Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 28, 2021
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An MD slept in Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Dr David Shulman finds a cosy B&B during a cross-Canada fundraising ride


Where was your night to remember? Gîte Soleil Levant, Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

When was this? July 2008.

Who were you with? My wife, Ahouva.

What made this night memorable? On my cross-Canada bike ride to raise funds for the chronic pain patient advocacy group, PARC, I rode east from Montebello under lightning and thundershowers. As I approached Trois-Rivières after 225 kilometres of wet riding, my wife telephoned to tell me that there were no hotel rooms available that night.

Tired, soaked and dejected, I rode on under darkening evening skies. Suddenly, I saw a sign for a gîte pointing down a road that soon became a muddy trail that led to a wooded area through which protruded a huge wooden house on a hill.

As lightning cracked overhead I thought of all the horror movies I had seen that started in just this way. Undaunted, I knocked on the door and was greeted not by Boris Karloff, but by a woman who spoke only French and was clearly startled by my filthy appearance. I announced that, “J’attends pour ma mari” (I’m waiting for my husband) to which she laughed and corrected me, “pour ma femme.”

After that we got on very well and when my wife arrived we spent a wonderful night in a beautiful home made entirely of pine. We enjoyed the hosts’ warm hospitality and the kind of gourmet breakfast for which the Québécois are famous.

Where did you dine and what did you eat? Breakfast was outstanding, starting with croissants with homemade jellies followed by pancakes served with freshly picked blueberries from the host’s property. Then there was a course of homemade bread with Quebec cheeses, some aged and aromatic. Finally we received fresh berries and fruit with yogurt. I had green tea and my wife drank very strong coffee. Breakfast was served on a massive pine table while we sat on pine benches under a two-storey ceiling criss-crossed with rough hewn beams.

How much did it cost? $75 for two.

Would you do it again? I would, and in fact, we did. Fuelled by the massive breakfast, I rode into Quebec City later that day. We toured the city and enjoyed its 400th-birthday celebrations. But in the evening we turned down the pleasures of Quebec City and returned for a second night to our gîte on the hill.

Dr David Shulman is an FM in Thornhill, Ontario.

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