Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quebec Canyon St. Anne Expedition

It is hard to believe that such a short distance from the bustling streets of Quebec City, there could be such a magnificent natural wonder as Canyon Saint-Anne. The canyon is grooved by an imposing 74 meter waterfall, and the photo on the lower right shows the rainbow above it, that was the treat for the visitors to the canyon on the day that I was there.

In addition to being able to cross the canyon on the highest pedestrian bridges in Quebec (55 meters high), the more adventuresome traveler can go across on the ever-popular "zip line" and/or cable bridges. The photos on the left and upper right show one of the zip line technicians with the tools of his trade, which of course includes a helmet for him and any of the customers that choose to try their various adventure offerings.

These photos show the "vias ferratas" operated by the same company as runs the giant zip line and cable bridges. The "vias ferratas" are a type of climbing whereby the climber is hooked onto a cable that is secured to the side of the rock being ascended or descended. They are currently more common in Europe than in North America.

The upper left photo shows one of the 3 suspension bridges that cross the canyon, while the photo on the right shows the mighty "Sainte-Anne-du-Nord" River that flows through the gorge. The river was used extensively by loggers at the turn of the century, and it was a former logger who, in 1965, told Jean-Marie McNicoll how to reach the Saint-Anne River falls. At the time, there was no road to the river, but later with the help of his brother, Laurent, they leased the immediate shores of the river from Hydro-Quebec and purchased the wooded lots between Route 138 and the leased riverbanks. Over time, an access road was built , and the first visitors were welcomed to the area in the summer of 1973. That first summer, tourists could reach the river on a 1.5 kilometer road through the woods. Since then, the walkways have been extended, while other lookouts and the three bridges were built. In the lower photo, I am standing on one of the sturdy, and strategically placed, observation platforms above the falls. Today, more than 100,000 people from around the world visit Canyon Sainte-Anne each year! The day that I visited, I had the privilege of walking with one of the original family members involved in developing the canyon, Helene McNicoll. She taught me a new word as we made the circuit around the canyon. The word is "vertiginous". The word has a meaning besides its reference to "having vertigo". It also means "very high or steep". It is a very appropriate word to describe the incredible Canyon Sainte-Anne. But don't let the word scare off someone who may not think of themselves as the outdoor type, or think they are too old to be hiking around in the Canadian woods. And, you don't have to be a young thing to try your hand at a zip line or cable bridge. I am a grandmother, and I have been on one (and even lived to tell about it on a blog post!)! In fact, Canyon Sainte-Anne is named after a grandmother----- Sainte-Anne, according to Christian traditions, is the grandmother of Jesus! (The Canyon is only 5 minutes from the famous Basilica of St. Anne). For additional information on visiting the canyon, visit their website at and for information on the zipline or climbing experiences in the canyon, go to When you have studied these, and visited the canyon for yourself, you will see why it was a national winner of "Attraction Canada", and the site of the filming for a John Travolta movie. So get out there and you will have miles of canyon smiles (or kilometers, if you speak in their vernacular!) Tricia
Posted by Picasa