In July and August last year of 2016, I travelled to Canada for work with Sinfonia UK Collective. We had been working in the UK with the acclaimed and award winning Canadian jazz pianist David Braid and were invited to perform in his home country. I will write more about being a touring musician in the future, but over the next few weeks I will be sharing my favourite photos from my time in Canada. You can see my top ten photos of Toronto here.
We were working in Toronto and the surrounding areas, Ottawa, Mont Tremblant and Parry Sound for two weeks. One of the perks of the job of being a touring musician, is that sometimes you can arrange for your return flight to be scheduled for a later date and on this occassion, one of my colleagues and I decided to stay on in Canada for an extra 8 nights. Québec City was our first stop. We hired a car in Toronto and set of on a road trip into the French speaking province of Québec.
It was a greulling 13 hour drive to Québec City, especially as we had been celebrating the end of our tour in Toronto the night before with many cocktails and a late night! But, it was worth it to see such a beautiful city, small but with the charm of a real life Disney kingdom!
Here are my top ten photos!
1) The Changing of the Guard - The Citadelle
In 1985, the Historic District of Old Québec was designated a world heritage site. It is one of only two cities in North America still surrounded by fortifications, the other being Campeche in Mexico. The Citadelle is the oldest building in Canada and still serves as an active military base. It is also the official home of the Canadian Monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) and the Governor General of Canada (David Johnston).
Every morning at 10am, soldiers of the Royal 22nd Regiment don their scarlet red regimental dress and the new guard relieves the old guard of their duties. It is quite a spectacle of marching, music and Bastisse the Royal Goat and a must see if you are visiting Québec City.
2) Royal Batisse the Goat - The Citadelle
Batisse XII is the world's most famous goat and lives in luxury at the Citadelle of Québec alongside the soldiers of the 22nd Regiment. In 1883, the King of Iran gave Queen Victoria the gift of a goat and so the royal lineage of goats began. In 1955, Queen Elizabeth II sent one, Batisse I, to the 22nd Regiment as a mascot. The current Royal Goat is Batisse XII. Duties include overseaing the changing of the guard each day and greeting royal dignitaries such as the Queen herself, or Prince Willam and Princess Kate!
3) Terrasse Dufferin and the Chateau Frontenac
We just happened to visit Québec City during the 'New France Festival', though it wasn't clear to us at the time. Surely everyone in the charming little city of Québec dresses in costume all of the time!? Men in regimental costumes, the fairy tale castle, the cute boardwalk, mountainous views and a huge river. It's like every Disney movie based its Kingdoms on Québec City!
This is the famous boardwalk, 'Terrasse Dufferin', which has fantastic views across the St Lawrence river. In the background is the mighty Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world, and it dominates the Québec City skyline.
4) Place d'Armes
When under the French Regime, this cute little square in Québec was known as the Grand Square and was home to miliary parades and public speeches. Today it has a far more relaxed feel to it. Apart from a few prime city restaurants, here you'll find a high end art market and street shows from musicians, artists, magicians and dancers during the summer. It is also home to the fountain, Monument to the Faith, which you can see in the photo.
5) Lady in Costume
During the New France Festival in Québec City, locals celebrate the landing of the first Europeans in Canada. You have to experience it for yourself, but being in the middle of it, you would think you had been transported back to the 17th Century. Everybody dresses up in costume, and I mean everybody. People go about their everyday life dressed up. They take it so seriously that you would be forgiven for thinking they were actors. They are not! It's amazing! You are completely surrounded by history and these locals stay in character all day and all night long!
6) The Montmorency Falls
The Montmorency Falls sit just 12km outside of Québec City, just inside the city borders. At the mouth of the Montmorency river, the water falls over the cliff face and down towards the immense St Lawrence river. Montmorency Falls Park surrounds the waterfall and is the perfect spot for a picnic or a walk in the countryside.
You start your journey in the car park at the base of the cliffs and you can take a cable car up to the top where you will find a hotel and restaurant (which does great poutine by the way). From there you can walk the rest of the way up to the suspension bridge which crosses the falls. Crossing over to the other side, it's a short walk through the country park to the cliff face where you can walk back down to the car park. It's well worth the walk!
7) On Top of the Falls
The falls are 84 metres high and 46 metres wide, the highest in the Québec Province, 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls. This is the view from the suspension bridge that crosses the falls where the water tumbles over the cliff face.
8) The Neverending Staircase, Montmorency Falls
I love this photo. The double rainbow aside, you can see the extent of the staircase that leads you back down towards the entrance to the falls and the car park. I can tell you, it feels like the neverending staircase and we chose just to walk down it! Once you reach the concrete platform, you can and will get wet watching the falls. Just to the right of the photo, you can see someone has spelt out 'Eva Marry Me' with driftwood, for the perfect proposal on the suspension bridge above the falls.
9) The View of Québec City
One of the best things about walking down the neverending staircase, was seeing this view from the top of it. About a third of the way in on the left, you can see the top of the Chateau Frontenac. Really when you think that the view you can see here is the whole of Québec City, the centre and its suburbs, it reminds you how small a city it is.
10) Walking on Water
At the foot of the Montmorency Falls as the water begins to flow down to the St Lawrence River, the depth of the water levels out a bit and there are some really shallow parts of the river. The fact that the water shallows out is a bit of a surprise as the water elsewhere is so much deeper, which is why I found it astounding that these two men were out on the water. I have no idea what they were doing out there, but I am so glad that I captured them on camera. It seems more obvious when you have a shot of it, but at the time of taking the photo, it really did seem like they were walking on water!
The Dalyan exposé will run for 3 weeks in May and will include a lot of exciting articles every day and videos on our YouTube channel with interesting interviews with business owners and those who work in tourism in Turkey. We'll also be tackling safety issues and what terrorism means for Turkey and the beautiful riverside town of Dalyan.