Thursday, June 30, 2016

MONTREAL TO QUEBEC CITY (Part Two) - June 26 to 29, 2016

We continued our very leisurely pace down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City. Saturday June 26th brought us a perfect summer morning with clear, sunny skies and the promise of hot temperatures. Local boaters recommended we delay our departure to 1300 to 1400 hours to take advantage of the ebb tide, so we took our time completing a few chores through the morning. At 1330 hours, we departed Portneuf for Neuville enjoying a relaxing ride through very scenic countryside. 

Neuville’s waterfront has a small, well protected basin for Club Nautique Vauquelin. We received a very warm welcome from this lovely yacht club. Shortly after arrival we enjoyed the use of their clubhouse for our happy hour and a game of “Cross Crib”. Afterwards we discussed the timing of our departure for Quebec City tomorrow.

At this time in the lunar cycle, tide times are rather awkward for down bound pleasure craft wanting to take advantage of ebb tides (and not fighting the flood tides). Low tide tomorrow was going to be 0730 hours so we decided on a departure time of 0600 to take advantage of the remaining ebb tide and slack tide to enter the Quebec City Marina and leave us lots of time to start exploring the city. This marina has two basins. The outer basin is exposed to the ~15 foot tide and has limited space on floating docks. The inner basin, entered via a lock, is enormous, with close to 300 slips. The lock operates from 0700 to 0030 hours each day. By 0900, we’d made it into the Quebec City inner harbour, had a pump out, filled our fuel tanks and got to our assigned slip and we were all feeling really good about that. 

Quebec City’s name comes from the descriptive Algonquin word “Kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. French explorer Jacques Cartier built a fort at the site in 1535, but it was abandoned in 1542 due to the harsh winter living conditions and hostility of the First Nations people. Quebec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608, making it one of the oldest cities in North America. The city’s “Old Town” (Vieux-Quebec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. Quebec has a lengthy history of battles and ownership changing between the French and British, the French & Indian Wars, the Seven Years Wars and of course the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which ended French rule in 1763 when France ceded New France to Britain. During British Rule, American revolutionary troops from the southern colonies assaulted the British garrison, in a failed attempt to liberate Quebec city (Battle of Quebec), dashing hopes of the people of Quebec that Canada would join the Continental Congress and become part of the original United States of America. The outcome of this battle effectively split British North America into two distinct political entities. Quebec City was never attacked during the War of 1812, when the United States attempted to annex Canadian lands. Fearing an American attack on Quebec City in the future, the British began construction of the Citadel of Quebec in 1820. The Americans never did attack Canada after the War of 1812, but the Citadel continued to house a large British garrison until 1871 and today it is still in use by the Canadian military in addition to being a tourist attraction. 

Quebec City has it all: history, wonderful old and pristinely maintained architecture, Quebec culture, restaurants, galleries, street performers, street artists and historical sites. If it weren’t for the $115 per night docking fee and the wonderful itinerary we have laid out for the rest of the summer, we could have stayed for many weeks, enjoying their various events and festivals. We are extremely grateful for the fantastic three days we had in the city. We dined out in French restaurants multiple times; we rode the narrated “get on/get off” Red Bus around the city and we soaked up as much Quebec atmosphere and culture as we could. The Quebec City Marina was walking distance to the old city and at night, the city was lit up beautifully like the jewel it is. The old city has gone through a significant renewal over the past 20 years and Quebecers are justifiably proud of this great city. It should be on everyones “Bucket List”.

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

Toboggan slide for Winter Carnival on boardwalk

Rue Champlain / Place Royale district

Dining out

Dining out again!!

Fran beside large wall mural in Place Royale

Artist's Alley

Battlefield Park - Plains of Abraham

Doing the board walk

Popular tin roofs with built in ladders for 
snow removal

Fleur de lis at City Hall 

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