Quebec. La Belle Province (The Beautiful Province)
Want to taste European culture and architecture in Canada? If your answer is a ‘yes’, visit Quebec, one of the oldest and spectacular settlements in Canada. Its centuries-old architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, quaint houses and historical sites are sure to remind you of old Europe. For these reasons and more, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.
1. History of Quebec
The city derives its name from the word Kebec, an Algonquin word meaning “where a river narrows”. The Saint Lawrence River narrows close to the city’s promontory. Also, Quebec’s old town is the only existing fortified city in North America. Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain- a French explorer, on 3rd July, 1608, and at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement called Stadacona. Champlain, also called “The Father of New France”, served as its administrator till the time he was alive.
Quebec has had a special role to play in the history of France. The modern province occupies much of the land where French settlers founded the colony of Canada (New France) in the 17th and 18th centuries. The population is predominantly French-speaking and Roman Catholic.
The history and architecture may have painted a quaint and silent picture in your mind but don’t fool yourself into believing that it’s staid. There are plenty of places to go for a drink, dance, or just socialise with friends after dark.
You have three options to go for, depending on what you’d like to do. To mingle with the locals, head to the banks of Saint-Jean in the upper town. Those looking for a more sophisticated experience can choose Grande-Allee for dancing. If you’re in your twenties or thirties and are looking to have fun the ‘hippy’ way with just anyone, Saint-Joseph is the place for you! Be it any kind of club or any drink you desire, you’ll find all your wishes getting fulfilled in this city. Most bars are open all throughout the week till 3 A.M. The crowds are the largest from Thursday to Saturday.
Low on budget but have an endless desire to drink to your heart’s content? Fret not. La Sacrilege is the place for you with its cheap drinks, laid-back atmosphere and prompt services. La Sacrilege’s calendar promises to entertain you with DJ nights, hockey nights and live performances no matter which time of the year you visit Quebec. Limited space is the only thing which may not appeal to some people.
Le Cercle is a restaurant-cum-bar-cum-exhibition space famous for its chef’s “nose to tail” movement. The dishes are innovative and affordable and the near-perfect cocktails are to die for. Its clientele comprises of families as well as hipsters who are well-entertained by music shows, DJs and shows by performing artists.
Maurice Nightclub and Charlotte Ultra Lounge in the same building in Grande-Allee are for those who’re ready to drink, flirt and dance the night away, and for the peace loving clientele, respectively.
A tiny hole-in-the-wall but one of the most popular places among tourists, Bar Sainte-Angele has a cosy set-up for guests to drink, chat and listen to live jazz music. The cocktails here are famous for their sheer variety and taste.
Want to relax after a hard day at work in a theatre-like setup? Les Salons d’Edgar shall come to your rescue. With snacks ranging from chicken wings to steak frites and a delectable range of cocktails, billiards tables, comfy sofas and a fire-place, this place is sure to dissolve all your stress into thin air!
What’s more? None of these bars will burn a hole in your pocket!
3. Safety in Quebec
Quebec is an extremely safe city but there are a few places that need to be avoided. Limoilou, Vanier, St-Sauveur and St-Roch are three such places, infamous for drug peddlers and addicts.
4. Living Expenses in Quebec
Monthly expenses for a single person in Quebec City is 1025. 45 C$ (USD 740). The city is cheaper in comparison to Toronto and other big cities in Canada.
A studio apartment in the city centre would cost you 697 C$ (USD 503.12) while the rent for a similar apartment outside the city centre would be 592 C$ (USD 427.33). The price of a square feet of land in the City Centre is 306.38 C$ (USD 221.16). A piece of land of the same area outside the City Centre is for 224 C$ (USD 161.69). 162.62 C$ (USD 117.4) is what one will have to pay every month for a 915 sq. feet apartment to fulfil his basic requirements (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage).
5. Cuisines of Quebec City
Old Québec alone has over 100 restaurants, with a string of 4-star dining experiences and some of the country’s top chefs. Treat your taste-buds to fine French cuisine in 18th century surroundings, local specialties at Quebec’s famous hotels and inns, market-fresh produce at sidewalk cafés and European-style bistros, local beer in the hundreds of pubs and microbreweries, and innovative global fare at the trendiest restaurants.
A must-try dish for all tourists is Poutine. French fries tossed around in homemade sauce and cheese make for a delectable comfort dish. Other than this, international award winning ice wines, craft beers and Quebec City’s fine cheese are not to be missed.
Quebec’s authentic cuisine at Vignoble Sainte-Pétronille and Resto-Bar à bières Le Projet will leave you longing for more. To fulfil your sweet cravings, head to Le Petit Cochon Dingue for traditional desserts like sugar pies, waffles et. al. For a fine-dining experience, head to Ashton, 1608, Vignoble Sainte-Petronille and Resto-bar a bieres Le Projet.
6. Statistics of Quebec City
Quebec is the only province in Canada to feature a francophone (French-speaking) majority, and where anglophones (English-speakers) constitute an officially recognized minority group. According to the 2011 census, French is the first official language spoken by more than 85.5% of the population. As of 2011, the population of this city is approximately 516,625 of which 60% are Canadians, 29% French and the rest are mostly Irish, Italian and English. 83% of the people are Catholic Christians. Quebec City covers an area of 1.54 million sq. km.
7. Public Transport in Quebec City
Whether you choose to travel by car, bus, or bike, the city’s transportation networks have got you covered. Sensitive to environmental concerns and committed to creating a top-notch urban landscape, Québec City’s municipal government subsidizes its public transportation. Réseau de Transport de la Capitale provides public transportation services via fast, efficient, and economical buses. These operate between 6 AM and 1 AM (there are a limited number of night buses on weekends). Safe and well-maintained, Québec City’s numerous bike paths are a boon to cyclists. A one-way ticket via local transport will cost around 3.25 C$ (USD 2.35). Taxis can be hired at ranks and the airport, ordered by telephone, or hailed in the street in the centre of the city.
Pollution in Quebec: Air pollution is very low but noise pollution is slightly on the higher side. As of December, 2015, the PM10 level was 28 PPM and PM2.5 level was 9 PPM.
8. Weather of Quebec
The best times to visit Québec City are June through September and December through February owing to the fact that the city’s social calendar is booked solid with festivals. Summertime is the most popular time to visit due to the warmer weather, but if you want to relish winter’s icy winds, protect yourselves from the cold weather with hefty parkas and plenty of Tim Horton’s coffee. The spring and fall seasons see fewer tourists because of the lack of special events, but that is when travellers can take advantage of low rates as well as seasonal perks. Springtime is meant for enjoying maple syrup while autumn dazzles with colourful foliage.
Spring: April, Average high: 7 deg. C, Average low: -1 deg. C
Summer: May to August, Average high: 13 deg. C, Average low: 8 deg. C
Autumn: September, Average high: 10 deg. C, Average low: 7 deg. C
Winter: October to March, Average high: -3 deg. C, Average low: -12 deg. C
9. Culture of Quebec
Soak up the city’s spirit and let your senses guide you as you explore Quebec’s parks, markets, exhibitions, pedestrian circuits, exclusive events, first-class restaurants and spas. Acting as a bridge between American and French cultures, you’ll have plenty of options to experience the best of both worlds in one city! Salle Albert-Rousseau, Capitole de Québec and Palais Montcalm feature a varied line-up of shows, while Grand Théâtre de Québec is the place to go for opera and enjoying performances by the city’s symphony orchestra. In case you’re planning to visit Quebec City in the winter season, it is a sin if you don’t have Quebec’s Winter Carnival at the top of your priority list. The main attraction of this winter festival is the parade (morning and night) led by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval. Other major attractions of this festival are the masquerade ball with close to 400 participants, outdoor sports events (snowboarding, canoeing, etc.), free public banquets and dance parties among many other exciting activities.
10. Places to Visit in Quebec City
Things to do in Quebec: Château Frontenac in Old Quebec will make you gape in awe of its architectural style. Dreaming to go back in time? Place Royale will do just that by making you visualise the era when Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec. The shopping freaks can buy some memorabilia from the nearby Quartier Petit Champlain. If you’re wishing for some miracles to happen in your life, do give Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine a visit, also known as “place of miracles”. North America’s oldest shrine, the fabulous neo-Roman style basilica with its golden statue of Saint Anne, hundreds of stained glass windows, the nave, and the valuable works of art will mesmerise you. Montmorency Falls Park is a visual delight and definitely shouldn’t be missed. At 83 m high (30 m higher than Niagara Falls), Montmorency Falls can be seen from all the way across St. Lawrence River in Lévis! But the best views are from Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where you can feel the full force—and spray—of the falls for yourself. Take a gondola ride, hike one of the three Via ferrata circuits or cross the cove of the falls on the double zip line. In winter, the spray freezes at the foot of the falls to form a huge “sugar loaf,” another intriguing Québec City attraction. Plains of Abraham are perfect for cross-country skiing, picnicking or simply walking. It was here that thousands swooned to Paul McCartney and Celine Dion as part of Quebec’s 400th anniversary celebrations, and it is in this beautiful place that Quebec’s national holiday is celebrated every year on 24th June. The gorgeous Fontaine de Tourny near parliament Hill was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1855. Today, it stands as a legacy of Québec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations, turning heads with its 43 jets, water-themed sculptures and beautiful night time lighting.
Museums and Galleries: History lovers will surely love this place for its museums. The most popular ones are Musee de la civilisation, Centre d’Interprétation Place-Royale, Musée de l’Amérique Francaise and Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec. These have adapted to modern times by providing different kinds of experiences like multimedia shows, permitting children to wear historical costumes and experience Quebec’s history first hand, hosting sound and light shows, and interactive sessions.
Things to do for kids in Quebec: Children will enjoy a visit to the Chocolate Museum or a spin around the ice rink in Old Town. Villages Vacances Valcartier has waterslides and go-karting in the summer. You could also take your kids for a boat road on St. Lawrence River. Just 15 minutes away from downtown, Aquarium du Quebec is home to nearly 10,000 specimens representing mammals, indigenous and exotic fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles. Covering the Boreal to the Arctic regions, their marine mammals include polar bears, walruses and seals.
Places Nearby: Just a few kilometres from downtown, the unspoilt wilderness areas surrounding Quebec City present numerous opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation, like horseback riding, canoeing, hiking and skiing.
Offbeat: For a glimpse of aboriginal culture, Wendake with its dance shows and its legends is sure to keep you entertained. Île d’Orléans takes you back to 19th century’s even more beautiful Quebec with its historic farms, churches, and heritage homes. North America’s one and only Ice Hotel is another attraction of Quebec City.
Author’s Conclusion: Quebec will make you fall head-over-heels in love with its European charm, romantic ambience, exquisite cuisine and charming locales. This wonderland is worth more than just being dreamt of. You need to plan your next vacation to Quebec to revel in its awesomeness!
|Population||516,625 (approx.) as of 2011|
|Currency||Canadian Dollar (1 USD = 1.39 CAD or CA) as of 10 Feb 2016|
|Time Zone||Eastern Time Zone (UTC -05:00)|
|Driving||Right Hand Traffic, Left Hand driven vehicles|
|Emergency||Police, Fire, Ambulance: 911|
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