The arrival of England’s latest addition this spring has me thinking back to the last time we were up in Canada and happened upon Prince William and Kate Middleton in the middle of a church service in Quebec City taking place on the boat right next to us—my one brush with royalty if you will (unless interviewing Taylor Swift counts).
While Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana may have some time until she accompanies her parents on her inaugural royal tour of Canada, I went ahead and put together this bucket list to Quebec for the new addition to use as starting point—you know, just in case she wants to get a jump start on the planning process. Hey, it’s never too early to spark a little premature wanderlust, right?
Take a road trip from Montreal to Mont Tremblant. I’ve had the good pleasure of visiting the province on a number of occasions, including Canada Day a few years back, but ever since following Jade’s journey to Mont Tremblant, I’ve wanted to explore this mountainous region just two hours northeast of Ottawa. If Charlotte is anything like her Uncle Harry, I’m sure the royal baby is going to want to get out and see it all, too. (I can already tell we’re going to be fast friends.)
Get your groove on at Festival d’été de Québec. I may be a Bonnaroo veteran, but there are startlingly few other outdoor music festivals that I’ve attended in my life—and definitely not one in Canada (yet). If the Princess channels her Aunt Pippa, I’m sure she’ll be all about shaking her groove thing at Festival d’été de Québec. If it turns out she’s more of a conservative listener, she might opt for the summer Festival International de Jazz de Montreal instead.
Be a spectator at the world’s third-oldest tennis tournament. As a college tennis player, one of my big travel goals is to eventually check off all the Grand Slam events (so far, I’ve only got one down—and three to go). But aside from the biggies, there are a number of notable international tourneys that also have captured my interest, including the Coupe Rogers (also known as the Rogers Cup). Taking place over a week in August each year, the Rogers Cup sees a number of my favorites, like Rafa, Federer, Serena and Sloane Stephens test their strokes. And with tennis being a Brit’s favorite pastime, what are the odds the princess beats me to the court? (In her favor, I’d have to say.)
Go birdwatching in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gaspesie. William grew up frolicking in the hills and meadows of Balmoral and will no doubt want to take Charlie (we’re on a nickname basis by now, OK?) to see some of Canada’s natural beauty. The rugged coastline flanking the gulf is some of the most spectacular countryside and boasts nearly 300 different species of birds, to boot. Also: PUFFINS.
Dive into the creative scene at the Fashion & Design Festival in downtown Montreal. Have you seen the Duchess’ wardrobe? This baby’s style is no doubt going to follow suit—or, as the kids may say, it’ll be on fleek—and I’m sure, like me, she’ll want to check out Montreal’s sassy style. On my three visits to the stylist city, I was wowed by the ensembles I saw—let’s just say it leaves the United States in its well-coiffed dust where fashion is concerned—and there’s no better time to get a sense for that avant-garde scene than the 50 shows comprising this week-long festival that sees more than half a million in attendance annually.
Eat all the poutine. The Queen may not approve of such gluttony, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Québec’s signature dish (so good, y’all) to the royal baby, naive as she may be just two weeks into her life. And when better to try it then at the annual Festival de la Poutine at the end of each summer with so many varieties available to sample?