Latitude 46.502696, Longitude -73.711789
The observation site par excellence in terms of places "close" to Montreal. I loved this place because it is an excellent location to practice astronomy or astrophotography. Unfortunately, although it is two hours away from the big Canadian city, being on a mountain and having an almost complete southern horizon, having the Montreal to the Soth makes its light pollution affect a little bit. However, the advantages are enormous.
I discovered this place when I was looking for local advice on astrophotography; I was some kind of desperate to find a suitable location to stay all night an do astrophoto because it's hard to find a public place here in the surroundings of the Great Montreal Area. Then I got the idea of search for a group on the subject in facebook. I found a group called "Astrophotographie du Québec". When I entered, I noticed that someone was taking very good pictures in a place called "Saint-Zénon". I contacted him and I ask if I could go with him because I thought it was a private place that belonged to him but to my surprise it was a public place where you can go by paying 20 dollars.
The observatory is located in a place called "pourvoirie", which is an outdoor establishment that offers services for people who practice hunting and fishing. ( Outfitter ).
Once you arrive at the establishment, you will take a drive along a dirt road to the observatory, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
The place is fully equipped for astronomy with almost all the amenities:
- It has a shelter with 6 beds where you can rest.
- It is heated wood-heated.
- There are 3 flat platforms in cement to put telescopes.
- It has a dome observatory with a 14" telescope.
- It has an almost complete horizon to the south, east and west and to the north it is only surrounded by a little bit of trees.
- At the date of publication of this article, access to the site costs $10 dlls. It is possible to rent a bed in the shelter for $20 and if it is no longer available, they allow you to set up a tent for the same amount.
The only thing that doesn't count is electricity, so make sure you charge your batteries. In any case, you can go down to the reception to connect your chargers and recharge everything you need.
How to get there
Take highway 40 towards Quebec City. After passing Repentigny, take exit 122 to highway 131 north towards Joliette. At Joliette, take exit 14-East towards St-Félix-de-Valois.
As for the astronomical
As I said before, the only problem I find is that this place is to the north, so there will be some light pollution from the Montreal metropolitan area and nearby towns, even if it is two hours away. However, for what can be demanded of this area, I am not complaining about the skies I have seen there; but for someone more demanding in terms of sky quality I highly recommend the observation sites that are located to the south, in the Mont Megantic area.
If we take into account the balance between all aspects such as sky, good horizon, facilities, services and comfort, this is and excellent location.