From Peter Buchanan, Best Practice Chair (East)
Our TEC Chair in Quebec City, André Turcotte is on the executive of the Quebec Winter Carnival. At a recent meeting in Toronto, he offered to arrange a VIP Tour of the Carnival for members of the TEC community.
A number of Chairs and members signed up but unfortunately, on the day we were travelling from Toronto to Quebec, the GTA was hit by a huge snowstorm and only a few made it to Quebec City. Mike Mallory, our Chair in Fredericton, NB, had arranged to bring one of his groups for their annual retreat and, luckily, they were able to make the trip. By the end of the day on Friday, there were around 25 of us, including some of André’s members.
And we had an amazing weekend; André had arranged a true insiders view of the Carnival. It was a huge amount of fun! A big TEC thank you to André for all his work.
From Mike Mallory – Notes from TEC 391 Retreat, Quebec City – February, 2013
Late last year, Quebec City Chair, André Turcotte, made the critical mistake of mentioning that he was on the Board of Governors of the world famous “Carnivale de Quebec”, and that he might be able to arrange an insider’s tour for interested TEC Chairs and members.
Little did André know that my second group, TEC 391, would jump at the invitation and elect to use it for a spousal retreat.
So 20 members from New Brunswick checked into, and eventually overran, a little boutique hotel in Quebec City. Our retreat began Friday afternoon with speaker Scott Bornstein, whose incredible presentation taught us to memorize just about anything (unfortunately, we ended up only memorizing in English, not French). Then, André took us to the Assemble Nationale for a reception being held for Russian dignitaries. We were treated to a fabulous mini-concert of Russian folk singing and dancing, followed by a tour of the Quebec Legislature. André stuck close by to ensure we didn’t cause Pauline Marois to receive any angry phone calls from Vladimir Putin.
After the “Show at the Leg” André accompanied us to “Chez Boulay.” There, mascot Bonhomme welcomed us to Carnivale.
André got some rest on Saturday morning while we held our Executive Session. But after lunch, he took us to the main Carnivale site, hoping he could tire us out with a deluge of music, food, activities and sights. But he was only successful in mildly subduing us, as the next stop was the famous Hotel de Glace. Completely made of ice, this hotel rents out 40 rooms to visitors from around the world.
Next stop was the internationally renowned “Luminocite” where buildings come alive with a 3-D light show, eliciting cries of “this is soooo psychedelic” from one of our over-aged hippie members. From there, a quick trip to another of André’s favourite restaurants, “Le Feu Sacre.”
Sunday morning was perhaps the highlight of the trip as we boarded the VIP ferry to watch the famous canoe races on the St. Lawrence. Perhaps among the most extreme of extreme sports, these crews traverse the river at one of its widest points hauling their canoes over fast moving ice flows. Our VIP vantage point was at the turnaround buoy, close enough to spit on the racers (André was of course close at hand to make sure none of us did).
From there, as we all dispersed and made our way back home, poor André was given a reprieve, comforted in the knowledge that he had done his part to protect his beloved Carnivale from the onslaught of TEC 391.
This is written to highlight the fabulous week-end we enjoyed thanks to the thoughtful and tireless efforts of our host, Andre Turcotte. Although we were all excited in the days leading up to the retreat, none of us imagined the treats that Andre had in store for us. On behalf of TEC 391 members and spouses, and Peter Buchanan, thank you André, for going well beyond any of our expectations.