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EPP Expedition: Exploring Historic Landmarks & Diverse Cultures of Québec

By March 20, 2024March 22nd, 2024No Comments

As part of CIC’s University of Toronto Elite Pathway Program (EPP) curriculum, a group of EPP students set out on a thrilling expedition through the historic landmarks and diverse cultures of Québec during the March break.

With a focus on linguistic and cultural preservation, these students explored Canadian history and uncovered its rich tapestry layer by layer, akin to archaeologists on an exciting discovery.

Chris Vander Deen, CIC’s Special Programs Supervisor believes the trip has taught everyone why it is crucial to recognize that not all Canadians share the same experiences. He said :”Our history and culture mold our identities and perspectives. With new generations adding to the tapestry of diversity, it’s a reminder to reflect on our past and understand how it applies to the concepts of personal and national identity.

Day 1: Tracing Canada’s Legacy in Montréal

Our journey began aboard the train from Hamilton to Montréal, tracing the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario and the mighty St. Lawrence River.

The St. Lawrence River, once a bustling highway for European explorers, held the key to unlocking the vast continent. In the 16th century, control of this vital waterway was in the hands of French colonists stationed in Québec City and Montréal.

Our first destination was the vibrant city of Montréal, a cultural hub of Canada. Here, students immersed themselves in the pulsating rhythm of contemporary Canadian life. They had the opportunity to catch a Montréal Canadiens game, cheering on their favorite players from the most successful team in the National Hockey League.

A cultural hint: The term “Canadien” (spelled in French) was originally coined by the early French settlers in Canada to proudly describe themselves. This historical legacy still resonates in the heart of Montréal today.

Day 2: Exploring the Rich Heritage of Québec City

The EPP students continued their journey into the province, following the river to Québec City. This historic city, founded in 1608, was strategically positioned to control access to the North American Great Lakes. Situated at a narrow point along the river, it was easily defendable from a fortified hilltop.

Exploring the fortified “Old City,” students discovered its unique distinction as the only walled city north of Mexico in North America. They learned about the pivotal Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the 1750s, a key moment in the conflict between Great Britain and France for control over the region. The British emerged victorious, leading to the capture of the Canadian province of France.

During their visit, the group toured La Citadelle de Québec, a fortress built by the British to secure their new territory against potential military threats from the United States.

They also traveled to L’Observitoire de la Capitale, Québec City’s tallest building, gaining an aerial view of the Citadelle and the river. This view offered a clear understanding of the city’s strategic importance in the region’s history.

Day 3:  An Introduction to Indigenous History Culture

Our EPP students had an incredible final day as they immersed themselves in the rich history of Canada’s Indigenous Nations.

In Wendake, Québec, they stepped back in time to explore a traditional village recreated from the 17th century. The Huron-Wendat, residing in the region for 400 years, graciously shared their customs, traditions, and way of life.

It was a humbling experience as we learned about the first inhabitants of North America and the impact of colonialism in Canada.

The EPP students embraced the spirit of Québec’s vibrant tourism scene with exciting activities:

  1. Sledding at Village Vacances Valcartier
  2. Exploring the iconic Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel)
  3. Visiting Érablière de Lac-Beauport, maple-syrup producer that provides an interactive dining experience.

From icy adventures to maple-syrup delights, it was a day filled with unforgettable experiences!

As our journey came to an end, students savored the vastness of Canada with a scenic train ride back to Hamilton. This trip opened our eyes to the diverse experiences within Canadian society.

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