The river cascading over a cliff into the St. Lawrence is one of the most beautiful sights in the province—and at 27 stories high, the falls are almost double the height of Niagara's. The Montmorency River was named for Charles de Montmorency, viceroy of New France in the 1620s and explorer Samuel de Champlain's immediate commander. A cable car runs to the top of the falls in Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (Montmorency Falls Park) from late April to late October. During very cold weather the falls' heavy spray freezes and forms a giant loaf-shape ice cone known to the Quebecois as the Pain du Sucre (Sugarloaf); this phenomenon attracts sledders and sliders from Québec City. Summer activities include three via ferrata trails built onto the cliff.
The park also has a history. The British general James Wolfe, on his way to conquer New France, camped here in 1759. In 1780 Sir Frederick Haldimand, then the governor of Canada, built a summer home atop the cliff. The structure burned down in 1993, however, and what stands today, Manoir Montmorency, is a re-creation. Offering a stunning view of the falls and river below, it's open year-round, with a restaurant and terrace open in summertime.