Monday, September 13, 2021

Golfing in Quebec City

The Chateau Frontenac still dominates the city's downtown

Over the years I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to travel to different parts of Canada. From 1972 to 1981 I worked for CMHC and worked on projects in all 10 provinces. Some weeks I would travel to two or three provinces, not unlike politicians during an election campaign. One of my favourite places to visit was Quebec since it was so very different from the rest of Canada. In order to work there, it was necessary to improve my French, and I therefore started language training classes. When I moved to Vancouver in 1974, CMHC agreed to allow me to continue my classes, which upset many architects and developers who were told I wasn't available to discuss their project since I was "at French". 

In 1977 I left Vancouver for Toronto where I looked after two major projects, the St. Lawrence Market area redevelopment (similar to South Shore False Creek which I had been managing here), and Harbourfront, a 92-acre waterfront redevelopment with similarities to Granville Island. Following Cabinet approval for the Harbourfront redevelopment strategy, I was transferred to Ottawa where I worked on three Quebec projects: redevelopment of the St. Pierre Street Warehouses, Le Vieux Port Montreal, and Le Vieux Port Quebec. By then I was designated 'bilingual' 

In 1981 I left CMHC and returned to Vancouver where I joined Narod Developments. My first major project was the planning and approvals for the redevelopment of he BC Packer's Lands on the Steveston waterfront in Richmond. While this did not require me to speak French, it did require me to learn how to play golf, since that was an integral part of Narod's corporate culture. While I have enjoyed golf for forty years, I was not very good at it, and never below a 16 or 17 handicap. But this brings me to golfing in Quebec City.

As I wrote in 2018  approximately 5 years ago I became a member of the Canadian Seniors Golf Association, a national organization that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Every year, the group travels to another city for an annual tournament (well, every year except for last year) and this year the tournament was held in Quebec City. While many members were reluctant to travel, I decided to register since it had been 40 years since I was last in Quebec City and had fond memories of past visits. The CSGA had organized a few hotel choices, but unfortunately the Chateau Frontenac wasn't one of them. I decided to stay at the Chateau Laurier, since I was surprised to see there was a Chateau Laurier in Quebec City and wanted to see how it compared with the venerable Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. It didn't. 

To minimize the chances of getting ill on the plane, I decided to book seats at the front where there was greater separation space between passengers. There I found another BC golfer, Peter Butler, a long time member of the CSGA who plays at Point Grey. Unfortunately, our flight to Toronto was delayed due to chaos at YVR security, and our baggage did not get onto the flight to Quebec. While initially I wasn't concerned since there was a later flight, I should have been concerned. 

Although some  on the next flight saw my golf clubs come off the plane in Quebec, they were not delivered to the hotel as promised. Similarly, our luggage remained lost. I went onto the Air Canada 'delayed baggage tracking site' which indicated my clubs and baggage were on their way to the hotel. However, Peter and two friends had planned to play golf on Sunday so they went to the airport to find their clubs. While their clubs had not arrived, they found my clubs in a semi-secured baggage area. Since there was no one around, they took my clubs with them to the golf course.

Eventually the other clubs and luggage did arrive, but what I learned was that the Air Canada delayed baggage tracking system is useless, and it makes no difference whether you're in Business Class or Economy when it comes to getting delayed luggage. While  I can appreciate that Covid-19 has impacted the airports and Air Canada's operations, Air Canada needs to do a better job of tracking luggage.

That said, the golfing trip was most enjoyable. Quebec City was full, and while people wore masks, and you had to sign into restaurants, you wouldn't know we are still in the midst of a pandemic. We played two courses, Royal Quebec and Cap Rouge, and while the venerable Royal Quebec, founded in 1874 was in better condition, I thought Cap Rouge was much more interesting and enjoyable to play. 

After the tournament, I went and stayed at the Manoir Richelieu, a beautiful Fairmont Resort property where the G7 world leaders conference was held a few years ago. I stayed one night but should have stayed longer, but that's another story.

Next year, the CSGA is off to Georgian Bay. All being well, I'll be there. In the meanwhile, a few photos for those of you who enjoy golf and travel. Cheers

This is not a sign we find in Vancouver!

Quebec City is a wonderful place to eat. Before heading off for dinner with my colleagues, on two occasions I stopped off at nearby restaurants for an appetizer!

Quebec City is truly a city of culture. I enjoyed this piece of public art which was somewhat reminiscent of a piece in Vancouver that's being restored.
Fortunately, Peter Butler discovered a wine-dispensing machine in the hotel lounge while waiting for his golf clubs to arrive

Perhaps the most impressive hole in Quebec. Number one at the St.Laurent course.

The Manoir Richelieu Fairmont Hotel by night.

Many Quebec City streets are very reminiscent of what one sees in Europe. 

The Clubhouse at Royal Quebec was an impressive structure that has been renovated over the years

Since we rarely see Bloc Quebecois election posters in the west!

The Legislature Building

Par is Normale!

I visited Baie St. Paul on the advice of former Supreme Court Justice Beverly McLachlin. She was right. It's a lovely town. I just wish she had warned me it it can be difficult to find decent last minute accommodations.

The driving range at Manoir Richelieu is quite spectacular!
Some follow CSGA members. They were all better golfers than me!

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