A bit of Canadian history for you:
The Province of Quebec’s name came from the Algonquin People as their word “Kebec“ means ‘where the river narrows’, referring to the St. Lawrence, which runs from the outlet of Lake Ontario into the Gulf of St. Lawrence then into the Atlantic. It is narrow right where Quebec City is situated.
Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America and the only fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. It is the oldest municipality in the province (1608) and in the 17th century, the first French explorers, fur trappers, and missionaries arrived to establish a colony.
The British were persistent in their efforts to dislodge the French from North America and in 1759, the French were beaten and the battle symbolically marked the death of New France and the birth of British Canada.
British rule was a boon for Québec City. Thanks to more robust trade and large capital investments, the fishing, fur-trading, shipbuilding, and timber industries expanded rapidly.
The constitution of 1791 established Québec City as the capital of Lower Canada, a position it held until 1840, when the Act of Union united Upper and Lower Canada and made Montréal the capital. When Canada was created in 1867 by the Act of Confederation – remember, we gave you this history lesson in the last blog 😉 – which united four colonial provinces (Québec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia), Québec City was named the province’s capital city, a role it continues to play. In Québec, however, the city is still known officially as ‘la Capitale Nationale’.
Walking the streets of the city, it was so hard to believe we were in Canada! It really felt like we were wandering the streets of England or France. The architecture is a combination of both countries, and quite beautiful.
One of the most stunning buildings in Old Quebec is the Château Frontenac, which is a historic hotel built in 1893 for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.
As per usual, we did the Hop On Hop Off bus to see the city, but our ticket also included a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River. The boat took us out to view Montmorency Falls – a beautiful waterfall that is 83 meters (272 feet) tall, which is a full 30 meters (99 feet) higher than Niagara Falls! It was great to see and hard to believe it’s so close to the city.
Our boat was named after Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer, born near Quebec City in 1645. Jolliet and his party were the first explorers to locate the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, in 1663, and his main legacy is most noted in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, mostly through geographical names, including the cities of Joliet, Illinois; Joliet, Montana; and Joliette, Quebec.
The French-Canadians seem to be a fit lot, what with walking the hilly streets, climbing a ton of stairs, and cycling on the amazing bike paths along the river! We cycled the Parc de Champlain and think the Tour de France must have inspired a whole lot of people, as there was Lycra everywhere, and they don’t ride slow!
Our new local food that we just had to try was Poutine, and there is nothing healthy about that! Good thing we cycled 34kms/21 miles today. 😎
And here’s where it gets interesting . . . .
As Joanne’s Dad always says, ‘when you wake up in the morning, you never know how your day will unfold’. Well, we had one of those days that just didn’t go as planned.
It started out great – we had a short, lovely drive from Quebec City to Montreal, got settled in a really nice RV Park that was to be our home for the next few days, relaxed and started to plan our time in Montreal.
Then we got the phone call.
The water main in front of our house in Kelowna burst and was bubbling out of the ground on the street and flowing down our driveway towards our house! 😬
Big thanks to our neighbours – Nola for noticing the water, Jean and Dale, and Darlene for letting us use their water, and Jodi, who spent her Friday evening (why does disaster happen 5pm on Fridays?) dealing with the City of Kelowna Emergency Utility Workers as they were able to finally shut off the main water to our house.
Having no water for our yard and beautiful gardens would not be ideal in an Okanagan summer, but when the words ‘looks like we have to tear up the stamped concrete, heated driveway’ were uttered by the workers, Henry was booking flights!
So, in less than 24 hours from being notified, we flew out of Montreal and arrived home to Kelowna.
Poor Monty, left by himself in the 35C/100F summer heat of Montreal.😢 At least he wasn’t totally alone, he had the Eiffel Tower to keep him company!
After a few busy days of phone calls, different trades coming to the house, several quotes for the repairs, fighting with the insurance company, and reassurance that the driveway didn’t need to be damaged, we were able to hook up temporary water (thanks again to our neighbours). There is a machine that can drill under the driveway and put in a new water line without tearing up or damaging our current driveway – yay! The earliest appointment we could get for this particular machine is at the end of August!
Back to Montreal we flew to continue our adventure! ✈️ Of course, again, not quite as planned, our flight from Vancouver to Montreal was cancelled at the last moment, so we had to do the milk run and fly Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal, making it a very long day. But we made it and were ready to carry on, and happy to see Monty again! 👍
** Sunday, July 21st – we have been traveling for 16 weeks / 4 months! We finished off the Eastern USA with Maine, and have conquered Eastern Canada with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec! We’ve driven 23,000 kms / 14,292 miles! 🤪
July 22nd – Happy 9th Anniversary to Joseph and Hannah! Wishing you many, many more years of love and happiness! 🥰
We had great plans for Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, but with it being summer and quite busy at the campsites, we were not able to change all our reservations, so it looks like we have to save some adventure for another time. We now carry on into ‘parts known’ as our next section of the journey takes us places we are very familiar with, visiting family and friends along the way!