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June 25, 2003
Monday morning the sun was shining. It made all of us feeling like getting some exercise. We walked out of the Chateau Frontenac and onto the Terrasse Dufferin. Unless you have been to Quebec, it will be hard to explain how hard the wind blows down the St Lawrence Valley, but to say it is brisk even at the best of times is an understatement. This particular morning it was strong enough to make my hair stand straight out in front of me. Check out the photo. We decided to walk the Promenade des Gouverneurs. This connects the Dufferin Terrace to Battlefield Park along the steep cliff behind the Citadel. It involves 310 stairs and ¾ of a mile. It has gorgeous views of the St Lawrence and all the way out to the Isle d’Orleans. We were not quite sure how well my knee would hold up to the walk, but what the heck. It held up just fine thanks to the new slimmer me. I did my Rocky imitation as I danced up the first few sets of stairs. Alex, of course, being a nine-year-old show-off, ran up the stairs with grandpa close behind.
When you get to Battlefield Park you can choose to walk out into the park, stop at the pavillion for a rest, get a snack at the snack trailer or just turn around and walk back. We did the later.
This is an excellent choice if you’re up for 620 stairs and 1.5 miles. As we reached the end of the Dufferin Terrace, we took the Funicular down to the Rue Petit Champlain so that Alex could see the Lower City on foot. We came back up the Casse-Cou (break-neck) stairs and then the Charles-Baillairge Stairway. I didn’t count but my guess would be a couple hundred to get back to Place d’Armes. I have to admit that those last stairs pretty much did me in. I called it a day, after all we still had a seven hour drive to complete to get home. If you prefer to just enjoy the Terrace Dufferin you can stroll over to one of the binoculars for close up views of the river and the lower city. There are vendors along the way to get a coffee, or a hot chocolate or in the warmer weather an ice cream. The entrance to the funicular is tucked into the eastern corner of the Terrace. In the winter the Terrace becomes a bobsled run and anytime of year you can find entertainers of every sort performing. We have seen magicians, jugglers, singers, comics and actors and actresses. The Terrace is one place no one should miss when visiting Quebec City.
From journal Quebec with Alex
September 24, 2000
This is a great people watching spot. You will be entertained by the street artist who will mime, sing, play instruments and basically do just about anything to earn a little cash. There is an information booth here, and the horse-drawn carriages are located right off the Terrace on the Place d'Armes.
For a bit more excitement you might want to come during the winter when there is a tobaggan run set up here. The Winter Carnival offers Quebec in a whole different light.
The Terrace was built from a design by the then Governor General of Canada the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. He layed the first corner stone in 1878. We should be very grateful to him not only for the Terrace but for the fact that he saved the walls that surround the city making it the only surviving fortified city in North America.
From journal A weekend in the Paris of the North