Saturday, Sept. 20; Quebec City
Our last full day in Quebec brought a return of overcast skies with drizzle and cool temperatures. We countered by not walking around a great deal.
The Museum of Civilization was our first stop, arriving there shortly after it opened at 10 AM. The museum does not allow pictures so we can not brighten your day with images from there. As mentioned yesterday, the museum had a fire here on Monday and one wing on both floors was closed. In compensation, the entrance fee was reduced.
We spent three hours touring three exhibits; a history of Quebec, an exhibit on Olympic gods, and a show about the creative world of animated film makers of the Canadian National Film Board. The Olympus exhibit was pretty lame and boring. The history of Quebec display was much better, but suffered (for me) with the fact that most display plaques detailing specific objects were placed about two feet from the ground. Large plaques summarizing the history of a time period were at a readable height, though.
The animation show had numerous screens showing clips created by artists of the Canadian National Film Board (see more at http://www.nfb.ca). The Film Board’s purpose is to educate and stir discussion about items of interest to Canadians and to educate non-Canadians about Canada. The NFB has received over 70 Academy Award nominations, the most for any organization outside of Hollywood. There were sections on humorous films. Then there were clips from films that were dark or simply confusing. We had never heard of the National Film Board previously so this show was definitely illuminating even if it did not create a desire to run out and buy videos of their work.
We had a quick lunch at the museum cafe and then walked down to the quay for a cruise of the St. Lawrence River on the Louis Jolliet. The rain and gray skies did not lead to dramatic pictures but we had an enjoyable time-sitting inside the boat. The tour guide gave his spiel in French and English. The tour goes down river as far as the Montmorency Falls and provides a better view of the Ile d’ Orleans. The island splits the St. Lawrence into two channels, the north one (by Montmorency) is shallower.
This section of the river is about 10 miles from the intrusion of salt water and tidal effects. Besides providing river level views of the ramparts and Chateau Frontenac, we pass by ship building and shipping terminals. Quebec has Canada’s second largest number of grain elevators, after Thunder Bay. Sailboats dotted the river, frequently passing very close by our boat. We sat next to two women from CA who were touring Montreal and Quebec as part of a Road Scholars trip.
After a pastry and tea stop, we headed to Notre Dame Cathedral for 5 PM Mass. Our journey was interrupted by a two person busker team performing in front of the Cathedral. Or at least trying to perform. After drumming up business from passerby’s, the start of the show was delayed by 10 minutes of bell ringing from the Cathedral, announcing that services would start soon. Then after five minutes of performance, the rains began. We decided that was a message to drop the show and get into church. We were only a few minutes late. Not a major loss since the Mass was entirely in French.
Rains increased this evening and we decided to pass on the outdoor art show around Place Royale. Tomorrow we head out for Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains for three nights.
Ed and Chris 9/20/14 8:30 pm