The popular idiom “looks can be deceiving” has some applicability to longtime NTA member Autocar Excellence, Excellence Charter. As its name implies, the Québec-based company does have a fleet of vehicles and specializes in transportation, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
“Our family has been involved in the group tour business with our motorcoaches since the 1970s, but in 1991 we had an opportunity to buy a genuine maple sugar shack from the famous hockey player, Guy Lafleur,” says Claudia Boissonneault, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Érablière Le Chemin du Roy is a typical sugar shack that’s located right in the middle of a maple grove and very close to Québec City. I think we have the one of most precious pieces of local history here.”
The original sugar shack was built in 1920, and it is still an active syrup-making site. During the March-to-April season a number of options are available, including production tours, meals, fresh maple taffy tasting, a musician who plays traditional songs, and more.
Chemin du Roy is open the rest of the year, too, and a visit includes a presentation about the maple syrup-making process and the history of the property. Following the tour, travelers sit down for a homemade meal and can enjoy live entertainment. The activity usually takes about two hours, depending on the group size.
“Maple syrup has always been part of our lives as French-Canadians, and it is important to keep our traditions alive, even in this modern era,” adds Boissonneault.
Top photo: Érablière Le Chemin du Roy
Photo by Érablière Le Chemin du Roy