October 12/18 (Part 2) – Quebec City to Montreal – Ile d’Orléans

This island is located in the middle of St. Lawrence River about 5 km East of Quebec City’s downtown. It is 34 km long and 8 km wide at its widest point.  Access is by Route 368 via l’Ile d’Orléans bridge. (Source:Wikipedia)


First inhabited by the Huron tribes, who called it Minigo (Enchantress), this island was one of the first parts of Quebec to be colonized by the French. Jaques Cartier first landed here in 1535 and called it Bascuz (after Bacchus) due to the abundant wild grapes on the island. Most French Canadians can trace their heritage to ancestors from this island.

The area was largely agricultural until the bridge was completed in 1935. (Source:Wikipedia)

DSC06353DSC06365 To us, it was just plain beautiful, all decked out in its fall colours. We had been across the bridge once before, just to say we had been there. This time, our plan was to drive to Sainte Petronelle on the West end for a view of Cap Diamant and Quebec City. Finding a free parking spot right on the water by Auberge La Goéliche (below)…

DSC06399…we were rewarded with these great views, even though the day was still fairly overcast

DSC06373DSC06387We paused and looked about us and could not resist a walk down the narrow streets and lanes past beautiful homes colourfully decorated by nature’s fall foliage.

Reluctantly, we retraced our steps back to the car and headed away, pausing at one point for this view of 84 m high Montmerency Falls on the mainland.

DSC06402We recalled seeing a Framers’ Market as we came onto the island and hoped we could find it again. We need not have worried as Route 368 which circles the island, is the only real road on the island. We soon found the market and stopped for these pix of the glorious bounty of fall.

DSC06404DSC06407DSC06413DSC06414After Buying a few treats, we headed back to the bridge, getting one last glimpse of a way of life from another time.  We were glad we had taken this little detour.DSC06421


October 12/18 (Part 1) – Quebec City to Montreal – Plains of Abraham and la Promenade des Gouverneurs

Our hotel in Quebec City was a short walk away from the Plains of Abraham. On our last morning in Montreal, it was still overcast, but not rainy or windy, so we opted to wander this historic area. Parts of the area are currently decorated for the coming Halloween season, but somehow it all works.


We wandered through the park and up to Martello Tower #1, a defensive fort built atop Cap Diamant during the 19th century. From here, there was an unobstructed view of the St. Lawrence River and Levis on the South shore.


We were determined to walk at least part of the Governors’ Promenade and headed over past the Battlefields Museum…


…and on past the old citadel, staying up on top of the embankments this time….


…before finally reaching the Promenade.

This wood planked walkway connects Dufferin Terrace to the Plains of Abraham and the Citadelle. It runs along between the fortification wall and the Saint Lawrence River and offers tremendous views of the river and Levis on the South shore. The promenade provides a nice place for a quiet stroll or for a morning jog. With 310 stairs, it can be a challenge for those with knee issues. I went a little further than my beloved, but not all the way to Dufferin Terrace. It was, after all, time to head out on the road again.


October 11/18 (Part 4) – Quebec City – a Blustery Day

While Cap Diamant has tremendous prominence and sight lines, making it an easily defended position, we found we could not defend ourselves from the wind and rain, if we were anywhere outside. After our indoor tours and before our indoor lunch, we headed down into the Old Port to do a spot of shopping.

This time, we opted to pay the price for the comfort and convenience of the funicular and we were glad we did.

A Blustery Day

We wandered outside into Old Quebec,

both soaking wet, our umbrellas a wreck.

Tourists were laughingly blowing along,

somewhat similar to an old folk song.

Why had we chosen to leave safe shelter,

to be like fall leaves, blown helter-skelter?

We looked at each other and we both grinned.

The answer my friends is blown in the wind.


October 11/18 (Part 3) – Quebec City – Archaeological Dig under Dufferin Terrace

After being blown about in our walk into and out of the Citadelle du Québec, we forced our way forward against the gusting winds and down the Grande Allée towards the Chateau Frontenac.

On this short jaunt, both our umbrellas were casualties. My wife’s umbrella inverted and in my attempts to fix it, I may or may not have done the MAN thing and forced it back, breaking one rib. Mine inverted with such force, I had fears of becoming freaking Mary Poppins. I then stayed out on the sidewalk for the next 15 minutes trying to get it to collapse, with no success. My wife went into the Chateau for shelter. She seemed surprised to see me in the same spot fifteen minutes later. Hey, even the President of the US of A can not figure out how to collapse an umbrella.

Together, we made our way over to the Parks Canada archaeological site under Dufferin Terrace, as umbrella toting tourists blew past us like leaves in a late fall breeze.

Access to the dig is from Dufferin Terrace and at last we found an attraction where the admission was covered by our Canada Parks pass. Once own below the terrace, I left my still open umbrella in the corner, as we toured the site.

The project began in 2005 and discoveries since then include the remains of the four Saint Louis forts, basement remains of to Saint Louis Chateaux and remains of buildings constructed in the front and South yards of the chateau. The most major discovery was the remains of Samuel de Champlain’s last living quarters built inside Fort Saint Louis in 1626. It seems the views from this point were most favourable to Champlain and a succession of French and British governors. (Source:Wikipedia)

Parts of the boardwalk terrace were removed during the various phases of excavation. All seems normal on top now and you would not even know what lies below, unless you take the tour or look through the three glass archaeoscopes installed into the terrace decking by Parks Canada in 2012. This is the view up through one of the archaeoscopes.


Interpreters are on hand inside to explain the excavations and finds, as well as answer questions. Looking through the foundation windows to the Old Port below, made us glad we were inside.



There are several displays of past governors and inhabitants of the chateaux and forts, as well as cooking utensils and other relics found during excavation.


It was nice having this (dry) walk through Canada’s history. We retraced our steps, gathered our destroyed umbrellas and headed back outside into the weather.

October 11/18 (Part 2) – Quebec City – la Citadelle du Quebec

The Citadel of Quebec is a major fortification atop Cap Diamant in Quebec City. It was started in 1679 by the Crown of France and completed in 1690, just in time for the Battle of Quebec. It is the oldest military building in Canada and forms part of the fortifications of Quebec City, one of only two cities in North America still surrounded by fortifications.

It is a secondary official residence for the Canadian Monarch and the Governor General of Canada.  Home to the Royal 22nd Regiment, it is still an active military installation.

The fort is an uneven star shaped citadel and comprises 4 bastions and 3 straight curtain walls constructed of locally quarried sandstone. There are 24 buildings located within its walls.


We made our way through the wind and rain only to find that there was again an admission fee. Given the weather conditions, we opted to move on.


October 11/18 (Part 1) – Quebec City – Plains of Abraham Museum

As the day was blustery and rainy, we opted for an indoor activity and headed to this museum. Thinking the Museum, run by the Government of Canada would be free with the use of our Parks pass, we went in. We were soon disavowed of this knowledge and reluctantly paid our $27 for two admissions.

Now, I am not a big fan of the glorification of war, but this museum tried to explain the history of these battles, without taking sides. Going through the Canadian school system, we often studied the battles that took place on the Plains of Abraham, but, I think the details were lost on us at the time. The one detail we either forgot or never learned was how the battle site got its name.

It was named after the site where it took place, a plateau that was originally owned by a farmer by the name of Abraham Martin. (Source:Wikipedia)

The museum details the history of the 1759 siege and capture of Quebec by the British and the further battles on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and 1760. These battles were but a few of the skirmishes in the Seven Years War, a global conflict from 1756-1763 involving all the European nations trying to expand or secure their empires across five continents. (Source:Wikipedia)

The initial battle after the three month siege of Quebec City involved fewer than 10,000 combatants and was over in less than an hour. British General Wolfe was mortally wounded by three gunshot wounds within minutes of the beginning of the battle. French General Montcalm died the next morning from a musket ball wound below his ribs. The French withdrew and were pursued by British troops as they retreated toward Montreal. The English moved in to occupy Quebec City.(Source:Wikipedia)

Other battles followed in April and September 1760. The French won the first battle, but the British withdrew inside the walls of Quebec City and withstood a siege by the French forces, who lacked sufficient artillery to retake the city. In the September battle, 17,000 British troops overpowered 2,000 French troops near Montreal and the French capitulated. In 1763, France ceded most of its territories in eastern North America to Britain in the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years War. (Source:Wikipedia)

There were many displays both from the era and representing the era, as well as an audio-video presentation explaining the battles and including journal entries and first hand accounts from some of the British and French combatants as well as First Nations and new French Militia members. It was a good snapshot of the hardships faced by both sides in the struggle for territory.

When we saw the uniforms worn by both sides, we wondered how the brightly uniformed combatants could ever hope to not become targets for incoming gunfire and canon shots. Also, how did they ever manage to keep their uniforms clean?

Below are some remnants from hardware and housewares from the era.

Museum tour complete, we headed back out into the wind and rain.