First off, I have to make a correction to a previous post. I kept mentioning Drummondville as the town near where my Dad grew up. I meant Victoriaville. We did go to Drummondville on Friday night for dinner and the campground we stayed at was in that region – Camping des Voltigeurs. So I’ve gone back to correct that on the original post.
On Sunday, we had a few things left to do on our agenda. Our weekend was considerably shortened by Leon’s good fortune on Friday. He won 2 very good tickets to the Ottawa Senators playoff game on Sunday night. We therefore knew we had to leave Quebec no later than noon in order to get to the game on time. After a quick breakfast of good bread and caramel spread or blueberry jelly, along with some fruit, we drove back into Quebec City, direction Limoilou in search of some of my dad’s previous addresses. The whole process was complicated since we forgot our trusty GPS, Bruce, in my car, back at home. Yes, the smartphone has a GPS, but we were running out of juice quickly, so we used it as little as possible.
We found the address where Dad had lived before enrollment into the Army – 503 4th Ave, what seems like a lovely apartment building. We then travelled to DeGaspé Street, where my parents would have lived while Dad was posted in Arvida, QC (1944). The address did not actually appear on the building, so I can only guess that Mom lived there in a small portion of an apartment or maybe the addresses have been renumbered since.
Leon explained to me, in his best French, that during WWII, Arvida was very important to the war effort as it was the most important producer of aluminum in the Western World. The production was so important that it had to be guarded by anti-aircraft artillery, of which my father was an instructor in the RCA. I think that it was during this time that Mom rented a small place in Quebec City. It was also during this time that my second brother was born. According to his military records, Dad may have taken a brief leave of absence and I think he might have travelled to Quebec to be with his family for the birth of his son. The records are not very accurate, however, as they state my brother was born in July, when I know his birth date is in late June 1944. Leon did warn me that military records are not always very accurate.
We then moved closer to Old Quebec, on Aberdeen Street, where the military records showed as the residence of his new next of kin, my mom. From the addresses, 99, 105 and 105 1/2 Aberdeen, I figured they had lived in apartments belonging to my maternal grandmother. What a shock when we arrived and found that none of these addresses exist!! It looks like the one half of a duplex was cut off and appended to a commercial building on the street corner (Cartier). I walked up and down and behind that street and couldn’t get over it!! I settled on thinking that the house must have passed to one of my cousins or uncles after my grandmother’s death and they had sold it. I couldn’t wait to tell my brother Phil!! He would be shocked too. Or maybe he already knew about this?
(I called my brother today and asked him about the house on Aberdeen. He said we had the wrong address. He described the house and it was never a duplex, just a 3 floor apartment block. Well!! I am relieved but still confused. I’ll have to visit that street again.)
After the disappointment on Aberdeen, we stopped for a cup of coffee on Cartier street, which is in a great trendy area. The coffee was less than stellar. Perhaps the barista was inexperienced? Back in the camper we drove to our last stop in the lower town area of Old Quebec – Place Royale. Leon had read on the internet that there was a mural in the old city marking the original Gagnon store (from 1640s or 1650s). Although I have walked in that area many times, I never noticed the mural before. It took a few tries but we finally located it beside the UNESCO park just below Place Royale. Time for a few pictures and we were off in the camper to return to Ottawa.