August 13, 2004
This modern park is located on the site of Cartier’s second winter camp and the Jesuits first seminary, hallowed ground for many reasons.
That this is a historically significant site wasn’t at first evident to us. We parked along the street near the monument and we could not see the visitor center from where we were. I wasn’t quite sure if the monument was all there was, it seemed a bit lame if it was although the park itself was quite lovely. It was very evident on this warm July day that this was a popular spot with locals. There were people sunning in the grass and the bike paths were crowded with bikers and skaters. They take their bike paths quite seriously here and they have built a beautiful bridge over the St. Charles River for the bikers. There is another bridge that was crowded with people, as we walked across, we saw why. There were several families of ducks in the river, of all different ages, very tiny little ducklings, bigger ducklings, young adults and whole families, it was a charming vista and we joined the throng for several minutes.
We followed the path to what appeared to be a wooden palisade. We could see an Indian longhouse through the trees but it took us a while to figure out how to get inside. We met some young people who were collecting an entrance fee and they suggested that we join a tour at the visitor center, which we did. The visitor center is a short walk away and there was a parking lot there, somehow we had arrived on a different street and had missed this completely.
We paid our very minimal entrance fee and then began to tour the visitor center on our own while waiting for our guide. Julie didn’t keep us waiting long. I just want to say a few words about Julie; she spoke beautiful English and was not only knowledgeable but also excited about her subject. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes when a guide doesn’t just reel off fact from a memorized script. She could answer questions and if she didn’t know the answer, she seemed genuinely sorry that she didn’t. We enjoyed our 45 minutes with her and we learned a lot about not only Jacques Cartier, Jean de Brebeuf but also about the Iroquois who are what the two have in common.
The tour does involve some walking and the ground is hilly, so it may not be suitable for someone with limited mobility. It is well suited to children, since there are things to touch, to eat and to drink.
From journal Quebec City--I can’t get enough