Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network / Réseau agroalimentarie de l'est ontarien

Route 2 - Small Town Charm


Route 2 - Small Town Charm

The short story: Come for the beautiful architecture of old historical houses, stay for the artisan food and drinks, farmers’ market, to pick your own fruits and the fun-filled activities with friends, your better half or the family!

With its seemingly endless fields on the edge of the Québec border, the peaceful surroundings of Prescott-Russell offer an abundance of attractions and local products. The region has something for everyone.

Vankleek Hill is a go-to location with its award winning brewery, Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., host of the Oktoberfest with an attendance of 20 000, its own museum, numerous heritage buildings, the Higginson observation tower, coffee shops, and the art mural.

The self-proclaimed Gingerbread Capital of Ontario for its gingerbread-style architecture, the Victorian houses are put on full display during the Christmas Home Tour, an annual event. You can discover the streets at all seasons, their beauty is incomparable.

This trip is perfect for history and architecture lovers looking to admire the unique charm of Vankleek Hill, and beer and food lovers interested local flavours. It’s also the perfect outing for families looking to hit the beach and enjoy the several activities Voyageur Provincial Park has to offer. Hop on!

Recommended travel dates: the months of July and August.

Travel area: Vankleek Hill and the surrounding area, Ontario.

Directions to Vankleek Hill:

  • From Ottawa: Hop on the 417 East, and exit for County Road 34 north to Vankleek Hill.
  • From Toronto: Let the 401 East take you almost to the Quebec border, exit at Lancaster and travel north on County Road 34 to Vankleek Hill.
  • From Montreal: Take the 40 West which then becomes the 417 West, and exit for County Road 34 north to Vankleek Hill.

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Day 1:

Begin at the Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market located at 79 Derby Avenue in Vankleek Hill, open from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. throughout the summer. You will find a selection of fresh, locally grown and delicious produce as well as handcrafted items. Thanks to the Vankleek Farmers' Market for the great photo.

Drop by in the morning for everything you’ll need for your next BBQ: lettuce, bread, grass-fed meat and deserts to top it all off. All of the vendors can be contacted to order ahead and pick up at the Market. Visit their website or their Facebook page to find out more about the vendors, cooking demonstrations, recipes and special events.



Stop for lunch or dinner at Vert Fourchette located at 117 Main Street. It is a local staple you don’t want to miss. Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the menu includes gourmet pulled pork poutine and burgers, tartare, asian bowls and the bistro experience.

Enjoy their creative menu, high quality food and service on their cozy patio. Reservations by phone or on the website are recommended. They will also continue to offer their take-out menu, coffee bar and delicious desserts for curbside pick-up.



Get your caffeine fix at the Broken Kettle Bakery & Barkery located at 52 Main Street. Owned and operated by a mother-daughter duo, they have a huge variety of muffins, all mixed by hand and made the old fashioned way. They carry Totem coffee, another local community staple. Enjoy lunch on their patio and choose from a wide selection of soups, salads and made-to-order wraps. They also have fresh baked bread made with only the best ingredients.

Try the customers favourite -- herbs and cheese -- or their old fashioned white or Tuscan olives and herbs, baked in a covered pot to get the perfect crust. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Accommodations

Stay at Voyageur Provincial Park located at 1313 Front Road, Chute-à-Blondeau. Nestled along the Ottawa River, Voyageur established in 1971 was first named “Carillon Provincial Park,” after a local inhabitant that established an illegal fur trade post, Philippe de Carillon. Many explorers, fur traders and voyageurs stopped in this area. The Ottawa River travellers had to pass through three sets of rapids a total of 13 km long: the Carillon Rapids, the Chute-à-Blondeau Rapids, and the Long Sault Rapids.

Today, the area is more peaceful but imagine yourself back in time when you are on the trails or canoeing. The park features four beaches. There are no lifeguards on the premises. All beaches in the park have sand as well as a marked and buoyed swimming area. There are also canoe and paddle boat rentals. Reservations can be made online or by phone. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week. The site will be accessible all summer from Monday to Thursday at no fee. They also offer a discovery program for the kids.


Day 2:

Begin at Stonehouse Vineyard, located at 21065 Lochiel Road in Alexandria, a 25-minute drive from Voyageur Provincial Park. Take the tasting menu and take in the peaceful surroundings on one of the patios or take the tour that includes all the history of the vineyard. They have a variety of tours and tasting packages available.

Visit their website to find out more and book your tasting. Hours of operation are Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.



Beau's Brewery has built up an incredible reputation over the years, located at 10 Terry Fox Drive in Vankleek Hill. The family-run, now employee-owned brewery opened its doors in 2006. You may already have had one of their beers or been to the Oktoberfest. A tour of the brewery, one of the Popsilos’ sites, is worth the drive. Sit on the patio for a beer and a bite.

This year, Sticky Cow Southern BBQ, another Vankleek Hill staple, will be partnering with the brewery to offer delicious eats on the patio. They will also host live music every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on a first-come first-served basis. No reservation. The hours of operation are Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Although the current trip suggestion has you visiting Beau’s on Sunday, there is no live music on Sunday so you may want to consider a visit on Saturday.)



Located a couple minutes away from Beau's Brewery, Ouimet Farms Adventure, located right across from the fairgrounds at 119 Main Street West in Vankleek Hill hosts another one of the Popsilos’ art pieces. The movement instigated by Jennifer Larocque and Mathieu Mault began during Canada’s 150th anniversary. Silos across Prescott-Russell have been turned into works of art. Two new murals were added last year.

Each farm has operating hours for the public to visit for closer viewing, but all artworks can be seen from the roadways. The Popsilos’ route can be done during a day trip or you can also enjoy the sites. The silos will impress both young and old.



End your day at Les fruits du Poirier located at 2535 Concession Road 3, Saint-Eugène. You can pick your own raspberries but also haskap and a variety of fruits to choose from that are not common at pick your own local farms. New varieties are available almost every week. They also host a variety of activities like cooking with haskap, honey harvesting and guided tours.

Friday night's Happy Hour is exclusively for 60+ and members to pick their own berries. General public access is on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., available for pre booking directly on their website. Visit their website or Facebook page to find out more about their activities, hours of operation and even recipes. Minimum fee of $20 for Pick Your Own berries.



Important note: Be sure to verify the information of every location you're planning on visiting before heading out as the hours of operation may change without prior notice due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Other attractions in Vankleek Hill

Garden Path Homemade Soaps

Vankleek Hill Vineyard

Higginson Tower

Wood Brothers Brewing Company (Alexandria)

La Belle Sorelle Bistro (Alexandria)


Do you want to join us and explore the flavours that this route offers?

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These routes are proudly developed by the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network to promote local food, beverages, and businesses! The EOAN is grateful for funding from municipal partners, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario.