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Author Topic: Traveling Through Quebec  (Read 21151 times)

hpykmpr

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Traveling Through Quebec
« on: May 29, 2010, 04:51:12 AM »
On June 3rd we will be leaving Florida bound for Nova Scotia. The route we have planned this year takes us across the border in the Niagara falls area through Ont. and Quebec. My question or concerns, if you will ,are neither my wife nor I speak any French. I am a Canadian citizen living there for the first 38 years of my life but never traveling to Quebec so I don't know what to expect .I know we have been told that most of the people can't or wont speak English but I don't know if this is true or not.What kind of problems  have others ran into and what should we be expecting.We would like to spend a couple days in Montreal and a couple in Quebec city while passing through so I hope the language issue don't pose too much of a problem.I have read most of the topics concerning traveling through Quebec in this forum but I guess I would like some newer opinions . Any and all responses on this topic will be greatly appreciated. Thanks , Alan

Tom

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 05:01:04 AM »
If you can at least muster a few phrases in French you'll get a much better reception and stand a better chance of getting a response to your questions whilst in Quebec province. Forum staffer Steve put together a list of some useful words and phrases for communicating in Quebec.
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Gypsy Rovers

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 09:03:03 AM »
Alan, we spent about three weeks wandering through Quebec last summer, from cities to rural and small towns around the Gaspe peninsula we had no problems at all.  It seems there had been a shift in attitudes towards anglophones over the last few years, perhaps they realize that tourists bring $$.  We encountered very few people who didn't speak some English and those that didn't a few basic words of French and lots of gestures and chuckles solved the problems.  As Tom suggested a few words to open the conversation really does help.

If you're going to Quebec city, leave lots of time to explore old Quebec, it's fantastic.

Cheers
Dale
2008 Phaeton 40' (The Gypsy Rover)
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Over the years I've found there is seldom only one right way!

Tom

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 10:21:21 AM »
I second Dale's recommendation for Old Quebec. There are a number of other attractions within an easy drive that are also worth a visit.
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 10:47:35 AM »
My husband and I were in Quebec last summer/fall, so our experience is very recent.  Like you we were concerned about the "no english" rumors.  If you print out the list that Tom suggested and take it along with you, you'll not have any problems.  We traveled from the Niagara Falls area through Toronto, Montreal and then to Old Quebec City.  Quebec City is NOT to be missed.  It is beautiful and is one of the highlights of our trip.  Infact we routed ourselves back through Quebec City coming home.  We then went on around the entire point of Gaspe` Peninsula.  The only problem we had was a little town going around the Peninsula at a gas station.  WE didn't know which area they wanted up to pull into for RVs.  I went into the station and no one spoke english.  The word diesel is the same for French and English and "motorise" (?spelling) is the word for motor home.  So I held up my Visa card, said "Diesel, motorise, Visa" and they all laughted and pointed to which pumps we were supposed to use.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful; especially if you try some of their french words. 

If you stay in Montreal, there is a very nice campground outside of the city that is run by english speaking.  And in Quebec City I would recommend staying across the river and taking a ferry across.  The ferry arrives and departs right in the heart of Old Quebec making it very easy to get around.  If you would like the names of the campgrounds I can get them for you.  My  husband keeps a very detailed log of all our trips.   :D   Have fun, we would go back in a heartbeat!  Old Quebec City and Newfoundland were our favorites.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Tom

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2010, 11:55:38 AM »
Scroll down through this album in our forum photo gallery to see a few pictures taken in and around Old Quebec.
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Marc L

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2010, 04:19:52 PM »
Marc...

ArdraF

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2010, 09:13:21 PM »
We've been to eastern Canada several times and people definitely are more friendly in the French-speaking areas than previously.  I agree with what the others said, but would add to learn something about French highway signs.  West of Quebec we took what appeared to be a good route until we came upon construction barriers and gigantic and serious yellow signs that told us something - but what???  I was driving at the time and we couldn't understand a single word on the signs.  It was disconcerting, to say the least.  For being a bilingual country you would think important safety signs would be in both languages but they're NOT in Quebec!  There is a certain age group that does not know English because for about 20 years they were not allowed to learn it or teach it.  Nevertheless, most people were friendly and the younger ones wanted to speak English with us.  I would say that if you can find campgrounds advertising that they cater to English-speaking people (Trailer Life Campground Directory has such ads) it will help immensely because they can tell you how to find places and what is not to be missed.  If you meet people who have lived in the US they'll likely be of great help.  Hope you have a wonderful trip!

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Tom

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2010, 03:49:31 AM »
LOL Ardra, we had the same issue with road safety signs around Montreal.
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hpykmpr

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2010, 04:34:18 AM »
Thanks to everyone for all of the great replies to this post.I have read the section in the Library that Tom mentioned and have been looking for good web pages that will give me a heads up on the highway signage there but have not found any that were too much good as of yet but plan to keep looking . Thanks Marsha and yes we would appreciate very much any advice you would be willing to provide us about good RV  parks in Quebec that you used on your trips through. Thanks again ,Alan

Marc L

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2010, 06:03:48 AM »
You can check road conditions for the province of Québec here:  http://www.quebec511.gouv.qc.ca/en/.  That page also has a link for bridge restrictions as well, which can come in handy if you want to keep your air conditioner on the roof.

In a lot of Provinces including Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, you can also call 511 ahead of time for road constructions.  I don't know if the service is bilingual or not in Québec.  I live in New Brunswick, so when I dial 511, I get the one for New Brunswick.

Most provinces have construction information on their website as well as far as provincial and national highways are concerned, however it will not include city streets that are not part of the provincial or national network.  Most municipalities big enough to have a decent website would have that information there.
Marc...

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2010, 08:02:47 AM »
    As is our habit, on our way back from the south, we usually set up just outside Ottawa and our daughter, son in law, and their 2 kids meet us for the week end.  This time we were about 75 miles up the Ottawa River which is the border between Ontario and Quebec.  We took a drive, ended up in Quebec went in for a few groceries, etc and were shocked that everyone, locals, clerks, were all speaking english.  I haven't seen that in our travels for many years, but if someone spoke french they quickly reverted to french with perfect accent.  I thought we'd somehow crossed into New Brunswick.
   As for running into difficulties, a little patience, a few hand signs, keep a cool head about traffic signs, and you won't run into any problems.  There are lots of RV'rs amongst Quebecers.  They are a friendly cordial group, and try their utmost to be helpful.Little things will surprise or annoy, such as a western sandwich will arrive with mayo on it, but local delights are a must try.
     Some major pieces of advice is to gas/diesel up in Ontario before crossing as fuel is much more expensive.  But on the other hand, beer and wine is far cheaper, so load up before heading out as you'll find it is almost twice the price in the Atlantic.
    Enjoy

Ed
Ed & Donna
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threeful

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2010, 04:17:41 PM »
One place I would recommend is going to Les Chocolats Favoris in Levis across the river from Quebec City (below is a better description).  Make sure you get a an ice cream dipped in the chocolate made there.  They make a fabulous dark and milk chocolate.

Suggest you have lunch in the little restaurant across the street (forget the name) and ice cream @ Les Chocolats Favoris.  Best dipped ice cream cone in the world!!!

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/Canada/Province_of_Quebec/Levis-907334/Restaurants-Levis-BR-1.html#0
Bill T
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2010, 09:41:28 PM »
Alan, the campground for Montreal is here

And the campground for Old Quebec City is here

Camping Transit is outside of Quebec City, but the ferry is nearby and very handy.  If you read Betty Brewer's log as well as Ardra's recap, they give some very good information and list a couple other campgrounds near Old Quebec City.  What we liked about Camping Transit is that when we were ready to leave, we just hopped on the freeway and we were on our way.

Let me know if you need any further info.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

hpykmpr

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 04:36:28 AM »
Thank you Marsha we really appreciate your giving us this info and I   hope you both have safe travels wherever you are headed this summer.   Alan


Alan, the campground for Montreal is here

And the campground for Old Quebec City is here

Camping Transit is outside of Quebec City, but the ferry is nearby and very handy.  If you read Betty Brewer's log as well as Ardra's recap, they give some very good information and list a couple other campgrounds near Old Quebec City.  What we liked about Camping Transit is that when we were ready to leave, we just hopped on the freeway and we were on our way.

Let me know if you need any further info.

Marsha~
edit: fixed quote
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 04:54:37 AM by Tom »

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2010, 07:55:22 AM »
     I forgot to mention, if you have any Irish heritage, the major entry point into North America from the Irish Famine was an Island just down river from Quebec City.  Here is their website:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/qc/grosseile/index.aspx

     As you formalize plans and have any questions, please post them.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Alfa38User

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2010, 03:43:56 PM »
Marsha Wrote: Alan, the campground for Montreal is here

Heh heh,   This campground may be very nice but it is actually quite far from Montreal itself. It is on the "South Shore" of the St Lawrence River. (Fleuve St-Laurent) in Beleoil. If you are coming from the US Border NY, or Vermont) it would be fine but...

If you are coming from Ontario or western NY it is not practical.

Important highway language: Most route signs have the direction like 40 O(uest), 40 W(est); 40 E(st), east; 15 N(ord), north; 15 S(ud), south. (West is the only oddball one!!) Odd numbers are N-S roads; Even numbers, E-W; 3 digit numbers, (ie 540), feeders, connectors or bypasses (to hwy 40 in this example).

We measure in KM in Canada(Kilometres) 100KM= 60 MPH (Hint, multiply km by .6 or look at the smaller numbers on your USA speedometers). We measure Gas in Litres which are "about" = to 1 US Quart (4L = "about" 1 US Gal) . Temperatures are measured in
ºC(elcius): Fast Calculation ...double the ºC temp and add 32 (eg 20*2 = 40 + 32 = 72ºF) close enough!!! (Us old-timers who grew up with the old imperial system always find quick ways to recalculate when necessary.)

 (Someday the USA will catch up with the rest of the world.  heh heh!!)

Pictograms are used on many signs, most are obvious after thinking about it.

One anomaly, there are NO right turns on red on the Island of Montreal but are allowed elsewhere in the province unless the signs say otherwise. Signs (pictograms) indicating this are located at each of the bridges to Montreal but are seldom, if ever, found on the island roads themselves.  The verbose signs in French only can be worrisome. I wish I had some examples but I can't think of any at the moment.

As to Canada being bilingual, well.... New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province, Quebec is French, however Ontario does a good job, at least in the eastern portion, on bilingual road signs. Further west (Manitoba-BC) Bilingual?? What's that mean????
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 04:18:55 PM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2010, 09:09:17 PM »
Alfa38user,  you missed my point.  ;D The campground is English speaking, that was the OP concern and why I suggested it.  And I did say "outside" of the city.

Marsha~ 
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

hpykmpr

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 04:23:18 AM »
Once again thanks to everyone who replied and for all of the great info. We are on our way early tomorrow morning, if all goes according to plan, with the first stop being Dothan Alabama. Marsha we were able to get a reservation in the campground you suggested near Quebec city,  Thanks for that info. Montreal we are going to pass on this time so we can spend more time in Ottawa and Quebec city. Maybe next time .Take care all , Alan

Alfa38User

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2010, 01:11:58 PM »
Alfa38user,  you missed my point.  ;D The campground is English speaking, that was the OP concern and why I suggested it.  And I did say "outside" of the city.

Marsha~

No, I don't think so Marsha!!!  Most people in this line of work, at least in the Montreal area, would likely have enough English to be understood or would have staff who spoke it sufficiently. The same may not be true in the Quebec City area.     (Lifelong English speaking Montrealer !!)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 02:12:56 PM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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Snowbird, Naples Florida
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"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

carson

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2010, 02:24:55 PM »
Just a thought, with respect to all Quebecois..

You only speak English and the store only speaks French.. no deal most/some of the time.

  What if...if you walked in with a wad of money in your fist. Then you say "I speak English only".
Would they turn you away or come up with someone that speaks English?

  Would be a good experiment. After all Quebec is not another Nation. I have lived in Canada for 30 years..never could figure it out.

carson FL


   
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2010, 07:12:13 AM »
   Hey, it is not unique to Canada.  Donna and I went into a national chain fast food store for lunch in El Centro, on our way to the Air Show in March.  After about 5 minut6es of being totally misunderstood by a virtually uni lingual Spanish young lady , I was turning to leave when her supervisor decided to see what the problem was and fixed the order in about 30 seconds.  Sorry, while I do have some competency in French, I have none in Spanish.
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Alfa38User

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2010, 09:44:48 AM »
Just a thought, with respect to all Quebecois..

Snipped

 After all Quebec is not another Nation.

snipped...

carson FL



At least not yet anyway heh,heh... Much to the consternation of a certain minority of Quebecers.
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2010, 07:23:11 AM »
     On our way into Montreal yesterday, I did have the following thoughts. 
     1)  Depending on where you end up staying in the Montreal area, try to avoid the Metropolitan Blvd, HWY 40, particularly from Dacarie (Hwy 15) heading east.  Due to construction, we spent over an hour going about 5 miles leading up to Hwy 15, and it looked worse heading east from there. 
     2)  If you have the time, Hwy 138 from Montreal to Quebec city, and Hwy 132 from Quebec City to Riviere du Loup are very picturesque. However, both are 2 lane, and go through all the old towns & farms along the river. 
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Steve, CDN

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2010, 11:25:19 AM »
Quote
If you have the time, Hwy 138 from Montreal to Quebec city, and Hwy 132 from Quebec City to Riviere du Loup are very picturesque. However, both are 2 lane, and go through all the old towns & farms along the river.

 
If a choice has to be made in the interests of time, the preferale and more picturesque route would be 132 from Quebec City to Riviere Du Loup.  L'Islet has a wonderful old maritime museum, St. Jean Port Joli has several wood carvers who make a style of wood sculpture unique to Quebec and not found anywhere else.  Knock offs sold in the Old Town of Quebec City should be avoided and the real thing should be sought out in Riviere Du Loup.
 
The town of La Pocatiere has a historic museum of of the area located in the old College, and the town of Kamouraska should be visited to experience the architecture and ambience of old Quebec.  Kamouraska also boasts numerous good restuarants as well as a fabulous bakery cross from the Church.  Nearby is a famous seafood store selling eels and smoked salmon.  If you are really lucky in Kamouraska, ask if the farm tractor museum can be seen.  It's a private museum, but sometimes the owner will takes visitors on a tour.
 
Between La Pocatiere and St. Denis is a cut off that takes you to the old Quaie or pier at Riviere Ouelle where you can see the river, which is 35 miles wide at that point and has tides.  You need to ask about the vieux quaie  or the old pier, because it is not in the town of Riviere Ouelle.
 
However the town of Riviere Ouelle has a great campground with good hookups and it is located on the river side, allowing easy day trips to all the places I've mentioned. 
 
In the area of La Pocatiere you will hear motors whining in the background in the fields.  These are the harvesters of peat moss, and these companies export peat moss all over the world including most of the supply in the U.S.
 
Good grocery shopping can be done in La Pocatiere where there are several large super markets.
Steve, Forum Moderator
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2010, 01:52:06 PM »
    I'd second Steve comments regarding the Lower St Lawrence (Bas St Laurent).  Unfortunately it is not the right time of the year, but for you bird lovers, when the snow geese are migrating, it presents a very unique sight of tens of thousands of geese on the river taking off or flying in unison.  We saw them in a town called Montmagmy, which is just one more picturesque little villages along the river.
    Looking at maps after my posting this morning, and we may well head to Quebec from Ottawa taking Route 50 across the top of Montreal, then cut into Hwy 40, or 138 east of Montreal.  It too is mostly 2 lane, but is not plagued with the construction that never seems to avoided on the island of Montreal.
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

hpykmpr

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2010, 07:11:07 PM »
Well it won't be long now. we crossed the border yesterday with no problems ,showed our pass ports and they asked us twice if we had any firearms on board,never mentioned food alcohol or pets . We spent the day in Niagara Falls the place sure has changed since we were there 12 years ago. tomorrow morning we are off early to Ottawa for three nights and then on to Quebec city for three nights.Thanks to everyone for all of the info on Quebec it is all appreciated . Alan

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2010, 07:57:03 PM »
    We did go the Quebec route that I suggested and I think it was worth the extra distance.  We went 50 to 148, back to 50, to 15, to 640, to 40, and then to 138 for most of the way from Trois Riviere to Camp Transit.  A lot of 2 lane road, but none of the stop and go that we ha getting only a quarter of the way into Montreal.
    We're off to see the Irish Memorial tomorrow.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

hpykmpr

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2010, 03:24:13 PM »
    We did go the Quebec route that I suggested and I think it was worth the extra distance.  We went 50 to 148, back to 50, to 15, to 640, to 40, and then to 138 for most of the way from Trois Riviere to Camp Transit.  A lot of 2 lane road, but none of the stop and go that we ha getting only a quarter of the way into Montreal.
    We're off to see the Irish Memorial tomorrow.

Ed

It sure is a small world. we arrived at Camp Transit about 1 1/2 hours ago from Alfred Ont. through Montreal ,Wow what a trip ,sure a lot of rough road. We are in lot 194 ,what part of the park are you in.? Alan

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Traveling Through Quebec
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2010, 07:32:52 PM »
   We just got back from our day at the Irish memorial are having supper then early to bed.  We're in lot 153, maybe coffee in the morning before we head out.  Sorry no cell phone, but will check the forum in the morning.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

 

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