Voyage à Québec

Our Grade 8s travelled to Quebec City from February 10-16th to immerse themselves in French language and culture, experience the famous Winter Carnival, and enjoy several winter activities.

Read the updates below from each day of their travels, from trip leader Mr. Carr.

Greetings from Quebec! We have arrived safe and sound at our hotel in the downtown after a seamless day of travelling from a cloudy Vancouver to a very snowy Toronto, and finally on to an extremely chilly Quebec (- 20 degrees!).

I just wanted to let you all know that the girls are all happy and well-fed after a lovely dinner at Café de Paris in the old town and a brisk walk to the Château Frontenac for a group picture.

As I write this, the girls are warm and snug in their beds, getting rested up for a big day of sight-seeing and Carnaval activities tomorrow.

A few words to sum up our first full day in Quebec City: cold, very cold…but wonderful.

After a hearty breakfast, the girls were ready to visit le vieux Québec (Old Quebec) by foot on a guided tour. After a leisurely stroll through the quaint Quartier Petit Champlain, 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. After lunch, it was time to have some fun at Carnaval! 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 Carnaval Night Parade, where we danced along to French-Canadian music and got to salute Bonhomme.

We’re all back, safe and sound, at the hotel, happy to get out of all our heavy winter clothing and get into our cozy warm beds. After the travel day, and a jam-packed day outdoors in the cold, I’m sure everyone will sleep well tonight.

If we didn’t tire the girls out today, then I don’t know what it takes!

We started the day in the Musée de l’Amérique Francophone where we learned about the first French settlers in North America. After our fix of culture, we headed for the outskirts of Quebec City to Village Vacances Valcartier where we slid down hills in rubber tubes all afternoon. Then, after touring the Hôtel de Glace nearby, we drove to a Cabane à Sucre where we learned about how maple syrup is made, and enjoyed an evening feasting on local specialties whilst being entertained by a fiddler/guitar player who had the girls singing, dancing and playing the spoons. To finish off a perfect day, we all went outside for fresh maple syrup taffy rolled in the snow.  

The snow is really coming down hard. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

 DAY 4
I hope you all had a wonderful Family Day in BC… and sorry that your daughters could not be with you. Having said that, I just want to thank you all for your wonderful girls, who, without a doubt, are the most polite, kind, inclusive, and enthusiastic girls that I have ever travelled with. I must also commend them on their willingness to speak French at every opportunity, even to one another (when they think we’re not listening!).

Of course, it was another fantastic day here in Quebec City. Today we skipped breakfast at the hotel to eat in a more upscale venue: Le Parlementaire, in the Province’s Parliament Building. This was followed by a tour where we learned about the history and the workings of Quebec’s parliamentary institutions. After that, we discovered the stunning Montmorency Falls, and played in the heaps of snow that had fallen the night before. After all that fun, we moved on to our next activity which was the Atelier Paré, where we heard several Québecois Legends told by a very animated story-teller, and then went on to visit the stunning Basilique de Sainte-Anne-de-Baupré.

The highlight of the day was, of course, the dog-sledding, which we did partly after sunset (as we lost some time stopping off at a grocery store because the girls wanted to buy vegetables!). Even though the gusts of wind made it cold enough to freeze the tip of your nose, the girls loved it from start to finish, especially the puppy huskies!

Now we’re back in the hotel for a well-needed rest, looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

Joyeuse Saint-Valentin !

We all had a lovely Saint-Valentine’s Day here in Quebec City! After a visit to the Musée de la Civilisation in the morning, the girls were thrilled to have some shopping time on the rue Saint-Jean in the old town. After lunch, we continued on to the Morin Center, a former prison, which is now a cultural center designed to educate people about the historic contributions of the Anglophones in Quebec City. From there we moved on to our photo shoot of the group taken in front of the Château Frontenac where we also did some tobogganing on the famous Glissades de la Terrasse Dufferin! The girls loved it! Then it was off to an excellent diner of specialties from the Lac Saint-Jean region of Quebec (where they put maple syrup in everything! Yum!), and carried on to an evening of improv theater and had some good laughs: a great way to end another fantastic day in the capital of la belle province!

Our last day in Quebec City started by visiting a local school in the Limoilou district of the city called L’école de la Cité. Our girls were paired up with other students of the same age, and they quickly began introducing themselves in the “other” official language. These students showed them around their school, played games with them in their salle de jeux, had a pizza party, and finished with a bilingual version of scatégories where they had to find words in both languages.  It was wonderful to see the children laughing and communicating in both English and French.

Then it was off for some skating at the Patinoire de la Place d’Youville for an hour and a half of outdoor fun. To warm up, we walked to the Observatoire de la Capitale for great panoramic views of the city and a guided tour explaining many interesting facts about the history of Quebec. We then returned to the old town to have dinner, which was followed by the Ghost Tour during which the girls discovered some of Quebec’s most beautiful historical spots while being entertained by ghost stories: a perfect way to finish our stay in Quebec City.

Tomorrow, after an early lunch of poutine, we will be leaving Quebec City in the early afternoon for Vancouver.