While based in Florida and often flying towards more southerly, warm places in the Northern Hemisphere, from time to time we head the other direction—north, to Quebec City in Canada’s Quebec Province. The city is a launching point for many of our Journeys: the Transatlantic Journey, through either Greenland or Iceland; the Europe Journey; Africa Journey; and our Around the World Journey.
We choose Quebec for several reasons, the most important of which is that it offers a beautiful and easy destination. Quebec City also has a very friendly airport. The town, which is nearby, has been around for centuries and offers fantastic accommodations. The Chateau Frontenac for us is a home away from home.
Flying to Canada requires that you first file an eAPIS with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as call CANPASS to announce your arrival. The different treatment each agency provides is substantial—typically it’s a lot friendlier on the Canadian side. You need to call CANPASS (888-CANPASS/888-226-7277) at least two hours prior to arrival in Canada to let them know your exact arrival time. They will want to know:
• The estimated time of arrival
• FBO of arrival
• Persons on board the aircraft and passport information (number and expiration date)
• The destination, purpose of trip, and length of stay in Canada for each passenger who is not a resident of Canada
The FBO we have been using at Quebec airport is Avjet FBO.
The taxi ride to downtown takes about 15 to 20 minutes and the drivers accept Canadian and U.S. dollars. As you enter the town and climb up to the old part of town, you will be transferred back in time. The area where the Chateau Frontenac is located is so unique that there are costumed guides offering tours to explain the origin of the property, its usage during different periods of time, and what it is all about now.
For dinner at the hotel, there is a beautiful gourmet restaurant, Le Champlain, or for a unique dinner experience, Le Place Dufferin. If you don’t want to experience dinner at the hotel, then a short stroll to the funicular will take your down to the old part of Quebec City, where you will find beautiful boutiques and very nice tavern-type restaurants.
The Chateau Frontenac is not the only property in Quebec City, of course. There are boutique hotels, chain hotels, etc. The Hotel Le Priori is a unique boutique hotel, as is the Le Vincent. You should contact your travel agent, or contact us and we will point you in the right direction.
Places to visit in Quebec and around the City: Parc de la Chute Montmorency, about 10 clicks from downtown; and the Water Falls, which at 272 feet high are taller than Niagara Falls. If you are in for an adventure, try the Zipline and the suspension bridge.
In old Quebec a must-see is the Monastere des Augustines and, of course, a wandering stroll on the Rue St Jean with its interesting restaurants and breweries serving everything from beer to ciders.
For the return flight you have to file your flight plan over the phone or, as you might be aware, flightplan.com will allow you to file online and direct you to the most common route to your destination airport. You need to file an eAPIS inbound to the U.S.
Your first landing needs to be at an airport of entry but, contrary to entering the southern U.S., you do not need to land at the first airport of entry; you just need to be sure that the first airport you land at offers customs and will be staffed by customs agents when you land. There is no need to call CANPASS when you depart Canada.
Thierry Pouille is the founder of Air Journey (www.airjourney.com), which offers aircraft owners and pilots escorted and concierge tours of destinations around the world.