on Ile d’Orleans

on Ile d’Orleans

[ July 2019 ] The tour to Ile d’Olreans, an island in the suburbs of Quebec City in Canada was focused on foods.

Our guide, Peter lives here, too.

The island is 35 km long and 8 km wide and the population in winter is about 6000.

Canada-Quebec-Ile d'Orleans-hut-wooden-colours
the colourful hut made of wood

In summer, the people who have the second houses on the island come, so the number increases.

The reason why it was the food tour is that Ile d’Olreans has been the bread basket of Quebec City since long time ago.

Even now, within the 6 villages on the island, 5 are the farming villages.

One time,  they started making some crops in Beauport, the area facing Ile d’Orleans, but apparently that did not last long.

Because they use the river for the transport, every farm is facing the river and the farms line up next to each other.

And because of this structure, people can help each other easily and they can build up the sense of community.

Peter said “In winter when the temperature goes down to 30 degrees under zero and everywhere is covered by snow, we have home parties one after another so that we can prevent us from feeling down”.

Canada-Quebec-Ile d'Orleans-church
a big church on the island

We had this holiday in Canada during the hot summer, so it was difficult for me to imagine their winter, but I suppose for them the life in winter is the crucial time.

The French people who came to the island in the 17th century, first they built the stone houses with steep roofs, like the ones in French countryside.

The steep roofs helped the snow to slide down, but it accumulated around the house, which made them impossible to go out, so they started making houses with long eaves and raised floors.

Also, they learned that the wooden houses were warmer than the stone ones.

I did not know that, either.

Now I understood that is why most of the houses in the north Europe are made of wood.

Canada-Quebec-Ile d'Orleans-chocolatier-sign-window
the sign of the chocolatier

I had thought you would have more draught in wooden houses…

At one point there was the policy of the government to encourage people to have more children.

So a family became large and they needed more rooms and that led them to make attic rooms.

A document says that one family had as many as 21 children apparently.

Therefore, the typical house on Ile d’Olrean is made of wood with long eaves, raised floors and attic rooms.

The French people were allied with the Huron People, the indigenous people around here and they traded goods.

Also, French protected Hurons against their enemy tribes.

Canada-Quebec-Ile d'Orleans-Quebec City-hazy-view
the hazy view of Quebec City

In the 19th century, a lot of Irish people immigrated from Ireland because of Potato Famine and there were many children among them who lost their parents.

Those children were allocated not only to French and British families, but also to Huron families.

And because of that, some Huron People have Irish blood and the current Chief has red hair, according to Peter.

The first place we visited on the island was a chocolatier.

We tried a piece of very rich chocolate with maple butter, speciality in Canada.

To make one gallon of maple syrup, you need as much as 40 gallons of maple sap apparently.

“That is why it’s so expensive” Peter said.

From just outside of this chocolatier, we could see the Quebec City far away beyond the river.