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Changing of the guard-And not at Buckingham Palace- Québec City with Children

Changing of the guard-And not at Buckingham Palace- Québec City with Children

Changing of the Guard-Québec City I had always assumed that the changing of the guard only occurred at Buckingham Palace and the craziness of trying to see when you’re buried in a hoard of tourists can be overwhelming (especially if you don’t like crowds!). Imagine our surprise when we arrived in Québec City and discovered that they, too, had a changing of the guard, in the same uniforms with similar bearskin hats and a much better view!  At the Citadelle of Quebec-which is still an active military installation-people were able to surround the parade grounds, but it was only a few people deep even at the height of the summer season, allowing for great views of the ceremony performed by the Royal 22e Régiment.  The boys were able to sneak right in front and got a perfect view of everything.  We were running late, but a guard at the entryway said the last 20 minutes were the best and the entire ceremony was a bit much unless you were really a history buff.  The guard was right, the last 20 minutes included the actual ceremony on the parade grounds, the band and the formal exchange between the troops who have been on duty for the previous 24 hours and their replacements. Queen Victoria’s goat My son’s favorite part of the changing of the guard was the regimental mascot, Batisse the goat who must be the most well-groomed goat I’ve ever seen!   While officially the Batisse symbolizes the “will to succeed”, unofficially, the goat symbolizes the headstrong nature of the regiment.  Batisse the 12th is a direct descendant of a Kashimir goat given to Queen Victoria by the King of Iran in 1837.  The goats live on a small farm outside of Québec City where they are cared for by the Goat Major who is always an active duty soldier. Tour of the Citadelle After seeing the changing of the guard, we went on a tour of the Citadelle.  Since it is still an active military base, you must be accompanied at all times.  Tours are offered in English and French and our guide was great at giving us the history of the Citadelle and the role it had played in various battles.  The...

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Ghosts and ghouls and a little bit of history – Québec City with children

Ghosts and ghouls and a little bit of history – Québec City with children

The night we arrived in Quebec, we took a walking ghost tour of the city.  While it was hard to be spooked by the stories under the bright summer sun, it was a perfect way to explore the city and learn about its early history.  Definitely not too scary for kids, ours found the tales of people dying a little sad, not frightening.  Our guide definitely got into her role, telling us about the execution of Jean Duval for his attempted assassination of Samuel de Champlain, the Father of New France.  “To set an example…Jean Duval was hanged and strangled and his head put on a stake to be exhibited in the most prominent part of our fort…to set an example for those remaining, that they wisely fulfill their duty in the future, and that the Basques and Spaniards of whom there were many thereabouts could not repossess it.” Walking along the St. Lawrence, we learned about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland after a collision with another boat.  Within 10 minutes, the boat lurched to its side before sinking taking 1,012 of the 1,477 people on board with it.  Even today, we were told, there is a chillevery time you pass the spot where the boat sank… Of course no good spooky tour is complete without a witch! Despite an official recording of death by horses’ hooves, rumors and gossip of murder of her second spread rapidly through the neighborhood.  Inspite of the official finding, Marie-Josephte Corriveau was sentenced to death by a military tribunal held in the Ursuline Convent shown below.  With each retelling, the story has continued to grow.  Now, instead of killing One husband she has killed seven husbands who had discovered she was a witch.  She was accused of vowing that a grave would not hold her and urban legends and tales grew from there…. The tour finished at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, where we entered the nave in complete darkness and listened by the light of a single candle to the mysterious origins of the lady in the balcony who was seen by Queen Elisabeth II in 1964….. This was a great way to learn about the city and get our bearings. The scariness was...

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Review: Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh-Canada with children

Review: Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh-Canada with children

Did you know that Winnie-the-Pooh was based on a real bear?  At the White River train station in Ontario, Canada, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian with the Canadian Army on his way to base bought a bear cub and named her Winnipeg. In Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, we learn all about A.A. Milne’s inspiration for Winnie-ther-Pooh. In Winnipeg, Winnie quickly became the camp mascot and was given free reign at the camp, sleeping under Harry’s cot every night and following him as he made his rounds tending the horses and other military animals.  As World War I advanced, Harry and his platoon were transferred to England and of course Winnie went with them, sailing across the Atlantic, and proving to be a much better sailor than Harry! Winnie quickly settled in at camp in England, watching the soldiers practice marching and continuing to sleep under Harry’s cot.  When Harry discovered he was going to be sent to France, he knew he couldn’t take Winnie to a battlefield, but what to do with a bear? This was a great story about the inspiration behind Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin’s fateful visit to the London Zoo.  I always enjoy learning about the sources of inspiration behind beloved stories and Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh is no exception. While you can no longer feed bears at the London Zoo, you can still see a statue of Winnie and Harry.  You can also visit the original Edward bear (who changed his name to Winnie the Pooh) along with  Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger at the New York Public...

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Whales Passing

Whales Passing

Whales Passing by Eve Bunting was published in 2003.  It’s a cute story about a little boy standing with his father and watching the orcas go by.  The little boy wonders about the orcas and how they find their way and imagines what they are saying about him in return.  Whale watching can be a lot of fun with kids and can be done both from the shore as well as on a boat tour.  There are whale watching tours available in the San Juan Islands, Port Townsend, Washington and multiple locations in Oregon.  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department trains volunteers who are staitioned at whale watching sites during the winter and spring migrations (roughly the end of March and...

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