by Richard Boudrias…..
Who would have known that only one phone call from André Verner to Gérard Larochelle in late November would have been enough to convince Claude Guillot and yours truly to sail down to ‘‘les iles de la Madeleine” with their Citroën’s on board? The Magdalen Islands form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 205.53 square kilometres. Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec.
The great voyage began on Friday August 19th at 15.00H. Four couples from the VEA (Vintage European Automobiles – vea.qc.ca) were looking at Montreal slowly disappearing as we stood on the deck of the CTMA-Vacancier that was scheduled to dock at Île de la Grande Entrée on Sunday at 10.00H. While enjoying the present moment we were also questioning ourselves of what was in store for us on the Cruise Ship and the rest of the voyage…
The ship just about as old as our automobiles was impeccably clean and our cabins were modest but comfortable. The gastronomy and the courtesy of the crew from the island were flawless and all this while we admired the scenery of the majestic St Lawrence River.
As a result of Gérard’s 2CV networking, we were greeted upon our arrival on the dock by a jolly bunch of Citroënists that brought us to our B&B “La Maison d’Octave”, a warm Museum like house that was picked by Gérard offering us delicious but too generous breakfasts. He actually made all our two week long Hotel reservations. Again, this time one of Gerard’s old College buddies, Yves who actually lives on the island, was a perfect guide sitting in the leading black DS. He was commenting the scenery to the three other cars on our professional Walkie-Talkies.
It is a well known fact that the three idiosyncrasies that epitomizes the islanders are their warm hospitality, gastronomy and their accent… Speaking of gastronomy, we weren’t aware while we were eating eggs on the ship that they were supplied by a fellow 2CV owner and enthusiast who, with his wife, owns a Chicken Farm that lay 9500 eggs A DAY exclusively for the islanders and the Cruise Ships.
After three days of stuffing ourselves, a ferry brought us to Souris in Prince Edward Island where we visited its beautiful provincial capital Charlottetown. The next day we drove across the 13 km long Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick were André’s cousin was waiting to stuff us again with a wonderful lunch and libations… Meanwhile Jean Baptiste, a VEA member, was chilling his Champagne bottles for our welcome in Caraquet. What made the trip even more pleasurable is that we seldom drove more than 200 km a day.
Réal Forest and Claire drove from Beaconsfield in their CX Prestige in order to meet us in Bonaventure in the house where he was born and grew up. He parked his car prominently on the side of Route 132 so we wouldn’t miss the house where we stayed a solid and liquid dinner honoured by the presence of his one hundred year old father who told us most interesting anecdotes of the “good old days” His lucidity was enviable.
Next day our three Citroën’s were parked in front of the Rocher Percé. Unfortunately, Claude’s beautiful DS was left behind because of a severe last minute major hydraulic hemorrhage.
The sun followed us along the winding scenic Route 132 around the Gaspé peninsula with always the sea at the navigator’s side and a great gift to our eyes.
After Gaspé came Matane with a stop at Louis Morin’s garage to see his 2CV, Traction 11B, other automobiles and sculptures.
My 15/6H will remember Trois Pistoles because this is where a Handicap Bus backed into my trunk causing minor but painful damages forgotten while visiting the small but interesting automobile Museum.
Métis is a must because of its extraordinary botanical Gardens facing the mighty St Lawrence. A few kilometers from there is the Empress of Ireland Museum, also worth also seeing.
Our group separated in l’Islet sur Mer after a great dinner at the “La Queue de l’Homard”.
Four thousand fun to remember kilometers including twenty five hundred by road without any issues but extra calories to burn and great camaraderie.
The hidden purpose of this article is to inspire you to plan and undertake your next vacation in your Citroën. On this I would advise you to be no more than four cars because more than that, could mean a managerial project…