What new things have you learned about North America? Ready to learn a few more?
Let me introduce you to the Bourque Family of Montreal, Quebec in Canada.
I’ve known Aimee Wimbush-Bourque since the start of both our blogs, and you’ll recognize her as the voice behind all the creative recipes over on Simple Bites.
So get ready to hear about her family’s lovely homestead, and one of the world’s happiest countries.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
Hey! We’re the Bourques (pronounced ‘Borks’, but spelled French-like because we live in Quebec, Canada): Danny, Aimée, Noah (10), Mateo (8) and Clara (4).
Photo by Tim Chin Photography
We love adventure, the Great Outdoors, cooking and travel. We’re currently on a mission to visit every province and territory in Canada. This summer we’ll explore Newfoundland!
Tell us a little bit about where you live and how long you’ve lived there.
We live on the outer edge of Montreal, the largest French-speaking city in North America. And I really mean the edge! Our little homestead backs onto a maple forest and in spring we tap the trees to make maple syrup. We’re also close enough to the city to enjoy its festivals and attractions.
We (the kids) were all born here in Quebec. We have so many cousins here, that we’ll probably stick around forever.
What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?
Canada is consistently ranked as one of the best countries to live in the world and we agree! This is largely thanks to factors like high rate of life expectancy, very lower murder rates and wide cultural diversity acceptance. We’re also one of the world’s happiest countries. 🙂
What languages are spoken there? If it’s different from English, can you help us learn a few common phrases?
Quebec is a bilingual province, meaning both English and French are spoken here, although most signs are in French only.
What are some traditional foods there?
Well, maple syrup is everywhere.
My mom even dedicated a whole chapter to maple recipes in her cookbook, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.
Then there is the very popular poutine, which is French fries with gravy and curd cheese. It’s amaaaaaazing.
In fall we pick a lot of apples and make everything from apple sauce to apple cider.
One of our family’s favorite foods is Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries.
Tell us about the climate where you live.
Well we get the four traditional, story-book seasons. With fruit blossoms in spring, a thriving garden in summer, a truly spectacular display of fall foliage, and a winter with plenty of snow.
Our pond freezes over each year and we all skate and play hockey together. This is the boys’ favourite season.
What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live?
Both French and English schools exist here and bilingualism is encouraged throughout.
Our boys walk to their neighborhood French school where all their studies are in their second language. It is a music-focused public school, so there are always concerts to enjoy throughout the year.
Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live?
In spring, the large maple farms host ‘sugar shacks’ and most everyone flocks to these to feast. The menus are traditional Quebec fare: split pea soup, tourtiere (meat pie), pancakes, omletes, hash browns and sugar pie.
Everything is doused in maple syrup, of course! Some people call ‘sugaring off’ the fifth season, but we call it the sweet season.
Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country?
We love Salmon Creek by Annette LeBox. It takes place in British Columbia, but every Canadian is familiar with the annual salmon run.
Fast Facts about Canada
- Canada’s flag features a maple leaf
- Canada’s capital is Ottawa
- Want to learn more about Canadian culture? Check out this video:
Thank you so much, Bourque Family!