Just minutes from the heart of the city, the countryside nevertheless takes pride of place in the sector of the Laurentian Gateway. Without ceremony, the landscape changes from city to country, and the very air becomes more enervating. It’s a paradise for agricultural tourism. In the south-west, the Deux-Montagnes RCM (Regional county municipalities) is overlooked by the hills above the wide waters of Lac des Deux Montagnes. It offers aquatic activities, heritage buildings, cycle paths, agricultural tourism, family attractions, nature interpretation centres and a number of parks, including the Oka National Park. To the west, the Argenteuil RCM is rich in history and its architectural heritage is testimony to an active pioneering past. The Rouge River provides lots of excitement for whitewater rafting and kayaking fans, and in winter, the region’s cross-country ski trails are second to none. In the east, in the Thérèse-de-Blainville RCM, cultural activities reign with a host of festivals, theatre, music, and dedicated sites for outdoor recreation; cycle paths and the ecological reserves of Île Garth and Le Marais Bouthillier in Rosemère. Then, at the foot of the mountains proper, the extensive Mirabel RCM spreads out over miles of farmland. It includes the nature interpretation centre at the Bois de Belle-Rivière Regional Park, and the Parc du Domaine Vert, both of which offer a wide range of activities for families.