’72 Storms Québec
Trip photos can be accessed here.
by Merc Morris and Ed Strauss
On Wednesday April 24 an intrepid band of fifty-one 1972 classmates, spouses, and friends assembled in Québec City at the majestic Chateau Frontenac hotel, flagship of the legendary chain of properties across Canada built by the Canadian-Pacific Railroad. We traveled from as far as California, Texas, and South Carolina. A welcoming buffet in the hotel’s Jacques Cartier dining room introduced us to some regional culinary standouts -- such as the rib-sticking Poutine, composed of French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy--as conversation buzzed.
Thursday morning, after a fortifying breakfast in the tower overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the city, we gathered in the lobby, divided into four groups, and headed out on foot for a day of sightseeing.
Our guides from the local company Inscript were outstanding navigators and commentators for the next three days as we maneuvered up, down, and throughout the Upper Town (including the Citadel, built to deter menacing Americans from bursting across the frontiers, as we’d already done before), Lower Town, the Plains of Abraham, and the city Ramparts and defensive gates, Tour Martello number one (a defensive stone tower), where some ‘72 volunteers participated in a faux musket-loading race. We all gathered at the Cosmos restaurant on the Grand Allée (noted for food, service and the restroom washbasins beneath aquaria with a view through to patrons dining! Such wits!) We ended the day’s march at the Artillery Park with a viewing of an exquisite scale-model diorama of Québec City two centuries ago. That evening we enjoyed cocktails in the recently opened Library of the imposing Québec Parliament and dinner in the opulent restaurant “Le Parlementaire,” as well as a look at the exquisite provincial Council Room.
Friday we ventured by bus eastward along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, stopping first at the impressive Montmorency Falls (higher than Niagara) which we ascended by gondola, then further downriver to the remarkable Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré with its stunning architecture and its display of discarded canes and crutches (testaments to the healing powers of the site). We crossed over to the Isle of Orléans, where we had lunch at “Les Ancêtres” restaurant (with a view across the St. Lawrence to the Montmorency Falls and distant Laurentian mountains), followed by tasting visits to two enterprises offering local specialties, Cassis Monna et Filles (black-currant products) and Cider House Bilodeau (apple products).
By the time we returned to the Frontenac, it was raining, but luckily we didn’t have far to travel to reach our two dinner locations, Le Saint-Amour and Le Continental, where we enjoyed delicious feasts and exuberant good cheer.
Continued unfavorable weather kept us from bicycling along the St. Lawrence on Saturday. Instead, we visited two venerable charities that have ministered to Québec City since the 1600’s: The Hôtel-Dieu hospital, run by Augustinian Sisters, the oldest hospital in North America, and the Ursuline Convent, where the nuns taught the daughters of the French colonial elite. We then returned to the Lower Town and gathered for lunch at the Restaurant Louise. That afternoon we made our way along the cliff-side pathways and funicular to the Frontenac, some taking a tour of the hotel, others opting for further shopping and sightseeing. That evening we dined in the hotel’s Cellar dining room which resounded with ’72 locomotive cheers and a chorus of “Old Nassau”, probably the first time ever that Princeton was honored there (or at least since Aaron Burr, Princeton Class of 1772, paid a wintry visit in 1775-1776).
Sunday most of us headed home, others followed the next day, all savoring happy memories of good fellowship and insider’s knowledge of one of North America’s oldest and most picturesque cities.
Our Classmates attending were Russ and Kathy Ayres, Larry and Carol Barbour, Rock and Melanie Brockman, John Callison, Owen and Lela Curtis, Chris Godfrey and Suzy Sayle, Glenn and Irene Haas, Rick and Christine Hammitt, Randy Harris and Barbara Sloan, Tim and Pat Howard, Grif and Alix Johnson, Charlie Kohl and Philio Cushing, Silas Kopf, Merc and Ginny Morris, Bruce and Bev Nickerson, Skip and Camille Rankin, Jim and Chris Robinson, Tom and Kathy Schrader, Paul and Linda Sinsar, Cameron Smith, John and Cindy Solic, Mike and Toni Stoll, Ed Strauss, Richard Sun and Phyliss Hollenback, Tony Tichenor, TJ and Beth Ward and Bob and Sallie Wright. Guests included Becky McNealy and Michelle Stone.
Kudos to our Quebec City guides from Inscript, with boundless local knowledge and good cheer, led by Lucie Monahan: Estelle, Lynn, Margarita, Marie, Richard, and Robert.