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Canadian Odyssey: Québec City to Toronto

Program No. 3734RJ
Discover the beauty and history of Eastern Canada’s great cities — Québec City and its Old Town, cosmopolitan Montréal, national capital Ottawa and Toronto, the largest city in Canada.

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DATES & starting prices
Jun 17 - Jun 27, 2024
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Jul 8 - Jul 18, 2024
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Aug 12 - Aug 22, 2024
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Sep 30 - Oct 10, 2024
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DATES & starting prices
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Jun 17 - Jun 27, 2024
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Jul 8 - Jul 18, 2024
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Aug 12 - Aug 22, 2024
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Sep 30 - Oct 10, 2024
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At a Glance

Discover the grand beauty and historical significance of some of the great cities of Eastern Canada: Québec City, the last walled city in the Americas north of Mexico; Montréal, a cosmopolitan center of culture; Ottawa, the national capital; and Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Compare the distinctive architecture and mood of each city. Explore grand cathedrals, stroll cobblestone streets and visit world-class museums. And enjoy discussions with local experts on the history, culture and art of Canada.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles per day; uneven surfaces, cobblestones; some hills and stairs encountered. Some standing in museums/historic sites.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Visit the magnificent Notre Dame Basilica, a masterpiece of Gothic revival architecture.
  • Discover upper and lower town in Old Québec, exploring fortifications that date from 1745.
  • Journey from Ottawa's Parliament Hill to Old Town Toronto and the historic St. Lawrence Market.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Bruce Bell
Bruce Bell — journalist, author, playwright, actor, curator — brings an incredible passion and enthusiasm for the history of Toronto and its architecture. He has been the monthly history columnist for Canada’s largest community newspaper since 1999 and has also been appointed as historian for many famed Toronto sites. Bruce is the author of “Amazing Tales of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood” and “Toronto: A Pictorial Celebration.” His mission is to tell Toronto’s history through his writings and lectures, including his sold-out shows at Toronto’s famed Winter Garden Theatre.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bruce Bell
Bruce Bell View biography
Bruce Bell — journalist, author, playwright, actor, curator — brings an incredible passion and enthusiasm for the history of Toronto and its architecture. He has been the monthly history columnist for Canada’s largest community newspaper since 1999 and has also been appointed as historian for many famed Toronto sites. Bruce is the author of “Amazing Tales of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood” and “Toronto: A Pictorial Celebration.” His mission is to tell Toronto’s history through his writings and lectures, including his sold-out shows at Toronto’s famed Winter Garden Theatre.
Profile Image of David Jeanes
David Jeanes View biography
David Jeanes is a retired professional engineer. He is vice-president of Heritage Ottawa, which is committed to the preservation of heritage architecture, and president of Transport 2000 Canada, which is devoted to sustainable public transportation. A native of Britain, David has lived in Ottawa much of his working life and spent 32 years in the high-tech industry on the design, standardization and marketing of global data-communication networks.
Profile Image of Richard Belliveau
Richard Belliveau View biography
Richard Belliveau was educated at the University of Toronto and at l’Université de Montréal specializing in Canadian history. He joined the Department of External in 1966 as a Foreign Service officer and has served in several Canadian diplomatic missions overseas. Mr. Belliveau lives in Ottawa, where he has been active in volunteer work - many years ago with Big Brothers, and more recently with Heritage Ottawa and with Catholic Family Service on whose boards he serves.
Profile Image of Francis Houle
Francis Houle View biography
Francis Houle hails from Ottawa. Studying in the early nineties at the height of the constitutional debates, he specialized in French-Canadian nationalism. In 1993, he moved to Québec City to complete his teaching degree. While studying in Ottawa he was offered a summer job as a local group leader — of which he is now in his 28th year! He has shared his passion for Ottawa and Québec City as a local city expert and also leads French and American groups across Canada, the Northeast U.S. and Europe.
Profile Image of Clarisse Fréchette
Clarisse Fréchette View biography
Clarisse Frechette’s family arrived in Québec back in 1677 as shipbuilders. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and worked as a research agent for Québec’s Department of Education before taking on the role of a field manager for Statistics Quebec. Becoming an educational interpreter was second nature for Clarisse, with her love of history and certainly her love of Québec! She has explored the old streets of Québec for over 20 years. It is always her pleasure to help people discover this area.
Profile Image of Arthur Milnes
Arthur Milnes View biography
Arthur Milnes was a speechwriter for the former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a public historian and an author. His published books include studies of the Presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Franklin Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter from the Canadian perspective. He has also been rewarded Research Grants from the Gerald R. Ford and Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Libraries. Arthur also received Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. His work has been honored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the City of Kingston.
Profile Image of Philippe Theriault
Philippe Theriault View biography
Philippe Theriault has been a group leader in India, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the Americas for 30 years. He has a background in anthropology and history, and is an expert in generalizing history to help people understand local cultures and traditions. When asked to comment on his own experiences while travelling Philippe quotes Marcel Proust: “helping people discover a new place or a new culture is also a way of opening their eyes to the joy-of-living and to the art of travel.”
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Varieties of Exile
by Mavis Gallant, Russell Banks (Introduction)
Wonderful stories set mostly in Gallant's native Montreal, a city starkly divided between working-class French Catholics and genteel English Protestants.
Lullabies for Little Criminals
by Heather O'Neill
O'Neill's tragicomedy of coming of age in Montreal in the 1980s was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.
by Margaret Atwood
One of Atwood's earliest novels, a suspenseful yarn where a young woman becomes entangled in affairs, mysteries and the haunting draw of nature as she searches for her missing father on an island off the coast of northern Quebec.
by Kenneth Roberts, N. C. Wyeth (Illustrator)
The grand historical novel of Colonel Benedict Arnold's doomed march on Quebec in 1775, told through the eyes of a soldier in the Continental Army. Rich in historical detail.
Toronto: A Short Illustrated History of Its First 1,200 Years
by Ronald F. Williamson
A People's History of Quebec
by Robin Philbot, Jacques Lacoursiere
This swift overview of Quebec’s 450-year history by a leading historian covers everything from the earliest days of colonization to the province’s recent efforts to gain independence. Includes a helpful timeline.
Canoe Lake
by Roy MacGregor
troubled American woman travels to a small Ontario town, determined to find the mother she has never known. As she searches through dusty records and stirs up old memories among those around her, three young people emerge from the mists of the past…a beautiful woman named Jenny, a shy local boy named Russell, and a dark-eyed painter named Tom, who changes the course of Jenny and Russell’s lives. Historical reality and conjecture are skillfully interwoven with intrigue and suspense as these three move unwittingly toward tragedy.
Ottawa: the Unknown City
by Rob McLennan
A quirky and practical guide to the history and attractions of the Canadian capital. Ottawa may be our capital city but it's also a place of contradictions—the official version offers numerous, beneficent historic sites, institutions, museums, and galleries, but there are other stories to be told. In this latest edition of Arsenal's Unknown City series of alternative city guides for both locals and tourists, Ottawa comes alive as a diverse, quirky town that may look like a government city on the surface but boasts a small-town charm. The book charts a course through the city's hidden landmarks, shopping, dining, and nightlife hot spots, as well as secret histories that will come as a surprise even to life-long locals.
The War That Made America, A Short History of the French and Indian War
by Fred Anderson
Anderson (Crucible of War) illuminates relations between the Indians, French and British in 18th-century North America.
Canada and Quebec: One Country, Two Histories
by Robert Bothwell
An in-depth look at Canada-Quebec relations through interviews with prominent Canadian figures.
Wolfe at Quebec, The Man Who Won the French and Indian War
by Christopher Hibbert
Hibbert brings the campaigns, life at Louisborg and dramatic capture of Quebec in 1759 to life in this tale of the neurotic, complex British general.
Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been
by Mark Osbaldeston
Unbuilt Toronto explores never-realized building projects in and around Toronto, from the city's founding to the twenty-first century. Delving into unfulfilled and largely forgotten visions for grand public buildings, skyscrapers, highways, and subways, it outlines projects like St. Alban's Cathedral and the Queen subway line. Readers may lament the loss of some projects, be thankful for the disappearance of others, and marvel at the downtown that could have been. Featuring 147 images, Unbuilt Toronto casts a different light on a city you thought you knew.
Toronto: A Pictorial Celebration
by Bruce Bell
Bruce Bell's latest book on Toronto, including fantastic photography. A look at the top 100 sites in Toronto. Bruce is a noted historian, journalist, author, playwright, actor, and curator and is part of this program experience.
Quebec, 1759, The Siege and the Battle
by C. P. Stacey
Originally published in 1959, this definitive account of the fall of Quebec, a key battle in British dominance in North America, is revised by Donald Graves for this new edition.
Shadows on the Rock
by Willa Cather
Set at the end of the 17th century in rural Quebec, this beautifully realized novel highlights the struggles of the Parisian widower Auclair and his young daughter to adapt to their new land.
Lost Toronto
by William Dendy
An intriguing portrait of the 19th- and early 20th-century city, Lost Toronto fills in the gaps of architectural history. Using almost 150 archival photographs, William Dendy identifies and discusses buildings destroyed or significantly defaced as the 20th century progressed. Not just an architectural history, Lost Toronto is a plea for more stringent regulations to preserve historic buildings. Lost Toronto and Toronto Observed: Its Architecture, Patrons, and History (1986) won Toronto book awards.
The Canadian Frontier, 1534-1760
by W. J. Eccles
A popular, groundbreaking academic history of New France in the colonial era.
Champlain's Dream
by David Hackett Fischer
In this stunningly researched and engaging biography, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Hackett Fischer weaves together the epic story of soldier and explorer Samuel de Champlain, a colonizer of North America who spent 30 years bringing his vision of a New France to life.
A Traveller's History of Canada
by Robert Bothwell
A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.

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