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Quebec to Newfoundland

I leave Ontario and skirt around the metropolises of Montreal and Quebec City, and work my way up the eastern side of the St Lawrence seaway.

I’ve been here before, years ago with Kathy. I love the architecture and the passion here for everything that is French.

Here in Quebec I find respite from the gastronomic desert I’ve experienced since Vancouver. I spend a night in an out-of-season ski hotel near Saint Jérôme; there’s a full complement of staff, ready for the early winter onslaught, but I am their only guest. I enjoy New Zealand Lamb in the restaurant, and it’s as good as I’ve had anywhere, cooked to perfection.

Some say that the Quebecans are more French than the French themselves. Others are concerned that the English language is beginning to dominate again (after a French resurgence) in the large cities of Montreal and Quebec City.

Here in Quebec they have eliminated all English signage, as they attempt to promote their native French language, and in a couple of remote places I visit, English isn’t easily understood at all.

Even the farming practices here are similar to those in France, which makes a lot of sense given the geographical similarities. The cows are housed indoors and the grass is fed to them from silos.

Even much of the farming machinery is French.

The further north I travel, the cooler it gets. The days are balmy but the evenings are cool. The St Lawrence however remains flat and the scenery reminds me a lot of the Kaikoura coastline.

I enjoy an evening beside a fire on the beach, watching the sun set, before the temperature drives me indoors.

Up into the Gaspé region and yet again the temperatures plunge. Here the seaway opens up and the other shore is below the horizon, and the sea currents flow down from Greenland.

It’s Sunday and firewood production for next year is in full swing, and it appears to be a matter of pride (or maybe necessity) to have a fine stack of firewood beside the house as winter closes in and we reach peak colour.

This region is home to the Mi’Kmaq Indians, or First Nations people as they prefer to be called, and I stop for a photo op at a coastal PowWow ground.

In New Brunswick, as I follow the coastline, I stop at a lobster caravan near the beach. It reminds me so much of the crayfish sellers along the Kaikoura coast. I take my brunch down to the ocean and share the scraps with the gulls.

The following day I’m in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, waiting in the drizzle and fog for my ferry over to Newfoundland.

After a rather rough 7 hour crossing I ride the last section of the Trans Canada Highway across Newfoundland, in the wind and the rain, to the city of St. Johns, and Canada’s furthest most eastern point, Cape Spear.


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