Meeting the Past at the Chateau Frontenac

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Last night after some down time in my room at the Hilton, we ventured back out into the cold to the famous Chateau Frontenac, now a Fairmont property, that is a one of Quebec City’s most famous landmarks. As we sipped Kir Frontenac, a signature drink created for the carnivale, we were regaled by a lovely woman dressed in an 1880s costume. She was one of many period actors who mingle with the guests and provide a little history lesson about this famous place.

“When they built a railroad all the way across Canada in the 1890s, connecting the province of British Columbia with the four eastern provinces, the trains had no dining or sleeping cars. So the owners of the railroad decided to build fancy hotels, like the one in Banf, and this hotel, so passengers would have a place to sleep and dine during their journeys.” P1070279 774324

She spoke like someone who lived long ago, and continued with our impromptu history lesson. “Do you know that every room, every single one of the more than 600 rooms are different?”

The Chateau is immense, with a central tower rising above a wide expanse of smaller towers and dormers, all placed right on the mighty St. Lawrence, where huge ice chunks flow past. They have what looks like a funicular, but is really a slide where you launch yourself down a steep slope in a track. We didn’t get to experience the slide, but it looks like fun.

When you first enter the Chateau, you’re greeted by this friendly hound, who everybody wants to pet and say hello to. It’s a great way to be welcomed.