National Geographic : 1958 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine own comfort, the crew inverted the boat so that the ice could melt off the bottom; then they proceeded to dry the hull with rags. "All week long we work at our jobs," Lau reat Fortier told me, "and every weekend we practice. Our wives and children hardly see us." Carefully he rubbed the steel runner until it shone. Then, patting the hull, he smiled ruefully. "We treat our boat better than our wives, n'est-ce pas?" Specter of Satan Ends Dances Early The week following my ride in the ice canoe brought the carnival's pinnacle of pageantry. On Friday night the Grand Regency Costume Ball at the Chateau Frontenac re-created a glittering bygone era of white-wigged nobles and silken ladies (page 77). The following evening nearly 1,000 dancers jammed the Coli seum for a mammoth costume ball (page 83). Watching the laughing couples whirl to waltzes, I remembered one of the most fa mous folk tales of Quebec Province, the story of Rose Latullipe. Once upon a time, at a village dance on the evening of Mardi gras, a flood of would-be beaus banished Rose's lover, Gabriel, to the sidelines, where he watched jealously. An hour before midnight, a dark, arrogant stranger claimed the lovely Rose. Time after time they danced ... faster and faster. In frustrated rage, Gabriel fled into the night. There stood the stranger's black charger, paw ing the frozen ground, seeming to breathe fire. Around each of his hoofs the snow had melted away. The stranger was Satan! Inside, as the clock hands crept toward midnight, Rose circled the floor furiously, dizzily. The Devil's dark eyes glittered in triumph. If he could keep her dancing until the stroke of midnight ushered in Ash Wednes day, another soul would be his. But with seconds to spare, the village priest burst in and tore Rose from Satan's arms. And that is why good French Canadians are careful to end their Mardi gras dancing well before midnight. As the ice-canoe races drew nearer, the Cha teau Frontenac's sports director, Stevan Kan dic, grew more and more uneasy. On race morning, as I chatted with him beside the toboggan slide, he blurted out the reason. "Every year the crowds flock onto Dufferin Terrace to watch the race. And from what spot on the terrace does one get the best view? From the toboggan slide!" He placed a hand protectively on its railing. "So they swarm onto it. By hundreds-by thousands. And my ice runways are trampled into slush. And that is the end of the year's tobogganing! "But," he lowered his voice conspiratorially, "this year I will keep the slide active through out the race. Tobogganers will shoot down it in relays. And it will be saved!" By afternoon almost 100,000 people were cramming every vantage point overlooking the river. More than 10,000 swarmed over Duf ferin Terrace alone. But none set foot on the slide. Every few minutes, just as a hand ful of spectators would begin edging toward it, whoosh!-a toboggan swept by at 60 miles an hour. Mr. Kandid's scheme worked perfectly, for the moment at least. Canoeists Battle Ice and Tide Blessed with low tide, the amateur canoeists lurched into action at 3:15 p.m., to the roars of the crowd. From the starting point at Princess Louise Basin they strained upstream three-quarters of a mile along the Quebec shore line to Queen's Wharf, where they angled across the river to the finish line on the Levis side. The crowd roared encouragement as the teams pushed and dragged and paddled through the jammed ice. We were watching raw courage, skill, and endurance pitted against the hostile elements-and winning. I saw Laureat Fortier steer over and be tween the floes, his eyes seeking a fugitive patch of blue that might signal a channel. Neck and neck with a boat representing Ta verne Luc Fournier, the Mecteau canoe butted its way across the river. But the Fournier crew pulled ahead of my friends to win by a bare 27 seconds (page 90). Then came the professional race. Against a tricky incoming tide, the five Lachance brothers, Liguori, Noel, Joseph, Anselme, and Paul, swept to their third consecutive annual (Continued on page 97) Chateau Frontenac Soars Like a Castle Above Young Hockey Players In winter Quebec keeps some 50 rinks where Canadians play ice hockey, a sport that originated in their country. These schoolboys break their studies with a game. Pads protect the goalkeeper's legs from flying puck and sticks. Here, beside the St. Lawrence River in historic Lower Town, Samuel de Champlain built Quebec's first dwelling in 1608. Kodaclhromes by National Geographic Photographer Kathleen Revis © N.G .S .