When Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City in 1608, little did he realize that it would become one of the top ten cities in the world to visit. Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The French Colony that Champlain founded thrived in the 1600s, becoming the center of New France. The British unsuccessfully attacked the city in 1690 – the first of several attacks on the city. The French created a walled city on the cliffs in the early 1700s making the city a nearly impregnable fortress. The French successfully defended the city until 1759, when British general James Wolfe and his troops scaled the sheer cliffs to an area now known as the Plains of Abraham. They surprised and defeated the Marquis de Montcalm and his troops in about 20 minutes. In the peace treaty signed by the British and French in 1763, the French lost Quebec to Great Britain. Quebec City became British in name only. It remains French in its culture and traditions to this day. A perfect size to explore Old Quebec (inside the walled city) retains the feel of a century’s old French village. You’ll have a chance to explore cobblestone streets lined with 17th and 18th century stone buildings homes, and churches. There are numerous historic sites, monuments, and museums to visit, not to mention wonderful restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and antique galleries.
Our base of operations for this meeting will be the Hotel Ambassadeur (www.hotelambassadeur.ca) which is about 10 minutes from Old Quebec. The rate is $104 per night Canadian and that rate is good for three nights before and three nights after our meeting. Multiple flights come into Jean Lasage airport in Quebec City and it’s about a 30 minute cab ride from the airport to the hotel. You’ll need a passport to enter and leave Canada so make sure yours is up to date! (Take a look at the article regarding passports in this issue of Shavings).
On Thursday, May 14th, we’re going on a guided tour of Quebec City via motor coach with a costumed guide who will provide us with all kinds of historic information about the city while staying in character as a citizen of early Quebec. We will visit the Citadelle, the fort on top of the cliffs and then tour the Citadelle Museum (www.lacitadelle.qc.ca) that was newly re-opened just this past May. That will fill your morning and you will have the afternoon to wander around and enjoy all that old Quebec has to offer. We will provide 3 different bus trips to get you back to the hotel at various times in the afternoon. The evening 1st time attendee’s reception and Whatsit’s session will be held on Thursday evening with a selection of special Quebec desserts for you to enjoy while you try to figure out the “Whatsits”.
On Friday morning May 15th, you’ll join your guide again for a trip back to old Quebec and a tour of the archeological dig under the Dufferin Terrace. Your special tour will be led by the archeologist who has been in charge of this dig. You’ll be able to see the artifacts and learn some of the history covering over 200 years of French and English rule in Quebec City. After that, you’ll relax with a visit to Chateau Saint Louis, the historic home of the French Governor General for a “chocolaty time”. This will be an interactive and lively tasting of chocolate prepared by Governor Vaudreuil’s (the last governor general of New France) chef according to a recipe from 1759.
That will fill your morning, and on Friday afternoon you’ll have a chance to visit any of several sites on the Cote de Beaupre – the scenic Beaupre Coast just east of Quebec City. We’ll carpool to those sites and you can choose to visit a woodcarving ship, a copper and silver smith’s shop where you can try your hand at working with copper, and you can visit St. Anne de Beaupre, the most visited pilgrimage site in North America (www.sanctuairesainteanne.org). The church was founded in 1658 and during the building of the church a “miraculous healing” of Louis Guimont took place and pilgrims have been coming to this basilica seeking healing ever since. The original basilica was burned down in 1922, but was rebuilt in 1923. It’s an incredible piece of architecture and rivals European cathedrals. It’s well worth a visit
We will as usual have tailgating on Wednesday afternoon, tool trading on Saturday morning and member displays. .Our theme for the displays is “Tools That Fit In Your Pocket”. Sally Fishburn, is going to demonstrate the art of sash making, John Porritt is going enlighten us all in a talk titled “An Approach to Restoration”. John will be discussing how he colors rosewood, beech, and hard yellow birch when restoring antique tools and furniture. Martin Donnelly will give a presentation on how to perform research on historic tools and their makers titled “Historic Tool Research in the Information age. Our Silent Auction, banquet and Annual Meeting will as usual take place on Saturday Evening, May 16th, 2015. This promises to be a very interesting meeting in a fabulous location, so mark your calendar and bring a friend or two!
Don’t forget to register for the meeting — registration information can be found here.