This year we toured a few places in eastern Canada. Because of the distances to be covered and because we didn't want to spend all the time flying, we used N97983, a 1983 Mooney 201. This plane is a terrific VFR/IFR cross-country machine that simply gobbles up the miles, and gets in and out of any reasonable airport, large or small.
Québec claims to be Canada's oldest city (the folks in St. John's might have something to say about that). The old part of the city has a feel more like Europe than like North America. Even the tourist information center is special. The garden is in the Place d'Armes, inside the walls of the undisputedly oldest fortified city on the continent.
In Québec, you're never sure if you're in Canada or another country. The Québec flag flies more prominently than the Canadian maple leaf; and roadside signs on the way into the city say (in French, of course), "Welcome to Québec – the national capital." This gazebo is near the Houses of Parliament, just outside the walls of the fortified Old City.
We picked Aux Anciens Canadiens for our first dinner on vacation, and learned that it was high on the hot list of places to dine. The restaurant is in a building that claims to be the oldest house in Québec.
The Chateau Frontenac was originally built as a governor's mansion in the late 17th Century. It's now a world-class hotel, with appropriate prices. No matter where you go in the city, you can catch a view of it.
Québec is built on a terribly steep hill. There is a strong distinction between the Upper and Lower Towns. Terrasse Dufferin is built below the Chateau Frontenac at the bottom of the Upper Town. There are breathtaking views of the Lower Town, which is hundreds of feet down at the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
One of three remaining Martello Towers, built as part of a defensive line
before construction of the Citadel. The name comes from Point Martello in
Corsica, where they were first used.
The towers are on the Plains of Abraham, where Wolfe's troops attacked Montcalm during the French and Indian War. Both generals died in the short battle. The French were badly outnumbered, and Québec became an English city.
Scenes from a walk around the
From the time we crossed the border into Québec, we had been seeing brightly painted tin roofs. These are very colorful on farm houses, but stand out in the city as well. There's an example in the last picture.
The city really comes alive at night. In one square, we saw a juggler and a one-man band on two consecutive nights. They let the crowd know (in French) that it's OK to leave two or three dollars in the hat. Then they let the English-speaking crowd know that it's OK to leave five or ten dollars.
The slope from the Upper Town to the Lower Town is extremely steep. You
don't just walk down the hill. There are still over two dozen stairs
connecting these two parts of old Québec. These scenes are from the
Côte de la Montagne and the Casse-Cou Stair leading down to
This mural in Place Royale illustrates 400 years of Québec history. Painted by local and French artists, it illustrates Québec's architecture, geography, and history. It's all trompe l'oeuil, including the windows in the second photo and the "storefront" in the third. The last shot shows the building before the mural was painted.
Next to the Fresque des Québécois (mural) is the Parc La Cetière, named for the brothers who first built here. There were five houses on this site, rebuilt after they were destroyed in the 18th Century. They were destroyed again by fires in 1948 and 1957. The ruins that remain distinguish an internal partition wall of one dwelling and a chimney base and vent opening of another.
Legend has it that 17th century sailors were caught in a storm nearby and prayed to St. Anne, who delivered them to safety here on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. In thanks, they laid foundations in 1658 for a small wooden chapel in her honor. During construction, one of the workmen was miraculously cured of lumbago. This was the first of many healings, which caused the place to become a site of pilgrimage. The original chapel was replaced by a stronger building in 1661, followed by a stone church in 1676. There were so many pilgrims that a larger building was required by the 19th century. It was completed in 1876, but was destroyed by fire in 1922. The present basilica was dedicated in 1934.
Saint Anne, I have come to honor you and to call upon you in this blessed
Shrine of Beaupré. Here, pilgrims have often felt your
goodness, power, and intercession.
Like every true pilgrim, I also have favors to ask of you. I know that you will be as good to me as you have been, in the past, to thousands of others who have come to implore you in this Shrine.
Keep me faithful to Christ and His Church and one day, escort me into the Father's Eternal Home.
St. Anne and Mary.
This exact replica of the Pietà is next to the Immaculate Conception Chapel, below the main sanctuary.
Across the street from the basilica is a replica of the third Church, which was demolished when the first basilica (fourth church) was completed in 1878,
Close by the basilica is the Cyclorama of Jerusalem. This building houses an enormous painting, 46 feet high and 360 feet in circumference. You view it from inside a cylindrical room of the right size, which is huge. The painting depicts Jerusalem at the time of Jesus's life and crucifixion. It was painted from 1878-82 in Munich by Paul Philippoteaux and some assistants, and installed at its present location in 1895. If you go to see this painting, take binoculars. Viewing this painting from the inside, one gets the feeling of actually being in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
Just a couple of miles from the basilica, the Montmorency River spills over
in a provincial
park, almost 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls. Visitors can
ride a cable car up to the top, and either enjoy a fine meal at the manor
there, or cross the falls by a suspension footbridge.
on to Mahone Bay