Sixteen Grade 8 and two Grade 9 students travelled to Québec City from February 5-10th to immerse themselves in French language and culture, experience the famous Winter Carnival, and enjoy several winter activities.
Here’s what some of the girls had to say about their Québec experience:
The Québec trip was an amazing experience! I had a lot of fun travelling with my friends to a different city. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience Québec City, speak French, have fun at Carnaval and learn about Canadian history. – Jacqueline, Gr. 8
I loved being in a French-speaking environment for a week. I got to use my French! I also loved all of the winter activities. – Emma, Gr. 8
Being in Québec felt like being in Europe. It was interesting to learn about our European roots, for me particularly, because in Social Studies 9 we’re learning about the Seven Year War, and one of the most important battles in Canadian History, which happened on the Plains of Abraham. – Devon, Gr. 9
The Québec Trip was cool in more ways than one! The weather was cold, but the experience was fantastic! My favourite activity was the dogsledding! – Felicia, Gr. 8
The trip was fantastic. I loved the snow and all the winter activities that we can’t do here in Vancouver. – Sophia, Gr. 8
I loved the trip to Québec because I made a lot of new friends. I especially loved tubing at the Village Vacances Valcartier! – Annika, Gr. 8
Read the updates below from each day of their travels, from teacher chaperones Mr. Carr, Mrs. Jensen and Ms. Chartrand:
Greetings from Québec! We have finally arrived at our hotel in the downtown after a seamless day of travelling from Vancouver to Montréal, with dinner in Trois-Rivières at le Buffet des Continents, and then on to the capital of la belle province.
There’s not so much to tell yet except that the girls are all happy to be here and excited to visit the old town by foot tomorrow morning after which we’ll be taking a ferry ride on the Saint-Laurent to get a view of city skyline and the Plains of Abraham. After that, it’s off to the Musée de l’Amérique Française, then Carnaval for some winter fun and the evening parade. With a little luck, the girls might even be able to get a selfie with Bonhomme!
It’s -13 degrees right now, but it really doesn’t feel that cold. The weatherman is predicting snow overnight and tomorrow morning with clear skies in the afternoon, which is great news for us!
The weatherman was wrong! It was cold in the morning, but it didn’t snow at all during the night. We woke up to a crisp, yet sunny winter day, typical of Eastern Canada. After a hearty breakfast, the girls were ready to visit le vieux Québec (the old town) by foot on a guided tour. After a leisurely stroll through the quaint Quartier Petit Champlain and lunch at a local restaurant, we took the ferry across to Lévis on the other side of the ice-laden Saint-Laurent for some spectacular views of the upper and lower cities. Then it was on to le Musée de l’Amérique Française where we learned all kinds of interesting things about Samuel de Champlain, Jacques Cartier, the first settlers of New France, and the migration of the French all across North America.
After all that intellectual stuff, it was time to have some amazing fun at Carnaval! By the time we left the museum to head for the Carnaval grounds, clouds had rolled in and big snowflakes were falling. We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying winter activities, the ice sculptures, and everything else Carnaval has to offer. We topped off a fun-filled, fantastic day at the Night Parade, where we danced along to French-Canadian music and got to salute Bonhomme.
It was another cold and sunny day in Québec City today with temperatures around -10 and clear blue skies. We started the day’s adventures at the Museum of Civilization where we took in several exhibitions including one on the history of modern Québec, and another on Québec First Nations. We began our exciting afternoon with a guided tour in French of the Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace). The girls thought it was magical! We spent the rest of the afternoon tubing at the Valcartier Snowpark. The teachers had as much fun as the students whizzing down the mountains!
The traditional dinner tonight was in a quaint little crêperie in the old town where we enjoyed delicious savoury crêpes bretonnes. The girls’ after-dinner challenge was to buy postcards and stamps in the local shops, while speaking only French. We, the teachers, are delighted to see how much the girls are rising to the challenge of practising their French, asking us and each other how to say things. As we write this, the girls are busily writing postcards in French in their rooms.
We got off to an early start this morning and headed straight for le Parc des Chutes de Montmorency, waterfalls higher than Niagara Falls. Since the weather was at least -20 degrees this morning, perhaps even colder with the wind chill factor, we were happy to spend some time inside the Basilique de Ste-Anne de Beaupré, an impressive Catholic church with a magnificent interior. A short distance from this architectural treasure was the Atelier Paré, a wood carving workshop, where we learned about four famous Québécois legends with a backdrop of amazing hand-carved works of art.
Today, we really got a taste of hearty, traditional Québécois cuisine. At lunch, we dined on tourtière (meat pie), tarte au sucre (sugar pie) and other specialties in a lovely restaurant before heading to the Île d’Orléans and the dog sleds. There we spent an hour on sleds led by siberian huskies through the rugged countryside. It was cold, but invigorating. We even got to see some 4-week-old husky puppies that melted the girls’ hearts and made them forget about how cold they were!
From there, we drove to la Cabane à Sucre (Sugar Shack). Not only did we learn about the origins of maple syrup and how it has been made over the centuries, we also had an evening of feasting again on more local specialties whilst being entertained by a fiddler/guitar player who had the girls singing, dancing and playing the spoons. To top the day off, we all went outside for fresh maple syrup taffy straight from the snow.
Quelle journée! What a day! We haven’t stopped since our 8:00 breakfast appointment at the Parlementaire, an exquisite dining room in the Assemblée Nationale (the provincial parliament building). Today, parliament just re-opened after their winter break, but no signs of Philippe Couillard ;-). After that, we went to the top of the Observatoire de la Capitale for some amazing views of the old city, the Plains of Abraham and surrounding area for another history lesson. It gave us a great bird’s eye view!
The girl’s deserved some free time to mail their postcards and do a little shopping, so we walked down to the picturesque shopping street called la rue Saint-Jean. We then had an entertaining and informative visit of the Morin Centre, a former prison, which is now a cultural center, designed to educate people about the historic contributions of the Anglophones in Quebec City. After lunch in the old town, and a stunning picture of the group taken in front of the Château Frontenac, we returned to the Carnaval grounds to visit Bonhomme‘s Palace and for some more winter fun.
It was quite a chilly day and the snow never stopped falling: a perfect winter day in the capital. And also a perfect day for ice-skating at the Place d’Youville, a skating rink in a quaint city square just outside the city gates. We warmed up with a brisk walk back to the lower town to another lovely restaurant where the girls enjoyed a delicious meal, followed by an hour of improv – an hour filled with laughter and fun in both English and French.
We finished our stay in Québec City with a thrill. After carrying our toboggans up to the top of the Glissades de la Terrasse Dufferin (toboggan slide), we whizzed back down to the bottom at 60 km/h, with a stunning view of the Château Frontenac as our backdrop. After three runs, we enjoyed a hot chocolate and lunch in a local restaurant before heading back to Montreal by coach, and Vancouver by plane.
The girls were exhausted but grateful for the wonderful moments that they shared together in Québec City over the last five days.