Under the Dufferin Terrace

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I’d signed up for an Under the Dufferin Terrace tour. I didn’t even know what that meant; had no idea what the Dufferin Terrace was until our Canada Parcs tour guide lead us down a set of stairs on the boardwalk and into the archeological site behind a locked metal door.

There we were: a group of travel bloggers who’d found themselves beneath the boardwalk (named Dufferin Terrace) at the base of Chateau Frontenac.  I think we were all surprised to learn this spot existed. The site below the Dufferin Terrace had not hit any of our travel radars. Travel bloggers LOVE when this happens! Something new! All ours to interpret!

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It struck me that each one of us would write something about the tour we were on, and each one of would write something completely different.

Some might write about the history of the former chateaus that stood here and were recently excavated in 2005. Some might write about the archeological dig itself. Others would surely focus on this as another tour to be taken during a visit to Quebec City. It would be an easy assignment for bloggers who focus on family travel.

But what would I write about it? What did I have to say?

I’d signed up for this tour because I had the afternoon free.  As I mentioned, I knew nothing about it; I didn’t even know what the Dufferin Terrace was. And though I’m not a history buff, and not archeologically-minded, I would recommend this foray beneath the boardwalk for a few different reasons:

  1. It’s cheap! $4.00 to explore one of the newest historical sites in Canada.
  2. It’s air-conditioned! From what I hear, the summers in Quebec can be brutal. It seems like an easy escape in a very convenient location.
  3. If I were with children, I’d welcome the easy entertainment it offers. The museum offers a few fun, interactive activities that will delight children. One is a large gravel pit where they can dig for artifacts. And get this — the artifacts are REAL items that were uncovered in the 2005 excavation.

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    Our guide, Sebastian, demonstrated the dig.

  4.  The tour can be as simple or as historical as you want it to be.
  5. You can look down into the excavation site through one of the plexiglass “archescopes” on the terrace, or look up at the curious passersby if you’ve gone down below.

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So, what do you actually see down below the boardwalk? (Which is older than Chateau Frontenac, by the way)? You see the ruins from two former chateaus that stood here. The walls, floors, ovens and ice house are pretty well intact. There are cases holding some of the artifacts recovered, but others were re-buried for preservations’ sake.

Along the way, you can view drawings of what the original chateaus were like and compare them to the ruins where you stand. Nine different governors lived in that spot, and many of their belongings were lost during fires until recently.

It’s surprising to realize that there is history beneath your feet as you wander along the boardwalk, gazing up at the Chateau Frontenac, or out across the St. Lawrence River. It never would have occurred to me that there was something interesting to see below. But there was.

I can’t wait to read what the other bloggers have to say about the Under the Dufferin Terrace Tour. I know we each uncovered a spot of Quebec City we hadn’t experienced before.

Is Under the Dufferin Terrace something that would appeal to you? 

4 responses to “Under the Dufferin Terrace

  1. Yes! It’s great that archaeology and history professionals now see the value in making their work accessible. There is history everywhere and its underneath our feet. And fortunately, modern construction contracts generally allow for examination and logging of this history before it is covered over again. That Quebec project sounds great, and accessible to many people.

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