Leg 2: Quebec City to St. John’s

08May10

The second leg of this trip wasn’t a marathon as much as a series of short runs. I took off from Quebec and landed in Bathurst, N.B., before moving on to Charlottetown. Next was the small French island of St-Pierre, and finally I landed in St. John’s. Out to the east is a whole lot of ocean, and that comes next.

View from the sky…

Le Massif

I wasn’t sure what this was as I flew over it. It’s just to the east of Quebec City, along the Saint Lawrence River. At first, I thought it was a ski resort. Then I thought it might be some kind of logging area. But as it turns out, this series of paths and forests is a “living laboratory for experiments in tourism, technology and environmental sustainability.”

It’s called Le Massif de Charlevoix, and here’s what its website says:

Le Massif de Charlevoix is a 4-season recreation and tourism project representing an investment of $230 million (between now and 2013).

Starting from the Le Massif ski station, the project stretches between Charlevoix’s Baie-Saint-Paul and Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. Its major hubs include a new Destination Train and rail shuttle, a 500-person, multifunctional conference space and close to 400 lodging units.

The project lays the groundwork for a living laboratory for experiments in tourism, technology and environmental sustainability.

Orange spots

If anyone knows what these orange spots along the coast of New Brunswick happen to be, I’m all ears. Google is letting me down on this one. Are they fields that have been discoloured by the satellite image?

Looking back at Charlottetown

This is a pretty straight forward view of Charlottetown as I took off and headed south, then east over Cape Breton Island. It’s a beautiful small town, isn’t it? At the top of the image, you’ll see its experimental farm — sorry, Crops and Livestock Research Centre — which is not unlike its counterpart in Ottawa.

The more you know…

Looking back at St-Pierre

Most readers probably know this, but the islands of St-Pierre and Miquelon are actually French territory and have been for hundreds of years. When the Brits conquered the French in Canada in 1763, the Treaty of Paris gave everything in New France to Great Britain — except these small islands. They’re another relic of those colonial days.

I just read about these islands, actually, in a book called One Christmas in Washington: Roosevelt And Churchill Forge the Grand Alliance. The book is all about how, well, you get it in the title. But there’s one passage that explains the role that St-Pierre and Miquelon play in the Second World War. Helpfully, Wikipedia repeats it:

During the Second World War, the governor, Gilbert de Bournat, was loyal to the Vichy regime; he had to negotiate financial arrangements with U.S. authorities to obtain loans guaranteed by the French treasury. At the same time, Canada was considering an invasion of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Several pretexts were put forward, notably radio broadcasts of Vichy propaganda. It was alleged that the radio was helping German U-Boats on the Grand Banks, though this was never proven. The Canadian Governor General at the time, The Earl of Athlone, never authorised the implementation of the plans.

Under orders from de Gaulle, Admiral Émile Muselier organised the liberation of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, without the consent or knowledge of the Canadian and U.S. authorities. On 24 December 1941, a Free French flotilla led by the submarine cruiser Surcouf took control of the islands without resistance, and installed Alain Savary as Governor. De Gaulle had a referendum organised, which was favourable to him, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon thus became one of the first French territories to join Free France. The affair led to a lasting distrust between De Gaulle and Roosevelt.

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2 Responses to “Leg 2: Quebec City to St. John’s”

  1. 1 Gordo

    I don’t know much about De Gaulle at all, but I have yet to hear anything positive. Here’s another story of him from the BBC, passed on from Shawn.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8328282.stm

  2. 2 Shawn

    My mom, back on “The Coast” in Quebec, gets a TV channel from St-Pierre-et-Miquelon that she occasionally watches. Quirky French shows (and game shows) abound on that channel, is what she tells me.


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