GVQ Travel |Special interest tours |Pilgrimages
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Pilgrimage from the Saint Lawrence River to Niagara Falls
9 days / 8 nights

This pilgrimage from the Saint Lawrence to Niagara Falls is a unique experience for any pilgrim interested in discovering new places and seeking a trip with moral and religious significance. On top of the incredibly beautiful monuments, you will be moved by the highly spiritual nature of these places and you will come to understand what they mean to the Canadian people and to Canadian history. You will experience everything from aboriginal to colonist spirituality, you will learn about the influence of Roman Catholicism throughout the centuries, and, by the end of the trip, you will have gained a very distinct overview of how stunning Canada really is. GVQ Travel strives for both originality and excellence, offering quality thematic tours to small groups. The activities during these tours have been selected with great care to ensure a meaningful, highly emotional journey.

Itinerary

DAY 1: MONTREAL

Arrival at Montreal International airport. Your specialist guide will be at the airport to welcome and assist you during the transfer to Montreal. Check-in to your hotel for two nights. Dinner will be in the old town, no doubt the city’s most precious gem thanks to magnificent 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings.

DAY 2: MONTREAL

After breakfast, you will visit the St-Joseph’s Oratory and attend mass there. The Oratory is the largest sanctuary dedicated to St-Joseph in the world. Saint André Bessette who began the construction, was a pious and simple man credited with many miraculous healings. He was canonized in 2010. During your visit you will no doubt witness pilgrims ascending the stairs on their knees. This national shrine receives over two million visitors from all over the world, coming here to worship, pray or just to benefit from the peaceful atmosphere in order to revitalize and reflect. Visitors also come to admire the 97-meter-high dome, the second largest of its kind in the world, after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Perched on top of Mount Royal you will get a very different view of the city. The colours and diversity of the gardens surrounding the Oratory, as well as the statues made out of natural stone representing the Way of the Cross will no doubt charm you. You will be have lunch at the cafeteria of the Oratory. The afternoon will be for visiting Montreal: the Windsor station which was long the hub for Canadian passenger rail travel; the Place Ville Marie with its cruciform shape reminding us of the religious vocation of this city initially devoted to the Virgin Mary; the Notre-Dame Basilica; the Mount Royal; the Quartier Latin; the business district; the underground city etc. We visit the Notre-Dame Basilica, whose Gothic Revival architecture is one of the crown jewels of Montreal’s rich religious heritage. The history of the church is inextricably linked to the history of the city. The main construction took place between 1824 and 1829, and the dramatic building has been towering over Old Montreal ever since. The splendour and grand scale of both the outside and the inside of the sanctuary make it one of the gems of the Place d’Armes, which hosts many modern buildings as well.  The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secour Chapel is one of the oldest churches in Montreal, and has, for several generations, occupied a very central place in the hearts and memories of visitors and pilgrims. Indeed, as soon as you cross the threshold of the chapel, you will perceive the incredible sensation of peace and well being that emanates from the place and will appreciate the presence of the long history of Montreal. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 3: MONTREAL - QUEBEC

After breakfast we head to Quebec City, the cradle of French civilization in North America and the only fortified city north of Mexico.  Old Quebec was the first North-American city to be added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, and for good reason: it is a privileged place out-of-time that attracts international attention. You will be having lunch at L’Astral, Quebec’s unique rooftop revolving restaurant. The afternoon will be dedicated to touring the city of Quebec; the guided tour will have you discover the city’s architecture, pedestrian streets and unique fortifications in North America. The historical and cultural heritage the city offers is immense. A visit to the Plains of Abraham and Old-Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will help you uncover almost 400 years of history. The city is also extremely festive, offering numerous shows, theatres and festivals. Hotel check-in for two nights. In the evening we will be having dinner on Grande Allée, a beautiful, tree-lined avenue with imposing, historical public buildings and monuments; an avenue that some call Quebec’s little « Champs-Élysées »!

DAY 4: QUEBEC

In the morning we will be visiting the Notre-Dame Basilica-Cathedral and attending mass there. This church is seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, the oldest in the New World north of Mexico. It is also the church of the oldest parish in North America. The Notre-Came Basilica-Cathedral is internationally praised as a place of pilgrimage and peace; it’s a place of worship for the faithful and a huge art gallery for art lovers and budding artists. The cathedral is indeed richly decorated with impressive works of art: baldachin, Episcopal throne dais, stained glass windows, paintings and chancel lamps. We then visit the Musée des Augustines de l’Hotel DIeu, which was founded in 1958 for the 350th anniversary of Quebec City. The museum tells the story of the nuns who founded the hospital Hotel-Dieu and also bears witness to their lifestyle in general, since then. After lunch, you will get to visit, with an aboriginal guide, the Huron Traditional Site at Wendake, located at the heart of the aboriginal community of the Huron-Wendat nation. The visit is an invitation to discover or rediscover the Huron way of life of the past and of today: the making of snowshoes and canoes, the way the long house was organized, both socially and physically, etc. Later that afternoon we’ll drive out to l’île d’Orléans and the Côte de Beaupré. We stop at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. This park, located east of Quebec in a setting of outstanding natural beauty, dominates the site, offering stunning views of the Saint-Lawrence River, the Ile d’Orléans and the city of Quebec. Dinner and evening at leisure in Old-Quebec. Overnight at the hotel.

JOUR 5: QUEBEC - STE-ANNE-DE-BEAUPRÉ - NOTRE-DAME-DU-CAP

After breakfast, we set out to the National Shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré for a visit of the basilica, which receives over 1 million pilgrims from all over the world each year, we’ll also be attending mass there. The extraordinary history of the basilica will be told thanks to impressive artistic masterpieces such as: mosaics, stained glass windows, sculptures carved both in stone and wood and numerous chapels. You will also be treated to lively celebrations of faith, special activities and unforgettable encounters. After lunch, we are off to Trois-Rivières, the administrative seat of the Mauricie region. There, we visit and attend mass at the Notre-Dame-du-Cap sanctuary and we will also be participating in a certain number of activities. The first stone parish church was blessed in Cap-de-la-Madelaine in 1790. Today, that small church, the oldest entirely preserved church in Canada, has become the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-du-Cap. This Marian Sanctuary, the largest one in North America, is dedicated to Marian devotion and is entrusted to the care of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This place of worship, located along the Saint Lawrence, is a haven of peace, favoring both rest and introspection. In the evening, after dinner and weather permitting, there will be a prayer march and a procession of torches.

JOUR 6: NOTRE-DAME-DU-CAP - OTTAWA

After breakfast the journey continues on to Ottawa, Canada’s federal capital. Ottawa is a tranquil city of many beautiful parks, but it is also a bustling, cosmopolitan centre where people work and play in both English and French. Following lunch, you will be taken on a tour of the city to see Parliament hill and the impressive Peace Tower with it’s 53-bell carillon and gigantic clock, as well as the Memorial Chamber dedicated to the memory of Canadians who have died in military service, the ByWard market, a Farmer’s market and shopping district by day and favorite gathering place of restaurants and clubs by night, the Rideau falls, named for their resemblance to a curtain, bringing the water level of the canal up 24 meters compared to that of the Ottawa river, and so much more. You will also visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution. The museum hosts a number of permanent exhibitions among which the Grand Hall portraying the history of the First Peoples of the West Coast and displaying 43 authentic totem poles. The First Peoples Hall is entirely dedicated to the numerous Aboriginal groups in Canada and the Canada Hall retells 1000 years of history of this vast country. Hotel check-in and dinner. Evening stroll on Parliament Hill.

DAY 7: OTTAWA - THOUSAND ISLANDS - TORONTO

After breakfast, we are off to the Thousand Islands! We take a boat tour to discover islands and islets of all sizes. The natural beauty and greatness of the islands, remnants of the last Ice Age, will no doubt enchant you. We stop for lunch in the charming little city of Kingston, with its’ loyalist feel. The city was founded in 1783 by Loyalists fleeing north because of the American Revolutionary War and was Canada’s capital city from 1841 to 1844. Kingston is now home to Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada. We have dinner downtown and then check-in at the hotel.

DAY 8: TORONTO - NIAGARA FALLS

Following breakfast we depart to Niagara Falls, the largest fruit growing area in eastern Canada. On the way there, we stop at the pretty, early 19th century village of Niagara-on-the-lake, surrounded by numerous orchards. Optional activities: Helicopter flight over Niagara Falls
Lunch will be served in a panoramic restaurant with views on the falls before taking a boat ride to the base of the waterfalls aboard the Maid-of-the-Mist. These small, specifically designed boats will give you a close-up experience of the thunderous falls. You’ll have a little bit of time to spend at leisure near the falls. After dinner we will go and discover the unmatched beauty of the falls by night.

DAY 9: NIAGARA - TORONTO AIRPORT

We have breakfast and then set out for Toronto. During the orientation tour of the « Queen City » you will see the business district, the City Hall, the Sky dome and the CN Tower, the world’s tallest free-standing structure. We will be staying downtown for lunch before transferring to Toronto International Airport according to your flight schedule.

The itinerary and the activities of each day are subject to change

 

The holiday includes

  • 7 nights in standard 3-star accommodation, 1 night in a 2-star accommodation at the Notre-Dame-du-Cap sanctuary
  • The meals mentioned in the programme
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned, luxury coach with restroom
  • The services of a professional English-speaking guide
  • The activities, the tours and visits mentioned in the program

    Not included in you Holiday

    • The flight
    • Insurances
    • Tips for the driver and the guide
    • Personal expenses
    • Drinks (except tea or coffee with the provided meals)
    • Baggage handling