The Great Northern

Following US‑2 through wide-open spaces is guaranteed to bring new meaning to the expression “getting away from it all.”

Montebello and Carillon

East from Hull, Hwy-50 runs as a fast freeway along the north bank of the Ottawa River before calming down into a two-lane sojourn along Hwy-148. About an hour east of Ottawa, 80 miles west of Montreal, the town of Montebello holds one of the region’s most famous landmarks: Fairmont Le Château Montebello (392 Rue Notre Dame, 819/423-6341, C$229 and up), an enormous octagonal palace built of red cedar logs that has evolved into one of Canada’s most exclusive hotels, frequently hosting international conferences by the likes of NATO, G7, G8, and similar power brokers. The grounds of the hotel hold an even more historic landmark, Papineau Manor, a manor house built in 1850 by a notable French-Canadian politician.

Farther east, 72 kilometers (45 miles) west of Montreal via sinuous Hwy-344, the roaring rapids at Carillon (pop. 258) have been harnessed by a massive hydropower facility and a lock system that provides the largest single lift of any in Canada—20 meters (65 feet). East of Carillon, Hwy-344 winds through sleepy farming country along the Ottawa River before ending up at the edge of the Montreal metropolis.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello (392 Rue Notre Dame)
Carillon