by Liz Fleming

Quebec CityBuzzBuzzer / iStock

Ancient voices murmur to you on the streets of old Quebec City, making themselves heard above the laughter of the Winter Carnaval revelers in their puffy parkas and big boots. Their soft whispers rise above the throbbing rhythms of the dance clubs on Grande Allée, above the caleche drivers and their horses pounding down the cobblestone street by the stately Hotel Chateau Frontenac, and above the chatter of friends meeting for a slice of sugar pie at Les Anciens Canadians, a favorite Quebec City restaurant since 1675.

Chateau FrontenacCourtesy Fairmont Hotels

They are the voices of the fur traders who came along the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City – four hundred years ago, their canoes sitting heavy in the water, bearing loads of thick fur pelts. They are the Jesuit priests who left France to journey to an unknown place of towering trees and rugged rock, and les habitants who built farms along the river banks and struggled to survive long, bitter winters. They are the soldiers, French and British, who gave their lives at the battle of the Plains of Abraham, in a bloody fight for supremacy in a new land. They are the Iroquois warriors who first welcomed explorer Samuel de Champlain and his men, inviting them to their village or “Kanata” - unwittingly giving our country its name.

The whispers and murmurs that resonate in old Quebec City tell of our country’s earliest days and the people who were here to shape her – it’s a story well worth hearing. 

Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2017 issue.

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