With 40 ships, 3,000 sailors, the Prime Minister of Canada and a massive fireworks display, Rendez-vous 2017 in Quebec City was a huge success! We can’t begin to estimate the number of visitors to the event and our ship as it seemed at times the stream of people was endless. Picton Castle drew many crowds as our appearance comes on the heels of a popular French Canadian television series, “La Grande Traversée” in which our ship and a few of our crew appeared, Picton Castle playing the part of L’Esperance. Our own chief mate, Gabriel St. Denis, who was featured in the television show, was very popular and many came out to see him and take a few pictures.
The Tall Ships event itself took place at the foot of Old Quebec and spread upward throughout the city. Founded over 400 years ago, this UNESCO World Heritage site is unlike any other city in Canada and is the only fortified city north of Mexico. The cobblestone streets lined with beautiful gardens, churches, and heritage buildings housing boutiques, restaurants all teamed with wanderers taking in the sights. You could spend hours just walking and taking in the European-style culture and so many of the crew did just that. It’s nice to get out and stretch your legs after being on the ship and the people were always friendly and helpful. With the shoreline filled with Tall Ships like Picton Castle, it was like stepping back in time.
The tall ship event itself was very well organised and it was great to catch up with friends and shipmates from other ports. Our Liaison Officers Bob and Marilyn made sure we were set with whatever we needed and Marilyn, being a professional tour guide of Quebec City, provided some extra special insight into the “must dos” in the city including the funicular car connecting the lower town to the upper part for those less inclined to hike up to the Cap Diamant.
After four very busy days, it was time to leave. As we departed this morning and said goodbyes to Quebec, friends and family, the view was spectacular as the tall ships passed back and forth under sail along the waterfront in the Parade of Sail until we headed back down river to our next ports. Although we are sad to leave, it’s time for us to get back out to sea, back into the rhythm of the ship and what we are here for.
Next Port: Norris Point, Newfoundland.