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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

foret récréative de Val-d'Or sentier de patin dans le bois

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

The Best Cocktail Spots in Val-d’Or

The Best Cocktail Spots in Val-d’Or

Because summer just tastes so much better on a sunny patio, a refreshing cocktail in hand, I decided to do some detective work and find the best spots to unwind in Val-d’Or. I headed out on a reconnaissance mission with my friend, Marguerite (not her real name) (just for the fun of it, I decided to give someone I know a fictitious name, because I could). We established some very specific criteria for our mixology research: originality, ingredient ratios, execution and, of course, the bartender. Here are our findings:

Bar Bistro l’Entracte

The urban lounge feel at Bar Bistro l’Entracte is perfect for sitting back and enjoying a good cocktail. There, you’ll find the most extensive cocktail menu in Val-d’Or and a beautiful offering of top-quality spirits. In addition to the classics, you’ll find some house creations. Among others are L’Entracte, made with Hendrick’s gin, apple juice, sugar, lemon juice and 7 UP. It sounds sweet, but it’s actually quite refreshing and subtle on the pallet. If it’s a sweeter drink you’re after, I suggest the Limonade l’Entracte, which offers a fruity, summery taste.

One of my top favs is the Long Island Iced Tea. It’s absolutely sublime – one of the best I’ve ever tasted! It has just the right amount of alcohol in it (enough so that you know it’s there, but not so much that you feel your oesophagus being disinfected on every mouthful).

The quality of execution is certainly a reflection of bartender Daniel. He’s a talented mixologist who has been with Bar Bistro l’Entracte for a long time. His expertise, charisma and talent make the drinks and overall atmosphere there a real treat to experience.

cocktails-entracte

During my mixology research with my friend “Marguerite”. While she was enjoying Long Island Iced Tea (the brown drink), I drank a Limonade L’Entracte (the orange cocktail).

Le Prospecteur Microbrewery

Although locally brewed craft beer is their speciality, Microbrasserie Le Prospecteur does a fine job on their cocktails too. With evocative names like La Grande pêcheuse (Come Hither) and Le Café du bûcheron (Lumberjack’s Java), most of their cocktails are original creations. Sweet or subtle, refreshing or comforting, the proportions are always just right. My personal favourite is a little number called the Frasilic, a mix of strawberries, fresh basil, vodka and sparkling water.

If you sit at the bar, you may get the chance to meet the lovely barman, Olivier. Not only is he funny and congenial, he has a wonderful talent for mixology and a great deal of imagination. In fact, challenge him to whip you up a surprise cocktail? I’m quite sure you won’t be disappointed.

cocktails-prospecteur

With its delicious locally brewed craft beers, Le Prospecteur offers tasty beer cocktails. The one on that picture is a suggestion of bartender Olivier.  🙂 

Special Mention to La Tanière – William J. Walter

If you’re one of those people who believes that if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself or you believe you’ve got potential as a mixologist, then I suggest you head over to La Tanière. In fact, even if you aren’t one of those people (you prefer that someone make you a good drink and serve it to you), I still recommend checking out La Tanière. (You can always resort to the DIY approach when you’re snowed in or back at home, unable to enjoy our delicious Val-d’Or cocktails.)

La Tanière is a purveyor of fine foods that sells William J. Walter sausage products, but also cheeses, deli meats, hot sauces, micro-brewery beers, the best sauerkraut in town and… – drum roll – a whole range of cocktail products! The shelves are stocked with simple flavoured syrups, lemonades, ginger ale syrup, colas or tonicBloody Caesar mixgarnishes and flavoured bitters, waiting to jazz up your drinks! All you need to do is let your imagination run wild! They also have all the essential bar accessories to make you feel like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. For instance, they sell a shaker that opens easily when it’s cold (the same model professional bartenders use), a strainer to get the fresh fruit juice out without any lumps or pulp getting into your glass, a pestle to crush lime, sugar and mint in your mojito and a long spoon to stir your martinis.

cocktails-taniere

The display shelving of all cocktail products at La Tanière offers a great choice and always new stuff. 

Classic, sweet, refreshing, subtle or girly: whatever your taste, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at these four great cocktail spots in Val-d’Or. My parting suggestion would be to trust in the bartenders’ passion, expertise and talent and let them surprise you!

Let finish this blog on a good note with a clip of the great movie of Cocktail . 🙂 

The Best Cocktail Spots in Val-d'Or