Les Jardins de Métis, Grand Métis, Quebec
Les Jardins de Métis is a magical place and a testament to a dream that has spanned generations of the Reford family. In the summer of 1926, Elsie Reford began transforming her fishing camp on the Metis River into a garden. Located 220 miles north-east of Quebec City, at 48.51º N. latitude, the gardens she created over the next thirty years were the northernmost in the eastern half of North America. Known to some as Les Jardins de Métis, to others as Reford Gardens, the gardens have become famous since they were opened to the public in 1962. Visitors come from all over the world just to see the blue poppies.
Gardening was by no means her first calling. From the early 1900s she had come to Grand-Metis to fish the pools on the river. She also rode, canoed and hunted. She continued fishing until
1926 when an operation for appendicitis intervened. Ordered to convalesce following surgery, her doctor suggested gardening as a genteel alternative to fishing. She was 54 years old. During the summer of 1926, she began laying out the gardens and supervised their construction. The gardens would take ten years to build. The construction would extend over more than twenty acres. When she began, with the exception of a flagpole, a cedar hedge and a tree-lined driveway, the property was barely landscaped at all. The hay was cut to provide feed for the horses. Flowerpots were arranged on the veranda. It was, after all, a fishing lodge.
Elsie Reford’s is a garden of character and it is also a gastronomic destination. Throughout the summer season, Estevan Lodge which was formerly Elsie Reford’s rambling home, hosts culinary events and showcases the marvellous ingredients of the southern St. Lawrence region. It’s there, from June to September, Chef Pierre-Olivier Ferry, a fourth generation chef with deep roots in Quebec, serves forth menus of extraordinary beauty using the most local of ingredients. Begin with the Métis Bloom Spoon (pictured at the left) or a salad of whelks with heirloom carrots. Continue with entrees like halibut in a lobster mushroom crust with a pickled daylily bud tartare sauce and roasted duck breast with alder and Charles-Aimé Robert maple sauce, created with the maple liqueur from one of Quebec’s earliest micro-distilleries. Desserts may be a lemon geranium tart or a simple bowl of strawberry soup with tarragon yogurt and lemon basil.
Les Jardins de Metis is one of about 250 restaurants participating in Food Day Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve your table.
Les Jardins de Metis est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs. Contactez directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre reservation.
Les Jardins de Mètis
200, route 132
Grand-Métis, Quebec G0J 1Z0
T: 418 775-2222
E: [email protected]