Quebec City ~ Romantic Destination in Nouvelle France and a ghost or two, too

Day 3

June 24, 2015

After yesterday’s rain, we were thrilled to wake to blue skies and sunshine. It would be a great day for trekking around the city and even better for our ghost walk tonight.

Our first stop was on rue d’Auteuil in front of number 91 BIS.

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Plaque on the home of former Prime Minister of Quebec, Rene Levesque

The text on the plaque translates to:

Rene Levesque
1922-1987

Prime Minister of Quebec
(1976-1985)

I remember

In this house lived Prime Minister Mr Rene Levesque of Quebec from 1977 to 1985

Rene-Levesque Foundation
December 1995

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91 BIS – Rene Levesque’s house with the plaque beside the door

When we were here in November the white frame house on the right was undergoing restoration.  I do believe it’s all done now. At least the destructive part of the process. I say that because the dumpster is gone.

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Avenue St Denis

When we got down to the promenade by the Chateau Frontenac there were hardly any people out at all. The lighting was just right to capture the bridge to Île d’Orléans. Even with the picture at this smaller size (original dimensions were 5184×3456) you can see it.

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Early morning on the promenade. The bridge shows up really well this morning.

On our first day here we saw people (mostly younger ones) ‘riding’ the cannons. So when in Quebec… do as the others do and have a ride. You’ve got to be silly once in a while.

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Don ‘riding’ the cannon
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Me ‘riding’ the cannon

I’m not sure if it was just my imagination but to say it’s summer, I didn’t think there were a lot of freighters going up or down river. Maybe we weren’t in the right place at the right time on this trip?

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Freighter going down river with the pilot boat alongside

We made our way down into Vieux-Quebec where we stopped in at Geomania (unfortunately, they don’t have their own website that I could find) where I got some gorgeous “bling” – a Lapis-Lazuli pendant and an Ammolite one. Pictures to follow on another blog post.

Before the end of our trip, the Funiculaire in the background would become our best friend.

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rue Sous-le-Fort with the funiculaire in the background

Passage de la Batterie leads to a courtyard in behind. It looked somewhat like a restaurant patio but there was a way back to the street from there if you turned right at the other end of the tunnel.

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Passage de la Batterie

The streets down here are lined with shops and sidewalk patios with plenty of things to see.

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rue du Cul de Sac

Like this beaver outside Queues de Castor.

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Beaver at Queues de Castor

We stopped in at the Ghost Walk office to ensure we were booked on the tour for that night and to find out exactly where we were to meet. While there chatting with the young lady who was working, through the course of our conversation she suggested we take the shuttle bus out to Montmorency Falls. It sounded like a great idea to us so we headed back to “upper town” and the tourist information office.

But there was one place I had to go first. I love this place!Yesterday, I posted a photo of the rooftops taken from rue des Remparts. Well, here’s the real deal.

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rue Sous-le-Cap

I believe the house in the photo below is the one with the rooftop terrace in yesterday’s photo. Not that it’s a huge deal. But can you see why I love this little, narrow street so much?

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rue Sous-le-Cap

When we arrived at the tourist information office to purchase our tickets to the falls, we discovered the bus would be there in about ten minutes. I’d say our little ‘detour’ paid huge dividends.

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Bridge to Île d’Orléans from Montmorency Falls

We could have climbed up all 487 steps to the stop but having been there, done that in 1998 we opted for the round trip cable car ride. I mean we had to save some of legs for the ghost walk.

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The 487 steps to the top of Montmorency Falls
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Footbridge over Montmorency Falls

At the left of the cliff in the distance is La Citadelle. The first bump in the horizon to the right of it is the Chateau Frontenac and the next little nub (almost in the middle of the picture) is the Price Building. Sorry but I had to get that in there.

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Quebec City from Montmorency Falls
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Montmorency Falls from the top of the steps
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Montmorency Falls from the boardwalk

On our return to the city, we took our purchases back to the hotel and relaxed with a beer and a bit of telly before going to the Pub St-Patrick. We sat downstairs again but not in the fireplace room.

There were a few ‘new to us’ streets that I wanted to take a wander on, especially since our bus ride out to the falls, so we set out again.

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Celtic Cross and house on rue McMahon
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Cannon in Parc de l’Artillerie
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Centre building is very similar to one mentioned in Tim’s Magic Christmas
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Fountain at Place de la Gare in front of the VIA train station
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Hotel le Saint-Paul

We had to save our legs for the ghost tour so we walked to the meeting place and plopped our behinds in the lovely adirondack chairs to wait.

Ghost walk time!

We met our guide near where rue de la Petit Champlain and Boulevard Champlain meet.

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Our ghost walk guide

Remember the red door and courtyard? That was one of our stops. We heard the story of Jean Rattier and his unfortunate wife Marie Rivière, the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, the chilling story of la Corriveau among others. The tour ended at The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity which is haunted by one or two ghosts, one being the mother of an illegitimate child she murdered and buried near the organ. Even the Queen has seen something ‘ghostly’ inside the church from the royal pew in the balcony which faces the organ.

By the time we got back to our hotel room, we were completely done in.

 

Quebec City ~ Romantic Destination in Nouvelle France even in the rain

Day 2

June 23, 2015

What do you do when you’re on vacation in Quebec City and it rains? Grab your umbrella and go out walking anyway. Possibly the rain makes it even more romantic, if that’s possible.

Since the Plains of Abraham and the boardwalk were pretty much closed because of the Fête nationale du Québec taking place later that evening, we decided over breakfast that we’d walk to the Porte-Saint-Louis and walk the top of the wall as far as we could. Besides, who wants to go walking through the wet grass?

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Cannons on the wall at Porte Saint-Louis

It was only spitting rain when we left the hotel, but looking at the sky it would only be a matter of time before it came down harder.

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The top of the wall at Parc de l’Esplanades
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Quebec Parliament Buildings from Parc de l’Esplanades

The horse-drawn carriages have a parking area in Parc de l’Esplanades. This was the first to turn up – number 14. All of the carriages are numbered and the horse wears a tag on his bridle with the corresponding number. Oh, and look – there’s the Price Building in the background.

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Horse drawn carriage at Parc de l’Esplanades

Porte Kent is at the head of rue Dauphine. Under normal circumstances, you could go through the gate and carry on but the doorway was boarded over so we had to go down to street level.

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Porte Kent

The Maison Dauphine is a shelter for street youth from the ages of 12 to 24. You can read more about the work they do here. It’s a beautiful building and yes, that’s another steep hill.

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La Maison Dauphine

Porte Saint-Jean is the last of the remaining gates in the wall around the city. You can see that some of the stones have been turned green from the copper roof.

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Porte Saint-Jean

This is rue Saint-Jean outside the wall at Place D’Youville. In the winter there is a skating rink set up on the extreme left of this photo. This time it was marquis type tents set up for the comedy festival and other things happening in the city.

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Rue Saint-Jean outside the wall

At street level in the red brick building on the left of the photo is the Pub Saint-Alexandre one of our favourite haunts but since we’ve not been there yet, I’ll save it for now. But look – there’s the Price Building.

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Rue Saint-Jean inside the wall

We walked through Parc de l’Artillerie when we were here in November and thought it would be fun to do it in more favourable weather. And look at what’s peeking over the roof of the white building – you guessed it. It’s the Price Building.

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Parc de l-Artillerie

This walkway was closed off in November but was open this time of year. Since we couldn’t walk through here then, we did on this occasion. It’s a shame that the buildings have been vandalized by tagging.

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Parc de l’Artillerie

After exiting the park, we continued along rue des Remparts. The narrow streets leading off this one are filled with colourful houses. And yup, there’s the Price Building again.

Remember this house on the left of the photo. The one with the stone front and brick side.

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Looking up rue Saint-Flavien from rue des Remparts

Rue Sous-le-Cap is a lovely narrow street in Vieux-Quebec. We first experienced it in November when Philippe took us through there on our carriage ride. One of the houses in this photo even has a rooftop terrace!

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rue Sous-le-Cap from rue des Remparts

This is about where rue des Remparts becomes rue Port-Dauphin. There are a number of cannons along here as you can see in this photo taken last November.

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Cannons along rue des Remparts in November 2014. It’s in this area where the street name changes to rue Port-Dauphin

And the steps at the back for the soldiers to climb up to load them makes a perfect spot for a gal to have a wee rest, don’t you think?

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Sitting on a cannon on rue des Remparts

Down below you can see rue Notre-Dame and the Parc de la Cetière. The were doing some construction between two of the houses. I have no idea what it will be but there’s a round-top opening on one side and where within the next few days, where the plywood is cut on the angle, there’s another piece there to make it triangular. Looks like a return trip to find out just what the purpose of all that was.

To the right of the picture you can see a stone wall with a red door in it that leads to a courtyard.

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rue Notre-Dame from rue des Remparts

We walked over this bridge and took the remaining stairs up to Place D’Armes located in front of the Chateau Frontenac. If you look to the right of there is another flight of stairs that takes you down to street level on Côte de la Montagne.

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Bridge over Côte de la Montagne from Parc-Montmorency

It wasn’t much longer and the skies really opened up but it didn’t last long. Basically long enough to get everything soaking wet.

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rue Saint-Louis in the rain

We circled around to rue du Trésor where we boarded this carriage for a ride around the city (at least the places we could go that weren’t blocked off because of festivals and the like). We chose this carriage because it looked more romantic than the others. White with the red interior and the heart-shaped window at the back.

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In our horse-drawn carriage
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Major, Don, and our driver Andre

While we were out, Andre took us by this house (remember it from an earlier picture?). He told us that it is supposedly the most haunted house in Quebec City. After hearing that, I had to go back and get a better photo of it. With the peeling paint and shutters hanging at crazy angles, not to mention the trees taking over in front of the two lower windows, it’s not hard to see how it got it’s reputation.

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Reputedly the most haunted house in Quebec City

After our full day in the rain, we went back to the hotel and opened the second bottle of champagne we had brought with us.

When we were ready to go out for supper, the rain was coming down harder than it had all day so we chose a restaurant closer to our hotel.

I mean, why get drenched if you don’t have to?

 

Quebec City ~ Romantic Destination in Nouvelle France

Day 1

June 22, 2015

After spending a week in Canada’s “city of lights”, Quebec City, in November 2014, we decided to go back this year as our destination 40th anniversary trip.

We loved the hotel we stayed in last November so booked in again at The Grande-Allée Hotel and Suites. Upon check-in, we discovered that our room was next to the one we stayed in last year. The only drawback to this room was the fact that access to the heating/air-conditioning system was in our foyer.

The restored brick wall adds a charming rustic look to the room and the electric fireplace makes for a romantic mood-setter. We even had an ice bucket and wine glasses on the mantle!

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Our room showing the restored brick wall

The room behind the mirrored French door to the left was our bathroom. The solid door was the access to the heating/air-conditioning system. Thankfully, everything worked as it should so no workman needed access through our hotel room.

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The foyer

Once we were settled, the beverages in the fridge (cleverly hidden in the wardrobe) except for one bottle of champagne which we popped the cork on and toasted our 40 years, we set out across the Plains of Abraham to the boardwalk that leads to the promenade below at the Chateau Frontenac.

To the naked eye, the lighting was perfect to see the bridge from the mainland to Île d’Orléans and make out the distances of the various mountains in the distance. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t do the scene justice.

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St Lawrence River from the Promenade

Believe it or not, even from its prominent location, there are places in the city where you don’t see the Chateau Frontenac. Our hotel was on the same street (it changed names from Grande Allée to rue Saint-Louis inside the wall). So if we decided to walk this way, we were only a short walk away.

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Chateau Frontenac hotel

The charming architecture of the buildings in Vieux-Quebec with their brightly coloured roofs from the promenade.  Getting to this part of the city is easy – it’s all downhill – getting  back to “upper town” not quite so much.

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Looking down into Vieux-Quebec

Rue du Petit-Champlain is lined with all sorts of wonderful shops and restaurants. It’s also where you can go to access the Funiculaire to ride to the top of the hill!

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Rue du Petit-Champlain

Where rue Notre-Dame and rue de la Place meet, lies Place-Royale. The cobblestoned square is filled with interesting eateries and shops and the  Église-Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

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Place-Royale
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Place-Royale
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Église-Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Place-Royale

Near the end of rue Notre Dame in Parc de la Cetière is the Quebec City mural. All four seasons are depicted in it as well as different periods in history with famous and not so famous people included.

It’s difficult to get an unobstructed view of the mural from the park with the number of people wanting to photograph it along with a tree in full leaf. This picture was taken from Côte de la Montagne a short way up the hill and beyond the tree.

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Quebec City Mural

Speaking of Côte de la Montagne, this is the hill you have to walk up. It’s steep and there are handrails next to some of the storefronts if you need to grab on and pull yourself along.

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Côte de la Montagne

After all this walking, it was time for liquid refreshment and a meal so we stopped in at Pub St-Patrick. We headed to the fireplace room with its vaulted ceiling. The smell of the wood fires over the years lingered in the air. A little too warm for the fire to be lit on this trip but we experienced it last year.

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Wood-burning fireplace at the Pub St-Patrick

The Price Building looks much like the Empire State Building in New York City. My husband and I have a bit of a standing joke about it. When we went on our horse and carriage ride last November, after giving us the history of it, our driver Philippe pointed and said “there’s the Price Building” every time it came into view. So after that (even though it got irritating at the time), one of us would look and point and say “there’s the Price Building”.

This is another tall building in Quebec City that isn’t visible from everywhere but when it is, if you think you’re lost just walk towards it.

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The Price Building

Homeward bound… well at least to our hotel room. Once we reached the wall, we were only about five minutes at the most from our hotel room.

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Porte Saint-Louis

It’s an all uphill walk but at least it isn’t steep… just long.

 

 

Canada Day 2015!

canada's flag

Happy Canada Day!

It seems strange for a Bank Holiday to fall in the middle of the week but that’s where July 1st happened to land in 2015. So work for two days, celebrate Canada Day,  then go back to work for two more. celebrations in my hometown will be more special than in years gone by. I’m not evens sure what’s planned for today in my hometown of Brockville. Pretty sad isn’t it? Live here and don’t know what’s going on?

I’ve heard something about a straw-beary picnic at, I believe, Hardy Park and as in previous years, I’m guessing the day the day will end with a fireworks display.

Hoards of people will walk or drive by our house headed to the waterfront to watch the display and get eaten by mosquitoes which have been terrible so far this year. Us? We can walk across the street and see them from there (should we be so desirous).
fireworks

I have some writing I NEED to get done and a book to finish reading and another to start and review. Maybe, I’ll spend the day doing that.

Where do you live in Canada? How will you celebrate the day?

 

Fifteen minutes of fame…

Quite literally, it was fifteen minutes. That’s how long each of the authors who took part in Magic Spells had to read from their books.

The event was to take place outdoors, but the organizers had the foresight to have an alternate venue lined up in the event of inclement weather. It poured at times on Sunday. Other times a light mist but definitely not conducive to being outside.

The afternoon started out with some humour, followed by some of the actors from the local Shakespeare festival, a smidgeon of crime followed by me.

I was asked if I was nervous getting up and speaking in front of a crowd. Not in the slightest. Shhh… don’t tell anyone but I rather enjoy it. Well, at least when it comes to talking about Scotland, my writing and reading from my work.

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fifteen

I was followed by an intermission when people could buy books signed by the authors before things got back down to business. Before the event, the Friends of the Library sold 50-50 tickets and my husband won $57.50 from that.

The afternoon concluded with some historical folk music, poetry readings and mystery.

I enjoyed myself and should the Friends of the Prescott Library hold an event like this again, I’ll be there… that is, if they’ll have me back. Hope so.

 

The unveiling of Tim’s Magic Christmas

The Unveiling

You’ve seen the cover of Tim’s Magic Christmas revealed a bit at a time every day this past week. Now, it’s the unveiling of the actual book!

I received an email from CoBa Studios & Print Shop at 7:20 pm Friday, June 12th saying that my books were printed and I could pick them up any time. The email went on to say that they would be open from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm the following day if I wanted to pick them up then.

Can we say no brainer? I couldn’t wait to see all my “book babies” even though I already had a proof copy. Saturday morning, I was up early (nothing new there) and ready to head to CoBa’s location in Merrickville to be there shortly after they opened.

Once I got my “book babies” home, I transferred them from the copy paper box I’d brought them home in (a bit difficult to do a series of unveiling photos in a box with no lid) to these “plain brown wrappers” which were the perfect size!

So, let the unveiling commence!

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Blurb:

For Tim Frost, Christmas 2011 is a washout. No Santa. No presents. Nothing. His father lost his job when the mill closed and now the family is on the verge of losing their home.

A chance encounter with Nick Kringle, a modern-day Santa Claus, teaches Tim that the greatest gift you can receive is the gift of giving.

Currently, Tim’s Magic Christmas is only available in paperback. If you’re interested in finding out more about this book or purchasing a copy, please leave a comment.

 

Magic Spells – June 28, 2015

Magic Spells brought to you by The Friends of the Prescott Library

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Prescott, ON Canada

magic spellsI’ll be reading from my debut novel A Shadow in the Past at 2:40 pm.

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At the time of writing this blog post, the sun is shining, there’s plenty of blue sky but the weather network is forecasting rain and cooler temperatures.

magic spellsThe Kinsmen Amphitheater

magic spellsSt. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

corner of Centre and Dibble Streets

Regardless of where we entertain from, I hope to see you at the event!

 

COVER REVEAL ~ Coming in time for Christmas in July! Day 4

COVER REVEAL

DAY 4

4

Every day this week, a bit more of the cover of my latest project will be revealed here at Celtic Connexions.

I can’t tell you too much about it just yet, after all this is a cover reveal post and too much too soon… well, the anticipation has to build doesn’t it?

A little bit more of the plain brown wrapper has been torn off for today. Aren’t you all a-quiver with excitement? I am.

 

My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King

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