Included

It is customary for outfitters’ hunting packages to include room and board. Two things to take off your to-do list! Clean, comfortable chalets are easy to find through outfitters in the area. There is something for everyone, from rustic cabins to fully-equipped chalets. If you’re more of a camping type, a number of outfitters also offer campgrounds. And with meals included it’s stress-free! Makes for a much more pleasant hunting trip.

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a Cabin at the Matchi-Manitou outfitter

Meeting Kindred Spirits

During hunting season, many of the outfitters are full. It’s an ideal opportunity to meet other hunters who are also enjoying the benefits of dealing with an outfitter. You may even learn some tricks of the trade or be drawn to share a few of your own hunting tips.

 

It is also a great way to celebrate your success with others. Many outfitters, like Fournisseurs du Nord, celebrate hunters who got their animal. Your hunting trip could very well end on a high note, in a festive atmosphere.

Safety

With an outfitter, you’re always sure that someone is tracking the comings and goings of each and every hunter. At the Matchi-Manitou outfitter, there’s a staff member assigned to making sure that everyone has come back safely from their day hunting.

 

Outfitters’ hunting areas are protected. No squabbles, no other hunters on your turf (aside from other clients with the same outfitter). You can hunt with complete peace of mind.

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Lake Matchi-Manitou

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Top view of the Fournisseurs du Nord outfitter

Cover picture | Zachery Perry – Unsplash

Hunting outfitter in Val-d'Or
Geology 101: Follow the yellow brick road …

Geology 101: Follow the yellow brick road …

Come to Abitibi-Témiscamingue, specifically, Val-d’Or, and discover our very own yellow brick road. In this case, the ‘yellow’ refers to all the gold that lies beneath our feet when we’re anywhere near Highway 117.  Every time we take that highway from the eastern limits of Val-d’Or to the Ontario border, we are actually riding on gold! Yes sirree, the road actually runs along the Cadillac Fault, which contains abundant deposits of the precious metal.

Although no one I know has found the pot of gold (even though the average income here is among the highest in the province of Quebec), we can still follow the yellow brick road several times a day!

What is the Cadillac Fault?

Here’s the short course in geology: the Cadillac Fault, Cadillac Break or Cadillac-Larder Lake tectonic zone, refers to a major, mineral-rich geological structure in Quebec and Ontario. In the goldrush days, prospectors followed the fault in their search for the precious mineral and, to that end, built the road that is now Highway 117 along the Cadillac Break.  Which also explains all the mines you see along the fault line; there are hundreds of millions of ounces of gold buried underneath the road and in its vicinity.

The Cadillac Fault is about 320 km long and very rich in gold deposits, but it also contains silver, copper, zinc and many other minerals. In fact, it is one of the main gold structures in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.  The mines that sprouted up alongside the fault gave birth to the regional cities and towns of Rouyn-Noranda, Val-d’Or, and Malartic among others.

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Image of the Cadillac Fault, Source | L’ATLAS de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue [French only]

Discovering the mining industry

If you are as fascinated by gold as the prospectors were at the turn of the last century, I can recommend visiting two really interesting places where the mining industry and our age-old fascination for gold really come alive. You might begin at Cité de l’Or and the historic village of Bourlamaque where you can experience what the life of a miner was like and follow the history from the early days to modern times. When you’ve emerged from your journey into the workings of an old gold mine 300 feet underground, I highly recommend the Abitibi-Témiscamingue mineralogical museum (Musée minéralogique de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue).

Our underground wealth has meant that we’ve had to move not mountains, but entire neighbourhoods. Visit the Musée minéralogique and discover how a mining operation pulled it off then check out the museum’s breathtaking gold collection.

If you still haven’t had your fill of tales from the frontier, then, you could visit Canadian Malartic, the largest operating open-pit gold mine in Canada, which offers guided visits in conjunction with the Abitibi-Témiscamingue mining museum.

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While you are visiting the essay laboratory, you will have the chance to assist to a real gold melting! 

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The underground galleries of La Cité de l’Or

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During your visit at the Canadian Malartic Mine you will stop at the Employee’s post observation.

Become a miner for a day at the Cité de l’Or by travelling 300 feet underground, explore the mining village of Bourlamaque, visit the Musée minéralogique de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue and its impressive gold collection and experience firsthand the Canadian Malartic open-pit mine, so that you, too, can follow the yellow brick road!

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