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Music can be an ally when driving. You start by whispering the lyrics only to find yourself singing at the top of your lungs moments later. When your favourite song comes on, you sing even louder to try and give yourself the courage to continue hitting the road. Two hours later, you reach the end of your playlist. The only sounds you hear are the wind and the tires rolling on the road. The silence returns; it feels awkward at first, but ultimately you find some benefit to it. 

When you enter the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve, you feel yourself calming down. The further you go into the wild, the more your worries are fading. Lakes and rivers alongside the road give the landscape its tempo. The trees go by quickly unlike the time which seems to slow down. If you stop counting them, the miles will start to add up quickly. 

“We don’t hesitate to travel the same distance to visit the Lower St. Lawrence or the Lac-Saint-Jean region or even New York.” —Scouich.

La réserve faunique La Vérendrye
Ottawa River - Photo credit: Louis Jalbert.

When driving through “the park”, you can stop at Lake Norman waterfalls or Le Domaine, two of the many possible places to take a break. 

La réserve faunique La Vérendrye
Le Domaine - Photo : Louis Jalbert.

There are many places where you can stop and stretch before getting on the road again. You can make the most of your break by discovering the uniqueness of one of the greatest natural treasures of the province of Quebec. If you do stop for some outdoor activities, you will be so captivated by your discoveries that you’ll want to stay forever. 

“We truly appreciate the 4,000 waterbodies in La Vérendrye wildlife reserve,” says Jean-Daniel Petit, co-founder and creative director of abitibi & co. This is no surprise since the Cabonga and Dozois reservoirs are in the reserve and offer a unique potential for outdoor enthusiasts. There are also nearly 800 km of canoe-camping itineraries in the reserve. 

La Vérendrye
Photo: abitibi & co.

With the Ottawa River upstream, the water system is so vast that it extends outside the reserve up to the northwest and into Lake Timiskaming (also fed by the Kipawa River). After running several kilometres along the border between Quebec and Ontario, the Ottawa River practically retraces its steps and discharges into the St. Lawrence River. 

La Vérendrye

To get you going, watch the new video entitled “La Verendrye” by abitibi & co. in collaboration with Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The inspiring images captured in the video reflect accurately and precisely this strong feeling of loneliness that fills us when travelling through the reserve. To get there, the guys left the main road to find the spot: “After driving a hundred kilometres on the 117, we decided to take a turn on a dirt road leading to Lake Rodin. As we went deeper and deeper into the woods, we were surrounded by spruce trees and felt completely alone,” says Jean-Daniel. 

The result is outstanding. Jean-Daniel comments: “Trees, lakes, trees, lakes, trees, lakes… is the sequence you’ll see all along road 117. It is worthy of one of the great symphonies, but a mellow symphony that contrasts with the cacophony of the city. 

La Vérendrye
Photo : abitibi & co.
Nature will Reward the Bravest… 

The wildlife reserve was named after Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye (1685–1749), one of the main explorers of the North American continent during the New France period. He is renowned for undertaking many difficult trips. To succeed, he had to rely on the help of Indigenous people. 

In the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, relationships with First Nations are still very much alive. Last summer, this bond and the First Nations presence were highlighted by the inauguration of small cottages 100 km from Val-d’Or. This project was made possible by a partnership between SÉPAQ and the community of Lac-Simon. We are looking forward to making a tour next season. 

La réserve faunique La Vérendrye
Road 117 - Photo : Louis Jalbert.

In the meantime, La Vérendrye wildlife reserve remains a destination of choice for summer outdoor activities and snowmobiling during the winter. 

To [re]watch the video: 


La Vérendrye wildlife reserve on the SEPAQ website 

La Vérendrye historic file: Encyclopédie du Patrimoine culturel de l’Amérique française