Driving to Quebec or Montreal From New England

Quebec City is in the Canadian Province of Quebec, and your GPS knows the way if you enter the destination correctly. Here is what your GPS won’t tell you when you’re driving to Montreal or Quebec City from New England.

From New England

From, Boston and Hartford, you will be driving all the way to Quebec City via limited access, interstate highway (or via “autoroute” as the interstate highways are called in Canada).  Eventually, you will arrive at the Quebec border on Interstate 91, where Derby Line, Vermont becomes Stanstead, Québec, and I-91 becomes Autoroute 55 as you cross the border into Canada.  Autoroute 55 ends at Drummondville, Quebec at Autoroute 20, which will take you to Quebec City about 90 miles and 90 minutes away.

If Montreal is your destination, then you will be taking 89 and arrive at the St-Philipsburg crossing. Then route 133, a route provincial, (SR, states routes) that will take you to autoroute 35, then 10 and unto the new Champlain bridge and over the St-Lawrence to the island of Montreal. Yes, Montreal is on a very large island.

Canadian Border Crossing

All the information you need to know regarding crossing the border by land is in this link here:

Arrive Can app

These are the current measures due to covid-19. Restrictions are in place to mitigate the delta variant spread.

The most important thing to remember as of July 15, 2021, is any traveler must have a negative test 72 hours prior to arriving at the border. Must have presented you vaccination details via the arrive can app and pass a negative covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival.

Read here for the latest update.

The speed limit on the Autoroutes is 100.  That is kilometers per hour, of course, or 62 statute miles per hour on your speedometer.  The Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) have been known to set up speed traps, especially on Autoroute 20, and especially on sunny days.  Radar detectors are illegal in Quebec.

If you have some time to explore when crossing the border, the small town of Stanstead might be worth a stop, if only to drive by the Haskell Free Library and Opera House which straddles the border, and where the stage and half of the seats are in Canada, and half the seats and the rest of the opera house are in the United States (see the red arrow below).  Another local attraction that will fascinate your kids, if you’re driving to Quebec as a family, is Canusa Street.   As the name suggests, the US/Canadian border runs right down the middle of the street, and if your two kids are in the back seat, and you drive down the centerline (the street is never busy) one of your kids will be in Canada and the other in the USA!

Travel Tip

It may help you to know that it costs significantly more to buy gas in Canada than in the United States, so experienced visitors have learned to fill their tanks at the last exit before the customs and immigration checkpoint.  If driving up I-91 from Boston or Hartford, the exit of choice is Exit 28 at Derby.   From the Derby and Stanstead, it is roughly a three-hour, 180-mile drive to Quebec City.

If your car can go 400 miles on a tank of gas, and you’re not planning to drive it once you arrive in Quebec, you can make it all the way back to fill up in Derby on the way home.  If not, fill your tank in Quebec on arrival, and then plan to stop in Derby, the first southbound exit on the way home, and fill up there again.

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