Best Places for Whale Watching spots Near Montreal Must Visit
If you live near Montreal, Canada, there are many places where you can enjoy whale watching. It may seem like a strange pastime, but it’s actually quite fascinating.
If you’re looking to go whale watching near Montreal, you’re probably wondering if there’s a difference between whales and dolphins. As you might guess, there is a huge difference between the two marine mammals.
While whales and dolphins both belong to the same group of animals called cetaceans, they are very different in almost every aspect.
Best place to see whales in Canada
Depending on when you’re planning to visit Canada and which whales you’re hoping to spot, I can make some suggestions.
There is a designated whale-watching season in Canada, but your odds of spotting a certain species may change based on where you travel.
Whale Watching from Montreal
There are more opportunities to watch whales in Canada than just British Columbia. Canada’s Quebec province is a great place to go whale watching from May through October.
This two-day trip to the Baie-Sainte-Catherine, a mecca for beluga whales in Canada, comes highly recommended.
Aside from seeing the majestic blue whales of Canada, you’ll also get to see the picturesque town of Charlevoix, famous for its medieval windmills.
Whale Watching from Vancouver
I’ve compiled a list of the top whale watching trips in Vancouver, but in short, this part of Canada is a great spot to go whale watching.
We took the Prince of Whales Canada tour, and it was fantastic. We saw killer whales, humpbacks, seals, and even bald eagles on our 5-hour cruise that set sail from Granville Island in Vancouver.
Vancouver Island in Canada is a great place to go kayaking, whale watching, or taking a seaplane or zodiac trip. This western part of Canada is one of the greatest places to go to observe Killer whales.
Whale Watching from Victoria BC, Vancouver Island
Among the greatest whale-watching in Canada may be found in Victoria, British Columbia.
This 3-hour excursion into the Salish Sea from downtown Victoria comes highly recommended. It’s reasonably priced, and you’re assured of seeing whales.
Orcas, minke, grey, and humpback whales are all regulars in the seas around western Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Because Victoria, British Columbia is such a fantastic spot for whale watching, we devoted an entire guide to the activity.
Whale Watching from Quebec City
Also ideal for whale viewing is Canada’s Atlantic coast. For those interested in whales, Quebec is home to a plethora of whale-watching trips.
Tours of whales in Canada are a popular attraction in Quebec City. This full-day excursion is one of several that visit the krill-rich St. Lawrence Estuary.
This makes it a prime location in Canada for whale watching, especially for the minke and beluga varieties. The big blue whale, which weighs over 220 tons, may potentially make an appearance.
Whale-Watching in Tadoussac
Québec’s Tadoussac, situated at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers, is a stunning seaside resort. With the creation of this marine park, Canada now has an ideal location from which to see whales.
At Canada, you may observe beluga whales in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park since the waters attract a colony of them every season.
This inflatable zodiac boat trip is excellent because it allows you to get close to the whales without interfering with their environment. You can also observe humpback whales and harbor seals, in addition to the belugas.
Whale-Watching in Newfoundland
Eastern Canada’s Newfoundland is a prime location for whale viewing. It also has the greatest humpback whale population in Canada and the whole globe.
Blue whales, sperm whales, minke whales, and orcas may all be spotted in the Atlantic from May to September.
Many kinds of seabirds call this area home, and you may see some of them on this tour of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Expect to see more than just humpbacks, fin whales, and dolphins on your trip.
Best time to see whales in Canada
There is no single “ideal time” to go whale watching in Canada; rather, it is dependent on the species you hope to view. For instance, the summer and fall seasons in Canada are ideal for viewing orcas.
Generally, the best time of year is between May and September, however there are always outliers. Grey whales can be seen in the spring off the coast of Vancouver, and some minke whales remain in Canadian waters all year.
Whale watching trips are only offered at times when it is extremely possible that whales will be spotted. Most tour companies will enable you to retake the tour for free until you do.
To find out if a certain day is a good time to observe whales in a given location of Canada, one simple option is to see if any excursions are offered on that date.
Types of whales in Canada
Canada is a great place to go whale watching because there are so many whale watching cruises available. Seeing whales in this nation is a matter of geography, as the country runs from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The most frequent examples include:
Humpback whales in Canada
Both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Canada often host pods of humpback whales. These whales are the most visible of all in the United States and likely the entire planet.
When it comes to whales, these baleen whales are among the most enjoyable to watch. Even though they spend a considerable amount of time underneath the water, the moment they finally reach the surface is a breathtaking one.
Their loud panting can be heard as they surface for air, and the sight of them breaching and slapping their tails is remarkable.
- Humpback whales can be spotted in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans off the coast of Canada.
- As for when to observe humpback whales in Canada, you may do so in the late spring and late fall off Vancouver Island.
Blue whales in Canada
In contrast to the friendly belugas, blue whales don’t care much about humans and tend to go about their business below the water’s surface.
If you join one of the Quebec cruises I recommended, you still could get lucky and see the world’s largest animal while whale-watching in Canada.
You could possibly get lucky and see one of these migratory giants in the Pacific, but don’t get your hopes up; it’s quite unlikely.
While blue whales may be spotted in both the Pacific and Atlantic, the best sites to see them in Canada are the northern seas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the east coast of Nova Scotia.
There is no set time of year to go whale watching in Canada; blue whales can be spotted at any time, depending on where you go.
In the summer, you may spot them all across the Atlantic region, from the north to the south. This includes the Davis Strait and the southern coast of Newfoundland.
Orcas in Canada
When you go orca viewing in Canada, you may expect to observe the whales in groups called pods, similar to the dolphin pods you may encounter.
While still classified as whales, killer whales are more closely related to dolphins than to other whales.
Both migratory and permanent orcas frequent the seas off of Canada, with the former preferring a diet of small animals to the latter’s primary fare of salmon.
During the summer and early autumn, you may spot them in the Atlantic and Pacific.
- Orca sightings on Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
- Seeing orcas in Canada is best in the summer and fall. The seas off the coast of British Columbia are home to a population of resident killer whales.
Minke whales in Canada
The dorsal fins of minke whales and orcas are very similar, so it’s possible to get them mixed up while whale-watching in Canada. A minke’s fin is smaller and located further back on the body.
You won’t be as likely to spot this elusive species on a Canadian whale-watching trip as you would an orca since they spend so much time below the surface.
Similar to humpback and blue whales, minke whales are baleen whales that subsist mostly on plankton and krill.
Some minke whales live in the Canadian seas off Newfoundland all year round, while they are also frequently spotted in the Atlantic and Pacific.
Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada are the best places to spot these whales.
Some minke whales may be spotted in Newfoundland waters all year round, making it an ideal destination for whale watching in Canada.
Beluga whales in Canada
Located in Canada, beluga whales are easily recognizable by their melon-like heads and pure white coloring.
Additionally, these toothed whales are known for their sociability and may be seen in the seas along the coast of Tadoussac, Quebec and the Arctic Ocean.
Unfortunately, belugas are one of the most often maintained whales in captivity due to their endearing nature and adorable looks.
Please choose a reputable whale-watching cruise over an aquarium display if you’re interested in seeing these magnificent marine mammals.
Canada’s Atlantic coast is the best place to spot these whales (Arctic Sea, Hudson Bay, and Saguenay-St. Lawrence estuary)
There is never a bad time to visit Canada to watch beluga whales.
Pilot whales in Canada
Pilot whales, which resemble belugas but are entirely black in color, can sometimes be seen off the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Unlike their short-finned cousins, long-finned pilot whales prefer the cooler waters of Canada. Pilot whales, like orcas, are more closely related to dolphins, and their attitude reflects this.
- The Atlantic Ocean is the best place in Canada to spot these whales.
- Pilot whales may only be viewed in Canada throughout the summer and early autumn.
Dolphins in Canada
Last but not least, dolphins may be seen on nearly every whale-watching cruise in Canada. It’s possible to see dolphins, porpoises, and whales off the coastlines of every state.
The Pacific white-sided dolphin is a common sight off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, often traveling in groups with pods of killer whales.
- Canada’s dolphins may be found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- Where and when to see dolphins in Canada: they’re here all year (more likely in late spring, summer, and early fall)
1. Mer et Monde Écotours.
Address: 20 chemin Jalbert, Les Bergeronnes
33 campsites for $35/night; 5 tents set up and ready to go for $129. The areas closest to the ocean are off-limits to youngsters under the age of 11 due to safety concerns.
There are fire pits, picnic tables, and fantastic whale watching, but you will need to bring your own water to drink.
2. Camping Paradis Marin.
Address: 4 chemin Émile Boulianne, Bergeronnes
There are 148 campsites available for $30/night, 8 cottages for $85/night, and an observation area for $8/person or $18/family.
The views are comparable to those at Mer et Monde, but there are additional conveniences available, such as a washing room and a café near the river.
3. The Marine Discovery Centre.
Address: 41 rue des Pilotes, Les Escoumins
$3.90 per child, $7.80 per adult, $19.60 per family
4. Cap de Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre.
Address: Road 138, Les Bergeronnes (25 km northeast of Tadoussac)
Pricing breaks down to $3.90 for kids, $7.80 for adults, and $19.60 for a family of four.
5. Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre.
Address: Road 138, Baie-Ste-Catherine
$2.90/youth, $4.90/adult, $14.70/family
If you pay the upgraded cost at the Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre and the Marine Discovery Centre, you can visit all three attractions on the same day.
Pointe-Noire and the Marine Discovery Centre both provide panoramic coastline paths with viewing locations and telescopes, while Cap de Bon-Désir is home to a historic lighthouse and offers guided tours and activities by the ocean.
Divers using cameras at the bottom of the St. Lawrence stream live footage to the Marine Discovery Centre.
We hope you enjoyed the list of the best places to go whale watching in Canada. If you happen to live in or visit Montreal, Quebec, we would love to hear from you.
Comment below and let us know where you would recommend visiting whale watching spots near Montreal.