There's a huge party on the walls of Québec ! The accordion is starting to play lively melodies in the heart of the city, and the whole town is invited to come and dance !
Viens-t'en ma blonde allez à soir c'est l'parté ! Y-a tout plein d'beau monde sur les ramparts un peu pactés ! Come over here my sweetheart, huge party tonight ! There's lots of good people, a bit drunk, dancing of the walls !
And the historical figures of Québec also cannot resist the sound of drums and flutes, they're off to mingle with the masses, holding hands and skipping to the music.
All the famed characters of Québec's past, they're here joining in! Lieutenant-Général Montcalm is there, Lord Dufferin as lively as always, Price the architect enjoying the view and of course, the explorer Jacques Cartier, here before everyone else, but still very much around !
And off to dance we go ! T'es ben jolie dans ton p'tit jupon frisé, si tu m'aimes tu m'suis on va aller drêt-là giguer ! You're well cute in your little crumpled dress, if you love me me, follow me and let's skip away ! Because this is no ordinary party that the city's invited to! The guests of honour being:
Y'a Montcalm qui perd le sien ! There's Montcalm who's losing his calm !
Unfortunately for the French, things didn't turn out too well in the XVIIIth Century in Nouvelle Franse. Brigadier General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm was sent to Canada by the French crown, having already fought in two wars in Europe. Here in New France, during the seven year war (1756-1763), he lead the line against the English, winning quite a few important battles along the way.
However, faced by an overwhelming opposition, he would see his dear city of Québec besieged and surrounded by the English in 1759. When the English managed to land nearby, Montcalm decided to rush out and attack rather than to wait for reinforcements. On the "Plains of Abraham", that would be his demise. Montcalm lost his calm, and the battle. Wounded during the fights, his imminent death would inspire him this tragic relief:
"That way I won't have to see the English in Québec" he told the surgeon's brother.
Y a un lord qui ronge du frein (Dufferin) ! There's a lord with the bit between his teeth !
This play on words is a bit tricky, so bare with me. "Ronger [du] frein", to chew a brake, in French, means to be eager to get going. And this Lord "Dufferin" ('du frein') sounds like "Lord of the brake" in French. Hence why this is hilarious. Mainly because Lord Dufferin had a very exciting life.
This charismatic Englishman, Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood had a career as long as his name in Lebanon, Turkey, India... Sent to Canada by the English as Governor General in 1872, he actively oversaw a period of rapid change, politically, and economically. Always at the ready to meet the locals, help the disadvantaged, and see things first hand, he was also a most charming presence in high society, as that facial hair-trimming indicates. He was actually responsible for saving the old Québec city walls from destruction when they started to get hacked down by the council, and even persuaded them to rebuild what they had destroyed. No walls, no party, so thanks where thanks are due.
Fun fact about Frederick, as a young man, he published his witty and successful journal of a cold adventure up North, mainly through Iceland: "Letters from High Latitudes". An eager adventure, Going North, does that ring a bell?
PRICE THE ARCHITECT
Y a un Price qui dessine bien ! There's a Price who draws well !
Unmissable, in the heart of the city, sitting atop the hill of the old town, the Château Frontenac peers over the celebrations. The architect of this famous Québec landmark too, has joined in with the fun below !
The train companies at the end of the 1800s were building lavish beautiful hotels to advertise train travel. And Bruce Price, an American, was chosen to build the one in Québec after having drawn up the train station of Montréal. Very inspired by the location and in the style of the fortifications built by Lord Dufferin, Price devised the unmistakable landmark. Inaugurated in 1892, the big central tower was however only added a three decades later.
Et Jacques Cartier qui se souviens ! And Jacques Cartier who does remember !
"Je me souviens" I remember- the official motto of Québec and a sentence you will see on every car, and, everywhere really. The region has come a long way since Montcalm was defeated by the Brits, with Lord Dufferin, and new buildings making up the identity of the city. Still, the French speaking population remembers, they were founded by the French crown. On the animated grey walls of the Québec as in their hearts, lies the blue fleur-de-lis, symbol of the King of France.
Jacques Cartier, sailor from Saint-Malo in France, is sent in 1532 by François the 1st, King of France to find a path to Asia through North America. Despite there being quite a walk to the Pacific, Jacques Cartier was funded to travel three times to Canadas (which means in the native's tongue: bunch of huts).
Not too much came of the excursions of Jacques Cartier, but it is the first foot of the French Monarchy in Nouvelle Franse. Only with Samuel de Champlain are then larger viable colonies established. Samuel doesn't feature here, but his maps do in the background ! And it's possible he got his song already.
Since you're here,
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#GoingNorth through the cool breezes of Québec is made possible with the help of Cloud Music Ukuleles whose website you can visit for quality cold-resistant ukes and gear !