Three weeks in Eastern Canada

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July 20th 2010
Published: July 20th 2010
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 Video Playlist:

1: Cirque de Soleil 66 secs
2: Santana 63 secs
3: Arriving at Kamouraska cottage 79 secs
Finally finding a little time to get caught up with this blog after three weeks in Quebec and Ontario. As I write this, we are heading back to Ottawa by train from Niagara Falls.

We started off our holiday with my parents in Brockville, a small city located about an hour west of Ottawa on the St. Lawrence. It is located at the eastern end of the Thousand Islands so is a great tourist spot with many nearby parks and sights. Of course, we had to take a short cruise through some of the islands where we saw a variety of birds and lots of beautiful historic family homes on the waterfront. Many of the nearby islands are owned by the city of Brockville (which it purchased for a dollar apiece many years ago!) or the province and are operated as parks where boaters can stop to camp or picnic.

After a few days in Brockville, we headed east to Montreal by train to meet up with our friend Janice, and then headed on to Quebec City together. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, this is one place I still love to visit over and over. There is always tons of stuff happening in the summer and this year was no exception. We wined and dined at Largo, a great restaurant on Rue Saint-Joseph Est, got to see a free outdoor show by the Cirque de Soleil that set up under a major highway overpass, and walked around the old city gawking once again at the historic buildings and sites. As always, my cousin showed us a good time and spoiled us with his own gourmet food and drinks.

On a Friday, he drove us up the river shore to Kamouraska, a scenic town on the banks of the St. Lawrence with a long history. We were lucky enough to stay at his friend’s cottage on the waterfront and took the opportunity to dip our legs into the river. After a week of heat and humidity, it was a welcome relief. On the way there, we stopped at a “casse-croute” on the side of the road for some old-fashioned cheeseburgers and some real Quebec poutine. It just doesn’t get any better! Or greasier! That night at the cottage, BBQd steaks, copious amounts of wine, baguettes and a great selection of Quebec cheeses that we picked up in town that were to die for.

After a couple of days back in Quebec City, Nancy, Janice and I headed to Ottawa for a few days to stay with her family. Along with touring the city, we pigged out at The Works (an incredible burger joint with more combinations than you have ever seen) and Wild Wing (ditto for chicken wings) along with Janice’s mom’s incredible cooking. Our time in Ottawa culminated with a night at the Ottawa Blues Festival and an incredible Santana concert. It took me forty years to see my favorite band in person but it was well worth the wait! We were entertained by one of rock’s legends for a non-stop hour and a half. Definitely one of the best performances I have seen!

From there, Nancy and I headed for Niagara Falls, once again by train. It was tacky, it was touristy, it was super-duper commercialized, it was great! After living in China, we have decided there is no such thing as crowds here lol. It has probably been almost fifty years since I have been to “the falls” but believe it or not, they are still there and still look incredible. We did the Maid of the Mist trip, wasted some money in the casinos, walked until our feet fell off and ate and ate! Despite the number of crazy tourists, we were impressed with the locals and their great personalities. Everybody was helpful, friendly and happy. You don’t always see that in a tourist town.

Which brings us to now and our trip back to Ottawa. Tomorrow we fly to the states to visit Nancy’s family and then it is back to China on the 28th.

Additional photos below
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