Monthly Archives: August 2019

St John – Day 10 QC/NB Trip

Well we had finally reached our destination of St John, NB, long time home to Marie’s brother Kevin and wife Phyllis.  It has been a few years since we had been their way.  It was so great to get together with you again.


The weather was superb and Kevin took us on a glourius tour.  There is so much to see and do in this historic and beautiful city.  Here are some photo highlights:






We stopped for lunch at the restaurant right above the reversing falls.  We had the best table in the house and the best seafood chowder Dave has ever had.  While we were eating, the tide came in.  What at first was rushing waters and huge eddies where the St John River flows into the Bay of Fundy, became calm.  Some pleasure boats then started coming into the mouth of the river.






There was a very large cruiseship in town as we toured the downtown area.  We then visited the lovely Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, their parish church, before returning home.






Dave and Kevin played some billiards in the basement while Marie and Phyllis reminisced about the good old days growing up in Freshwater and Dunville, Nfld, as well as their nursing school days together. Thanks Kevin for humouring Dave before cleaning the table!  The ribs dinner and delicious fruit cake for the road were great Phyllis.

Thank you so much Bro Kevin and Sister Phyllis for your warm welcome, great hospitality and all that laughter.  You guys are the greatest couple with the greatest family who know how to have fun.  We enjoyed our visit immensely and look much forward to seeing you again soon.  Thanks for travelling with us reading all these blogs!








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Gaspesie to NB – Day 8-9 QC/NB Trip

We had the most exquisite breakfast at an auberge across the street from La Villa Danton – eggs on artisan bread toast, salad with raspberry confiture and hints of maple syrup. We then walked along the gorgeous Gaspesie shoreline enjoying the sights, sounds and ‎smells of the ever widening St Lawrence.
We left St Luce Sur Mer and drove SE across the centre of the beautiful Gaspe peninsula to the site of the Restigouche Battlefield. It was here in the spring of 1760 that the French ‎supply convoy sent at great expense to support the retaking of Québec City from the English, was totally lost. The 5 ships laden with supplies and arms were scuttled by French sailors after the British squadron hemmed them in here. It spelled the final end of La Nouvelle France.
We continued on to the outskirts of Bathurst, NB and found a delightful little motel with a heated outdoor swimming pool.  ‎We enjoyed a late afternoon swim in the sun. Chinese food for dinner and a great rest.
Next day we drove 3 hours to Nasonworth, NB near Fredericton. After chatting on the phone with distant cousin Brian Morgan, who unfortunately was away and not able to meet with us, Dave attempted to find the Old Morgan Cemetery‎.  After slugging thru the heavy bush by the Rusagonis Stream for 30 minuntes, he gave up. Must have been going in the wrong direction which Brian confirmed the next day. The Old Morgan Cemetery is the resting place of Dave’s great great great and great great great great grandfathers who were named John Morgan Jr and John Morgan Sr., respectively.  They came directly from Wales or possibly via the U.S. in 1781 to build a farm on a Loyalist land grant and a family dynasty in Canada.

Dave walked along the west (left) side of the stream here in the wrong direction


He should have been walking this direction on the east side

We drove to Saint John our final destination and were warmly welcomed by Kevin and Phyllis. After a great dinner of salmon and shrimp, Marie’s nephew Troy and his son Tyler came over and we had some laughs. Their other son Brad lives in Shanghai, China where he and his wife teach school.  We spent a delightful evening together after a long day.

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Charlevoix – Day 5-7 QC/NB Trip


Isle d’Orleans at High Tide

In the morning, Dave sat by the St Lawrence with Isle d’Orleans in the background and could also see Québec City in the distance. Then the water started to receed and he was surprised to see the tide going out this far from the Atlantic.  Majestic.


The Charlevoix tourist region of Quebec extends from roughly Quebec City to past the Saguenay River along the north shore of the St Lawrence River.  It includes rolling terrain, fjords, headlands and bays.  Named after a Jesuit missionary, it is home to Canada’s first resort community – La Malbaie.   It is teaming with art stores, music festivals, luxury inns and gourmet food.  In winter there is some of the best skiing in Canada.  We had heard a lot about the area and were looking forward to seeing it.

We took a leisurely drive to Baie-St-Paul after climbing to 740m and descending again. We went to the local laiterie (cheese factory store) for lunch enjoying some fresh baguette, paté and fresh cheeses, yum. Stopping at Gite des Petits Messanges, Nicole told us that it was already full for the night.  We had a reservation for the following night.


We contented ourselves with walking down the streets of Baie-St-Paul lined with boutiques, art stores and restaurants. Très joli mais trop de gens pour nous.  We drove down to the beach and luckily found a room in a lovely auberge. Great pizza dinner after wine and snacks with live music.  Another superb day came to an end.




Next morning we enjoyed the buffet breakfast of exquisite cheeses, quiche, fruit, breads and charcuterie. Then we went to the nearby Baie-St-Paul beach for a few hours. This was not before Dave had a dip in the pool at the auberge next door and we walked a nice trail.



After a light lunch we did some shopping and headed for the Gite des Petits Messanges. Nicole was most friendly and gave us an upgraded room with a queen bed.  She agreed the room had been prepaid for and said that she does not get paid by Expedia until we leave. Hence it was Expedia who had charged us the full amount for the room in advance, contrary to their online offer.  They had blamed this pre-charge error on Nicole when I disputed it.  Enough said.

We slept reasonably well after a great dinner of salad and Italian poutine at the brasserie in town. Up and at it the next day we drove to the ferry  crossing at St Simeon. Beautiful views of the St Lawrence. We waited about 2 hrs and caught the ferry to Riviere de Loup on the south shore. It is amazing how many cars they pack in.  Then the fun began.


Leaving Charlevoix

When we arrived in Rimouski, pop. 50,000, every room in town was completely taken due to various festivals, construction workers holidays, etc.‎  So we drove 20 km further to Sainte Luce and stopped at Julie’s Motel et Casse-Croute.

Julie was talking with 2 women as I entered but said she did have a room available. So we all drove in a convoy a bit further down the road to see a lovely restored house. We were 3rd in line as she showed the rooms to all of us. Meanwhile her cell phone was ringing constantly. Her standard question was “Combien de personnes etes-vous?” Then she would invite even more people to come and see the 4 rooms that she had available.


The first lady made her selection of the room that we wanted but then changed her mind as there was no private bathroom.  The 2nd lady then chose the same room but Julie wanted a bit extra for her kids. She left. Finally we got to choose the nice sunny room. As we were finalizing the terms she kept saying in French to Marie and elbowing her, “Hey he speaks French eh.” about me. Then her cell phone would ring and “Combien de personnes etes-vous?”. We laughed so hard at this good natured lady multi-tasking with a friendly smile and a laugh.


The prized sunny room we finally got

So we spent a delightful evening there‎ including another great meal at a very crowded bistro by the beach nearby.  Phew, another few great days here in Quebec!






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Religious Shrines – Day 3-4 QC/NB Trip



We did a little last minute shopping before we left Montreal and then drove to Trois-Rivières.  “The country side is steeped with steeples”, Marie remarked.  Everywhere we go in Quebec we see a steeple on the skyline, often more than one at a time.  This is living evidence of the great religious hold the Catholic Church had on the people of Quebec.  For the most part, these beautiful stone structures are still in good shape.  Many though have already been closed, deconsecrated and turned into museums, concert halls or community centres.

Our goal in visiting Trois-Rivières was to see Canada’s national shrine to the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame du Cap.  It is administered by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate founded by St Eugene de Mazenod.  As we drove into the eastern suburb, previously called Cap de la Madeleine, surprisingly there were no street signs directing us to the shrine.  We passed a large boarded up church with gaping broken windows, not a good sign we thought.  Finally we found Sanctuaire Notre Dame du Cap as it is called en francais.  It consists of a large church, an historic stone chapel, outdoor Stations of the Cross, lovely gardens, pathways, an RV park and Oblate residences.  They have thousands of pilgrims each year, ongoing youth rallies and special events year round.


Sanctuaire Notre Dame du Cap

We walked around the beautiful gardens and buildings and then met with Fr Bernard Menard, OMI for a little chat. He said there are at least a dozen Oblates working there. He is originally from Ottawa and had been very involved with Novalis and L’Arche in his long career.  He told us about meeting Fr Jack Lau, OMI several years ago when Jack was considering coming to Canada from the U.S.. (It was Fr Jack who drew us to Galilee and Arnprior after we retired.)  Then he blessed us.  It was a special moment for us as Oblate lay Associates.  Thank you again Fr. Bernard!


We then drove about an hour east looking for accommodation and suddenly saw a sign for Auberge du Manoir Dauth.  The place initially looked deserted we thought but actually was quite busy.  It was a magnificent, peaceful and comfortable place to stay which we thoroughly enjoyed. Hosts Bridgitte and Christian made us feel very welcome.  They served us a great breakfast – gourmet porridge, crepes, fruit, eggs, bacon before warmly bidding us to come back.  Wow! 5 star place, highly recommended.

Next day we drove to Québec City and found a parking spot right near the Chateau Frontenac.  We walked around taking photos of everything in the warm sunshine. We went to the Anglican Cathedral and heard a short organ concert.  A little shopping and then lunch in the shade. We got out of town quickly and continued on our way to Ste Anne de Beaupré.


Ste Anne de Beaupré is the national shrine for Ste Anne, Mary’s mother and the patron saint of Québec.  It is administered by the Redemptorists Religious Order founded by St Alphonsus Ligouri.  We caught the English Mass in one of the most beautiful churches we have ever been in. This shrine is a real pilgrimage attraction and well maintained. Still it was not crowded. We relaxed a bit outside as we gazed at the impressive exterior of the church. We decided to stay nearby and found a nice little motel, though the room was tiny.  We had a nice steak dinner after a most enjoyable day.


Sanctuaire Ste Anne de Beaupré

Sadly many of these shrines and churches may not last much longer.  There is a shortage of young priests and religious to animate them.  There is a shortage of young parishioners to support them.  The next 10 years will see thousands of such properties shuttered across Canada.  We are so lucky to experience them now in all their glory.  We can’t imagine the sacrifices our ancestors and religious community members made to build and maintain them.  Thanks be to God for giving us a glimpse of his great glory through our pilgrimage to these great national shrines.



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Montreal Visit – Day 2 QC/NB Trip


We slept well and then walked around Old Montreal for 5 hours in the heat. Notice I now have a neck strap for my sunglasses.  We saw Montreal beach, the ferris wheel, Notre Dame de Bon Secour and Notre Dame Cathedral, which was the highlight. We had lunch at the highly recommended Olive et Gourmando bistro.  Artisan breads, olive oil, salads and gourmet sandwiches. After a little shopping we went back for a rest.




Olive et Gourmando


Aesop Essential Oils

That evening we walked west along rue de la Gauchetiere through China town and then back to Old Montreal. We found it was a bit too far and got a little tired. We wanted to go to Auberge St Gabriel to have Brome Lake duckling a l’orange, but alas it was no longer on the menu.  We settled for a casual outdoor restaurant a block off Place Jacques Cartier.  The duck leg I had for dinner was great and Marie had a tasty duck salad.  Not sure if it was from Brome Lake.  Exhausted, we headed back to our Airbnb and fell into bed, very satisfied with a great Old Montreal experience.





By the way if you are wondering where we stayed here is a link to the Airbnb.  Host David was so gracious, accommodating and full of recommendations.  He wanted to know why we had come and how he could help.  Highly recommend this location on rue de l’Hotel de Ville for a great little get away.  We hope to go back next year during Jazz Fest.


P.S. After we got home, our local No Frills store had Brome Lake duck on sale.  Our friend Irene alerted us and is going to show us how to cook it – right here in Old Arnprior lol.  Thanks Irene!

P.P.S. Another reason we were tired is we walked back and forth several blocks several times looking for Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville’s family home which we never found. Sorry Marie! Since arriving home, Lime scooters have arrived in Montreal. Dave enjoyed these in Mexico and they are now starting up in Canada.

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Montreal Visit – Day 1 QC/NB Trip

This is the first of a series of postings on our recent Quebec-New Brunswick road trip.

IMG_3285For sometime now we have wanted to go back to Montreal and visit some old haunts.  Well this was the year.  We drove to Montreal stopping first at 6815 Sherbrooke Street W (near Cavendish) to see Dave’s grandmother’s apartment building.  Nana as we called her, lived here from about 1954 to 84.  Dave has fond memories of visiting her here as a child.  I can still smell the clean soapy smell of her apartment and that particular musty smell of the lobby as you entered.  To us Montreal was a big city then and now.  I remember marvelling at the buses, the traffic and the excitement of it all.  “Hatwatter” (with the accent on the last syllable) the bus drivers used to announce at Atwater Ave on our way downtown.


The balcony of the left was hers, very cool at the time.

The pedestrian tunnel‎ under Sherbrooke to the park across the street is long gone. I remember loving at it as a kid – imagine walking under the roadway above?   The big swings in the park that I so much enjoyed, have been replaced with a play structure and little kiddy swings.  Trains still whistle by at one end like I recall.  It is a peaceful fun place that I will always remember.


Next we drove to mom’s house on Beaconsfield Ave in NDG where she grew up and then to her church, Knox Kensington Presbyterian, a few blocks away.  We then headed for Mount Royal Cemetery.  Luckily I had brought the plot number and we found Papa and Nana Ward’s gravesite quickly.


Ward family circa 1930

Dave’s Grandmother Mary, Uncle Charlie, mom Mary, Uncle Bud and Papa Ward, c. 1930

Before we went to our AirB&B apt on rue Hotel de Ville, we toured St. Joseph’s Oratory.  Dave forgot his sunglasses there right after the picture below was taken lol.


We were lucky and found found free parking on the street as host David greeted us warmly in front of the AirB&B.   He was very helpful and recommended some good restaurants and sites to see. There was no A/C nor did the TV work.  We had fans and as we were not there to watch TV, all was fine. That night we strolled to Old Montreal, just a few blocks away and had a great dinner of wine and nachos at Jardin Nelson, right beside the jazz trio – great!




Montreal is truly an exciting city to visit or live in. There is a cosmopolitan vibe you don’t find in many other places. This time I used my rusty French and people responded in French!  The lack of French is not an impediment as nearly everyone speaks English, and many other languages too.





After a pit stop at Ben and Gerry’s in Place Jacques Cartier, we headed home for the night after a great day one!





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