Charlottetown to Quebec City - My Ford EcoSport Adventure
Charlottetown to Quebec City - My Ford EcoSport Adventure June 14, 2018 · 15 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Last week Ford Canada flew my sister Krystal and I out to Prince Edward Island to take part in their Cross-Canada #FordEcoSport Tour. We were only the fifth of fifteen groups that will take part in the tour, so be sure to follow the hashtag to see what everybody is getting up to as well.
Our section of the tour was probably one of the longest in the program, as we had to drive from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to Saint John, New Brunswick, then to Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec and ending in Quebec City. The whole distance is about 1,020 kilometres, which is about 10 hours of driving, assuming we didn't stop to see anything along the way.
But, naturally, we stopped plenty.
Before I get too far into what we saw in Eastern Canada, I want to talk about the Ford EcoSport. This is the fourth of six Ford SUV's I've driven so far, which include the Ford Explorer, the Ford Edge, and the Ford Escape. By now I'm familiar with Ford 's new technologies, such as the GPS system, moisture detecting window wipers, lane departure alert system and collision sensors.
This time around I tried out the voice command system. I've synced my phone to the vehicle and had it play music before, and I've taken a few phone calls, but I've never had it actually do something while I was driving. This time around I used the voice control to change the destination on the map, and even change the Sirius XM radio station, all without taking my hands off the wheel.
Another feature I used was cruise control. My ankle was hurting after the drive from Charlottetown to Saint John, so I wasn't looking forward to the drive from Saint John to Rivière-du-Loup, but thankfully, I could use the cruise control. It was my first time using cruise control so it was a little unnerving (although not as bad as when I let the Explorer parallel-park!). I found it especially unnerving whenever we went down a hill or around a curve, as those are times when I would normally be pressing on the brake. As I am from Saskatchewan, I'm not used to curvy roads and rolling hills. As nice as the landscape was – especially in New Brunswick! – it was a big change from prairie driving.
The most unique feature of the EcoSport would probably be its dashboard interface. Unlike the Explorer, Edge and Escape, the interface for the EcoSport stood out from the dash, almost like a tablet. I could put papers or a map behind it and easily reach for them if I needed them. I liked it for that feature, but I was always worried I'd catch my camera strap on it, or that I'd accidentally bump it.
Gas out east is significantly more than here in the west, ranging anywhere from 130.9 to 133.9, compared to our 123.9. The gas light in the EcoSport turns on when you have 80 kilometres left in your tank, and filling it up from that point only cost us $42.
So, what did I think of the EcoSport? I thought it was a nice car. I believe it was the smallest of the four vehicles I've driven so far. It's a subcompact SUV so the trunk space couldn't hold our two suitcases laying down. For something like suitcases, it wasn't very accommodating, but for groceries, sporting bags, coolers or camping gear it would be fine.
If I was to choose between the four Fords I've driven, I think I would pick the Escape over the EcoSport. While the EcoSport was more compact and had better mileage than the Escape, I enjoyed driving the Escape more. I'm used to driving wider vehicles and I felt the EcoSport was just a little too small. My sister was left handed and I'm right handed so our elbows sometimes came close to hitting, if that helps describe the size.
But, that's enough about the car; let's talk about the trip. As we had three very busy days out East, I decided to write three smaller articles expanding on everywhere we visited. In this article I'll give you a brief rundown about some of the things to come in upcoming articles.
Our tour started in Prince Edward Island at The Inn at Bay Fortune, an adorable little inn on the east side of the island. The inn is owned and operated by Chef Michael Smith, who is an award-winning chef with several television shows. While we didn't see him the night we arrived, we were able to taste some of his creations during the FireWorks Feast. The feast includes a trip out to the oyster beds, a shucking lesson, a visit to the Wine Library and then a six-course meal of homegrown, local, fresh food. Much of this food has been grown right on the property or fished from the nearby bay. It was also during this feast I discovered a new vegetable: fiddle heads! As these are ocean ferns, I have never seen them before and was fascinated by these curly little green sprouts. I felt a little silly being so amazed by them, so I'll ask you: have you ever tried a a fiddle head?
While having breakfast the next morning, one of our servers brought out a map and showed us some of the nearby places for us to visit. These included lighthouses, microbreweries, lobster farms, hiking paths and Avonlea, the village inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Krystal and I looked over the map later and decided to visit some of them
on our way to Charlottetown.
After stopping at East Point Lighthouse, Lucy Montgomery's House and Avonlea, we headed down to Charlottetown for a quick pitstop before heading out on the highway. Last time I was in Charlottetown, way back in 2010, my mom and I had stayed near the water to watch the Canada Day fireworks. This time I was able to further explore downtown and saw some of the incredible brick architecture the city had to offer.
We had a couple other places we wanted to see in PEI before crossing Confederation Bridge, but we knew we were racing daylight, so we decided not to go see them. One of them was the Bottle Houses, which was a house constructed by bottles, which sounds as weird as it actually is! Another was a couple other lighthouses. The island has 63 lighthouses, but only 7 of which are available to the public. Some people come to PEI just to do a road trip and visit all these lighthouses, which sounds like a really cool idea!
After crossing Confederation Bridge, we drove down the Bay of Fundy under starlight to our Airbnb in St. Martins, New Brunswick. We had the whole house to ourselves – plus our guide Denis, who would help us if anything went wrong. Unfortunately, New Brunswick was going through a cold snap at the time and the heating in the house had been turned off. I'm used to sleeping in unique locations, but my sister isn't, so she had a rough sleep that night.
The next morning we stopped at the St. Martins Sea Caves and walked the ocean floor. I have never been inside sea caves before, so I was mesmerised by the caverns and the power of the ocean. I have travelled all over the world and I've never seen anything like it!
After we were done in St. Martins we drove to Saint John and walked around their downtown core. We visited King's Square and saw The Loyalist House, although we didn't go inside. We decided not to go to the Reversing Falls either, as we had to get back on the road.
The rest of our trip through New Brunswick didn't go as planned. Our visit to Hopewell Rocks was cut short, and we passed on seeing the Giant Lobster in Shediac and Magnetic Hill near Moncton. Denis told us about them both that morning, as he had gone there instead of venturing around PEI like we had. If there was one regret to the whole trip, it's that we didn't get to see more of the sights around New Brunswick.
Since we backtracked to Hopewell Rocks, Rivière-du-Loup was further away than when we started. On our way there we passed through Moncton and Fredericton, stopping in a Oromocto for a bite at Jungle Jim's. While waiting for our food, I investigated into the history of Oromocto. One of the things I learned was that the village had been burned to the ground in 1758 during the Expulsion of the Acadians. I wanted to stick around this town more and visit the local museum, but we had about 4 hours left to drive and the sun was beginning to set. We didn't get into Rivière-du-Loup until about 1:30 AM.
Rivière-du-Loup was supposed to be our final stop on the trip, but the airport there is very small and connecting flights to Regina would be a nightmare. To make things easier, Ford decided for us to drive two more hours (which was nothing compared to the previous day) to Quebec City.
Having been to Quebec City in the past – and having fallen in love with Quebec City – I was excited to go back. Old Quebec City was everything I remembered, from the cobblestone streets to the stone walls, the French shops, the winding stairwells, the iconic churches, the historic battle grounds, and of course the Chateau Frontenac. I could have spent days there, and even thought about asking if Ford could let us stay an extra day before flying us out. But, instead, we had just over an hour and a half to get inside the walls of Old Quebec, take some pictures and get to the airport. It was rushed, but it was great to go back.
It was a rushed final day, but a little over three hours after we flew out, a new set of people flew in to take over the sixth leg of the journey. They will be heading to Montreal and Ottawa before handing the Ford EcoSport to the next group. At this rate, I imagine they will be in Saskatchewan sometime by late June. They're stopping in Regina, but where they'll stay and what they'll do is yet to be decided (although I have some ideas!)
The next few days I'll be putting out more articles about what we saw – and didn't see – on our whirlwind trip through Eastern Canada. Until then, check out the summary video I posted on Facebook:
Thank you again to Ford for this incredible experience, and to my sister who was stuck in a car with me for over a dozen hours a day. We both had an amazing time and hopefully there will be more Ford adventures to come!
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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I've wanted to visit the Battlefords in Saskatchewan for a few years now. As somebody who loves history, just to visit a city that once housed the capital of the North-West Territories is reason enough. I'm sure I've passed through the city when I was younger, but I've never had the chance to explore it as an adult.
My interest in both cities grew when I was doing research for my 2017 article, "6 Saskatchewan Cemeteries to Visit This October". One individual I interviewed for the article was Don Light of the North-West Historical Society. Light was tasked with the sensitive job of moving about eighty graves within The Battleford Cemetery. Relocating graves is always the last option when it comes to a cemetery, but in this case, they had no choice. The Battleford Cemetery sits on the edge the North Saskatchewan River, and the banks of the cemetery were slowly eroding. Had the graves been left undisturbed, headstones, monuments and caskets would start falling into the roaring river below.
Light and I had an excellent chat that day and he told me many fascinating stories about what they found when they were moving the graves. Some of the graves he had to move were Metis graves, all while under the supervision of police and Indigenous professionals. Many of these caskets had rotted and were open, and they found a plethora of Roman Catholic crosses and First Nation beadwork, a sign of traditional Metis culture.
Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do.
On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.
When it comes to Saskatchewan, your next adventure can be around any corner. As you venture off the main highways, signage is scarce and directions such as "if you've passed the gate with the buffalo skulls, you've gone too far" are all too common. Communities grow smaller, people grow warmer and the list of things on your Saskatchewan Bucket List seems to only get longer.
My adventure to Leader started a few months ago when Christine over at Cruisin' Christine shared a list of Leader bus tours on Facebook. Some of the tours were in June, but one was in September. The September tour caught my eye because it was a two-day tour and I had to ask myself what we would do for two days in Leader. Leader has a three digit population, so I was perplexed on what the tour would comprise.
I was so perplexed that I decided contacted Leader Tourism and booked the tour to find out.