Culinary, Culture, Museums and historic sites, Shop local
How about an excursion to the charming locales of St. Claude and its vicinity? Let's embark on this guided journey! The itinerary promises a day filled with exciting activities and exploration.
We start our itinerary of the day in St. Claude. For the keen-eyed, you will have noticed along Highway 2 that the city sign displays the colours blue, white and red… like the flag of France! St. Claude, Manitoba is twinned with Saint-Claude in Quebec and Saint-Claude in France, the city where some of the first Europeans who settled in this region in 1892 originated. The nod to the link between the two countries is a huge statue of the pipe, which can be found on both sides of the Atlantic!
Once the photos are complete, head to the Manitoba Dairy Museum. This small museum is extremely rich: we learn that the region had dairy farms, we follow the evolution of technologies and farming families. There are many ancient artifacts and the panels are very informative.
The museum also includes a school from the 1930s and 1940s, the old village train station which houses an exhibition on the First World War, a church reconstruction (by the way, if you like architecture, do not miss the church of St. Claude which was designed by the great architect Étienne Gaboury), a stable and a general store. There is enough to spend hours there, for adults and children!
St. Claude is also hosting another museum: the St. Claude Gaol Museum. The story of this small cabin built in 1912 is really interesting but I do not want to reveal its secrets. Just know that:
It’s time to eat. In St. Claude, for a more traditional on-site meal, there is the Tallboys restaurant. But on a road trip, eating on the patio is more fun, so I recommend you continue to Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes to stop at Big Al Burgers. This drive-in is an institution: the portions are very generous and everything is homemade.
Cardinal is a must for fans of Gabrielle Roy. It is where she taught early in her career and the beautiful church exhibits excerpts from her works, as well as a series of photographs recalling the time when the railway flourished in the area.
At random small country roads, I recommend you make a small detour to see St. Lupicin. This tiny village organized around a simple intersection has an art gallery, a beautiful church and not far away, the VaVaVoom garage is the delight of collectors around the world.
Then take the 244 heading south because you don’t want to miss the scenery. The typical Manitoba fields (at the end of July, the canola was in bloom, it was so beautiful!) suddenly give way to steel giants. There are 63 wind turbines all around St. Léon.
To learn more about these 80-metre machines, you can stop to read the explanatory panels on Messner Road, or at the St. Léon’s Interpretive Centre. This small museum is full of activities for children and will explain all the particularities of the region: its winds, its soils… and its salamanders. You can even observe two specimens and enter a wind turbine!
Once your visit to the museum is over, you can grab a children’s fishing kit to discover the bottom of the pond or head to the observation tower and the five-kilometre trail that goes around it. It is part of the 28,000 kilometres of the Trans–Canada Trail and can be used in all seasons. In any case, in summer, do not forget your binoculars if you like birds and your mosquito repellent!
Written by Kenza Zaoui