Plains of Abraham: Cross-Country Skiing in the City?

After having a caribou for the first time at the Winter Carnival (but before I drank it out of a plastic cane), I wanted to get away from the group for a bit, take a walk and breathe in the fresh air. It was sunny and the light glowed off the snow – a winter day that demanded sunglasses.

I walked through the snow, away from the crowds of the Carnival and along the St. Lawrence River, ending up in the middle of what they call the Plains of Abraham. It’s also called Battlefield Park – in 1759 the British defeated the French in a battle that lasted only 30 minutes, giving them control of Quebec City.

That’s not a misprint – 30 minutes. Well, the French say 30, but talk to the British and they tell you it only took 15. No disrespect to those fallen, but I find that rather remarkable – it’s not like they had today’s killing machines.

Today the park (about 100 acres) is used for concerts, sports, walking, and cross-country skiing. There are three lanes, and only one is for walking, as a French-speaking woman nicely told me after throwing on the breaks (I was walking with my head down, and to her credit she did not plow me over or scream at me).

It’s just another example of how the French Canadians in Quebec embrace the winter. To hell with a run – you could literally go for a “ski” on your lunch break.



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