How people feel about La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve can vary widely. It’s a very individual thing. For some, it’s an endless road to nowhere. For others, it’s a breathtaking area, rich in fish and game, where the opportunities abound for enjoying time in Nature with family and friends. Personally, I definitely belong to the second group. In fact, even when I’m just driving through it to get to points further south in the province, or heading home, I appreciate every single moment of my journey through the Reserve. My intention here is to encourage you to see the Reserve the way I do, to appreciate how beautiful La Vérendrye truly is. Here are seven strong points that I hope will be convincing enough…
1.Off the grid
Already, I can tell what you’re thinking (I’m a bit telepathic, just saying …), “Wow! Really?!? That’s not actually a plus!” Quite the contrary, my friend. Being out on the land without phone service or Wi-Fi, is a perfect opportunity to unplug, reconnect with Nature, your beloveds and the folks you are with.
2.The Rivière des Outaouais Bridge
The Rivière des Outaouais Bridge is really my favourite spot in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s one of my favourite places in the world! As you wind your way across the bridge, there’s a sense of hovering on the water. The River is incredibly wide at this point and you’re surrounded by water and peninsulas the whole time.
The Rivière des Outaouais Bridge
3. Lake Names
There are more than 4,000 lakes and waterways in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve, many of which have names that evoke the Indigenous communities in the area. Have fun trying to pronounce and read these beautiful names! It’s entertaining, that’s for sure!
4. Rest Stops
Rest stops are plentiful in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. Many of them have picnic tables, and toilets and some even have lovely beaches, so you can soak your feet. Stopping here is a great idea on a road trip with children, who get antsy sitting in a car too long.
Photo | Marie-Claude Robert
The beauty of La Vérendrye is positively breathtaking: waterways dot the landscape, flora is rich and diverse, and the imposing rocky outcrops give us a sense of perspective. If you take the time to appreciate the natural world around you, the journey no longer feels like an endless road to the middle of nowhere.
Johanne Vienneau, Executive Director of the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve, Abitibi-Témiscamingue Sector, describes the sunrises and sunsets there as ‘utterly sublime’.
For me, it’s the majesty of the white pine and the deep green of the spruce that really strike me. Definitely worth the time to take in.
L’un des magnifiques couchers de soleil dans la réserve faunique La Vérendrye.
Photo | Dominic Boudreault
6. The Shop at the North End
There’s a kiosk at the northern entrance to La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. The shop there sells some very handy things for anyone staying in the area: bait, firewood, bug repellent, etc. You’ll also find some great items with the La Vérendrye and SÉPAQ emblem on them: clothing for adults and children, accessories like ballcaps and hats, cards, beer glasses and more. Frankly, I cannot go in there without buying something!
7. Les Chutes Rolland (Rolland Falls)
The rest stop at Rolland Falls has been renovated so even if you stopped there as a youngster, it’s worth checking it out again. There’s a 2-km interpretive trail leading to the falls, with helpful information about flora and fauna in the area, the Algonquin First Nation and log driving. Better yet: it’s free!
In addition to these seven strong points, La Vérendrye offers a variety of ways of enjoying the area, such as fishing and hunting trips, campgrounds and chalet rentals. So many ways to explore the Reserve other than simply driving through it. To accompany and enhance your experience in this fabulous area, might we suggest that you crank up your favourite tunes? As an incentive, we are offering a bonus gift: here’s a playlist to add to your collection, featuring 10 local artists from Abitibi-Témiscamingue.