The weather sucks today. Overcast and light rain. We slept well last night and had a slow morning since I was having back aches and the weather wasn’t very conducive to walking around anyway. Katherine and Keith were busy this morning so we lounged around and relaxed. Later when they got back, we had lunch and then went to see her church next door.
This part of Quebec City is traditionally the Scottish quarter which dates back to the 18th century when the first Fraser Highland regiment was here, they fought with General Wolfe during the battle of the Plains of Abraham. They decided they didn’t want to return to Scotland. This would have been in the years after the Rising in 1746 so they may have figured they were considered traitors even though they fought for the British in North America. They applied to George III to be decommissioned. It was granted by a charter and land awarded to them here in QC. Katherine’s church is on that land. She said that if there comes a time when the parish has no minister, the land reverts back to the British.
In the little museum in the back of the church is the original charter from George III to the Fraser Regiment.
The church, St. Andrews, was built in the early 19th century but the parish is much older. The church is lovely, with sections of pews on either side angled in facing towards the lectern as well as rows of pews directly facing it. There’s a large pipe organ upstairs and some really nice stained glass windows. The museum in back has lots of old documents, books, silver, photos and photos. There’s an old Fraser regiment uniform and portraits of all the ministers including my friend Katherine, the only female to date to hold the position.
We also visited the Morrin Centre, which is next to the manse. The Morrin centre was the first English jail, starting off as a military prison and later as a general jail. Later it became the Morrin College and was the first college in Canada to award degrees to women. It also contains the only English library in Quebec City. There is a hall where special events can be held and we saw the Victorian library as well. There are old wooden chairs and shelves and there are some very rare books as well. I believe the part used for the jail can be visited in summer and they do tours but we didn’t see it as Katherine only had access to the library and the tours only go on during the summer months.
From there we drove down into the lower town and it was like going back even further in time. If the old city inside the walls on the upper level looked old, the lower town was even older, with narrow cobbled streets and old stone buildings. We will be staying in a hotel in this section later in the week. Even though the weather isn’t going to be sunny, hopefully it will be a bit dryer and we can walk around a bit more and see it. My camera trigger finger was getting itchy just driving through!
We then drove out along the river, the St. Lawrence a little way because I wanted to see the area that the battle of the Plains of Abraham was fought. It’s not just a field that was a battle ground now, it’s parkland and there’s a big museum, Beaux Arts on the end of one large area that’s set up for playing sports. It’s still got large green space areas and is on the edge leading to the cliffs that the English had to scale to attack the French.
We drove down Le Grande Allee, a wider street lined with larger beautiful buildings, both public and private, lots of restaurants and nightclubs and shopping, too. We drove through the city and out to a mall where we went to a coffee shop for a break. I’m sitting on a heating pad for my back which is still bothering me and we are going to get fast food later on.
Graham and I are meeting up with our friend Karine tomorrow and hope to see a bit more of the city, probably on foot. We’ll check into our hotel later in the day and see where we go from there.
And the next day, again, sucky weather. We had a cooked breakfast this morning courtesy of Katherine. My back seems to feel a bit better so the heat is helping I think. When Karine arrives, we have a cup of coffee/tea and a chat. We leave there, bags packed in her car and park in an underground parking garage close to the Citadel.
First we had to climb up a hill to get to it. Wish we had driven, there was some parking up at the fort. Anyway, I went slowly and made it up eventually. We joined an English tour and there were only 8 of us so it was nice, almost like a private tour. Our guide, Charles, was very good and took us around all the areas.
There are two museums to look at. We were up on the bastions with great views over the river that the fort defended and over the city. The 22nd Regiment is based there in a small way with the rest of the battalion based in Val Cartier, a half dozen km or so away.
There’s a small chapel that we couldn’t go in and many barracks buildings as well. The citadel has never been fired on or attacked and the current fort was built between 1820 and 1850 though there were defences on this spot before that. There’s at least one building, the old magazine battery, that dates from the French occupation. The Citadel’s situated at the top of the cliffs and next to the area where the Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place. It’s a star shaped citadel like Halifax’s but is far larger.
We walked around there for a couple of hours even though it was damp and overcast. It managed not to rain though there was a bit of a mist from time to time and it wasn’t overly cold. We finally left there close to 3 p.m. and trudged back down the hill to the car. Down to the lower town to a small restaurant called Buffet d’Antiquaire which features traditional Quebec dishes. With Karine guiding us, we tried one of her favourites, something they only usually have over the Christmas holidays, cipaille, We also all shared another one with pork "balls" with gravy and whipped potato which was also really good.
Naturally, we all ate too much and rolled out of there. My back is starting to ache again damnit. There’s a drugstore just across the road and I was able to find a heating pad there. We picked up some snacks for the hotel room at a small supermarket and got to the hotel to check in.
Wow, what an awesome room! Hotel 71 is in an old National Bank building but has been renovated inside. The room we got is on the top floor with a great view of Chateau Frontenac, the landmark hotel in Quebec City that overlooks the cliffs and lower city and river. It’s lit up at night and is gorgeous. The bathroom is beautiful with a large shower area glassed off on one end. The bed feels really nice, a thick mattress on a platform with lovely linens. We got a great rate using an email offer through Travelzoo. Another winner I think. Our rate doesn’t come with breakfast so we’ll have to go looking for somewhere in the morning but that shouldn’t be a problem.
My back however, is a problem tonight and I was really starting to hurt. I think Karine could tell and excused herself. I spent some time on the heater and took another Robax and a half. I hope it’s just a temporary thing because it was feeling a bit better earlier and I thought the walking around was helping as well. I’m feeling very sorry for myself and disappointed. It’s frustrating.
Anyway, hopefully this too shall pass. Tomorrow I think is going to be iffy weather again so I think we might go to the museum in the morning, which is right across from the hotel. They have a new exhibit on Samurai that we both want to see. I expect we’ll meet up with Karine again and tomorrow evening we’re supposed to go see the band that she manages rehearse.