In The City

Day Three: Québec’s Birthday

Today is Québec City’s 410th birthday and luckily for us, the weather has been kinder than it was yesterday. While still dauntingly hot, there was, at least, a decent breeze that made it possible for no one to faint from heat-stroke.

The resident regiment, the Van Doos or, the 22nd, marched down St-Louis from their barracks at the Citadel to gather, with dignitaries, by the Chateau Frontenac beneath Montcalm’s Monument, where there are a number of speeches given. We always skip this part, because it’s important to arrive fairly early outside the Hotel de Ville to find a good spot from which to watch.

We staked our spot out behind the barrier, took our complimentary free flag to wave, and waited. You hear the band of the Police de Québec first, as they lead off the Parade from the Terrace Dufferin. They don’t stop though as they reach us, and march right on through. Something I always find amusing. We wave them goodbye.

Then, you hear Regimental band arriving. They’re all dressed in their finery. Red jackets and BIG Busby hats—at this point in the morning, it’s already around 31 degrees and the mercury is rising!

Right behind the band come the Honour Guard and Flag bearers, and parade members. About 70 people in full dress. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the goat and Regimental mascot—Batisse X. Much to the amusement of the crowd, he always manages to do his business and get the kids laughing loudly!

What we come for is the music and to see the parade inspection by the Mayor, Régis Labeaume, rather than the several minutes of speeches. I think most of the crowd are the same, but we applaud anyway!

After the parade moved off, we took our time in the square watching some of the free shows put on for families, and then wandered into the Cathedral opposite, for another photo-op and to cool off inside.

By 2 pm, with the heat rising, we took our leave of the town hall area and did what any self respecting Quebecker would do, got on an air conditioned bus and came home.

Happy birthday Québec City, you don’t look a day over 400!

10 Comments

  1. That’s quite an impressive parade, Alex. I’m glad you got the chance to see it. I don’t blame you for wanting to beat the heat, though. Thanks for sharing the ‘ photos.

    • Alex says

      That it is, Margot! Those poor guardsmen standing there, in their heavy uniforms, in the heat. Real troopers.

    • Alex says

      The goat is the character of all the pomp, Norrie. He definitely stole the show! 😉

  2. Love the photos, Alexandra. I may watch “The Men Who Stare at Goats” tonight. Goats are funny; they have unique personalities. Under the heat of the sun, those uniforms look a bit warm. Beautiful parade!

    • Alex says

      Thanks, Kenny. You could say this was our ‘goat’ moment for the week. And yes, we felt every minute for those poor Guardsmen in full dress, sweltering under an unforgiving sun. Luckily, no one passed out, as that would have been scary!

      We might take in the changing of the guard next week, up at the Citadel, where the Van Doos are barracked. I should try to video that for you. More goat, right? 😉

  3. What an impressive parade! That goat reminds me of going to watch rugby in Cardiff – everytime we’ve been to watch Wales play. There would be a live band playing before the kick-off accompanied by a goat that looked a lot like the one from your photos. 🙂

    • Alex says

      It’s always quite the spectacle, Vera, and put on for any number of reasons, including the City’s birthday, but tourists as well.

      And yeah, I remember there being a military band playing before the match, when Wales plays. Do they still sing: Bread of Heaven? 😀

      Funny how there are similarities no matter what continent we live on.

    • Alex says

      I know, Naomi. But I’m guessing they didn’t have much choice. 😳

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