Thursday, May 17, 2018

DAY 7

DAY 7  - Bus tour of Quebec and walking tour of Quartier Petit Quebec 


Quebec, the oldest city in Canada, was founded in July, 1608 by the explorer Samuel de Champlain when he was searching for a place suitable for settlement and found Quebec to be the most convenient and best situated due to its location on the St. Lawrence River.   When Champlain stepped ashore, he marked the beginning of Quebec and Canada.


Until Champlain successfully arrived, explorations to the New World brought disappointment and death for France.   Champlain was the visionary that would change history.  He dreamed not only of adding a great domain to France but of bringing wealth through the fur trade and of spreading the faith.


After several crises and rebellion, the work of building houses and creating a village resumed, but when spring broke in April 1609, only 8 of the 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.   However, Champlain persevered through famines and battles with the natives and is highly admired by Canadians as one of the most influential and forward thinking colonizers in their country’s history.  


The Champlain Monument on Dufferin Terrace honors the man who founded Quebec.  
It’s one of the city’s most recognized statues due to its imposing size and the central location where street performers gather to entertain locals and tourists.    



Our tour included a drive by of several prominent sights including the Battlefields Park, the Citadel and Notre-Dame-de Quebec Basilica. Quebec is a booming city with construction at every turn.  It’s very difficult to get around the city and once again our bus driver, Dave, did an excellent job navigating through the narrow streets of a city that could easily pass for a French village.

Bernard was an exceptional tour guide.   Sunrise Tours always hires the best local guides to provide its guests with a thorough background and entertaining narrative of the area.

 In some pictures you will see constructuon cranes partially blocking the monument or statue.

    
     
                   Notre-Dame-de Quebec Basilica

         
The building above with all the lumber randomly placed was an interesting decorative choice for this posh area.

I loved these gigantic lamp shades put up just for an art exhibit in one of the ritziest shopping districts, but they became so popular that they left them up and just change the shades for special events, like in the second photo it depicts the film festival.   

            



A lovely church for sale for a mere $2 million Canadian Dollars.





The walled area around the Citadel under repair.


An impressive statue of Joan of Arc.





The merchants in Petit Champlain collectively decide on seasonal decorations for the area and they were putting up these colorful umbrellas while we were touring the area.   They were so vibrant and just gave such a festive feel to the area.



A typical outdoor cafe scene very reminiscent of cafes in France.  A lovely was to spend the morning....coffee, croissants and  people watching.


This is the town where the final scenes of the Tom Hanks & Leonardo DiCaprio move “Catch Me if You Can” were filmed.  In the movie, it was depicted as a small town in France where Hanks captures DiCaprio.





























Tuesday, May 15, 2018

DAY 6

Monday was a leisurely travel day from Ottawa to Quebec.  

We arrived in Quebec early afternoon for our 3-night stay at the stunning Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.  Château Frontenac, one of Canada's grand railway hotels, is situated at an elevation of 54 m (177 ft).  It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980.   An interesting fact is that the Château Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the world.  

    
The marketing shot above and below, one I took from the street in
Quartier Petit Champlain.





This luxurious lobby invitingly welcomes you to be their guest. 



The fresh flowers were so beautifully arranged in a table layout of one large and several smaller vases, a set-up not commonly seen in hotels in the States.

     

This evening we dined at Aux Anciens Canadiens Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Quebec.  It was a very short walk from the hotel.




We were offered several choices of local dishes including salmon and shrimp in pastry,  Meatball ragout Grand-mere and  Lac St Jean meat pie made with wild meats of the area.  We had fun sharing our dinners and trying all the meals.  Our dinner was topped off with a local speciality dessert - Maple Syrup Pie which had the consistency and sweetness of Pecan Pie.







DAY 5

Touring in Ottawa Canada

We started our day with a wonderful breakfast at Zak’s Diner.  It was a cute, nostalgic restaurant decorated in rock’n’roll memorabilia and even had the tiny jukebox players on the tables.   We had fast service and huge portions for breakfast so all were pleased with the diner.  As a Mother’s Day Treat, all the ladies received a carnation.

    

                


Then it was off to a very interesting tour of the Canadian Parliament which is the federal legislature of Canada seated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  It consists of the Canadian Monarch, the governor general, an upper house- the Senate and a lower house-The House of Commons.  Each section has its own officers and organization.   By their constitutional convention, The House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate and monarchy rarely opposing its will.

        



                







            
With both fire and water, the Centennial Flame, was a most unique monument.     It was built to commemorate Canada’s 100th anniversary as a federation.  The flame was first lit as the climax of the centennial celebrations on January 1st, 1967.  The Flame is fueled by natural gas and surrounded by a ledge which contains the shields of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.  It was intended to be a temporary monument, but was so popular with the public and tourists that it still operates today.

To see a video of the flame, go to Facebook, search for Sunrise-Canada Creme

The archways and ceilings in the Parliament building also offered many fascinating visual treats.

                        



I enjoyed touring the building, especially the library which was just a beautifully designed room with intricate wrought iron and wood work throughout.  There was a fire in 1916 that engulfed large sections of the Parliament buildings.  I found it most interesting that the structure was saved by the foresight of the librarian Alpheus Todd who insisted on iron fire proof doors and the quick thinking of the clerk on duty who shut them before evacuating the building.  It would have been disastrous to have lost such a stunning room.

                  

I especially was intrigued by the wood carvings on panels near the door and the unique combination of the wrought iron railing in the 2nd floor area with the wood flower carvings.
          




Above are a few of our fellow travelers enjoying the library tour.

After a leisurely lunch on our own, we took a 4 hour guided bus tour of Ottawa with our final destination being the World of Tulips Festival in Commissioners Park located at Dow’s Lake.  

While we enjoyed a lovely stroll through the tulip gardens on a warm, sunny afternoon, I was a little disappointed as we were told that at this time last year, the blooms were much more plentiful.   Since we can’t control Mother Nature, you just never know what to expect in the gardens.

As shown below, some of the areas were resplendent with color and just made me feel good!



             


     



The next tulip - the Princess Irene - was my favorite.  I loved the orange flowers with a purple flame at the base of the bulb.   Such a lively color combination.  This is a 1949-award winning flower and is quite fragrant.  (I know they look red, but in person were definitely orange.)