Friday Two Cents: Québec Trip / Québec City


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Last week I did not have a chance to post because I was in the middle of my trip to the province of Québec. I had not been to Québec in a very long time and I was fortunate this time to go with a friend from Québec City.

The trip to Québec City was a long one made worse with it raining for more than two-thirds of the over 9 hours it took to get there. I decided to drive because 1) I enjoy driving and 2) I would be going to different places in Québec including Montréal. The journey is usually an eight and a half hour trip yet due to the weather conditions it took just over 9 hours.
As I said I was fortunate to have a friend with me who was from Québec City. I know their mother and she said that I would always have a room welcome for me if I decided to come to visit. Upon arrival at our destination we were warmly welcomed by their family and that is where my education into Québec culture began.
I stayed in the Québec City area for several days and my friend and their family took me around the area as they played tour guide. I soaked up the local culture as well as the sights. I cannot put everything I did into one post therefore I will have to spread out the trip over several posts.
The first place they took me was the old city of Québec. There I saw the narrow streets and buildings and it reminded me of Malta. Québec was built or founded in 1608 and many of the cities in Malta date back even earlier. Yet there was a distinct European feeling I felt in the old city. We walked around the city for a bit and then we went down to Saint Paul Street to see a few galleries and artisans. My friend knows I enjoy art and this was like the artist corner of the city. There was a vibrant francophone culture present and you can see the roots of many of the founding people within the city. You can also see many Irish roots in the names of the streets, shops and pubs. I was not surprised by this because I know Canadian history and Québec is the oldest city in North America, yet some how I could feel it being in that place.
That day was filled with sights and sounds of history coming alive. Even in front of the Château Frontenac where the statue of Samuel de Champlain is located I could just feel history coming alive within me.
I had always known that Québec was a distinct culture within Canada yet not until I was immersed in it did I realize the extent.   Wherever I went in Québec I felt this, this feeling of ‘Joie de vivre’, joy of living, enjoyment of life or love of life. All of these meanings were so true about the people I met there. It felt like everything you do was a gift and you need to enjoy it. I noticed that in Toronto we do not have this philosophy, that you work and then you have fun. You enjoy life at specific times, yet I felt that people in Québec enjoyed life all the time, in everything they did. Work or play, joyous times or sad times. Life was a gift and we must enjoy the moment for this moment will never come again.
This ‘Joie de vivre’ really stuck with me for the entire trip and I intend to continue now that I am back home. I have felt that if you wanted to enjoy life people here in Toronto looked at you odd. You have to be serious at all times and only when it was appropriate can you enjoy life. Well not anymore. I will not have other people dictate that to me. From now on I will enjoy life to develop my ‘Joie de vivre’.
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Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 5: Trailer Camping


 

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Well this past week I could not post on Friday because I was up at a friend’s trailer enjoying nature with the comforts of civilization. I say this because I for one love camping with a tent and cooking over an open fire. But there are times when I do enjoy the conveniences of modern living. Running water and flush toilets to mention only a couple. This was emphasized with one point of the trip while I was in, what is known around here as cottage country.

The region is about 1 – 2 hours drive north of Toronto in the great community of Midland and Penetanguishene.   My friend’s trailer is situated in the outskirts Penetanguishene with wonderful scenes of nature and beaches within driving distance, which we partook.

Besides the beaches and natural beauty, the community has a wonderful and rich history. One such venue was our trip and exploration of Discovery Habour. This historical site was a naval base built to help safe guard Upper Canada (Ontario as it was known then) after the war of 1812. It has many buildings and is rich in historical features that it took us a day to see them all. The site being a naval base has full-scale replica sailing ships, the H.M.S Bee (a Gaff Topsail Schooner) and the H.M.S. Tecumseth warship, plus others. They also have buildings with period specific items that bring out the history. Yet the showstopper is a new building, The H.M.S. Tecumseth Centre. Here they have artifacts and the original hull of the H.M.S. Tecumseth pulled from the Penetanguishene Bay in 1953. This climate controlled building gives you a wonderful look into a piece of Canadian Naval history.

As well, the trip was enhanced with the communities’ celebration of the Rendez-Vous Champlain Festival – a celebration of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain on the shores of Georgian Bay in 1615. 400 years ago Samuel De Champlain arrived on the shores of the Georgian Bay area and began a series of events that would see French settlers arrive and leave their mark on the area. A few facts about the Penetanguishene region and the French connection:

  • Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons, founded in 1639, was the first French-European settlement in North America, thanks to the guidance and generosity of First Nations.
  • The Huron-Wendat First Nation inhabited the area between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay long before Europeans, building thriving commercial and agricultural communities.
  • Nearly 612,000 Francophones call Ontario home. This is the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of the province of Quebec.

 

They had a parade and events for the three-day event and it was wonderful to see and experience.

The experience then topped off with a clear night so we can view the Blue Moon.  A blue Moon happens with the second full moon of the month.  This only happens every few years.  The full trip was wonderful and upon reflection a great segue to the upcoming events that I, and George, plan on experiencing for the rest of the summer. Stay tuned, the summer many be half over but adventure is always just around the corner.  

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