About fifty miles (80 km) east of Quebec City but on the south shore of the St Lawrence River, is Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (pop. c.3,500). Long the home to dozens of artists and craftsmen of all types and their ateliers, it is chiefly renowned as Canada’s (perhaps North America’s) most important centre for wood sculpture. This is mainly because of the Bourgault family who, along with the Carons and others, began generations ago to produce exquisite works depicting traditional themes and everyday scenes from old rural Quebec life. They also wisely trained apprentices to carry on after them. Modern artisans have also recently been creating life-size sculptures of important politicians, sportsmen and entertainment figures (e.g. Harry Potter, Jean Beliveau).
Over 250 fine works, large and small, have been gathered for our enjoyment into four galleries at the Musée des Anciens Canadiens. I have been there in the past, and the collection keeps getting better and more varied. Only the fact that it is not very wheelchair-accessible prevents me from giving it an "Excellent" rating. THIS IS A "MUST SEE" DESTINATION FOR EVERY VISITOR TO RURAL QUEBEC.
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