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Bonjour Québec

posted Jun 5, 2017, 3:48 PM by Kathy Carr
On May 18, 15 grade 9 and 10 students along with 2 chaperones headed off to Winnipeg to board the plane that would begin our adventure in French-Canadian culture.
When we arrived in Montréal we met our tour director Carole (with an E) and our driver Norman. Then spent two hours waiting for the class of grade eights from Regina, while being able to witness and hear the French language as we had never heard before. From there we headed to a steakhouse where we enjoyed our first meal in Québec. We spent our evening shopping on Saint Catherine’s Street, one of the biggest commercial shopping streets in the world.
At the start of our second day we drove past “le petit giant”, a huge marionette/puppet brought over from France in celebration of Montréal’s 375th birthday. From there we continued to a park in the middle of the city, where we walked to an enormous house that stood at the top of Mount Royal overlooking Montréal.
Finally, we arrived at the Notre-Dame Basilica, I personally have never seen anything so beautifully crafted in my life. Originally the Irish architect who was hired to design and construct the church thought a place of worship should be plain and simple. Sadly, he died before the exterior of the building was completed, the architect who the city of Montréal hired to continue the job stayed true to the late architect’s plans for the exterior. But then crafted an extraordinary interior complete with sculptures, stained glass, gold, and an organ with 6,700 pipes.
After we walked around old Montréal and some of us were even lucky enough to see the “petit giants” in action, while admiring the older buildings and French architecture there was to offer. Then we headed to the “Museum of Arc­h­eology”, where we saw the remains of the first Montréal settlements. There were walls that used to protect the city, windows of houses whose inhabitants were long forgotten and even an old fountain popped out from the rock. “Le Place des Arts” is the tallest building in Montréal, which when we were on the highest floor offered us breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River.
We spent our third day in Montréal with a trip to the Biodome, which was where the 1976 Olympic cycling events were held, but was now converted into a place where visitors could witness animals thriving as if in the wild.  After that we headed to the pool where the Olympic 1976 swimming events were held, attached to that was a tower that stood at a 45° angle, that shouldn’t actually be able to stand, unfortunately we were not able to go up because of construction going on at the time. The Eaton Center is a five story complex filled with stores, restaurants, and most importantly the wax museum, “Musée Gréivn”. There we saw celebrities, important people in history and revolutionaries, and then headed off to Québec City. After part of our day was spent travelling (sleeping really), we had arrived in Québec which we learned is native tonge for “where the river narrows”, because Québec is located at the narrowest point of the St. Lawrence River. After supper we went on a guided tour of Upper and Lower Québec, with a local tour guide, Sam. 
On day four we headed to the Plains of Abraham Military Workshop. We were trained to become soldiers in the 1700’s; we practiced loading rifles, firing cannons, making bullets and even removed someone’s leg, using a fair amount of rum. We spent a lot of our afternoon shopping, but the part almost everyone was looking forward to was visiting the Sugar Shack. The Sugar Shack was quite a ways out of town, there was even still snow on the ski hill that we drove by! When we arrived, there was so much maple syrup, I don’t think anyone left without buying something. Our dinner experience was one of the best we’d had since arriving in Québec, there was a constant stream of food and a seemingly unending supply of maple syrup. Needless to say it was a great end to our day.
For our final full day in Québec, we started with a walk over Mont­morency Falls, which is actually taller than Niagara Falls. We had the option to walk down to the bottom of the Falls, down a long, steep set of stairs. Even though I certainly felt it after, I am glad I chose to walk down and see the magnificent Falls up close. After our expedition, we went to a shop that specializes in wood carvings showing Qué­bec legends, the Beaupre Coast Economuseum.  The largest carving there was over 20 feet long. During our free time, some of us went on the ferry that took people across the St. Lawrence River and back again. Sam was right, across the river had the best view of Québec and not to mention the amazing view of the Chateau Frontenac. Before dinner we visited a square where there were houses that looked identical to  the ones you would see in Europe. And in the center of that square was where Samuel de Champlain first visited when he arrived in Québec for the first time. We spent our last evening at “Les Productions Episode” a workshop where we got to act out some famous Québec legends, like ‘The Lady in The Falls’.
That night our time in Québec had come to an end and we left the next morning, it was an experience none of us will ever forget. And one day I plan to go back there again.

by Hannah Maendel