My interest in Quebec City was born a couple of years ago on a rainy day in London in October (as they usually are). I was in Trafalgar Square and the front door to the iconic Canada House was actually open. Couldn’t let this opportunity pass so in I went. Through a majestic hallway, I found myself in a 19th century atrium, with wooden panels and decorated with paintings in a Krieghoff style which depict Canada in the 18th century. I saw there was a sign than indicated that there was actually a book launch on the first floor which was just about to begin. Simply couldn’t believe my luck so I raced upstairs and managed to grab a glass of Niagara wine before heading into the presentation hall. The book was Death or Victory: the Battle of Quebec and the Birth of Empire, written by Dan Snow.
Before moving to Canada I was extremely ignorant about my new country. Very little, if anything, is taught at school and aside from the various Olympics (Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) I really didn’t know much else. What’s more, I thought Quebec was a separate country from the rest of Canada. And to make matters even more convoluted, in Spanish, the word “America” refers to both North and South America, and the term “North America” refers to the United States.
So there I was, in a gorgeous building, listening to a gorgeous man (Dan Snow is gorgeous) talking about, quite possibly, one of THE most important battles ever fought in history. Dan was extremely passionate about the subject, being half-Canadian himself. We were silent as he explained the gazillion coincidences that occurred during the campaign before the battle (the battle itself was over in just a few minutes) that enabled the Brits to win. Equally extraordinary were the consequences of the battle and how it shaped the world as we know it today. It was after this talk that the idea of Canada started growing inside my head. I KNEW I’d made the right decision to move here when a year later, on my first flight to Toronto from London, who was seated a mere 2 seats away from me on the Air Canada flight than Dan Snow himself?!
But back to Quebec City, I spent Christmas there with my mother. After having spent a few days in Toronto first, she appreciated the old architecture and history of Canada’s first capital. We visited the Plains of Abraham and I really didn’t do much research as to where the battle was held. It’s a park, AND covered in snow and I hadn’t a clue as to where to start – nor the energy, it was snowing and minus 20.
Some of my pictures were taken with Instagram and others with just the camera on my iPhone. The problem is that did I mention it was snowing and minus 20? And iPhones have touch screens, so I had to take off my much-needed gloves before each shot. Taking pictures with Instagram takes longer and so I was unable to do that many of the fancy ones.
Quebec City has obviously inspired me in many ways, but all I’ve been able to draw since coming back are scribbles that a 3-year-old would consider beneath him – perhaps the cold that has accompanied me like a faithful sidekick since last week has eaten up my ability to produce visually appealing paintings. However, in lieu of one of my works featured in this post, I actually have something better. Much better.
Dominic Boudreault is an extraordinary photographer from Quebec City who has had the sheer brilliance and patience to create beautiful timelapses. Below is the one he did of Quebec City.
And here’s The City Limits, which features Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, New York, Chicago and Quebec National Parks. Truly magnificent works of art.