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Quebéc retrospective.

Posted by: Jennifer Britton

This summer for seven filled to the brim days four students (and moi!) travelled to Québec from Montana State University Environmental Horticulture and Plant Sciences. A short plane ride but a world away from Bozeman, Montana we explored our North American neighbors unique French-Anglo cultural, horticultural, design and undeniably charming joie de vivre!

We lodged at two separate youth hostels in Montreal and Quebec City,  perfect locations and comfortable too. In a constant flow of observation and conversation we saw, heard, and tasted the culture; and true to the non-vehicular urban experience we walked, biked, and rode the metro to gardens, parks, and open air markets. Lectures, topics, and tours in horticulture and landscape design provided students with historical and contemporary Québec knowledge. Lessons provided an opportunity for depth in experience with four main learning objectives: cultural, plant, park observations and blogging.

During the trip students were required to seek a new experience beyond our time in class together with opportunity to try something new and unique their cultural experience could take many forms: food, music, theater, art or historical museum, architecture, or shopping.  Students also kept a journal and travel sketchbook for the trip and constructed a camera obscura (an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen) to help them in their sketching ability. This project had two parts: first to build an individual camera obscura with the supplied material and second to use the camera at their discretion to sketch the landscape.

As aways the Montreal Botanical Garden was a highlight of the trip- never enough time for those of us who love plants! Just look at those Hostas!

Parks also abound in Montréal, again what’s not to love? But the unquestionable jewel crowning Montréal is Mont Royal designed by Frederick Law Olmsted the landscape architect of New York’s Central Park and a multitude of other landscapes in North America. To engage students with the sense of place, they created “leave no trace” earth art with documentation.

In my final reflection as teacher and traveler I believe our time in in Canada instilled a joy of travel through an experience free of fear and judgment. Students embraced the Québécois culture, sharing in my passion for this beautiful place, with open and easy-going exchange. À bientôt, see you soon, Québec!

Highlights of our trip…

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The final day.

Bonjour-hiimage image image image image image image image

Today is the last day of our adventure in Canada. We are ending our trip in Quebec City, a very lovely city with small streets and a a sleepy atmosphere ( at least this time of year, and compared to montreal). Our last day emulates that atmosphere perfectly, it was rainy and chilly. We all slept in ( except for Christian who always gets an early morning coffee before any of the rest of us even begin to wake up) and then there was me with my serious case of senioritis as last one to head down stairs for breakfast. We then had a few hours to finish up all of our projects, the cultural experience and the plant and place project, along with any other last minute things we wanted to add to our sketch books and camera obscuras.

After we were all finished with the last bit of actual school work we decided to brave the rain and walk though the planes of Abraham, a beautiful picturesque park with a very Olmsted feel to it. In the park is also Quebec city’s art museum, and it could not have been a more perfect day to be inside looking at art. Part of the museum was inside an old prison, which had fascinating architecture, tiny cells. And a strange look out tower with a tiny stair way and odd wood carvings in it.

After we finished at the museum we walked back to our hostel in the rain packed our things to get ready for tomorrow’s travels and the headed down the hill for wine and a pizza dinner.

To day really was a perfect day to end this trip. Despite the weather there is a lightness to all of us. We are excited for the summer, we are excited for concerts and warm weather. We are excited to be heading home to our quiet bedrooms and the comforts of our own homes. And I am especially   excited because today was the last day of my college career. I am officially a graduate! And for now I am excited to go out and put all the things that I have learned though out college to work.

Peace out Canada, peace out MSU, and thank you to all who have helped me make it through!

Sincerely ,

Cornelia Reid

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Today we awoke to the news that Jennifer is ill and will be unable to accompany us today. As such, we set off to the marché in the morning while she stayed at the hostel to try and recover.


There we saw yet more bedding plants and herbs, their many aromas filling the air. We wandered through the building for a bit, finding an array of spices in one shop, geode rings, butterfly wing earrings, and pies in others. After thoroughly perusing the marché we moved on to find bikes so we could ride through the park along the Linear Trail. Riding through park we saw some different types of benches, interesting sculptural pieces and eventually made our way to a building with a pier jutting over the St. Lawrence. There we took some time to place and document our Canada obscuras in situ.

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After wandering around for a while in the area sketching and taking pictures we decided to return our rented bikes and split up for a while to explore the Old Town on our own. I chose to walk around and try to get better at navigating the city first. This rather promptly led to me unintentionally circling the Chateau Frontenac for a long time until resigning myself to getting some maps at the tourist info building. From there I skirted some of the Parc de l’Espalande and eventually found my way back to the immediate area of the hostel where I got a late lunch and did a little shopping.

Once we had all returned to the hostel we set out once more as a group for dinner at Chez Victor which, as promised, had multiple flavored varieties of mayonnaise in which to dip your fries.

June 2, 2015

Elizabeth Ritchie

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Via Rail Canada

Marisa White

Bonjour! Today we leave Montreal and travel to Quebec City  in search for more cultural experiences. Montreal was wonderful and I am personally very pleased with what this great city had to share.DSCN5290

We head East, coasting on the rail with lush scenery and cloudy skies outside our windows.  At 1:00 we arrived at the Auberge DSCN5305Internationale de Quebec Hostel and began our tour around the town.  Founded by Samuel de Champlain in

DSCN53201608, a site consisting three battles during the Seven Year War, one now a land monument for the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, where the British took Quebec from the French.  In the center area of Old Quebec, you come across narrows streets predominately laid with a brick pattern comming across old architecture such as the Notre-Dames-de-Victoires, the massive Chateau Frontenac Hotel placed on top of the Cap-Diamant, and the Old Quebec Finicular.

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visited the Musee de la Civilsation located in Place Royale and watched showing DSCN5375 interpreting Champlains experience in Old Quebec City, followed by trying on  17th and 18th century clothing, experimenting with the roles commonly known at that time.

Afterwards we ate at Cochon Dinque and then took a night stroll that ended at the Hotel du Parlement. First great day at Quebec City.

Au Revoir!

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Time for a picnic

Today began with a trip to the Marché Atwater to gather culinary supplies and to add to our growing collection of sketches. We got to the marché via a quick ride on the metro and emerged to find a profusion of bedding plants for sale. Many were arranged in hanging baskets and we spent some time admiring the colors and textures used. After wondering for a time in the potted plant booths we moved on to the food. We bought breads, cheeses, salami, sandwiches, fruits, kale, and tarts to serve as both temporary sustenance once we ascend the Mont and to prepare later at the hostel for dinner.


Onwards and upwards! After a quick stop back at the hostel we marched on up the hill, past the McGill campus, to the foot of Mont Royal; home to a large park designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead. We forged our way up the many stairs among a large crowd of people all looking for the green refuge of the park above. There we explored the picturesque landscape and created our own Earth Art peices to further explore and articulate the design concepts of Olmstead as expressed in this park.

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After thoroughly recording our masterpieces and decending the Mont we returned again to the hostel where we prepared our dinner from the remaining Marché haul. A lovely spread of various cooked sausages, two types of bread, a kale salad, a pear tart, and several varieties of beer soon came together. A short respite later we emerged to explore the nightlife of the plateau beyond the Mont Royal park, this time by subway. Unfortunately, all but Jennifer and Christian were too weary to continue and returned to the hostel after only one drink on the town.

May 29, 2015

Elizabeth Ritchie


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Last Day in Montreal

(Posted by Christian) Our day of rest and entertainment. We have been consistently on the go since we arrived in Montreal. Today we had a chance to relax, sleep in and choose our own directions. Elizabeth, Marisa and Nellie chose to go to the Bio sphere which is a museum dedicated to the environment. It’s located at Parc Jean-Drapeau, on Saint Hellen’s Island in the former pavilion of the United States for the 1967 Worlds Fair.ère   
Jennifer and I decided to see a different part of Montreal. We took the Metro to the borough of Outremont. Its name means “beyond the mountain”. The neigborhood is inhabited by mostly Francophones (French speakers) and a large Hasidic Jewish community. The borough was its own city up until 2000. We saw many beautiful tree lined streets with with stately townhomes and row houses.  

 At 3 pm we regrouped and headed to TOHU on the edge of what will be Montreal’s largest park. The Complexe Environmental de Saint-Michel (CESM) is a former limestone quary and landfill which has been undergoing a reclamation process. Tohu is the Canadian Nation Circus School preformance and training center. We had tickets to see the show “Les Ét-Inceleurs” which was preformed by the most recent graduates of the school. Roughly translated as “Those who dare to be brilliant” the show was a mesmerizing and emotional experiance of slack rope, juggling, aerials, unicycle acrobatics, balancing and clowning. It was great to see these young preformers before they disperse and join the most prestigious circus compnaies around the world. 


 After the show we enjoyed some libation and live music under a tent near the theater. We all shared our favorite parts of the preformance and can’t wait to see more some day. 

On our way back to the hostel we stoped at the Mont Royal station in the Plateau and found a nice resturant that served crepes. 

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Montreal Botanical Garden

Marisa White


Day three of our adventures starts off taking the  Bonaventure metro (subway) across the St. Lawrence River to the other side, where we indulged ourselves at the  Jardin botanique de Montreal.

We were welcomed by Sea of Tulips, all perfectly placed and well arranged, drawing in the viewer; unable to resist another gaze. We started in the Chinese Garden, taking note on their use of rocks for pathways as well as centralized pieces in the garden. Briefly, while in this garden we sat and drew the surrounding using our camera obscura, but were disrupted by some rain showers, so headed to the Garden  Restaurant. Inside, art was displayed on the wall that was rich in color and character, that was glanced at between bites of our chicken and rice dishes. From there we walked over to the Greenhouses, where we came across a diversity of specimens consisting of ferns, begonias, succulents, tropical, bonsai, orchids, and many more. We DSCN5110DSCN5096DSCN5094DSCN5108DSCN5114laid underneath a mobile of trash displayed as a art piece as well a statement for environmental issues.  Throughout the day we walked through many of the gardens, stopping to look upon their colorful displays such a Shade Garden, Apline Garden,  Perennial beds and many many more. A long walk of 7 miles today and ended with a much needed dinner at Dunn`s Restaurant with some fries smothered in gravy and cheese.



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