Through the center's glass windows, I could see the cascade already - a torrent of white angry water hurtling down over a cliff. Having been to Niagara Falls twice before, I tried to mentally juxtapose the two falls in order to appreciate the difference in height. At 272 feet, the Montmorency Falls is a full 99 feet higher - something which is trumpeted with pride by park staff. Never mind if it's obviously narrower.
Only 12 kilometers away from Old Québec, the falls is a popular side trip for visitors to the city. It is open year-round - from summer where the plunging water is illuminated at nights, to winter when the freezing spray at the base turns into a so-called pain de sucre (sugarloaf) mountain of ice. Roads and bike paths lead to car parks and bike racks at the top and bottom of the falls.
There are two options to go up from the Visitor's Center: one through stairs wet with mist on the cliff side or through an aerial tram for 10.95 CAD return/8.95 CAD one way. My traveling companions weren't keen on the slippery 487 steps to the top so I just went along willingly since they were paying for the tickets anyway. The packed tram groaned as it slowly climbed up, affording us excellent views of the falls. Secretly however, I was wishing I was on the stairs instead.
At the the top, we had to walk past Manoir Montmorency, a reconstructed former summer residence of an 18th-century British Governor General and now a popular venue for weddings & events. A concrete path meanders through a wooded side of a cliff before emerging to a set of stairs leading to a suspension bridge spanning the crest of the falls.
Crossing this bridge was certainly the highlight, offering a spectacular perspective not oftentimes seen in many other waterfalls. There we were standing just a few feet above the waters of Montmorency river as it plummets down below to join nearby St. Lawrence River - one of North America's major waterway. Given the vertiginous view at this point, it is obvious Montmorency Falls has got what it takes to end up taller than its bigger cousin in the US/Canadian border.