Exploring Wendake, The Huron-Wendat Reserve in Quebec
Today I had the pleasure of visiting Wendake aka a Huron-Wendat Reserve outside Quebec City. I was met by a friendly and knowledgeable lady named Sharon who accompanied me for the duration of the trip. In case you’re wondering, Wendake is the reserve for the Huron-Wendat Nation. Wendat is the original name but when the Europeans came they called these first nations people the Huron. Not only did I get a great tour but believe it or not, I got to meet the Grand Chief, that doesn’t happen everyday… Below is a photo of the Grand Chief and I.
The tour started at the Huron-Wendat Hotel & Museum and included a visit to the Tsawenhohi Home, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Chapel, Kabir Kouba falls and Wendat fresco. The hotel was beautiful and decorated in a way that showcased their culture. The hotel also included a spa that made me wish I had an appointment and a restaurant that inside sources have told me has one of the most exquisite Sunday brunches you can find anywhere. We took a tour before visiting the Huron-Wendat Museum.
The museum consisted of many artifacts and a detailed history of the culture which I found rather interesting. It was nice to see the timeline of their society and how it collaborated with the settlers. It also had many of the traditional craft work as well as many canoes built by hand as well as a glimpse into the innovation of snowshoes that has taken place over the years. To this day, the original styled snowshoe is still hard to beat. The museum isn’t very large but it’s quite packed and worth visiting if you’re in the area.
Next we moved to the Tsawenhohi Home which is located at the core of Old Wendake. The home in Huron-Wendat means “man who sees clearly, the falcon” and it was built between 1807 and 1820 for the Grand Chief of the time named Nicolas Vincent. Those who have lived in the house over time have made invaluable contributions in both business and diplomacy to the sociology-economical growth of the village. It was inhabited by various chiefs over time each leaving their mark on history and is now considered a historical site. There are few properties in Quebec which have seen a higher number of dignitaries including heads of state, royalty and governors.
Afterward we made our way to the Notre-Dame-De-Lorette Church which was built in 1730 after the Santa Casa de Lorette church in Italy. There are even artifacts inside the church which date back into the 1600′s and sadly, it fell victim to a fire in 1862 which broke out at a neighboring mill. It’s quite quaint inside and as I strolled through the aisles, I could feel a sense of history and my mind could only imagine what has transpired inside its walls. The church was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century and classified as a monument of historical importance by the Canadian Historical Society.
The entire reserve isn’t very large, only a few square kilometers. We crossed a street and made our way to the Kabir Kouba Falls which is part of the Akiawenrahk River also known as St. Charles and is a place where people can observe fossils dating back more than 455 million years. Around the corner from the falls there is a large fresco that is located near the St. Charles River and the Place de la Nation. The fresco symbolizes the union and survival of the people through commercial, social and traditional relationships. I thought of trying to get closer but realized it probably wouldn’t of ended well…
Afterward we headed to Sagamite Restaurant Terrasse and it was quite busy. I enjoyed the terrine which is something I’ve never had before which resembled pâté only was firmer. It was served with a salad and made from ostrich, deer, bison, pheasant and wild boar. I’m a huge fan of trying new things, food in particular. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour as it was a blast from Canada’s past and I’ve heard so much about the Huron-Wendat Nation growing up.
Un gros merci a Tourisme Wendake and Quebec Tourism for their hospitality.