Canadian Odyssey: Québec City to Toronto

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.
Rating (5)
Program No. 3734RJ
11 days
Starts at

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.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Marie Legroulx
Marie is an eleventh-generation Quebecoise whose ancestors settled on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in the mid-17th century. She has a BA in history and an MA in Quebec literature from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Marie draws on both fields in her Road Scholar learning adventures as well as within her life more broadly. She taught French and Quebec literature for 25 years at the university level. Marie has been leading groups in Quebec City and the surrounding area since 2008.

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

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Marie Legroulx
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Don Belec
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David Jeanes
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Bruce Bell
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Canada and Quebec: One Country, Two Histories
by Robert Bothwell
An in-depth look at Canada-Quebec relations through interviews with prominent Canadian figures.
Toronto: A Short Illustrated History of Its First 1,200 Years
by Ronald F. Williamson
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.
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.
The Canadian Frontier, 1534-1760
by W. J. Eccles
A popular, groundbreaking academic history of New France in the colonial era.
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.
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.

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