Scroll down to see what we do (and don't know) about the true north.

Nothing is really "strong and free" is it? Truth is that first attempt at colonizing an area north of the Saint Lawrence River was not a total success. Those gentlemen-adventureres who thought to establsih a permanent presence on the e Saint Croix River, in my home province of New Brunswick, in 1604 lasted one winter. They moved across the Bay of Fundy to create Porte Royale (recreated by Nova Scotians as the first living museum in Canada) in the following year, and were burned out by a Scotsman leading hostile New Englanders not long after their first decade there.

The first settlers were a peculiar mix of Catholics and Protestants and neither Quebecois or Acadien. Interestingly this replica of an Acadian homestead stands within Annapolis Royal, which became the British capital of Nova Scotia.

That was after a another of those nasty New Englanders, helped by the Brits, finally destroyed Fortress Louisburg on Cape Breton Island. Enamoured of French from time to time, the Nova Scotians approved of rebuilding a portion of that fortified town. The original settlement was founded in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British invasion during the turbulent time of empire-building, Louisbourg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760s.

Founded in 1976, our three period restaurants, bakery, coffee shop, and two gift boutiques help visitors understand, appreciate and enjoy the largest reconstructed 18th century French  fortified town in North America. During the summer months hundreds of re-enactors or “animators” of all ages, from wealthy merchants to poor soldiers, populate the streets of the restored fortress working, playing, and living life as they would have in 1744.

At the time this settlement must be recalled in conjunction with Quebec as represented on Bellin's map of that date. It illustrates various fortifications as well as some 24 individual buildings including churches, schools, batteries and government buildings. Some of the surrounding farmland is also illustrated. On the east side of the city a port is identified.

Are you ready to vacation? In the last century, Ruth and I had  a  long weekend honeymoon at St. Martins-By-The-Sea in southern New Brunswick in  mid-May. In the next couple of decades we travelled in aid of business, but since one of us was always busy, that did not count for much, As a teenager, Ruth had been an exchange summer student at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and having made memorable tours of Montreal and Old Town Quebec in the company of new friends, wished to reexamine the experience nearly two decades later. We were also driven by a need for a change of place having lived experienced a Mary and Edmund outburst of ill will at Yuletide 2011.

We had been living in an upstairs apartment in her mum's home on King Street in Lunenburg. The two of us became personae non grata in an escalating situation. At Ruth's suggestion, Mary posted the house for sale and moved to the condo at the edge of town, above left. We remained on in Lunenburg as custodians until the place sold in June, when we managed the final clean-up of the building and grounds before the new owners moved in. Thanks to input from Janet C., we did manage swift relocation to the nearby coast at First South, above right.

King Street have never been a rose garden from my point of view and Mary's continuing one-sided view of relationships within and without the bounds of her immediate family remained a compound annoyance. I was, frankly, surprised when Ruth continued to provide some support for her mother in this new location.

In all the British TV shows it is always better to live upstairs, but that is when upstairs is on the ground floor and downstairs in the basement. When Mary suggested we use back entryways rather than the front doorway to keep the foyer neat and tidy... Most of the time we complied and were forced to use that outdoor stairway to the second floor since the back door was susceptible to jamming.

Diverted by quite a bit of terraforming in Mary's backyard we tended to overlook the fact that this housing arrangement was was not a mutually beneficial co-operative endeavour. Playing handyman and woman can actually be rewarding when the days are long and warm. In the case of deep digging, the lawnmower man was called into action.

But this kind of scene was soon enough blowing in the wind. And it is windier on the top floor of a the height of land created by a drumlin. It was also several degrees colder in winter, and cost a lot of back-breaking work and bags of salt to keep our entryway clear. Lawnmower man, who lived at Blue Rocks was able to clear space for the auto and mum's entryway at the front of the house.

But I was stairway patrol and that outside structure was a difficult climb when one happened to be bringing in groceries.

When Storm Nemo hit us, our snow clearance help was isolated in the countryside by impassible roads. With a couple of senior citizens living here and a need for a fuel oil path somewhat had to do the digging. Unfortunately, we never had owned a snow blower. Snow at the front of the house was drifted to 4 feet. I took over snow clearance at this juncture.

This business always clipped at least an hour out of my life. Unusually it also robbed Ruth of work time.

And storms were recurrent and Lunenburg Town and clearance never quite complete.

Even after that unfortunate series of events, which we won't detail, Ruth did continue to drive her mum to medical appointments in Halifax.

In addition to other duties, Ruth was constantly involved in attempting to correct the technical problems her brother created while playing with Mary's computer and telephones. Part of the problem with her computer was the fact that none of us realized that he had overloaded that poor old Dell with too much free ware.

Mary was laid low by a failure to recognize the fact that she had become an post acrobatic cat. A physician, and her daughter, had both warned her that agility is a matter of "use it or lose it." The move to a condo limited her walking to the point that we hoped she would forgo further trips to visit with Edmund in Frankfurt, Germany. She renewed her passport all by herself and booked a flight in late September. Then in a precipitous moment, she rushed home to send a supposedly vital e-mail, perched rather than sat upon an office chair on rollers and lost a battle with gravity. Next thing we knew she was hospitalized in a corridor with no bed in sight. She now undertook a lot of extra gofor work which cut into her day-job hours. This included some of the stuff illustrated above as well as attempting to get her a regular bed in a private room. Mary has since claimed she took a temporary place in a Bridgewater nursing home to convenience our wish to travel to Quebec. Truth is,  she made none of the arrangements and no other private accommodation was open to her. By now it was known that she had severely antagonized her tail-bone and that recovery would likely be slow and painful. Ruth felt she would be more comfortable in Lunenburg and  arranged for her eventual transfer to the rehab wing in the hospital there. She also laid plans to get her mother an emergency push-button in case of another fall. Fraudulent use of Ruth's credit card information to the tune of several hundred dollars just happened to coincide with all this.

The accident which ended Mary's plan for a trip to Germany came after Ruth had made arrangements for us to travel to Quebec City and meet for a few days with my two daughters who reside in Ontario. There was no way we would attempt to drive there.

Ruth and I both have a lot of nostalgia attached to travel by train but a tour on the "Atlantic" seemed a bit too touristy and confining. Direct rail transit proved to be twice as expensive as flight. We did consider cancelling, but that would have been costly since we were close to various reservation dates. The plan was to be in Quebec about the time of my birthday in October. Mary's brother, Hugh and his wife Ann who stayed with us for a couple of days to check in on her condition suggested we proceed as planned. This was reinforced by health care workers who suggested she was not in serious danger but merely needed time for recovery.
October 10

Ruth worked for a full day before driving to the airport. While it had been Sunny in Lunenburg County it was clouded over in Halifax County.

Previously when flying, we had booked hotels at some distance and shuttled in to catch an early morning flight. We were both entirely exhausted and decided to drive direct to the ALT(ernative) Hotel, the only skyscraper in this complex. It was actually raining lightly when we arrived but we were glad to make use of covered parking in that large building with the beige-coloured roof. Weatherproof overhead walkways connect the hotel with the terminal so the arrangement was largely stress-free.

At ALT, eco-responsibility means doing away with room service, valets and doormen: ALT focuses on your needs, on the essential things that bring added value to your stay. Our "service light" approach allows us to offer guests a unique rate: the same price, every day, all year round! ($149 whether one or two guests).
Our initial reaction was that having one person at the lobby desk was a bit strange.
The ALT group of hotels is a German inspiration. They refer to it as "chic" I'd describe it as Post Bauhaus. When the slide card worked imperfectly on our room-door on the ninth floor we supposed that that computer in the lobby area might be the only source of help. When we did get in the room was a deep dark pit and we had trouble locating the light switch. Pictured is ALTcetera - "Gourmet grab and go in the lobby." At first this place looked like this, but eventually two bartenders did appear. We hung about to observe a business crowd that gathered. Apparently a planned company outing! Having worked with talking heads, it has always been a delight to watch them in action, particularly after they are well oiled.

ALT? Too sterile, too cold . Too much cement block, chrome and black plastic in spite of their 97% approval rating. We will not repeat that mistake. I don't recall who we were flying with presumably an economy outfit, although this first aircraft flying from Halifax to Montreal was of reasonable size and well outfitted. I think this was somewhere over central New Brunswick.

It was a bit bumpy over the highlands of Gaspe, but we arrived without incident at the Montreal airport. This place is a labyrinth, where we have managed to miss flights in times past. This time we were bussing into Old Town Montreal and staying overnight so there was no pressure.

The Hotel Europa is one of the Best Western chain located at 1220 Drummond Street. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown just steps from the Bell Centre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Cathedral of Mary Queen of the world and the inevitable Sainte-Catherine Street, one of the most commercial streets busy, not to mention the vibrant Crescent Street Montreal who has the reputation for its restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Two restaurants were located in the hotel building and that evening but we moved on to Crescent Street which we found mobbed by the soirée crowd. We bought a terribly overpriced six pack in a tiny beer store on a nearby cross street. This three out of five stars place was clean and cheap and totally bilingual.

The bar and grill up a floor or two looked abandoned when we arrived at dusk, but  the Friday night crowd quickly outflanked the two bartenders who appeared from a back room. The food was acceptable but the decor reminded us of the ALT in Nova Scotia. We had a couple of beer here and then finished with a nightcap or two in the room.

The following morning looking west along Drummond Street, quite early on before breakfast was being served anywhere.

queen mary

We just had to look in on "Mary Queen Of The World." which was just around the corner to the east. Notice those precariously perched saints.

Then, a westward walk for the next three hours.

Here is Ruth looking at a breakfast menu on the west side of Jacques Cartier Square, surmounted by The Nelson Monument, which I guess is why that brick building houses the Hotel Nelson. These photos are rescued from Google+ pages, and unfortunately downsized hence a bit fuzzy.

We had very little company.

9 am

Ruth and I did crepes at the first restaurant to open its doors on the Square.

Ruth does her touristy bit in front of Centre De La Montagne, 1196 Pr Camillien Houde.

St. Catherine Street headed back toward hotel for check out having had a look at
still seedier parts of Montreal.

We left Montreal satisfied that it was no better, or worse, than any other large city. Some great historic buildings in places. We'll re-edit and add to these pages when I relocate the file "quebecimagesa" on one of my flash drives.

The Montreal underground  is partly devoted to Via passenger trains. The outside, of the building is not pretty and the inside, a small city, which includes escalators leading down to tracks and loading stations down in the depths.

Ruth enjoyed the four hour trip from Montreal to Quebec City a bit more than I did. I did like the last little bit when we left the flat farming country for western high lands.

Ruth had googled the streets between the train station (1) and our hotel (2). Unfortunately that preview did not fully represent the topography of Old Town Quebec. A couple of days were required to place a few other local landmarks such as the indoor farmer's market (3), the marina (4), the port authority building (4b), the funicular (5), the ferry landing (6), the Citadel (7), and the famous (infamous) Plains of Abraham (8). Route 136 marks a tunnel under the Saint Charles River, which trains traverse before entering the station.


Arrival was by way of those doors in the left wall of the Quebec Station. As it was late in the afternoon the crowd very quickly dispersed. We hung about hoping to find a tourist information bureau or at least a map of the city in a display of some sort. We could also have used a drink and a sandwich, but the rest rooms were the only available services. This was a surprisingly small terminal.

But the biggest surprise was the exterior! Gare du Palais is a bus, taxi and train station built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the two-storey châteauesque station is similar in design to the Château Frontenac. The station had no
passenger rail service from 1976 to 1985, although it once again hosts regular daily services west to Montreal's Central Station via Drummondville. It was designated a Heritage Railway Station in 1992.

Ruth was sure that our hotel was not far distant and we were travelling lightly with backpacks and it was not yet late afternoon. Being innately more conservative (and lazy), I wanted to taxi to our destination. We did manage a good cardio-vascular workout before returning to the train depot and hiring a taxi.

When we finally arrived it was dusk and my two daughters were anxiously awaiting our arrival having come to Quebec by air earlier that day. The Clarendon was chosen by Ruth as an interesting place to stay because it is central to Old Town and the oldest hotel in the city. The original building, on the corner of Rue Sainte-Anne and des Jardins, was a house built in 1858. In 1870, it became the Russel House hotel, renamed the Clarendon Hotel when it resold in 1894. It  has Art nouveau cast iron grilles and canopy.

That metal fretwork continues in the lobby.  This hotel is diametrically the opposite of the ALT and features Old World posh: "...indoor parking and your bags brought to your room, warm and comfortable lobby, breakfast served at a table with a view of the Old City, market-fresh ingredients included in each gourmet dish, sparkling aperitif and soothing jazz, health spa to help you unwind, evening snack in a romantic alcove, refreshing night’s sleep on fresh cotton sheets, a bathrobe for those lazy mornings or a pressed shirt for a busy working day. We leave nothing to chance to make sure all your needs are met—even those you may not be aware you have!"

The lobby, immediately left of that desk. The Clarendon Hotel stands out from other hotels in the Old City by virtue of its architecture. Instead of being built in “château”style, it is a jewel of 20th century decorative arts, a combination of Art Nouveau from the Belle Époque and Art Deco from the Roaring Twenties. The room just beyond the glass wall is their Jazz Bar. I think this might have been a Friday night. Perhaps Allison or Cathy will know?

"Legendary musicians have been gracing the stage of the Hotel Clarendon’s Jazz Bar for more than 30 years. In the past, spectacular performances have been put on by icons like Diana Krall, Vic Vogel, Steve Amirault, François Marcaurelle, John Zorn and Michel Donato. Settle into a comfortable chair and soak up the warm and energetic ambiance while listening to performers."

We arrived early enough to dine on either Friday or Saturday night. After soaking up three beers after a long day the mood was mellow. Whatever the case, they advertise entertainment each evening "starting at 9 pm." There was a minimal cover charge.

We survived that first night and the following morning was bright and clear. Following "Garden Street" eastward to its terminus, Ruth and I entered this closed street and had breakfast in a great restaurant at the end of the block.

We were joined on the street as that meal ended and walked down the closest breakneck staircase into the lower part of Old Town Quebec. Here we parted ways as they were in need of coffee and breakfast which they found in Rue Cul de Sac.

Here, we settled for a few minutes while they placed orders.

And then took are leave so as not to needlessly tie-up a table.

Needing to dump our coffee we were pleases to discover "les toilettes" by backtracking along Boulevard Champlain. The toilet roll signage was unique in our experience and so was this one co-educational facility, which was small, odoriferous and share-and-share alike.

Thus far, Quebec City suffered in comparison with Old Town Lunenburg in its lack of maps and dirty, toilets. This one on Bluenose Drive is segregated and has facilities for families and handicapped individuals. There is no way a wheelchair could have navigated  the stairway and narrow doorway of that place in Quebec. The exterior of the building had historic interest, but adding unhappy children to the interior... As you can see from the map addended below, this is the only relief station in the area. Public phones are also at a premium.  

Amazingly, the signage appears to have been executed by a grade school child. We had  agreed to join my daughters in the turn in Rue . Before moving on note the location of the Funicular and Escalier and Dufferin Terrace and the ferry terminal.

Lunenburg has a irrational sign fetish but its street map is easy to locate since the town is minute compared with Quebec and it is  large  by comparison  with that fixed to a building  in the cul-de-sac.  Further it is reproduced in brochure form and can be found in the anteroom to the washroom, at the tourist bureau on Blockhouse Hill and at all places of business. The difficulty I have with this Nova Scotian propaganda is the insistence on repeating everything in English, French and German. The Quebec map may be crude but it is not overloaded with text and why photographs of places you can see within a fifteen minute walk? One more point, these expensive metallic signs are meant to outlast the pyramids, and local businesses in any tourist destination are ephemeral. I hope there is a means of updating info with spending another $15,000. There is no great hurrah due either of these maps, but the Quebec version has the advantage of simplicity in conveying information and most travellers have enough of the vocabulary to read a map.

There are bronze signs and plastic table signs everywhere in Lunenburg as well as these hitching post signs, which are way too common. I am quite ambivalent  when it comes to communities which think tourists are in need of education. These steles are metal constructs anchored in concrete on street corners. Honestly, a simple on-line map beamed to a tablet can do all these things without interfering with snow plough operations. I suppose that is why they are not found in Quebec? Surprise, surprise! In recent years Lunenburg has had an unexpected  amount of snow. Still, Quebec has more wide open spaces than compact Lunenburg and a few of these directional posts would have saved us initial angst. Forget then historical stuff. Ruth and I are interested but we prefer a more relaxed reading environment than a busy street corner in tourist season.

I did not spot any really fat people in Quebec City and the average age of tourists was younger than those typically seen in Lunenburg. This is Rue Cul-de-Sac, where signage is much more restrained.

At home in Nova Scotia, the locals get all vainglorious about their "Castle On The Hill" which is actually an old Edwardian school which will cost them dearly in times to come. The place was built by a fellow Herring Choker who also erected a Italianate villa  as a high school for my home town in New Brunswick. That place was of brick, older and less eclectic. Unfortunately, my fellow townsmen (it is a patriarchal place) are financial realists, so my elementary school was razed. I give the above place a minus in spite of its location on the height of land and its antiquity (1894). It is located on a drumlin, which is a hill rather than a prominence.

Now this, by contrast, is a castle of sorts, however it is of less antiquity than my school in St. Stephen, N.B. and the "academy" in Lunenburg.  It blows me away that it was constructed at the instigation of William Van Horne, the American-born Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and opened in 1899.  The architect was a New Yorker named Bruce Post (the father of Emily Post). The "chateau style" he created still stands in a building created as a train station at Macadam Junction, which had a spur connecting with his summer home, "Covenhoven" on Van Horne's Island offshore from St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Of course, it has been added to, them latest expansion completed in 1993. Restaurant Trattoria in that ell of the walkway beneath it was where is where we had agreed to meet my daughters in an hours time.

La Maison Smith, not far away on Notre Dame Street. Why were we here? Coffee? Ambiance?

No, I simply moved in an out to photograph their fall decoration and the passing scene. October arrangements of this sort are also seen at home.

This restaurant was across that street.

I am unable to identify this commercial art gallery but we did splurge on a print for Mary. Not one priced at their lowest end!

Traditional subject matter. Real Quebecois paintings were offered at realistic prices but the proprietor said that their "bread and butter" was digital prints imported from China based on subject matter sent there by way of the internet. Please note Lunenburg: $5 to $15 was their selling price.

When it comes to ambiance, this place is unbeatable!

We paid out $2 each and took the Funicular to the high land. I will explain later!

The departure pavillion of Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec which links the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town). The funicular opened on November 17, 1879. This is the Upper Town where our hotel was located. On July 2, 1945, a major fire destroyed the structure, necessitating a rebuild that was completed in 1946. Since then, major renovations have taken place in 1978 and 1998. In October 1996, Briton Helen Tombs was killed when the cable snapped and the emergency brake failed to stop the cabin before it crashed into the lower station. Due to this accident the funicular was closed until the rebuild.

We were now on the upper terrace and it will be noticed that most people, excepting the fiddler, were warmly dressed. Allison and I got a bit behind the family parade when we stopped to talk with this fellow who seemed talented.


Street painters and musicians were everywhere. Sorry but they seemed, on average, better trained and certainly more realistic than the Nova Scotian equivalent. And the price...

While Hotel Frontenac  dominates all other buildings because of its elevated location there are many buildings which are greater in height.  The most interesting of these is Édifice Price,the first skyscraper built in Quebec City in 1930. At 82 metres is the sixth highest in the city and a fair walk west of that eatery. It is the tallest building in the Old Quebec historical district at 18 floors, now owned by Quebec City, but is leased to and used by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. In 2001, it became the location of an official residence for the Premier of Quebec, which occupies two of the upper floor.

While those top two floors of the Price building have been criticized as too luxurious, the outside facade is restrained when compared with Hotel Frontenac's central tower which dramatically altered its presence.This element was erected in seven stages between 1892 and 1993 but as you can see it has taken a great leap skyward since 1910.

The central tower was essential designed by Canadian architect William Sutherland Maxwell and largely in place by 1924. In 2001, the hotel was sold to Legacy REIT for $185 million. When Canadian Pacific Hotels was renamed Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in 2001, the hotel became Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. In 2011, the hotel was sold to Ivanhoé Cambridge, and work began on replacement of the main tower's copper roof, at the cost of $7.5 million.  You can see that it had not yet oxidized to a green colour by 2012.

How about a traditional horse and wagon tour? We do have them in Lunenburg although the wagons are less eccentric. We had seen this horse acting up earlier on and decided we would go with him, but later!

Trot In Time is the Lunenburg equivalent, and having experienced both,  we would say they are of equal value, although the Nova Scotia version costs less. Horses are no more or less manageable in both communities.

That building behind Quebec's horse and wagon is  the Palais Justice-de-Québec, a Second Empire-style building designed by Eugène-Étienne Taché, which served as a courthouse for almost a century.

Coats-Of-Arm representing the national and provincial interests of times pas decorate the entryway.

All surmounted by the insignia of British imperialism.

Allison and her husband Garth stayed at the Chateau in times past and found their room small  and the experience not first  rate. A casual visitor noted "This is a gorgeous hotel with attention to details that only hotels of this caliber have. They are active excavations going on now, which are open to the public and free. If you're looking for a public bathroom, there is only way down by the shops of the hotel, and are only open during shopping hours. The rest of the bathrooms require a room key." We toured that area on a Sunday.

When is comes to buildings constructed or stone and brick Quebec entirely trumps Lunenburg. The first branch of the Bank of Montreal opened in 1889, ten years before the main part of Chateau Frontenac was built, but this distinctive domed building  was not their base of operation until 1908. The Royal Bank, located in the next block, is currently struggling with weathering and erosion of its sandstone blocks. Granite was a far better choice. Bankers can't resist modernization and get away with it in spite of the town heritage designation. Other banks in town are of jarringly recent vintage. Almost all other building are of wood, only the garish paint colours are new. That is also allowed here! The original entrance was at the corner of the building which has been blocked in. The portion beyond the blue canopy was an add-on.

Hotel construction was commenced in 1893 as this sally forth entryway notes. It was supposed to take up overflow from the Chicago World's Fair but did not meet that deadline. This C.P.R. hotel was finished six years after the Banff Springs Hotel, which was owned by the same company and is similar in style. 

We did sally through to the central court and peered through windows in at the hotel shops, and left sooner than might otherwise have been the case.

At ground level Hotel Frontenac is located 56 metres above sea level, surprisingly close to the elevation of Lunenburg's Castle-On-The-Hill (red roof, top left). Of course the the uphill climb is more of a workout since Nova Scotia's drumlin hills are not as precipitous on the face which houses the business district where there is limited bus and automobile parking. There has been talk about creating pedestrian walkways from some streets but this town is quite conservative and that would be a surprising innovation.

Like Quebec Lunenburg has walking and horse-drawn tours and lots of incoming bus tours but nothing outgoing, since the town entirely lacks any kind of public transit. I think it can be argued that having paid parking take over much of the waterfront definitely interferes with a complete appreciation of the waterfront.

Lunenburg has one carriage operator and 3 horse and wagon sets. Quebec City limits allows 17 carriages. Calèches Québec operates 14 of these 17 licenses and I believe this was one of their outfits. It was late afternoon before we decided to throw cash at one of these tours rather than bus to Montmorency Falls. This wagon was just unloading.

As you can see the loading zone was in the block near the Hotel Frontenac. We had seen this horse balk earlier in the day and figured this would be an interesting outing. The young lady seen previously kindly took a photo. The wind was up and it was cooling off so that robe was needed.

A caleche owner named Danny Doyle has noted that Quebec is "The birthplace of French civilization in North America, our hometown is the only fortified city on the continent. As such, Old Québec was proclaimed a ''World Heritage Site'' by UNESCO in 1985. On July 3rd, 2008 we celebrated the city's 400th anniversary."

At the moment there is only one other urban centre in Canada with a similar designation, and that is Old Town Lunenburg, created in 1753 as a home for 1,453 mostly German-speaking Protestant German, Swiss and Montbéliardian French colonists. It was originally a fortified town, the only surviving example of a British colonial policy of creating new settlements by imposing a pre-designed "model town" plan on whatever tract of wilderness it was the King's pleasure to colonize. Since all town lots were  designated at 60x40',  Lunenburg, like Quebec, has the cheek-on-jowl crowded look of an European community. Buildings stand right on the street.

The tour moved west along Fort Street away from the chateau and then the driver moved along Baude Street. The tower of Basilique Cathedrale, Notre-Dame-de-Quebec is seen at centre. The cathedral  faced St. Famille Street, which crosses in front of it to the right in the distance.

Turn about, fair play!

Rue St. Famille branches off to the left

A left turn of the end of Baude, put us on Garden Street and sent us
rocking and rolling onto Ste Anne, wheeling past the entrance of our hotel. This is a long winding  street.

Which ultimately terminates  at Rue D'Auteuil. Directly across is a roundabout which is a resting and watering hole for horses. A major highway lies just beyond this green strip and the local Hilton Hotel is seen beyond it.

This watering fountain for people is a few clip-clops southward along that street. There are busts honouring historic personages at regular intervales.

In general this tour initially follows less-travelled routes through areas outside the ramparts of the Citadelle.

Those ramparts are seen on the  sides of Rue St Louis after a right turn off Rue D'Auteuil.

The Ramparts of Quebec City are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico. The British began refortifying the existing walls, after they took Quebec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Porte St. Louis dates about the year 1694 but was demolished in 1791 because of its poor condition and rebuilt by the British. That structure was demolished in 1871 replaced by the gate we see above in 1880 as "an embellishment."

That Street graduates into Grande Allée on the oler side of the gateway. In colonial times it was the only road that connected the Old City to Cap-Rouge and other communities west of Quebec

This street developed outside the walls of Old Town Quebec, which can nevertheless be seen at various locations along the way. In the nineteenth century wealthy people there built lavish homes that now house cafes, clubs and restaurants.

That gloved hand at upper left is the driver who provided commentary some of which Ruth relayed to the rest of us.

Located between the festive Grande Allée and the green plains of Abraham, our hotel enjoys a prime location. You will be within walking distance to many attractions. This holds true only if one has an interest in the House of Parliament which is close at hand, historic landscapes or the entertainment available along that "Walkway." The Chateau is located on a cross street of Grande Allée named  Rue D'Artigny.

We has not arranged a look-see of Citadelle, which can really only be well appreciated in  a walking tour.
  We followed D'Artigny to its connection with Avenue Wilfred Laurier and turned right

The Battlefield Park, created in 1908, "is to Québec what Central Park and Hyde Park are to New York and London: a city park of outstanding value, the lungs of the city. One hundred and three hectares of meadow and grassy knolls..." The roadway roundabout was decorated anticipating Hallowe'en. At other seasons outdoor activities take place in this mini-park which is not quite as desolate of plant life as the Plains of Abraham.

Built by the British to prevent the Americans from drawing close enough to lay siege to the walls of Quebec, the four Martello towers were begun by James Craig in 1808 and completed in 1812.  Martello Tower #2 is seen here on Taché Ave a cross street connecting on a right turn with the Allée

One more telephoto grab shot as we made a left turn. Located at the extreme end of the tour and decorated for the season.

The towers were arranged to provide for each other's defence, being situated along an axis that bisects the Plains of Abraham from the northwest to the southeast in order to screen the western approach to Quebec City, and were numbered rather than named. Tower No. 3 was demolished in the 1900s but the other three remain.
- Wikipedia.

In the next block, a modern information bureau (at left), closed for the season. In blocks beyond, some rather posh residential areas.

Here are the Plains showing another of these towers in the distance. The doors to the tower are at a height of two and a half times the height of a man - about 4.5 metres - and could only be reached by a removable ladder. The towers were never tested in battle, and became obsolete in the 1860s with the development of rifled artillery, which was powerful enough to breech their walls.

We are now travelling northward along Avenue King George VI. The attraction for residents must be the fact that the land up here is entirely flat. The mini-park is at left, the Plains of Abraham on the right.

And here we are back at the entry point to the fortified city.

I could have guessed!

Hôtel Manoir de l'Esplanade, 83, rue d’Auteuil noticed for the first time on tghe home trip. We were clip-clopping along Saint Louis.

Here we are closing in on home territory.

And thar she blows.

caleche tour map

And there is the route we followed.

After cleanup at the hotel we stumbled upon the one-time home of Francois Jaquet (inset) said to been built in either 1675 or 1676. Since 1966, the restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens has been located here at 34 Rue Saint Louis. The New York Times found the traditional food offered there "the best insulation against a cold winter." In spite of the fact that it was not yet October 31, the temperature was perilously close to freezing, so we were glad to spend a lengthy time enjoying "country-fare" in a lovely second-floor setting. For ambiance, nothing in our part of the world exactly coincides.

View of construction in the back yard of Multi-Prêts Hypothèques 270-670, rue Bouvier, Québec, across from the Clarendon on the morning of day two.  What they were building is beyond me since Google Street Maps from last year simply shows a small tent thrown up over this area.

the project

Possibly some kind Quebecois will explain?

As mentioned previously, One face of the Clarendon is on Rue De Jardin. I took this photo somewhere along that street. The sculptress of this jester is Nicole Taillon a native of the Lac-Saint-Jean region She studied math, science and psychology before taking up painting, then silk screening and then finally dedicating herself to sculpture in the early 1980s. See

Like Mahone Bay, Quebec City produces ephemeral art some with a pirate theme.
This photo comes from a corner of the Lower Town.

We wandered westward along Rue Saint-Jean and were amazed to find a British-styled Pub St-Alexandre. We looked in but I don't recall eating there. If we did it was not memorable.

We wandered eastward back to this location on the same street. To this point I had been amazed at the the surfeit of graffiti in Montreal and the lack of unprofessional "art" in this tourist town. Here is there secret.

But the remedy does take extreme high pressure measures.

Back home when the rowdy weekends threaten, one simply pulls down those wooden window shades to guard against broken glass. Red barn paint is cheap so grafitti does not have to persist. OK! Not every building is equipped in this manner and a telephone kiosk next door, made of metal, has been defaced for years.

Checking in on my daughters the next morning, we were surprised to learn that their air flight was delayed because of fog. That afternoon they did make it back to Onatri-airy-o.

We had been transferred to a better room overlooking the main entrance, I forget why.

We were not scheduled to leave that day and again browsed the lower town. Not that we could buy much as we were travelling with two backpacks and have never been patriotic buyers.

These snapshots show that representational art is not dead in Quebec City. In fact most sculptural art here is easily interpreted and based on the human form.

The artists I spoke with admitted that their efforts were business oriented and saw no shame in that. They certainly did not overprice their product, probably because competition was so intense. I have only known one Lunenburg watercolourists who took to the streets but his prices were proportionately higher and he has not been active for several years.

Les Promenades du Vieux Québec  is located at 43 Rue De Buade one block north of the hotel. We promenaded for a bit but did not aid the local economy.

This strangeness was observed just across that street.

A bit tired of the tourist scene,  we had a look at the farmer's market way down there on the flood plain.  A fellow traveller noted: "We were in Quebec for four days. Every morning we found ourselves heading back to this market. It is amazingly clean with a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables, cheese, bakery & other assorted goodies. It was nice going to an area that is frequented by the locals." The prices were very reasonable compared with what we have encountered in Lunenburg.

OK, I 'm a convert! Well, perhaps I'll sleep on that!

We covered a hell of a lot of ground that day, much of it back up hill.

We revisited this place in the daylight hours having had a cold but enjoyable dining experience at  La Cache a Champlain with our daughters one evening. None of those after dark photos worked out!

One level lower on these "break-neck stairs" which would be appreciated in Lunenburg where we have sidewalks which really could lead to a broken neck.

I think that frost was beginning to interact with outdoor displays.

silver sea

Lunenburg Harbour was too shallow to accomodate this cruise ship carrying passengers from France on a learn the language voyage. These is an Acadian presence not far distant, so I suppose the organizers made arrangements for meet-and-greet situations well in advance, since this is a very English speaking community in spite of that German and French heritage. Cruise ship buses out of Halifax are commonplace.

But this Looneyburg will never see the like of this, down on Quebec's Champlain Boulevard!

Their ferry to the other side of the Saint Lawrence River accommodates automobiles.

Ours does not. In fact we don't have or need one. This was one of two Halifax Harbour ferries in Lunenburg recently for an annual upgrade. That's our golf course in the background.

Having walked upstairs and downstairs all day long we opted once more to spend $4 on the Funicular.

This gives a view of the downward car. A smaller version of the cog-railroad on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Less dangerous than cables?

At the top of the incline.

This was our furtherest expedition westward.

We went out for a six pack that evening and were both drenched on returning to the hotel room. Having eaten and had a few beers earlier at an "Irish" pub we never managed to eliminate that local "Griffon" beer.

It was windy and wet all night long, and those flags kept flapping...

This time we were headed south to Ottawa.

Here we are crossing that maligned highway connecting Quebec City with Montreal.

From there we took a cheap commuter flight to Montreal to connect with a flight home.

At th e end of all this?  It's all "smoke and mirrors." This is Lunenburgs expensive "kiosk" introducing visitors to our town. Quebec seems similar, a nice professionally friendly town. Yes, we would go back with a view to visitation as opposed to tourism.

quebec to lunenburg
maritime tour

Poor Old "Mahone Beach?" There are language difficulties, but had you heard of this? How about a reciprocal tour?