Vermonters flock to Quebec in the summer for its cities and serene natural beauty, but this summer the province is struggling with forest fires that have wreaked havoc;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>forest fires that have wreaked havoc on northern lands.
Smoke from the forest fires in Quebec and other Canadian provinces has crossed borders and caused extreme air pollution in several U.S. cities, including Burlington. But how much of a concern are the fires and smoke to Vermonters hoping to take a Canadian summer vacation? Here’s a deeper look at what to consider when booking a trip to Quebec this summer.
Where are the wildfires in Quebec?
As of July 3, there were 67 active fires in Quebec, three of which are out of control and 25 of which are high-priority. The closest large forest fires to Montreal are six to seven hours north by car. They stand a similar distance from Quebec City.
Recent weather has calmed the fires enough that wildlife reserves and forests are reopening and open fire bans have been lifted in all parks, according to Sépaq, Quebec’s parks and wildlife department. Certain national parks and reserves were closed during parts of June.
What is the air quality in Montreal and Quebec City?
Much like the conditions in Burlington, the air quality in Quebec’s tourism hubs is dependent on which way the wind blows.
Montreal and Quebec City have not had poor air quality every day this summer, but they had multiple days at the beginning and end of June where smoke lingered in the cities and caused “smog warnings” much like Burlington’s air quality warnings.
“Local authorities are constantly vigilant, keeping a close eye on the forest fire situation in the surrounding area,” Aurélie de Blois, spokesperson for Tourisme Montréal, said in an email Tuesday. “Montreal has an effective air quality monitoring systems. Readings are regularly taken to ensure that pollution levels remain within acceptable limits.”
Monitoring the air quality in the days leading up to a trip to Quebec is the tourists’ best bet to managing their expectations. Check these government websites to stay up to date:
Montreal and Quebec City summer happenings
Montreal has canceled some outdoor events and sports games this summer due to high smog levels, but decisions are made day to day. Ask hotels, parks and event planners for their policies on refunds before booking or paying to ensure you can get refunds in case of smog cancelations, and check official event websites if there is a smog warning.
Despite the threat of smog, the cities are still bustling with festivals, concerts and more. Check these five upcoming things to do each in Montreal and Quebec City this summer for inspiration.
Montréal Cirque Festival (July 6-16): Spectators can see circus acts on the streets in this international circus festival.
Festival International Nuits d’Afrique (July 11-23): This festival will celebrate Montréal’s Caribbean, Latin American and African diaspora through performances, workshops and other activities.
Just for Laughs (July 14-29): This comedy festival features comedy shows, street theater, plays and Broadway-style musicals and draws comedians from around the world.
Commiccon (July 14-16): Fans of sci-fi, horror, anime, gaming (in all forms), francophone comic books (bande dessinée) and English language comic books will gather for workshops, anime and film screenings, gaming, autograph and photo sessions, panel discussions and a costume contest among other activities.
Montréal Pride (Aug. 3-13): See drag queens and other performers, celebrate LGBTQ identities and dance to world-renowned DJs.
Festival d’été de Québec (July 6-16): The lineup for Quebec’s summer music festival this year includes Weezer, Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters, Zach Bryan, Pit Bull, Lana Del Rey and Green Day.
FLIP Fabrique’s traveling circus (July 20-Sept. 2): This mobile act of acrobatics, aerial arts, trampoline and juggling will perform at parks throughout the city from late July through the beginning of September. The name of the show is Vacance and will have a “summer camp of the 70s” theme according to Quebec City’s tourism website.
Fireworks on the St. Lawrence River (August 1-24): Every Tuesday and Thursday in August on the river in front of the Le Château Frontenac
New France Festival (Aug. 3-6): Be taken back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries in Old Quebec through music, historical activities, food, storytelling and reenactments.
Festibière de Québec (Aug. 17-20): Enjoy sampling over 500 beers from about 50 microbreweries, hear talks by brewery industry experts and enjoy a range of live music.
This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Quebec wildfires: What tourists need to know before visiting this summer
- Score Stellar Discounts for Your Last-Minute Summer Vacation With These Deals
- How to save money on your next short vacation
- Amazon Prime Day 2022 Travel Deals You Need For Your Next Adventure
- High Gas Prices Won't Get in the Way of a "Close-cation" With Whimstay, the Industry Leader in Last-Minute Vacation Rental Deals
- 25 top items for your Europe packing list for summer 2022