I am a few days behind so hopefully my memory will serve…
2nd day in QC, we debated going into Downtown again, as there was still lots to do, but instead, we decided to head to Sept-Chutes, which is a small hydroelectric facility (basically, a Quebec Hydro PR exercise) about 50km to the East. It included a tour of a small hydro plant, wherein I learned that (a) small hydro plants such as this one and the one at Buntzen Lake typically use long pipelines (aka. penstocks) to carry water down the hill, because they were built before it was feasible to build big concrete slab dams as is the case today; (b) hydro plants themselves require electricity to operate, because the generators use electromagnets and an electromagnet without the electro is just a chunk of iron. For this purpose they have small “starter generators” that generate just enough electricity to power the electromagnets.
We spent a few hours at Sept-Chutes because in addition to the hydro plant, they had, of course, the Sept-Chutes themselves. We actually only saw CInq-Chutes, the other Deux-Chutes were outside of our limited hiking ability. The Cinq-Chutes all fall one after another and are collectively fairly spectacular.
After Sept-Chutes we headed just a little further East to Canyon Sainte-Anne. This ended up being the Easternmost point of our whole trip. It is centred around a pretty dramatic waterfall and a couple of suspension bridges. There was also a pretty impressive zipline which Ben unfortunately declined to try out.
After that we headed back to the QC KOA, stopping at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre on the way, which sports a fairly impressive Basillica (aka Catheral – I’m not really sure what the difference is?). Despite my unchurchiness I like big Cathedrals and this one was pretty impressive for a little hole-in-the-wall town in Eastern Quebec. Though I admit I was disappointed to find out that the church isn’t actually 350 years old as the signs around it imply, that is just when the first church built there as built.
Outside the church was a tacky vinyl-clad shed type building with a big “BLESSINGS” sign on it, and a priest sitting inside. People were lining up to get blessed, literally. I briefly considered asking him to pray for Sam and Ben to keep getting along as well as they have been, for the next six weeks…
Finally it was back to the KOA by around 7 PM and hanging out for a little while. The QC KOA seems huge though once I got a feel for it it was not THAT big, just very long and narrow, and LOTS of HUGE buses (and buses towing SUV’s behind them).
A few other random Quebec notes:
1. As you go further East in Quebec – or is it merely as you get outside of Montreal – the support for English speakers drops rapidly.
2. It seems like Quebec highways have hardly any SUV’s on them compared to BC. Good for you, Quebec!
3. On the way into QC, you see signs saying things like “welcome to the national capital”. I wasn’t sure if this was separatist hubris or maybe a reference to QC 400 years ago. Sandy told me it was just the way Quebec views themselves, as in they call their parliament a “national assembly” and their leader a “prime minister” (I didn’t know that).