Road Trip to Quebec



  • Travel to country whose primary language is not English
  • Take a cruise
  • Observe points of interest en-route
  • Try new foods
  • Meet new people by staying in international hostels



  • Week long trip
  • Must be started/completed between graduation and start of college
  • Keep expenses below the accumulated funds earned through Scouting
  • Adhere to Guide To Safe Scouting daily driving limits

Event Objectives:

  • Tour Montreal, Quebec
  • Tour Niagara Falls (ride of Maid of the Mists)
  • Have dinner cruise on Lake Ontario or St. Lawrence Seaway
  • Tour Quebec City (recommended by co-worker of a crew associate advisor)
  • Dig for Herkimer diamonds (and tent or cabin camp at local KOA)


Location Comment Date
Springfield, VA Depart 23 Jun 2011
Toronto, CA First night. Stayed in Canadiana Backpacker Hostel. Toured Niagra Falls. 23-25 Jun 2011
Quebec City, CA Third night. Watched Cirque du Soleil on two nights (for free). Toured the city. Took a commercial tour: included Montmorency Falls, Sainte Anne de Beaupre Basilica, Chez Marie Bakery (they bake with antique brick ovens), chocolate store, Albert Gilles Copper Art & Museum (i.e., Musée Cuivres d'art Albert-Gilles). 25-28 Jun 2011
Montreal, CA Used Montreal metro system ($8 for 24 hr pass, unlimited mileage). 29 Jun 2011
Herkimer, NY Dug for Herkimer Diamonds and found some (even a black one) 30 Jun 2011
Springfield, VA Return 01 Jul 2011


  • When driving into Canada, do not have concealed guns. You'll be delayed while agents complete a very thorough search of the interior.
  • The Canadiana Backpackers Inn hostel was a good location, very clean but no tissues in any rooms (BYO Kleenex). Bathrooms are a full bath, single shower/bathtub. Two per floor. Handicapped Access bathroom--spacious and rarely used--is on the third floor.
  • Niagara Falls is a tourist trap; gaudy storefronts with cheap, knick-knacks for sale. Nothing of value. Local hostel offers a discount for the Falls excursion. Excellent deal; Niagara Falls, Niagara By Lakes (very pleasant village), stopped a winery for tasting red, white, and ice wine (legal drinking age in Canada is 19). Bus rides between locations is long and boring; bring something to do and something to eat.
  • Toronto Jazz Festival is very popular (and free). Arrive early to get a good place. Wear comfortable shoes because you may end up standing a LONG time waiting for the diva(s) to arrive (Aretha Franklin came on stage 90 minutes after opening!).
  • Had dinners by Yakisoba; processed noodle dish bought at home. Lightweight, inexpensive, available at the Fort Belvoir Commissary, quick and easy to prepare (add water, microwave, add seasonings). Not full meals (like we had in our trek to Sea Base). Other quick-to-prepare were too high in sodium (1,000 milligrams per meal!). Tried Thai Spicy Peanut by Chow Mein. Spicey peanut sauce on noodles; definitely NOT pad thai (big disappointment). Will consider trying new foods before going on trip or at least check reviews of products (e.g., REI generally sells meals with high reviews).
  • The night of 23 June, in Toronto, we went to Ginger, Inc. They have an excellent pineapple smoothie. They have some dishes that are inexpensive. Avoid the pad thai combination. It has pad thai noodles and bean sprouts, but does not have true pad thai flavor.
  • Like many hostels we've stayed at, breakfast at the Canadiana was pancakes. Unlike the Everglades International Hostel, staff made these pancakes. They were very dense and very chewy. Not pleasant.
  • Driving straight from Toronto to Quebec City is a LONG haul. We should have stayed in Montreal on the way to Quebec City. But we got to see Cirque du Soleil, in the rain, but for free (Quebec has a contract with the company to have 5 years of summer performances under an overpass. This was the third year (2013 and 2014 will have performances). Be prepared for being up close and personal with the performers. Before the show, they will mingle with the audience. If you get there early enough, you can get a seat next to a stage. Brynd Smoked Meats (Quebec City) is within walking distance to the show. The sandwiches are 90% meat and 10% bread (if that). Meat is a bit fatty, but VERY flavorful. Very busy place. We highly recommend the onion rings.
  • During our research phase for the trip, we found a tour of Quebec City recommended. We ordered tickets on-line. What we didn't know was there is an additional charge to take cable car to the Montmorency Falls ($37.53 total for our group of 4). Chez Maria Bakery was pricy; $1.50 for a slice of bread with maple butter. Good bread, but not as great as homemade. The Chocolaterie de l'Île d'Orléans on the Ile d'Orleans is definitely worth a return visit; the chocolate is REALLY tasty. But brush up on your French, particularly numbers and food terms. We suggest learning how to say "Five chocolate frogs and one pound of pistachio chocolate bark, please." in French.
  • The copper museum has tours in English and French. They have very cool pendants and art works made of bronze.
  • We ate at the Buffet de L'Antiquaire. Large portions, very good price, very tasty food. Next time we will come hungry, particularly the poutine (potatoes, fried cheese curds, and gravy) and cipaille (layered meat pie).
  • There is a farmer’s market at Marché du Vieux Port de Québec. Pretty cool. The stands were in a pavilion. Most vendors were bilingual. All foods are locally produced.
  • Went too Glaces Dolce Gelato. Nice variety. We highly recommend walking around the city, especially near the hostel. During one of our walks, a pair street performers did a gymnastic routine.
  • The central location of the hostel makes it easy to walk to major parts of the city. One of our hikes took us to an overlook where we got a great view of the river and the city. A downside to the location was it was at the top of a steep hill, so every hike ended with uphill puffing.
  • Another great place to eat cheap is Le Casse-Crêpe Breton where you can select your fillings and the chef will fill and fold a 18” crepe around those fillings. Breakfast was very filling; we skipped lunch.
  • The on-line trip advisor recommended Choco-Musée Érico where we got a video of history of chocolate and how chocolate figures are made, with a window to the next door chocolate shop’s production site.
  • We really enjoyed our tour ($8) of Morrin Centre, Chausseé Des Écossais, Quebec, Canada; a prison that became a university, then a library. You must be a member to check out books. We suspect part of the prison may get used for people who lose or fail to return books. Some tour guides are dressed in period costume (ours was) and have cool stories. The best feature of the prison is its location; right next door to the hostel.