The Canyon on the Sainte-Anne River is just off highway 138 about 30 minutes east of Quebec City. We visited this beautiful place in October when the fall colours where coming to an end and the first snow had already started. This walk was part of an extended weekend trip to the Charlevoix region where we stayed at a rental house (chalet) on the side of the Massif overlooking the St Lawrence River far below.

Above the Falls
Top of The Falls

This area was made accessible to the public in 1973 but has always been familiar to the natives of the region.  It has been painted by Krieghoff and written about by Thoreau, (Walden Pond etc) after a visit in the 1850’s.

Resting Spot


We were surprised to see people clinging to the rock walls of the canyon far below us. Using my telephoto lens I was able to pick them out and see that they were actually climbing via “ferrata” – the first one in Canada.

Ferrata Climbing

The warning sign at the top of the long stairway to the bottom of the canyon is accurate!


But if you are in reasonable health the climb is worth it…



 Another attraction for the more daring visitors – a rappel across the highest point of the canyon.


Me – 2012

Three suspension bridges cross the canyon – this one is 197′ above the river (60 M)

Line and Claude

 Our friends – and fellow photographer – at the bottom of the canyon.

Ken and Kari 2012




We drove up to Eckley Miners’ Village on the spur of the moment on the first day of our trip from Montreal, Quebec to Charleston, SC.  Our trip took us along Interstate 81-S through Syracuse, New York and into eastern Pennsylvania.

Having heard a lot about coal mining but never been in a coal mining region we thought it would be interesting to check out Eckley.  Unfortunately April in the early evening is not a popular time for tourists to drive far off the main highway to check out a living coal museum – so everything was closed and the place looked deserted. On the positive side it meant we had the place to ourselves and could take photographs without worrying about people getting in the way.  Since 1970, Eckley has been owned and operated as a museum by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

I have since learned that Eckley is considered a ‘coal patch town’  – which I’ve learned (lots of learning when doing a blog like this) is what unincorporated company controlled upscale mining camps were called. No elected officials these were true ‘company’ towns.

The coal found in Pennsylvania is known as anthracite and is the most pure and efficient burning type of coal (other types include lignite and bituminous coal).

I learned that mining for anthracite started in 1790 in Pennsylvania around Pottsville. The story goes that a hunter, Necho Allen, woke up from his campfire to find a large blaze burning away at an outcropping containing anthracite coal.

One of Many Churches
Main Street
Air Shafts
Coal Breaking Building
Company Store





This is where Kari and I where first introduced to the Canadian historic site known as the Rideau Canal and Waterway.  Merrickville is one of many Ontario communities that grew up around a fast moving waters that could be harnessed by early pioneers as a source of power for sawmills, grist mills and other industrial complexes of the time.  Today it is a great spot for tourists to visit either by car or by boat or by hiking and biking along the trail between Kingston and Ottawa. 

The mill pond above the falls is a perfect place for boats to dock while they wait for a turn through the lock.  Lots of time for shopping, eating or just relaxing. c39bb-201109merrickville252con32

Walking Across the Lock Gate

The lock – like the others is manually operated just like it was when first opened.  The top of each lock gate is a walkway to allow people to walk from one side of the canal to the other – just like Kari is doing here.

Recreational Boats


Cruisin’ The Crowd

 Situated in southwestern Quebec this community of 40,000 sits on an island in the Saint Lawrence River.  The Saint Lawrence runs along the north shore while the Beauhamois Canal runs along the south with the Port of Valleyfield being part of the canal.

The “Salaberry” part of the name comes from Colonel Charles de Salaberry – an office in the British Army during the war of 1812.  “Valleyfield”is named after the Valleyfield Mills – a paper mill south of Edinburgh, Scotland.  The pulp and paper mill that originated the community was named after the Valleyfield paper because at the time the highest quality paper came out of that Scottish paper mill.

Since 1938 Valleyfield has hosted international hydroplane races under the name, Les Regates de Valleyfield.  And for the years 2010 and 2011 we were fortunate to be invited to watch the race from a private riverside garden hosted by a friend of ours and his family.

One of our favourite classes is the Grand Prix (GP) which is a class that run supercharged big-block motors.  The are between 23′ and 26′ long, the motors produce up to 1500 hp and they can get up top 170 mph on a straight stretch.

Our favourite boat in that class is GP59 or Baby Doll, piloted by Mario Maraldo.  

Baby Doll III was built by the owner and crew between 1993 and 1998 – first run in 1998.

Mario is the world’s oldest Grand Prix driver.


2001 – Eastern Divisional Champion – Cambridge Maryland

2002 – 1st Place – Hydro Super Series

2004 – High Point Champion

2011 – Summer Nationals Champion

Colours and designs emphasis the action of the sport.  Boats have great paint jobs and the teams always look great.  Even when they’re standing in the pits waiting for their boat to come in.

These three shots really tell the story of dedicated fans.  The real hydroplane racing fanatics get as close to the waters edge as possible.  Our host is in the green shirt on the right. He is able to tell which boat is coming at him – what position it’s in for the heat – it’s chances of winning – and all it’s history.

Here They Come
There They Go

This is what Hydroplane Racing is all about.  Speed, skipping, floating and sometimes flipping across the water.  No race is complete without a lot of spray in every corner.

 “A hydroplane is, quite simply put, an airplane with its wings removed. As the craft skims along, air enters the tunnel – the empty space between the two pontoons – and lifts up the boat so that the only components touching the water are (or nearly so…) the propeller and pontoons.”   Event Profile

One For The Money
Two To Get Ready
Three For the Show

Not all the boats that race in Valleyfield are Hydroplanes.

Other classes include:

Jersey Speed Skiffs

 Originally used for rum running during prohibition. 

These boats are more affordable for the average boat racing enthusiast offering a lot of fun.  They also provide a lot of entertainment for the audience since they can be very unpredictable.  

The boats are 16′ long and can get up to about 80 mph.

Super Stocks 

This is one of the “Runabout” classes these boats used big block engines that run on gas – very competitive and get over 100 mph.

Pro Stock Runabouts 

This “Runabout” class moves into modified 500 cubic inch motors running on methanol, aviation fuel and plain old gas.  They reach speeds over 120 mph.

Go Cat …..

And when you come out for a day of racing – don’t forget to dress your part!

More Information About The Regatta