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Québec City is a beautiful city to visit. This is a view of the Château Frontenac from the waterfront along the St. Lawrence river. Now an upscale hotel overlooking the river, the hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1892. It now defines the Québec skyline as it's most well known landmark. Below the hotel is the oldest part of the city, known as Lower Town, now mostly restored as quaint shops and resturants.

Québec City is the oldest settlement in Canada, established as a fur trading post in 1608.

Within a few minutes walk of our hotel was Québec's Old Town area, located within the walls that were built as protection from English invasions. Today Old Town is the heart of Québec City's tourist destinations. Many resturants, hotels and shops are located along streets similar to rue St. Louis, a street we found particularly appealing and charming. Distinctly European in look and feel, this area is vibrant and cheerful, especially in the evenings.

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Québec City is the only fortified city in North America. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985, the only North American city so honored.

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Here is Mary on the Terrasse Dufferin, the boardwalk promenade at the top of the cliffs overlooking the Lower Town area. With it's green and white topped gazebos, this picturesque area looks much like it did over 100 years ago, when ladies with parasols and gentlemen with top hats and canes strolled along it on sunny afternoons. The vistas of watercraft, the waterfront, and distant mountains are well worth the visit.

Rue du Petit-Champlain is the oldest street in North America.

Rick on the Terrasse Dufferin with the St. Lawrence river in the background. Québec City was once a major shipping point, with large ocean going ships docking along the waterfront area seen behind Rick. Today, much of this shipping is routed to Montreal, about two hours drive away. The waterfront is now a favorite destination for large cruise ships during the summer months.

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The Dufferin Terrace, a planked walkway 60 feet wide, extends along the cliffs from the Citadel to the Chateau Frontenac.

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A friendly passerby offered to take this picture of us together, and we gladly accepted - it's not often we have a chance to be together in the same picture. We found the people of Québec City to be very friendly and helpful. And yes, it was cold and damp that morning. Later in the day it started raining, but fortunately we were already walking back to the hotel for Mary's massage appointment - one can never be too spoiled on these vacations - so we didn't get too wet.

Québec City was a valuable prize sought after many times in the wars of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Another view of the Château Frontenac, originally built to house railroad passengers and to encourage tourism. The commanding structure can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Tours through the interior are available. This picture was taken on Monday, which turned out to be a georgeous day. The night before the temperature dropped below freezing. Brrrr! But this morning was bright and sunny, and had warmed up to a comfortable temperature.

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A number of the homes in Lower Town date back to the 1700's and 1800's.

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Mary at the top of the steps overlooking Rue du Petit-Champlain, the oldest street in North America. Now flanked by craft and gift shops and quaint little resturants, this is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. It's in the area know as "Lower Town" which was part of the thriving waterfront area in the 17th century, and was the heart of the city at that time.

Some of the Lower Town's oldest streets are very narrow. Sous-le-Cap measures only 8 feet 10 inches at its narrowest point and may be the narrowest street in North America.

This mural, painted on the side of a building in Lower Town, is a popular photo spot. Painted with amazing detail (a person seen in one of the windows is reading a newspaper, and the text is even legible!). It is impossible to resist the impulse to have your picture taken as if you are part of the painted scene.

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About 98 per cent of Quebec's people were born in Canada. About 95 per cent have French ancestors, and the rest have English, Irish, or Scottish ancestry.

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Rick was in Québec to attend a conference, and Carrie, a co-worker of Rick's, also attended. Before the first session the three of us had time to walk to Rue du Petit-Champlain to have breakfast at a cozy resturant Mary and Rick had visited the day before. Within a 15 minute walk from our hotel were over 40 resturants to choose from, from simple sandwich shops, to the expensive and semi-formal. We found the food to be excellent no matter what resturant we ate in (except the hotel's). We now have our favorites - which we'll certainly enjoy on our next visit.

Quebec City has been called the Cradle of New France because it served as the main base of early French explorers and missionaries in North America.

Mary strolling along in Upper Town. Most of Quebec's best hotels, luxury shops, monuments, parks, and fine restaurants are in Upper Town. This section of Quebec also has the Parliament buildings, fashionable residential areas, and most of the city's private schools.

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The Citadel, Quebec's most famous landmark, overlooks the city from a height of 347 feet. It stands on the highest point of Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond).

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One of the gates through the walls surrounding Old Town. That's Mary on top (middle right of picture). The stone wall, rebuilt at the time the Citadel was built, encircles part of Upper Town. The wall averages 35 feet in height and has four entrance gates. This wall makes Quebec the only walled city in North America. However, most of the present-day city lies outside the walls.

The French explorer Jacques Cartier spent the winter of 1535 near the Iroquoian village of Stadacona. Samuel de Champlain established a permanent settlement there on July 3, 1608, and named it Quebec

Rick pointing back towards town and our hotel. We had been walking for several hours and had a long walk back to the comfort of our warm and cozy hotel room. It started raining a few minutes after this picture was taken.

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About seven miles east of downtown Québec City is Montmorency Falls. The falls are 272 feet high, 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls. Visitors can view the waterfall from all sides thanks to a pathway surrounding it. They can climb a long stairway to the top of the falls, or they can take an aerial cable car.

Mary pausing during our climb up the 482 steps to the top of the falls. With the constant mist from the waterfall, the air was VERY cold. In winter when it gets even colder and the snow falls on Québec, the falls offer a beginner's course in ice climbing for everyone who wants to defy the waterfall, which becomes a huge wall of ice.

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Rick trying to stay dry and warm about half way up the steps to the top of the falls. Although the temperature had been on the cool side during our time in Quebec, it hadn't been bone chilling cold - until we climbed up these stairs! Rick was afraid his ears would never thaw out. At the top of the picture is the pedestrian bridge that spans the waterfall directly above it's crest. Look closely and you can see the silhouette of people standing on the bridge enjoying the view.

This is on the bridge which can be seen at the top of the previous picture. It spans the falls directly about the crest. A sign on the bridge tells about fate of the original bridge at this location. A support cable broke and three people fell to their deaths. "Don't worry, this bridge is safe. Enjoy your visit" was printed just below that chilling information.

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Rick in front of the house he spent his early childhood years in. Built by his father with the help of his brothers, Rick and his parents moved in when he was only a few months old. They lived there until the family moved to sunny, and much warmer, southern California when Rick was almost seven years old. The house is now owned by a relative.

Waterloo is a small town surrounded by farms and open countryside like in this picture. Rick's grandfather owned many acres of farm land here, and even today many of the farms surrounding the old homestead are owned by his decendents. The original house that he built is now the town's museum. Though the primary family business was supplying fresh dairy products to the town's residents, in the winter the family also processed and sold pure maple syrup extracted from the large maple forests on their land. With scenes like this everywhere you look, it's certainly tempting to "go back home" again.

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During our visit to Waterloo we had the wonderful experience of meeting relatives Rick hadn't seen in almost forty years. All of us were nervous about the visit, but we quickly became reacquainted again and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. From left to right: Cousin Monique, Cousin Doreen, Loraine (Gille's lady friend), Aunt Gertrude, Cousin Gille, Rick, Mary, and Guy (Monique's companion).

In California the surname Fortin is rare. But in Waterloo there are many in the phone book!

Later that same day we had dinner at the home of Annette and Sonny (another of Rick's cousins, and brother of Doreen). Also invited were two more cousins, Donald and Gilbert, two more of Doreen's brothers. From left to right: Sonny, Annette, Donald, Doreen, and Rick. Unfortunately, Gilbert had to leave before we remembered to take some pictures.

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