Our first full day in Canada was marked by contrasts:
On an early morning walk, I scoped out a bakery (un boulangerie, for Gamache fans!), to which we later returned for crepes that practically melted away.
We spent the morning walking — and carriage riding — to take in the sights and history of Old Quebec. The Jesuits were here, arriving in French Acadia in 1609 and establishing a seminary near Quebec City in 1636. If you have read any of the history of the early Jesuits in New France, you know that often it did not go well for them at the hands of the Iroquois and Huron nations, but in the long run things did not go well for the First Nations at the hands of the French and English.
The Ursulines, who arrived in southwest Ohio in 1845 to found my first boarding school, showed up in Quebec in 1639, where they founded the first western institution of higher learning for women in North America. When I was an eighth grader at the School of the Brown County Ursulines, nuns and girls alike headed to Montreal for the World’s Fair ~ Expo ’67 ~ and then on to Quebec City, where we stayed with the Ursulines. This trip, there was no time to do more than take a quick look around. One of many reasons to return ~ to linger all day over Ursuline history!
As we wandered the streets of Quebec City, Judi, a city planner, remarked repeatedly on the beauty of the flowers which mark nearly every home and public building, whether business or government. I have thought of her observations many times since and, a couple of days ago when I stopped by my son’s apartment, I could not help but notice the potential for color in the utilitarian spaces on his street, large apartment buildings lining one side and older homes with porches the other. Not a garden or window box in sight. Quebec City is home to narrow streets and adjoining townhouses and apartments, but color greets you at every corner.
Everywhere, beauty and elegance:
And, although Quebec is a deeply Catholic province, the Reformers have been here as well!
Too late to plan a meet-up, we discovered that the Presbyterian St. Andrew’s, dedicated in 1810 but originating with Scots Highlanders fify years earlier, and pastored by a RevGals colleague, was only a block from our hotel!
The city was for the morning; by midday, we were headed north and east, and in the afternoon made our first stop at a provincial park. The still-overcast skies did not mar its stark beauty:
And, finally, we reached our destination for the evening, a campground in Riviere-du-Loop! After a long afternoon of driving, we set up our tents, built a fire, made dinner, cleaned up, and snuggled in for what would be another rainy night.
Well, one of us snuggled in. Judi was not quite ready to abandon her laptop technology! I,, on the other hand, startled at first to discover that our campsite included Wi-Fi, was happy to burrow myself into my sleeping bag and read from my ipad!
Not quite the Clarendon, but we were warm and dry ~ although that tent platform would prove to be my undoing . . .