Quebec is the largest province of Canada and is second most populous next to Ontario. Just over 8,000,000 people reside in Quebec. Most are located on the Southern part of the land, close proximity with the St-Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec city, the capital. The main language spoken is French but certain areas such as Montreal’s West island, Eastern Townships and parts of Gaspesie hold English communities. Rich in history and culture, many North Americans visit for the Europeen flair that this province exudes, without having to step to far for a French vacation.
Quebec city, first city to be founded in 1608 by French Explorer Samuel de Champlain, holds magnificient treasures. Still standing today is the first settlement of Habitation, located as the heart of the city. This “old town” is surrounded by a fortified wall, perfectly restored 15th century homes, churches, restaurants, shops, museums all lined up on cobbled streets. Artisans, musicians, street performers greet you as you pass by. Well on top of the hill, viewed as the icon of the city, is the Chateau Frontenac with it’s majectic copper peaked turrets, built in the late 19th century as a luxurious hotel for the newly built Canadian Pacific Railway. CPR’s policy was to promote luxury tourism and to appeal to wealthy travellers. Built by American architect Bruce Brice, has a similar style to the Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta. Two of my favorite festivals are held in this city, Quebec’s winter carnival early February of each year (Come back in 2012 to see a full review) and the New France Festival of early August, article already posted.
Montreal is next on the list for must-see city. Considered a metropolitan, Montreal really has it all. So many ethnicities have chosen this bilingual city as their hometown. Considering this melting pot of cultures there is no coincidence it spawns a large variety of festivals and culinary delights from across the globe. Montreal is known as a fashion capital, next to New York, Paris and Milan. It is the number one city destination of Canada, Toronto comes in second. Best city view is atop the Mont-Royal mountain, where Montreal gets it’s name.
Each season carries a variety of activity. In winter, avid skiiers will have numerous peaks to choose from since the land is cut by the Appalachian mountains, offering a wide range of challenging trails. For the more cautious outdoor enthusiast, why not try out snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or ice skating. In Spring, with the waking of the sugar maples, bring the anticipated sugar-shack ritual, a traditional feast surrounding maple syrup that dates back to the indigenous people. In summer, weather is hot and humid, perfect recipe for rippening grapes, wineries abound most of the southern countryside. Enjoy swimming the numerous clean lakes and rivers scattered across the province. Gaspesie is a wonderful destination in summer months. Last but not least, Fall is one of the most spectacular masterpieces nature can accomplish, Quebec’s foliage is so rich in reds, oranges and yellows, the colours are truly breathtaking. Thanks to the sugar maples, we get deep reds that the other provinces lack.
There’s no wonder Quebec is known as “La Belle Province”, she truly is beautiful.
Plan a stay and you “will remember”. Bon voyage!
Dave, Tristan, Evan and Owen