The days have been carefully programmed, however there will be opportunities for tour participants to break from the group to explore their own interests if they so desire. On some days the program is scheduled to finish mid/late afternoon which allows free time for individual exploration. The daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight and/or cruise schedules etc. Participants will receive a finalised itinerary with their tour documents. The tour includes buffet breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the itinerary where B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.
Toronto - 4 nights
Day 1: Tuesday 28 August, Arrival Toronto
- Bata Shoe Museum (optional visit)
- Welcome Dinner at the CN Tower
We commence in Canada’s largest and most dynamic city, Toronto.
Those arriving early in the day may wish to join an optional visit to the Bata Shoe Museum (transport and entrance fee at own expense). The unique and very engaging Bata Shoe Museum is a five-storey building designed by the distinguished architect Raymond Moriyama. The building, which resembles a giant shoe box, houses a collection of over 10,000 items that reveal the intriguing 4500-year development of footwear, including shoemaking. The diversity of the collection is extraordinary. It ranges from footwear that is over 3500 years old to modern examples worn by world figures like Mahatma Gandhi.
Our tour group (including those arriving independently) will meet at a designated time for an informal introduction to Toronto. We shall walk to the landmark CN Tower for our Welcome Dinner, enjoying the panoramic view over the city as the sun sets. (Overnight Toronto) BD
Day 2: Wednesday 29 August, Toronto
- Toronto Coach Tour
- Art Gallery of Ontario
We start our day with an orientation coach tour around the Downtown and inner-city area of Toronto, passing the city’s main monuments. Located on the banks of Lake Ontario, Toronto is recognised as the country’s leading financial and commercial centre. However, it is also renowned for being a cosmopolitan, vibrant, multicultural city offering an exciting range of cultural encounters. Originally an indigenous settlement, the area attracted French hunters and traders from around 1615. Eventually, in 1720, the area became a base for French fur trading activity. It then became a strategic theatre of British and French rivalry in North America. The British took firm control of the region after 1759, acquiring land from the native people. In 1791, the British Lieutenant Governor, Colonel John Graves Sicmoe, selected the site of Toronto because it had a fine harbour and was a safe distance from the American border. First called York, it was renamed Toronto in the mid-1830s, and even became embroiled in the war of 1812 between USA and Britain. The citizens of Toronto enthusiastically supported the movement for the creation of the Dominion of Canada.
In the afternoon we visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) where there will be a tour of the collection’s highlights, then time to explore the collection independently in greater detail. The AGO has a fine collection of works by European masters including Rembrandt, Renoir, Monet, Matisse, Chagall and Degas, to mention but a few of the artists represented. The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre is internationally recognised as having one of the world’s largest collections of works by the artist. The AGO complex incorporates a historic mansion, The Grange, which has been restored to its former glory and features interior furnishings of the day. It is also worth noting that on our journey through Canada we will encounter the famous Group of 7 artists (formed in 1920). This group of artists revolutionised local art with their inspiring, impressionistic, nationalistic and colourful depictions of the Canadian landscape. There are some fine examples of the Group of 7 at the AGO. Following our visit, we will enjoy a few hours at leisure. You may elect to stay at the AGO, return to the hotel with your leader, visit Eaton Place or simply wend your way back to the hotel admiring the streetscape on the way. (Overnight Toronto) B
Day 3: Thursday 30 August, Toronto
- Royal Ontario Museum
- Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Our day begins with a visit to the huge Royal Museum of Ontario (ROM). The ROM has an extraordinary collection of six million objects and is highly regarded for the excellence of its research and exhibitions. Following a comprehensive ROM highlights tour, we will have leisure time to explore aspects of the collection of particular interest. ROM’s holdings include a huge collection of Canadian material, a wonderful dinosaur gallery, a comprehensive, high quality Asian arts display and a fine series of Classical collections. There is also a noteworthy display of Egyptian material, including a large collection of mummies.
We then walk to the nearby University of Toronto to visit the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library.
On St Valentine’s Day in 1890, a great fire destroyed Toronto’s University College, including the library. Many precious books and manuscripts were saved from the flames and for the next 65 years these were housed in a room known as the Art Cupboard, or were incorporated into the university’s main library catalogues. In 1957 a Rare Book Room was opened, with books and researchers competing for very limited space. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book library was opened in 1973. Thomas Fisher (1792-1874) came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821, settled by the Humber River and played an active role in the public life of the community. His great-grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated to the Library their own collections of Shakespeare, various 20th-century authors, and the etchings of the 17th-century Bohemian artist, Wenceslaus Hollar. Since that time the Library has grown to approximately 700,000 volumes and 3000 linear metres of manuscript holdings. (Overnight Toronto) B
Day 4: Friday 31 August, Day trip to Niagara Falls
- Cruise of Niagara Falls
- Inniskillin Niagara Estate Winery
Today offers the ‘experience of a lifetime’ with a visit to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: Niagara Falls. Expect an early morning departure and a long but stimulating day. We first drive to Niagara Falls and admire this spectacular natural wonder. The Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls) are 800 metres wide. Ninety per cent of the total (permitted) water flow cascades over its precipice. A highlight of our visit will be a memorable cruise that will take you on a journey through the foaming waters to the base of the falls.
We then drive to the nearby town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, an extremely picturesque historic town with a traditional main street, quaint shops and beautifully landscaped gardens. Here we will enjoy time at leisure to stroll about the town.
We then travel to the Inniskillin Niagara Estate winery, a short distance out of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Here we shall learn about the special ‘icewine’ produced in the region. The wine is a dessert wine with an intense flavour, produced by the harvesting and pressing of grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. We return to Toronto in the early evening. (Overnight Toronto) B
Ottawa - 3 nights
Day 5: Saturday 1 September, Toronto – Ottawa
Today we travel from Toronto to the capital of Canada, Ottawa. Our drive will provide another opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Canadian countryside. We will break our journey at the historic city of Kingston, founded in the late 1600s as a trading settlement. Kingston became an important military base for the British. After lunchtime at leisure we will continue on to Ottawa, arriving at approximately 5.30pm. (Overnight Ottawa) B
Day 6: Sunday 2 September, Ottawa
- Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa
- Rideau Canal Cruise
- Time at leisure
Ottawa is magnificently situated on the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers and has a fine urban fabric with impressive streetscapes, superb public architecture and appealing areas of parkland. Named the capital of the Dominion of Canada in 1855, it was chosen in part as an alternative centre to the large and vibrant cities of Toronto and Montréal with their long-standing English and French rivalry and tensions. Ottawa is a city that embraces both English and French influences.
For our first visit we will make our way across the Ottawa River to the Canadian Museum of History in Hull (Gatineau). Housed in two extraordinary, innovative buildings designed by Douglas Cardinal, this museum makes a highly evocative architectural statement on the emergence of the North American continent and the natural elements that shaped it. The Grand and Canada Halls are truly majestic and striking spaces present impressive displays, including the marvellous collection of awe-inspiring totem poles. The ethnographic displays are particularly noteworthy and highlight the rich cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples of the nation.
In the afternoon we shall view the city from the water as we take a cruise along the Rideau Canal. In addition to passing many of the great landmarks of Ottawa, we will be able to witness the fascinating lock system in place here. The canal connects Ottawa to Kingston and was built in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States. It is the oldest continuously operating canal system in North America and in 2007 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will return to the hotel and the rest of the afternoon will be at leisure. (Overnight Ottawa) B
Day 7: Monday 3 September, Ottawa
- Parliament Hill tour*
- Notre-Dame Cathedral
- National Gallery of Canada
- Traditional Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel
This morning we visit the distinctive Neo-Gothic sandstone and copper roofed Parliament House, completed in 1860. The parliament buildings are arranged around three sides of Parliament Hill’s central lawn. The Centre Block contains the Senate and Commons chambers, and is fronted by the Peace Tower on the south facade, with the Library of Parliament at the building’s rear. The East and West Blocks each contain ministers’ and senators’ offices, as well as meeting rooms and other administrative spaces. This collection is one of the most important examples of the Gothic Revival style anywhere in the world.
* The Parliament building complex will be undergoing an extensive 10-year period of restoration. The areas available to visit will only be known closer to the travel date.
We shall make a brief visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, with its fine twin spires; construction of this church started in 1841 and it was completed in the 1880s.
The National Gallery of Canada, designed by Moshe Safdie, is a startling glass, granite and concrete structure with prismatic glass turrets. It sits high above the banks of the Ottawa River across from the Houses of Parliament. Many consider the NGA the best art museum in the country. Our tour of its collections will highlight its impressive corpus of Canadian (including the ‘Group of 7’) and International art. There will be free time after the tour to explore the museum at leisure.
Our final visit for the day is to the landmark Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel, where we shall indulge in a traditional high tea and relax after the day’s exertions in the hotel’s stylish ‘Zoe’s Lounge’, named after Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s beloved wife. The hotel is a magnificent limestone building, complete with turrets and masonry reminiscent of a French château! (Overnight Ottawa) B
Québec City - 2 nights
Day 8: Tuesday 4 September, Ottawa – Québec City
- Scenic drive to Québec City
- Orientation walking tour on arrival
Today we undertake a long but very scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Québec City. In 1985, this superbly situated city was the first urban centre in North America to be so listed. Our road trip takes us into the heartland of French Canada. We pass through Montréal and follow the beautiful, scenic route next to St Lawrence River, which at this time of year should be starting to display its autumnal colours.
Québec City is the only walled city north of the Rio Grande. It has a wonderful European feel with cobblestone streets lined with fine historic 18th-century buildings. On arrival there will be a short orientation walk to introduce this beautiful city. (Overnight Québec City) B
Day 9: Wednesday 5 September, Québec City
- Morning lecture by David Mendel: Introduction to Québec
- Walking tour of Québec City
- Lunch at the Garrison Club
- La Citadelle tour
Anyone who has visited Québec City will tell you that it is one of the most beautifully situated cities in North America, if not the world. The heart of French territorial aspirations in North America, Québec City is spectacularly located atop a natural 98-metre-high promontory, Cape Diamant, overlooking the St Lawrence River. This topography provided it with strategic natural defences. Indigenous fishermen and hunters originally inhabited the area before French explorers came seeking to exploit its natural resources. Samuel de Champlain established a fur trading post in 1608 and constructed a simple wooden stockade called the Habitation, and the first settlers soon started arriving. Despite its defensive position, the French city was invested by the Iroquois and, of course, the British. In 1759, British and French forces fought a major battle on the Plains of Abraham, just outside Québec City. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Québec City became capital of the new British Dominion. Today, however, Québec City remains a bastion of a rich and vibrant French-Canadian culture.
After an introductory lecture at the hotel, local historian David Mendel will lead us on a morning walking tour of the very compact old centre of Québec City. On our walk, we will see some of the most important sites like the Assemblie Nationale; the Parc des Champs de Bataille (Plaines d’Abraham); the Hôtel de Ville de Québec; Place d’Armes; Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral; Place Royale and Terrasse Dufferin. The last of these offers superb views over the St Lawrence River. Our meandering walk will also take in the Hotel Château Frontenac (1893), dramatically sited and built in the style of a French Château; Monastère des Ursulines, which opened its doors in 1639 and continues to welcome students today – and is the oldest educational institution for young women in North America; Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de Québec, consecrated in 1674 but rebuilt after it was destroyed during the British-French conflict (1761 and 1768); and Séminaire de Québec, founded in 1663.
We conclude our morning with a visit and lunch at the private Garrison Club*, of which David is a member. The Garrison Club was founded in 1879 by officers of the Canadian militia. Its architecture is characterised by spacious rooms, high ceilings and elegant decor, while the delightful garden is one of the most beautiful in Québec City.
*Garrison Club Dress code: All people visiting the Club must be suitably attired. Men must wear jacket and tie; women also must be suitably dressed. Jeans, bermudas (shorts), sport ensembles and leggings are not permitted.
In the afternoon we shall visit the Citadelle, the impressive star-shaped fortress enclosing 16 hectares, built in 1820-32 and still a military base. The fortress we see today was built by the British. However, there were earlier French fortifications here that were started in the 17th century and were expanded and improved several times, particularly in 1745 after the fall of Louisbourg. The purpose for the British construction was to secure the strategic heights of Cap Diamant against the Americans and to serve as a refuge for the British garrison in the event of attack or rebellion. (Overnight Québec City) BL
Montréal - 2 nights
Day 10: Thursday 6 September, Québec City – Montréal
- Scenic drive to Montréal
- Musée des Beaux Arts
This morning we travel through the beautiful countryside on the other side of the St Lawrence River to Montréal, Canada’s second largest city and the world’s second largest Francophone city after Paris.
Montréal is centred on a large island in the St Lawrence River some 1000 miles from the Atlantic. The city’s geographic location contributed to its development as a major trading and commercial centre. In the mid-1600s, the first French settlers moved into the area permanently to exploit the rich natural resources of the region. While relations with the local Iroquois were not always cordial, the settlement thrived. The surrender of Montréal in 1760 to the British did not impede the growth of what would become a highly cosmopolitan city with a mix of French and growing numbers of immigrants from the British Isles. In 1837, a political uprising did not succeed in ousting the British but it did lead to greater political freedom for the province of Québec. At times in the 1800s and into the first half of the 20th century the city’s economy was extremely depressed. From the 1950s, restoration projects across the city instilled new confidence. The staging of the World Expo in 1967 and the Olympics in 1976 sent a message to the world that Montréal was gaining strength.
On arrival we will proceed first to the Montréal Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). Ranked as one of the nation’s leading museums, it is housed in a Beaux Arts edifice (1911) and a contemporary building designed by Moshe Safdie. This institution was founded some 140 years ago. Its collection incorporates North American art from the period before European settlement to the present day, and European art from the Middle Ages to the present. Highlights of the European collection are a fine El Greco and a Rembrandt. We will begin with a highlights tour of the collection and then there will be time to wander independently before walking the short distance to our hotel to check in. (Overnight Montréal) B
Day 11: Friday 7 September, Montréal
- Walking tour of Vieux Montréal and waterfront
- Basilique Notre-Dame
- Musée de Archeologie et d’Histoire de Montréal
- Walking tour through downtown Montréal (Square Dorchester, Place du Canada, Phillips Square, Place de la Cathedrale & McGill University)
We shall start the day with a guided walk through Vieux Montréal (Old Montréal), the historic heart of the city. We stroll through the Place d’Armes admiring the streetscapes with many fine architectural gems, like the 1847 Neo-Classical Banque de Montréal. We pass the Séminaire St Sulpice (Old Sulpician Seminary) and visit the twin-towered Basilique Notre-Dame, completed in 1829. The true attraction of the building is the dazzlingly and opulent interior, designed by Victor Bourgeau. We then stroll through the narrow streets to Place Jacques-Cartier, created in 1847 and named in honour for the famous explorer and admire the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) – an imposing Second Empire statement.
We then visit the Musée de Archeologie et d’ Histoire de Montréal, the city’s archaeology and history museum. Here we explore the site upon which Montréal was founded before Europeans set foot in Canada. The museum also has excellent temporary exhibitions.
We finish the day with a downtown walking tour in Square Dorchester with its statement architecture landmarks such as the Dominion Square Building, the Windsor and Sun Life Building. We make a brief stop at the Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde (Mary, Queen of the World Basilica Cathedral), consecrated in 1894, before exploring the striking Place de Ville with its contemporary architecture, including I. M. Pei’s Banque Royale tower (1962). After a brief stop at Christ Church Cathedral (1859), we visit the grounds of McGill University before concluding the tour late in the afternoon, back in the centre of downtown. Here we have the option of exploring independently or returning to the hotel. (Overnight Montréal) B
Start of Holland America Cruise: Montréal - St Lawrence River - Québec City
Day 12: Saturday 8 September, Montréal and start of Canada-New England cruise
- Parc du Mont-Royal
- Oratoire Saint-Joseph
- Board the MS Rotterdam, our cruise ship
This morning we drive to Parc du Mont-Royal, which at 234 metres above sea level affords great views over Montréal. Our scenic drive will include a stop at the Oratoire Saint-Joseph. Construction of this stunning domed structure was completed in 1967 and supervised by a Benedictine architect monk, Dom Paul Bellot. In the early 1900s a small chapel had been built on the site dedicated to the healing powers of St Joseph. With each passing year, the chapel attracted ever larger crowds of pilgrims so it was decided that a new building was required. Today, the Oratorie is said to attract two million people every year. After returning to Montréal we transfer to our Holland America cruise ship, MS Rotterdam. The ship departs for Québec City at 5.00p.m. As the MS Rotterdam cruises the St Lawrence we will enjoy spectacular views of Montréal and the shoreline in the fading light of the day. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BD
Holland America Cruise: Québec City & the Gulf of St Lawrence
Day 13: Sunday 9 September, Québec City: in port 7.00am-5.00pm
- Musée de la Civilisation
- Musée du Québec
Early risers will enjoy some wonderful views of Québec as we make a return visit to this beautiful city for the day. We shall take the opportunity to visit two of the city’s great museums. First we shall visit the Musée de la Civilisation, critically acclaimed for the quality of its exhibitions and its striking and uplifting architectural vision. This statement structure, another work of architect Moshe Safdie, links two modern, stark, angular buildings with Maison Estèbe, a stone house dating from 1752.
We then visit the Musée du Québec, which offers a rich and diverse fine art collection. We enjoy a guided tour showcasing the highlights of the Pierre Lassonde Pavillion. At an appointed time in the early afternoon we shall return to our ship. We’ll be free to explore the port area at leisure before re-boarding the MS Rotterdam half an hour before it sails. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BD
Day 14: Monday 10 September, Cruising on the Gulf of St Lawrence
- Sightseeing on the Gulf of St Lawrence
Today we sail through the magnificent St Lawrence seaway, where we can enjoy some breathtaking coastal scenery with beautiful hamlets, cliffs that rise over 1000 feet out of the sea and, if luck is with us, we may even sight some whales. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BLD
Holland America Cruise: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Day 15: Tuesday 11 September, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (in port: 8.00am-5.00pm)
- Blue Heron Drive
- Anne of Green Gables Country
We arrive in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, founded in 1768 and named for the wife of King George III. Our private ASA shore excursion will be led by a local academic, Dr Ed MacDonald of the University of Price Edward Island. He will take us on a tour of this beautiful and idyllic island, passing through the Prince Edward Island National Park before stopping at the site of ‘Green Gables House’ that inspired L. M. Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables (published 1908). We shall continue our island circuit for a stop in the picturesque seaside village of Victoria overlooking Northumberland Strait. Then it is on to Charlottetown and, depending on timing on the day, there will be some free time before we board our ship. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BD
Holland America Cruise: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Day 16: Wednesday 12 September, Sydney, Nova Scotia (in port: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm)
- Fortress of Louisbourg
- Walking tour of Sydney
Once we have disembarked in Sydney we travel by private coach to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This area was first settled in 1713 as a fishing port but it gradually increased in importance due to its strategic location during the Anglo-French struggle for control of what is now Canada. Much of the site is a reconstruction of the French fortress of the 18th century, using some of the original materials.
We return to Sydney for a brief a walking tour of the old town, founded by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. During World War II it was an important convoy staging point. On our walking tour we pass some notable historic buildings including St Patrick’s, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Cape Breton; Cossit House, built in 1787; and Jost House. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BD
Holland America Cruise: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Day 17: Thursday 13 September, Halifax, Nova Scotia (in port: 8.00am-5.00pm)
- Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
- Walking tour of Halifax
- Halifax Citadel
MS Rotterdam will skirt the powerful, rocky coastline of Nova Scotia’s south shore before arriving in Halifax, which contains a superb natural harbour. Dominated by an impressive fortress, Halifax is a reflection of British-French rivalry. The fortress was constructed to counter the French fortress of Louisbourg. Work started on the fortified city in 1749. Halifax also became a major centre for privateering (state ordained piracy) and a number of old waterfront buildings were constructed by privateers.
Our ASA excursion commences with a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, its major attraction being the Titanic exhibit. It tells the story of the Titanic and its connection to Halifax, which became the centre of rescue operations as ships sailed from this port to rescue the passengers. In Fairview Cemetery gravestones mark the final resting place of 150 victims. The display features many Titanic artefacts, including the only surviving Titanic deck chair. The museum also details the story of the Halifax Explosion which occurred just a few years later. The Norwegian relief ship, Imo, collided with the French munitions ship, Mont Blanc, in the harbour and the subsequent explosion (the largest before the atomic bomb) razed the north end of Halifax, killing and injuring thousands. This disaster caught the attention of the world and support readily flowed in to rebuild the shattered city.
Next, we take a walking tour of Halifax to explore its fine 18th- and 19th-century buildings as well as its more contemporary architecture. As we weave our way through the streets we shall see Province House, the seat of government and Canada’s oldest legislative building, referred to as “a gem of Georgian architecture” by Charles Dickens, who passed through here in the 1840s. We also climb to Halifax Citadel National Historic Site to explore this impressive fortress built in 1828. The citadel was one of the most advanced British military fortifications, rivalling Gibraltar and Bermuda in sophistication. We also see new urban development in the Historic Properties, a popular complex of 19th-century wharves and privateer warehouses transformed into upscale boutiques and charming restaurants. (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BD
Holland America Cruise: Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
Day 18: Friday 14 September, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA (in port: 8.00am-6.00pm)
- Holland America Line Excursion: ‘Acadia National Park and Rustic Lobster Bake’
This afternoon we join an excursion organised by Holland America Line to Acadia National Park. We first pass through the quaint town of Bar Harbor, once the exclusive summer resort of wealthy Americans. Today Bar Harbor is an artists’ enclave and gateway to the natural beauty of Acadia National Park, much of which was donated to the nation by the Rockefeller family.
A journey along Park Loop Road takes us past the spectacular scenery of Maine’s rocky coastline including Thunder Hole, where the ocean swells create a thunderous roar, Otter Cliffs, and the Jordan Pond House. Weather permitting, we ascend 1530 feet to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on North America’s eastern seaboard. The 360-degree panoramic view enables us to see how glaciers carved through the granite cliffs to form a sublime landscape.
As part of our program we shall be treated to a true ‘Downeast’ lobster bake in a beautiful setting on the coast. We will enjoy typical Maine lobster pulled fresh from the ocean, drizzled with butter, and containing all of the trimmings. Dessert is one of Maine’s local favourites – homemade blueberry pie. (An alternative is available upon request for non-lobster eaters). (Overnight aboard MS Rotterdam) BLD
Boston - 2 nights
Day 19: Saturday 15 September, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Arrive Port of Boston at 7.00am)
- Harvard University, Cambridge (Peabody Museum & Glass Flowers Collection)
- John F. Kennedy Library & Museum
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Our cruise concludes this morning on arrival in Boston at 7.00am. In Boston, described as ‘the cradle of American Independence’, we encounter landmarks with deep resonance for US history. After disembarking from our ship, we travel by coach to Harvard University. Founded in 1663, Harvard was the first university in the USA. Here we will visit the Peabody Museum, home to a fascinating archaeology and ethnology collection, and the adjacent Museum of Natural History which houses the university’s famed glass flower collection.
We then visit the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, a moving and fascinating visit that provides an insight into the tragically shortened life, and the times, of President John F. Kennedy.
After lunch we visit the superb Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – a monument that gives an intimate insight into her extraordinary lifestyle and her taste in art and architecture. Isabella Stewart Gardner moved in a world of creative people and shocked the Boston establishment with the construction of her Venetian-style palazzo, complete with a landscaped central courtyard. The collection of over two thousand beautiful paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture and textiles reveals a taste for the Italian Renaissance and 17th-century Dutch Masters. A highlight is Titian’s Rape of Europa, which is claimed by many art scholars to be the greatest painting in any American museum. (Overnight Boston) B
Day 20: Sunday 16 September, Boston
- Boston’s Freedom Trail
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
- Boston Public Library
This morning we take a 90-minute walking tour along Boston’s famous ‘Freedom Trail’, stopping at sites including King’s Chapel, Old State House, Old South Meeting House and Faneuil Hall (many sites are exterior visits only as they are not open to the public). The Trail will reveal the role played by the people of Boston in the American War of Independence. For example, we shall learn about Paul Revere’s famous ride to warn of the approach of the British, as well as the signal of lighted lanterns flashing from the Old North Church steeple.
We then use Boston’s efficient transport system to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which boasts one of the country’s finest collections of American art, as well as extensive Asian and fine European art collections. Highlights of the collection include Rembrant’s The Artist in his Studio, Goya’s Seated Giant, Copley’s Paul Revere, and a host of works by El Greco, Velázquez, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Singer Sargent and a superb collection of Egyptian antiquities.
Boston’s citizens have played a critical role in the development of the USA up to the present day. Our day concludes with a visit to the marvellous Boston Public Library for a guided tour. Established in 1848, this was the first large free municipal library in the United States. The present building on Copley Square was completed in 1895, designed by architect Charles Follen McKim as a ‘palace of the people’. In addition to its superb collection of books, the library is renown for the murals that adorn the walls of the main halls.
This evening we shall gather together for a farewell drink and salute the end of our great journey through Eastern Canada to Boston. (Overnight Boston) B
Day 21: Monday 17 September, Boston
Our tour concludes in Boston. Participants taking the allocated group flight will be transferred to the airport by private coach for their flight home. B