A Travellerspoint blog

Quebec City, Canada

June 22nd to July 1st

Well our 6 month stay in the USA has come to an end. We have decided to cross the border to Canada for the next 4 months or so and will hopefully be permitted to re-enter the USA for the last 6 weeks or so of our North American experience. That part is still unknown as there are no definitive rules on how long we should be out of the US before being allowed back in. In the meantime, we are going to see as much of Canada as possible.

We are still travelling with Richard and Dianne who have spent some time in Canada on previous overseas holidays. They had suggested a stop in Quebec City due to its beauty and history and since it is relatively close to Boston.

Getting to Quebec City from Boston however was a little bit of an adventure. Firstly we caught the 7.00 am Greyhound bus from Boston to Montreal, about a 4 hour trip in total. However you have to pass through Canadian Customs at the border. When explaining to the customs officer that we intended to visit Canada for 4 months, he quizzed us on how we could afford to do that assuming we didn’t have jobs. We explained we had sufficient savings and we are getting paid Long Service leave payments (something that doesn’t exist in USA or Canada). After that he quizzed us on Alyssa’s schooling, upon which we explained that her schooling was being completed by Distance Education. All up I don’t think he totally believed us but nevertheless he granted our request. Anyways, after arriving in Montreal we had to taxi from the Bus Station to the Train Station and then catch the VIA Canada train for the 3 ½ hour trip from Montreal to Quebec City, the capital of the Province Quebec. Arrival time was close to 10pm.

For those who do not know, Quebec is largely a French speaking province where the locals are known as French Canadians. In fact, the province of Quebec has long debated and held referendums to determine if they should separate from Canada.

Founded in 1608 and located on the St Lawrence River, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America and the only walled city North of Mexico. The city's famous landmarks include the Chateau Frontenac, a Fairmont hotel which dominates the skyline and is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world. It was built for the Canadian Pacific railway company to encourage luxury tourism and bring wealthy travelers to its trains. It is also home to La Citadelle, an intact fortress built in the early 19th century and remains the largest of its kind in North America. We were fortunate to see the Changing of the Guard on our final day in Quebec City. This military ceremony, a tradition at the Citadelle since 1928, is held to mark the changing of the guard assigned to garrison security after a 24 hour shift. The colourful and precisely choreographed ceremony features an inspection of the troops by officers, music by the Royal 22nd Regiment Band and an appearance by the regimental mascot, Batisse the goat.

Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac


Chateau Frontenac 2

Chateau Frontenac 2


Walled City

Walled City


Changing guard

Changing guard

Much of the city’s most notable architecture is located east of the fortification wall in Old Quebec and the Place Royale. This area has a distinct European feel with its stone building and winding streets lined with shops and restaurants and is split between Upper Old town and Lower Old town.

Upper Old Town

Upper Old Town


Lower Old Town

Lower Old Town


Parliament House

Parliament House

The Upper Old town is linked by steps and a funicular to Lower Old town which includes such sites as the ancient Notre Dame church, the historic Petit Champlain district, the port and the Museum of Civilisation. The Lower town is filled with original architecture and street designs dating back to the city’s beginnings. Cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages and elaborate cathedrals are the norm here. The Old City earned recognition as an official UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 thanks largely to city planners who managed to update and preserve the 400 year old buildings and attractions without destroying what made them worth preserving.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Lower Old Town murals

Lower Old Town murals

Much like in Boston, we decided to hire a car for a day trip into the countryside. Our drive was through the heart of the Charlevoix area to the small town/village of Baie St Paul, only a 50 minute drive from Quebec City. Baie St Paul is a small artist’s community where the main street includes numerous art and craft galleries. As an aside, the world famous Cirque de Soleil began in Baie St Paul.

On our return to Quebec City we detoured to the Canyon Ste-Anne. The canyon is a spectacular steep sided gorge with a 74m high waterfall and where 3 suspension foot bridges cross the canyon (one which is 60m above the gorge). Many scenic overlooks allow you to discover giant potholes as well as view the falls from many different angles and marvel at the 1.2 billion year old rocky cliffs.

Ste-Anne Canyon

Ste-Anne Canyon


Ste-Ann Canyon 2

Ste-Ann Canyon 2

We also spent some time just strolling around neighborhoods and stumbled across Cartier Street with a myriad of hip eateries, cafes and boutiques (just looking). We also ventured to the nearby Rue St-Jean to visit the Choco-Musee Erico for a history on all things Chocolate and to see some amazingly stocked delicatessens.

Cartier Street

Cartier Street


Cartier Street 2

Cartier Street 2

Speaking of eateries, we had to try (only once) Quebec's beloved Poutine. This local meal is ridiculously popular (every eatery and restaurant has it on the menu) and consists of French fries sprinkled with cheese curds and smothered in gravy. Like I said, only once. On a slightly better note, Alyssa tried some Maple taffy, essentially Maple syrup poured on ice/snow and once solidified it is rolled onto a stick.

Frozen Maple Taffy

Frozen Maple Taffy


Maple taffy 2

Maple taffy 2

All up our time in Quebec City was wonderful, enchanting and relaxing. Well worth a visit if you are in the Eastern part of North America.

Next stop ……. Montreal

Posted by V3USA 07:59

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Enjoy Canada, a beautiful place. We stayed in Old Quebec when visiting a few years back.

by Kevin Bray

So very European! I need to go there some time!

by Susanne

Livin' the dream, guys!!

I Love Canada! Travel safe.

by Andrew

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login