Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Trip to Canada for Genealogy - and Fun!

I spent most of last week in Canada. It was one of those work/fun trips - my favorite kind. The original purpose was to speak about my book and about the immigration experience to the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for the Ryan Taylor Memorial lecture. Soon after I got the invitation, I began to develop a second part to this trip though. Ever since we moved to Massachusetts over five years ago, I have wanted to visit Quebec City. Once, I even had a trip in place to do it. My husband had meetings there and I convinced a friend to watch our (then) three kids for three days so I could go too. It was going to be a second honeymoon of sorts. But then, it turned out that the NGS (National Genealogical Society) Conference was going to be in Richmond at the same time - and that one of my magazine articles was going to receive an award from ISFHWE (International Society of Family HIstory and Writers). AND it turned out that I could get a plane ticket for less than $100 and stay at my brother's house in DC. In the end, I couldn't resist. I ditched the second honeymoon in favor of the genealogy conference. (Terrible, isn't it?)

But now I had a second chance - genealogy and vacation in one! We decided that the whole family would drive, spend a day in Quebec City, a day in Montreal, and a day in Ottawa (and lots of time driving too, of course). Initially I had thought it unfortuntate that the trip would take place in October instead of the summer, but I soon decided that the middle of October was perfect. The leaves on the drive through Vermont and in Canada were absolutely breathtaking.

It's a little embarrassing to admit that the only other time I had been to Canada was in 2004 when we went to Niagara Falls. Of course, we only spent four nights there this time, but it was fabulous. And, as I told the group, now I can put on my biography that I'm an internationally known speaker, right?

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

First, the classic photo of the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. Rachel (age 11) liked the old city so much, that she decided we should move there!

We also made a stop at the nearby Montmerency Falls.

Did you know Montreal is famous for its bagels? Two bagel shops compete for the title of "best bagels." The kids sampled bagels from both to determine who was the winner of what we called the "Great Bagel Debate." (I originally called the "Great Bagel War", but Sarah Ann (age 6) wanted to know if they used swords...) Christian slept through our taste test.

We loved Ottawa! The downtown area was beautiful - even better than I expected. We loved walking by the government buildings and the Rideau Canal.


  1. Enjoyed your report, and photos of places I've been to. We went to Ottawa this spring, and I absolutely loved the city.

  2. Loved seeing your pictures. Glad you enjoyed our wonderful country. You covered a lot of ground in a few short days and with so many young ones in tow. Hope you will be returning soon.

  3. I was just in Ottowa in February! I bet the weather was much nicer for you guys. I did enjoy ice skating on the Rideau, though - so the COLD was good for something. :)