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2009 Québec Gathering
by Tish Goscicki
NCC Secretary, NCC Club Rep. - Village Collectors of Michigan
and Secretary - 2010 Seasons of Michigan Gathering

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.