Sweet Summer

Here in Québec, where winter is nearly seven months long, you have to savor the fleeting sweet of summer. And Québecers certainly do.

On that first occasion when the temperature hits 65°F – usually a day in mid-April – they emerge byA Soaking in the Sun the thousands for a drink in a sidewalk cafe. The snow is not entirely gone, but the sun is high and warm in the sky, reason enough to greet the season with an amber ale or a savory rosé. Deprived of natural warmth since the previous fall, they soak in the sun and revel in the free heat.

When the swelter of mid-summer sets in, Québecers head toward the water. Maybe they have a sailboat at the Bassin Louise. With an incomparable view of Old Québec, they while away the afternoon hours as the boat rocks gently in the breeze. Others go to lakeside chalets with family and friends. Fishing, campfires, hot dogs and guimauves are on the menu, as they distance themselves from the hustle and bustle of their urban lives. Or they simply sit beside their backyard pool, feet in the water, eyes intent on a long-procrastinated book. Yes, Québecers have pools, more of them per capita than the Sunshine State itself. This fact alone speaks to the abandon with which Québecers devote themselves to summer.

On this last day of August, the leaves are already starting to change…


A Baie St-Paul


19 thoughts on “Sweet Summer”

  1. Very true, the winter is so long when the sun comes out in the spring, we, Quebecers are in a hurry to get the warmth and the light. We had a wonderful summer this year and I hope it will last seven months, then the winter will seem shorter. Thank you for reminding us, the beautiful summer we had and still have.

  2. We are tired of the heat in Tennessee! The 57 days of 90 and above degrees F are awful! Bring on the fall!

    Please keep these wonderful emails coming! Love them!

  3. Caroline (one of your students, few years ago at Québec International!)

    Hi Neil! Looking for some info about the different churches in Québec, I just found your blog. Thank you for this post, it brought a smile on my face as it is so simple, and yet so true!

  4. Isabelle guilbeault

    Winter may be a challenge to some, but it is also beautiful. Put warm clothes on and take a stroll in the snow, the season will feel much. shorter

  5. Millicent Broderick

    Thanks very evocative of my years in Laval. Late April he would take a pick axe to the ice in the swimming pool to aid in the thawing. I can see him still, in my mind’s eye, in the pool standing on the frozen mass swinging the mighty pick axe.

  6. Neil, we were on one of your tours last October (off a cruise ship, you took us to the Island) and I requested to be placed on your blog. This is the first one we have received (very happy) – we loved your part of the world and would enjoy to keep reading your articles. Perhaps one day we will come again, we certainly recommend to all we can. Thank you, Helen Kerr, Brisbane, Australia

  7. Thank you for remembering us! We had such a wonderful time those few days in Quebec, thanks in no small part to you.

  8. Neil,

    Thank you for your wonderful writing. Your words make me feel as though I am experiencing Quebec at that time. What a wonderful feeling! Thanks again!

  9. Exactly one of the questions we get from travellers by air, is why so many pools. Well the answer is simple, we just appreciate every moment of being outside. We can’t take it for granted. It doesn’t matter, what month it is, just having the sun out, people come out. Thanks Neil.

  10. Hi Neil

    And today in Québec City, September 7th(!!!), another incredible hot day above 30°Celsius (87°F.); probably our last heatwave…before next Autumn and Winter.

    Thank you, Denis Laberge

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