Great Things To Do In Quebec

The Ice Hotel in Quebec. Image: XDachez.comCOLUMN
By Katherine Gougeon and Anton Pirisi

In grade four, students in Ontario, PEI and Nova Scotia start to learn French in school. To show our son Anton just how wonderful French culture is, I suggested our family visit Quebec City over March Break.

Then I put Anton in charge of planning the trip.

Anton started his research  sites like and, Quebec’s tourism site. He also talked with Micheline Lachance from Tourisme Quebec.

Anton: I’m dying to see the Ice Hotel. It seems impossible. What’s it like?

Micheline: The tour shows you what each type of room is like and how you can sleep on an ice bed and drink in ice glasses. Each room has ice sculptures with different scenes of nature.

Ice hotel slide. Image:
This big slide, made of ice, is right inside the Ice Hotel! Image:

Anton: I read Quebec produces about 80 per cent of the world’s maple syrup. Is March a good time to visit a sugar shack?

Micheline: March is “sugaring off” season and a great time to visit a cabane a sucre (sugar shack). You’ll see the boiling room where the sap becomes maple syrup, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods where the maple trees grow, and enjoy maple taffy on snow. Be sure to try Grand-peres a l’erable, a cross between donuts and dumplings covered in hot maple syrup sauce.

Anton: I’d like to do a day trip to Trois Rivieres to visit the Old Prison because the tours are given by real, live ex-inmates. If we stay the night, will we have to eat prison food?

Micheline: Yes–porridge and toast: a breakfast fit for a prisoner! But — careful — because of the subject matter, the jail tour is not recommended for kids under 12.

Anton: Darn. Is there any other cool activity you could recommend that would make Quebec’s history interesting to a kid?

Micheline: If you like battles, the Musee du Fort has an amazing sound and light show that brings the Battle of the Plains of Abraham to life on a 400-square-foot model of Quebec City.

Anton: I often get in trouble at school for not eating my lunch. Although I hate sandwiches, I love French food — especially duck confit and escargot. What local dishes should I try?

Micheline: Quebec has its own dishes that do not come from France. Keep an eye out for typical Quebecois fare like: ragout de pattes (pig knuckle stew) and tourtiere (pork meat pie) and for dessert a tarte au sucre (sugar pie).

Anton: Merci for answering my questions. Our trip is shaping up.

March break for most kids in Ontario is the week of March 14.

Related Links
You can take a “virtual tour” of many rooms in the Ice Hotel here.

Writing/Discussion Prompt
In the article, Anton interviewed Micheline Lachance from Tourisme Quebec in order to find out information about his upcoming trip. 
Pretend you work for the tourism office in your city or town.  What would you tell visitors to do, see, eat and explore?  Plan a three-day trip for them in your own city or town.  The plan needs to include activities and meals for each day.   

Reading Prompt
If you were taking a trip to Quebec, and you could only pick one of the activities explained in the article, which activity would you choose to do and why? 

express personal thoughts and feelings about what has been read (OME, Reading: 1.8)

make judgments and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Grammar Feature: Italics
In this article there are many words that are written in slanted writing that looks almost like cursive.  When you write like this, you are writing in italics.
Highlight or underline all of the words that are written in italics.  Why do you think the journalist chose to write using italics?  Do italics help you to understand the article?