L’Ecole des Ursulines

We discovered L’Ecole des Ursulines when taking a quiet shortcut off the busy Rue Saint-Louis. It was the first school for girls in New France, established in Quebec in 1639. The Ursulines focused on education and help for the needy. They spread throughout New France, and even as far as New Orleans in the early 1700’s.

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Active Military

The Citadelle of Quebec is still an active military installation after 300+ years. No wonder we saw replacement blocks ready to be put in place. The fortifcation is integrated into the wall surrounding Old Quebec. There is a pleasant boardwalk known as the Governor’s Promenade that runs along the outside wall, and brings you to the Terrasse Dufferin. The green space surrounding the Citadelle, provides a lovely respite and view of the St. Lawrence River for those willing to make the climb.

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Walled City

Quebec is the only walled city in North America north of Mexico. The Porte Saint Louis is one of several gates that welcome you to Old Quebec. While is has been rebuilt twice, as recently as 1880, the original gate is from 1694. Once we climbed to the top, we were able to walk along the wall to the next gate at Rue Dauphine.

The wall continues around the old city, and we found the fortified ramparts near the Saint Lawrence River at the Montmorency Historic Site. As we turned from the river view, I captured the steeple of the Seminary of Quebec, founded in 1663, in the background.

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Baddeck, Bras d’Or, Bell, Beinn Bhreagh

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The village of Baddeck is in the heart of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The Kidston Island Lighthouse overlooks Bras d’Or Lake (“Arm of Gold”), an inland sea, and can be seen from several vantage points in Baddeck, including the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Bell’s biography is an interesting one, starting in Edinburgh, Scotland with a mother who was deaf, and a father who ran a school for the deaf. After moving to North America, first Ontario Canada, and then the USA, Bell continued working with the deaf in New England, where one of his students became his wife. Bell met, and was a integral part of Helen Keller‘s education, as well. Baddeck became Bell’s summer residence, and eventually his permanent home, which he called Beinn Bhreagh (“beautiful mountain”). Bell, along with his father-in-law, were part of the group of founders of the National Geographic Society.   Oh yes, somewhere along the line he invented the telephone, 🙂

Single Malt

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The last thing we expected to discover on our road trip was a distillery. The grounds and building seemed inviting, so we stopped in for a tour. Nova Scotia translates to “New Scotland” and many Scots settled in Cape Breton, along with their desire for good whisky. In 1990, the first single malt whisky in North America was bottled at the new Glenora distillery. A key ingredient is water, and some of the purest water is produced in the highlands of Cape Breton. The interesting twist to the story is the use of American oak barrels to mature the whisky. (Those would be used Jack Daniels barrels from Tennessee!)