Tour Recap

The tour webpage contains day by day info about what happened on our 2017 Historic Churches Tour to Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec. 


If you have a few minutes, the video below will also give you an excellent idea of what the tour was like!  

Sad Fairwells

This morning at breakfast we thanked our guide, Pierre, and our driver, Dave, for taking such good care of us!  


The kids had bought gifts for them and signed cards.  


We have lots of good memories with both Pierre and Dave! Graham wants us to know though that if we have Dave as our driver on a future tour it wi be like "Dave-jà vu!"


Right now the kids are writing best memories from this tour on Quebec postcards. At the beginning our our tour in two years they will be given their own postcard back so they can remember. Brilliant idea from Cheryl and Karyn! Thanks to our chaperones Cheryl, Karyn, Bonnie and Kim. They kept everyone organized and respectful of each other throughout the tour! Kim for all of the "On-the-fly" translations of my intros in the concerts, to Graham for the great accompanying and entertaining memes, and especially to the kids for incredible singing and being such fantastic ambasitors for St. Thomas! 


Final Dinner

To celebrate a great tour we went out to the Café de Paris in Uppertown. We had a great dinner and celebrated Julia's 18th birthday! 


At the restaurant there was a singer moving around from table to table. When he came to our area, of course, the kids all had to join in singing with him. 


Well, you can guess what eventually happened!  

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Our final concert on the last night of our tour was at Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, which is the Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City. 

At this concert we were able to present all of our repertoire, both sacred and secular. Have listen to one of our favourites, "After the War". 

Having a full concert in a great cathedral was a great way to finish the tour. What made it even more special though was having family there to see us.  


And as well, one of the circus school instructors, after hearing our kids perform that afternoon at the school, decided to come to our concert. Our instructor, Mathieu, is seated on the left before the performance, as people were coming in. He is a gifted juggler. Check out one of his YouTube videos as well. 


Circus School

After lunch the kids had a chance to go to circus school! 


The school is located in an old church, and has been re-fitted with incredible facilities! Have a look at the panoramas the lower floor and the main church space. 


They run camps and day programs for kids, but also train people to become professional performers. 


Our kids were put through the paces with a number of activities. 


At the end, all of the instructors put on a short show for all the kids there that day, so of course our kids wanted to sing for the instructors.  


Think they will sleep tonight! 

Christmas in July


In Quebec City across from the Basilica there is a beautiful Christmas store called La Boutique de Noël.  Every year when I come to Quebec city with my grade 8's a number of them go into the shop. Three of the kids presently in the choir were also in my grade 8 class and they said we should sing in the Christmas store.  Have a look and see why they thought singing here would be a lot of fun! 


When I was in Quebec city in June with my grade 8's I went into the store and spoke with the owner about the possibility of doing a short performance. He was exceptionally kind and thought that having the choir sing there would be a lot of fun! The store manager, Amélie, also thought it would be a fun event and was incredibly helpful in working out the details. After singing in the Basilica we walked across the street and enjoyed a bit of Christmas in July! 


And then of course we started our Christmas shopping for this year! 

Notre Dame Basilica Quebec.

Notre Dame Basilica in Quebec City is the oldest parish church in North America north of Mexico. The perish was established in 1647. The original church was destroyed in 1759 but it has been rebuilt. 


One of of our objectives for this tour was to go from the oldest church in St. Thomas to the oldest church in Canada. We could not book a performance because the sanctuary was under renovation, but access for the public to the interior was still open. Here is what the church looked like on the morning we arrived.  


At this point in the renovation most of the work was done, and they were now taking down the scaffolding. Even so I asked if we could sing one piece, and we were given permission. Check out the performance amongst the sounds of scaffolding being disassembled!


Journey to Dinner

Our coach was supposed to pick us up to drive to dinner, but the streets just outside of the old city gates are all closed off because the Quebec summer festival is now on. Have a look at the crowds that our bus was supposed to drive through.  


We did eventually make it to our dinner, which the kids considered to be the best one so far on the tour! After, we came out into the streets and joined the party. 

After dinner we made our way down to the ferry boat, so that we could go out on the water and see the city skyline in the evening.  



Notre Dame des Victoires is a National historic site. Construction on the church was first started in 1687, and it was consecrated in 1723. Unlike Notre Dame Basilica in Uppertown, which is the oldest perish in North America north of Mexico, this building is still the original church. In 1759 when the English took over Quebec this church was bombed by cannonballs and burned, but all of the stone walls remain standing. The Basilica, however, was completely destroyed and then rebuilt. 


We were not able to specifically organize a performance here because choirs now rarely perform in the church, and there are only a few services here a year. When we arrived in Lowertown, though, the doors were open and I was able to ask the attendant on site if we could perform. After a phone call we were given permission to perform one piece. 


As we sang crowds that heard us through the open church doors came in from the square outside and gathered at the back of the church.  

The attendant was so impressed by the choir, she asked us to perform a second piece! We sang the three movements (kyrie, gloria, and sanctus) from the "A Little Jazz Mass". Our choir had an opportunity that very few choirs will ever have a chance to do! 

Sainte Anne Canyon & Air Canyon

After singing at the Basilica we went to Sainte Anna Canyon. Here are two pictures. The first is the falls to the left, then the canyon itself off to the right. 


We walked around the park looking at the Canyon, crossing over a couple of bridges from one side to the other.  

There is a new attraction there called Air Canyon. It is a two-seater zip line that goes 90 metres over the canyon. Nine of our group decided to try this adventurous ride! 


The line is about four soccer fields long, with about a third of it running over the canyon itself. You are strapped into the seat, and then the seat backs up all the way to the other side of the canyon before it rushes forward, back to where you began. 


Check out the video of Graham, our choir accompanist, and Kim, one of our choir moms, on the ride!  (It's a scream! Ha ha!)


This morning we arrived for our performance at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. 


St. Anne is a spectacular building to sing in! 


The choir thought this was one of their best performances. 


After we sang we toured the Basilica and made our way across the street to the Sante Anne Memirial Chaple, built in 1676. 


We sang one piece for the people visiting the chapel at that time.  


The kids then visited the gift shop, and were able to take their items in to be blessed by a priest from the Basilica. He was incredibly nice, and  after he found out that we were a choir said that he sing baritone! 


The Sugar Shack

At the sugar shack we went for a traditional Québécois dinner: pea soup, tortier, sausage, eggs, ham, and sugar taffy! 


We had met a choir from Florida at our hotel in Montreal. We had sung in Montreal at some of the same places, and now here they were at the same sugar shack!  They are the Lumina Youth Choir from Tampa Bay.

We made arrangements for us to sing for them at the sugar shack, and they sang for us. 


Between the two choirs our world champion Highland dancer, Lucy, danced for the two groups, and a group that was at the sugar shack from France!  

After we all preformed the kids got to know each other outside of the main building.  


They also had a taxidermy museum at the site, which we visited just before we left.  


New friends, good times!  



We arrived at Jacques Cartier National Park to spend the afternoon on the river in a rabaska. The French would refer to the rabaska as a Maître canoe, but we would know it as a voyager canoe. 


We all got into our life jackets and then into the rabaska.  


You would think with a choir timing for paddle coordination would be pretty good ... well ... 

The river was beautiful!  


We stopped every now and again for the guide to speak to us about the formation of the river, and the animals in the area. We sang a different song each time we stopped.  

Chocolate Factory

Wild blueberries are a big thing in the Saguenay region of Quebec, which is what we are now passing through.  We made a surprise stop at a chocolate factory, Le Chocolats Lulu, beside the Saguenay River  for some chocolate covered blueberries! 


Haleigh had ice cream instead!  


Performing For Our Hosts

When we returned from the zoo, we have the opportunity to sing for our hosts and the seniors at the centre next to our meeting location. It was especially nice to be able to sing for our host families. The centre where we sang is called Résidence Le Pionnier d'Hébertville. We had the opportunity to sing a number of pieces we had not yet performed on the tour! 


Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien

After going to the cheese factory we headed off to the zoo. A quick lunch, then out to see the animals! They had a farm section, so we saw a number of different farm animals. 


Bryn has her own chickens and could not resist! 


And I have no idea what this one is! (Llama with a hair cut?) 


After visiting the farm animals we took some time to sing for the people at the farm.  


After singing we headed off on a train ride to the open fields where a number of other animals are kept.