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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

(Source:Wikipedia)

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.

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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.

October 10/18 (Part 11) – Quebec City – Parc du Bastion de la Reine

Tired of the windy Dufferin Terrace, we headed off West to look for shelter. We walked down Rue St. Louis through the old gate of the walled city…

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…then up towards the Citadelle du Quebec, past the old houses along narrow streets…DSC06197

Along the top of the Quebec Citadelle walls Parc du Bastion de la Reine (Queen’s Bastion Park) is located.

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There are great views of the city and the old streets, but we had had enough of the rain and wind and headed back to our hotel.

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October 10/18 (Part 10) – Quebec City – Terrasse Dufferin

Terrasse Dufferin (Dufferin Terrace) is the large boardwalk area that wraps around the Chateau Frontenac Hotel towards the Citadelle of Quebec. It has commanding views of the Saint Lawrence River and the Old Port. It was built in 1879 under the direction of Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada and eventually named for him. It is maintained by Parks Canada as part of the Saint Louis Forts and Chateaux National Historic Site. (Source:Wikipedia)

Along the terrace are wooden benches and gazebos and there is a large wooden Terrasse Dufferin Slides, a large 450 foot long wooden tobbogan ramp built in 1898 and used for the annual Quebec Winter Carnival from late January to mid February. (Source:Wikipedia)

Being at the leading edge of Cap Diamant and facing into the prevailing winds, it is a very windy place. The wind was building to a crescendo this day, with a few small rain squalls tossed in for good measure. No use putting up an umbrella, lest we sail away on the breeze, so we raised our jacket hoods and leaned against the wind. It was refreshing.

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October 10/18 (Part 9) – Quebec City – French Canadian Fare

Even though we now have a French-Canadian restaurant in our home town of Beaumont, Alberta, we had our sights set on getting some good Quebecois home cooking while in Quebec City. In 2005, while here with our two sons, we did the same and we all ordered the same menu items. Our waitress pronounced us “a funny family”.

Restaurant aux Anciens Canadiens. (literally Restaurant of the Ancient Canadiens) seemed to be busy every time we passed and after looking at our options, we decided to do our Seniors early supper thing (translate late lunch) there. Situated in an old stone building dating from 1677, it certainly seemed to fit well with its name.

This place serves a Quebecois cuisine table d’hote lunch embodying several choices of appetizer, main and dessert, along with a glass of wine or cider and coffee or tea. I had the French Onion soup and my beloved opted for the Pea Soup Grand-mere. We both had the Quebec meat pie (tourtiere) and Maple sugar pie (tarte au sucre) for dessert. Service and food were both very good and we are only sad we did not return here one more time. This place definitely offers the “comfort food” experience.

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Where is your favourite place to travel for comfort food?