The Laurentian (Les Laurentides) uplands extend from Ottawa in the west to the Saguenay River in the east, with the St Lawrence as their southern boundary. They also form part of the southern Pre-Cambrian Canadian Shield. Throughout the year this rolling mountain range, with its maple woods, plentiful game - including the mighty moose - secret lakes, romantic waterfalls and lovely valleys, is a favorite playground not just for the city folk from Ottawa, Montréal and Québec, but for the whole of the densely populated St Lawrence seaboard.Generally speaking the Laurentians are understood to mean the whole of the upland area of the Laurentine massif between the Ottawa and Saguenay rivers north of the St Lawrence, and more specifically the resort area north-west of Montréal. They were opened up between 1870 and 1891 through Antoine Labelle, a priest of St-Jérome, who founded twenty homesteads here since he feared many of his fellow countrymen would otherwise be tempted to emigrate to New England in search of better farming land.However, it was not until the development of tourism after the Second World War that the Laurentians became the kind of recreation area they are today, offering countless lakes and rivers, golf courses, winter sports resorts (including Mont-Tremblant), and facilities for riding, hunting and fishing. One of North America's most attractive and popular recreational areas, enjoying a reputation as Québec Province's "Switzerland", the Laurentians boast the greatest concentration of hotels, restaurants and holiday homes in North America.
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