Ferme Guyon is a certified pedagogic farm in Chambly, Quebec, just about 20 minutes west of Montreal. It is comprised of a big store part, a butterfly house, the farm itself, a tree nursery and flowers, so it is both interesting in terms of education and also shopping.
The farm is located directly off Highway 10 east from Montreal towards Sherbrooke, exit 22, so it is very easy to find, it has a big parking lot, so it should be no problem getting there and finding a spot.
The store is the main entrance to the whole complex and you can pay the entrance fee for the butterfly house and/or farm right then and there. They offer the option of either of the two or both together and also a season pass, if you live closer by. The pricing is as follows: Adults: Farm $9, Butterfly house $7, both together $12, season pass $44. Children 4-15 years: Farm $4.50, Butterfly house $3.50, both together $6, season pass not specified. Children 3 and under: Free on all accounts.
The first impression overall is “big” and “clean”. The store portion is huge and extremely clean and well-kept, so other than the stuff sold there, it does not look “farm” in any way, shape or form and that is to be viewed as positive The staff is very friendly and helpful, in both French and English, so if you are visiting from abroad you won’t have to worry about not understanding a word of what is happening.
The main reason, why we went, were the butterfly house and the farm, since Nico loves animals, so I’ll start with that portion.
The butterfly house also has a hatchery, where you can see the cocoons and everything else happening, which can be a great experience for the children to find out about that part of the circle of life, also due to the fact that butterflies have an average life span of 20-40 days. The house has a variety of species, from the domestic Vanessa cardui, Morio or Actias luna to the exotic Morpho and you basically walk right among them, they can land on you, they will flutter around (be careful about not stepping on one on the ground), great experience and great photo opportunity, too!
Then there is the farm, which is one of only two certified pedagogic farms in all of Quebec. In terms of animals, they have a cow, two ponies, chickens and roosters, geese, emus, sheep, goats, bunnies and even two peacocks. Out of these you have an opportunity to pet the bunnies, which they keepers will put into little baskets for easier handling, the goats and sheep also like to be petted (or rather are looking for you to give them something to eat). Each animal has a plaque above its section giving information, such as gender, nomenclature, average weight, life span and much more, giving interesting information, which the children can benefit from.
Also in the same building Guyon has a bunch of work stations for so-called “ateliers”, where children (well, more groups) can see things like “cow to butter” or “sheep to wool”, which is something pretty unique, unfortunately you have to be a group to be able to see them (with pre-reservation…), so I can’t say anything about that part. It would be cool, if these would be scheduled twice a day on weekends for people to “walk up”, it would be great for smaller families, since they then, too, could enjoy these opportunities.
About the flower and tree nursery I can’t say too much other than there are a lot of plants to be had, depending on the season, obviously, but they have a big area dedicated to just that (even herbs and orchids), so if you would like to bring some living memento home, you can even do that or get one of the gazebos on display.
The store itself, as mentioned above, is very big and they recently expanded into a full farmer’s market, adding fresh produce, frozen meats and cheeses to make their selection pretty complete. In the food section you get: Grains, fruits, vegetables, fresh cheese (among them fresh, handmade curds, we were lucky that they had just finished a batch and we were able to sample some), herbs, dry food, maple syrup and related products, fresh breads (store-baked), flours, granola mixes, waffle/crepes mixes and some more, they offer a wide selection of organic and gluten-free products, so if you are sensitive or conscious to these things, you will find a good variety.
On top of that in the frozen meat section you can find your regular kinds of meat, but also rabbit, duck, emu, deer, bison, wild boar, veal and even kangaroo, plus some seafood (salmon, scallops, mussels). For the vast majority of these goods Guyon sources close to home, so with some exceptions you will find things that were grown/produced within the region, which is a very laudable approach.
Other than that you can find more flowers, aquariums, patio furniture and decoration, gardening equipment and decorations, decorations overall, some cookware (loved the cast iron products for the grill and oven, such as fajita pans, a contraption for beer can chicken and more) and also a good selection of children’s books (in French), all of which are educational and nature related for pretty good prices as well.
There also is a little restaurant, named “La Cuisine à Mathurine”, which is a little bit cafeteria style, where they serve breakfast and lunch. We got there just when they opened up for lunch and you have two choices of soup (freshly made that day, smells wonderfully, even outside!), a bunch of different kind of sandwiches and a salad bar, everything, as far as possible, made with local products and really high quality. The croissants they have are to-die-for, light crunch on the outside, wonderfully fluffy on the inside, but the rest of what they have also is fresh and good. As far as the prices are concerned, we got two soups, one sandwich and two croissants for $14.30 total, which is not bad considering the freshness and quality of the food.
Something that is always of interest and importance are the washrooms and both in the farm building and the main building they are spotless, so you won’t have to worry about that either.
All in all Ferme Guyon is great for adults and children of all ages alike, since it offers a lot of different things that should appeal to a wide range of visitors. It comes with a firm recommendation from the “Glittering Muffins” team, with Nico’s thumbs up especially for the butterfly house and the farm, since there is the opportunity to also pet some of the animals!
For more information, please visit the website, which has been recently completely re-designed and now is also available in English!