The Village Lamplighters of Québec Club hosted an international convention the
weekend of May 15-17 to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The National Council
of Clubs (NCC) along with member clubs attended this wonderful gathering. It was
evident that the Lamplighters spent many hours planning the gathering.
I arrived on Tuesday, May 12 so I would be able to participate in two tours
scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The tours were full days scheduled with
many activities that highlighted important tourist spots of Quebec.
Wednesday’s tour took us to Montréal’s Olympic Park where we rode a cable car to
the observation tower. From the tower you can see 80 miles in all directions.
The view was absolutely stunning. Our hosts, Anita Poitras and Mario D’Arcy,
from the Lamplighters identified important sites for us. Next on the agenda was
touring the Biodôme which was located in the Olympic Park. This was an
interesting experience as the Biodôme has four ecosystems with many animals and
plants. The animals are behind walls/enclosures, but the birds are free to fly
around and even over your head. The penguins were my favorite to watch. There
was a group of four penguins that dived in and out of the water together. We
named them the four amigos. Next it was time for a terrific catered lunch. The
weather was beautiful so we were able to eat outdoors. Another facility in the
Olympic Park was the Botanical Garden. We toured several indoor gardens to see
local foliage among other beautiful flowers. The gardens were gorgeous. From
there it was on to Notre-Dame Basilica. Words cannot express how magnificent the
basilica was. Across the street is a Department 56 store, Noël Éternel, which
was next on our agenda. The final stop of the day was at Saint Joseph’s Oratory
of Mount-Royal. It was breathtaking to see the crutches and canes left by those
individuals who no longer needed to use them.
Thursday’s tour began with a trip to a Department 56 store, Boutique Michel
Bourgeois. At the next stop we experienced a traditional maple sugar meal that
loggers would have before heading off to work. From there we headed to the Space
Museum where we learned about various trips into space and saw an actual space
suit. Then it was off to the largest greenhouse in the area. We toured the
greenhouse and were able to see local flowers and garden decorations. Our last
stop for the day was at a local winery. This was the only winery in Quebec. The
group learned the history of how the winery came to be and was able to sample a
couple of their wines.
The hotel convention space decorations were terrific. There were replicas of
three buildings surrounding the doorway to the gathering’s marketplace. There
were several displays and vignettes throughout the marketplace. An interesting
activity was planned for us, which included finding clues throughout the
marketplace that provided answers to a series of questions. We turned in our
responses for an opportunity to win prizes.
The display contest consisted of 10 displays that were very creative. One of the
displays had live fish and another had a creative way to make a moon and stars
in the form of various constellations. It was challenging to pick a winner as
everyone did a terrific job. The marketplace was full of secondary market
vendors along with other local store owners.
Gathering attendees had the opportunity to sign-up for a wreath making
competition and a contest to create a display. Pictures can be seen on the NCC
website. The seminars were informative and I learned several new techniques. We
made a real wood pile, learned how to easily make water and mountains or cliffs
and how to display Department 56 items. Melinda Seegers shared pictures of
Department 56’s May introductions along with future product ideas.
The NCC held drawings on Friday and Saturday for various prizes. Convention
attendees were eligible to win daily door prizes. Department 56 had a drawing
for a signed building.
I had a very enjoyable time at this gathering and believe the same thoughts were
shared by all that attended the gathering. I would to thank the planning
committee for all of their hard work.