St. Jean-Port-Joli, located on the St. Lawrence, is known as the wood carving capital of Québec. Wood sculptures are located throughout the town. The church of St. Jean Baptiste, built in 1779, has been classified as a historic monument.

Chateau Frontenac

Château Frontenac

On July 3, Québec City will be 399 years old (expect a big birthday bash in 2008!). Most of Vieux Québec, Old Québec, is within the well-preserved fortification walls either built or reconstructed by the British during the 1820s. The city was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 in recognition for preserving its fortifications. The Citadel, constructed between 1820-52, sits on the Cap Diamant promontory. The Promenade des Governeurs, which starts in Battlefield Park, offers cliff views overlooking the St. Lawrence. It connects with the Dufferin Terrace with spectacular views of Old Lower Town and the St. Lawrence as well as the Château Frontenac. Le Château Frontenac was built in 1893 with numerous turrets and verdigris copper roofs reminiscent of medieval France. The narrow streets of Vieux Québec mix military, religious, and residential buildings along with boutiques and restaurants. My favorite streets were Saint Jean and Saint Louis. Just outside the Vieux Québec on Grand Allee are the Parliament Buildings. The main building, constructed in French Renaissance style, has niches in the façade containing statues of historical figures.

Montreal Tower

Montreal Tower

The Botanical Garden of Montreal, Jardin botanique de Montreal, is a wonderful place to nourish the soul. The botanist Frere Marie-Victorin founded this garden in 1931. It covers some 180 acres and contains more than 22,000 varieties of plants within 30 gardens, 10 exhibition greenhouses and a 96 acre arboretum. A sign in the reception centre Place Marie-Victorin is worthy of reflection: Plants are not simply a pretty green setting for animal life. They are living, breathing organisms that absorb and transpire, reproduce and defend themselves. Plants perform their vital functions through continual interaction with the living and the non-living. The smells in the Orchid Greenhouse were exhilarating; the sounds of the waterfalls in the Fern Greenhouse soothing. Most of my pictures were taken in the Greenhouses and the Perennial Garden. It was easy to establish a mediatative state in both the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. The Montreal Insectarium, however, was filled with school children (school isn’t out until June 28 ) whose incessant chattering disrupted my quiet state. A major highlight of the day was a trip atop the 575 foot Montreal Tower located in the Olympic Park complex. The observatory at the top of the tower offers incredible views of Montreal.