January 7, 2019

Everything You Want to Know about Quebec

Quebec, the huge province situated in eastern Canada. It’s truly a unique place with a European twist. The biggest city is Montreal, while Quebec City is the capital. We already know they speak French there, and having the largest stand-up comedy festival in the world seems pretty cool, but what’s more and what to expect when traveling to Quebec?

A brief historical background, please?

Track back to 1608, when a French explorer founded Quebec. The word “Kebec” is an Algonquin word meaning Where the River Narrows. It was called the new France (La nouvelle France) back then and that’s how the French colony was established. In 1759, English had done fighting French and took over Quebec. During the 19th century, Quebec had become an urban, industrialized society. The Catholic Church was the big influence for their culture, development and education since day one. Up till today, three quarters of the people still identify themselves as Catholic!

What is it like living there?

People can’t seem to stop raving about how nice it is to live in Quebec. Education is cheap, housing is affordable, what? It sounds like a heaven already. Montreal appear to be just like other big cites, you get people from all over the world, China, Italy, India… … People feel very safe and their LGBTQ community is pretty vibrant as well. 

Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2004, and Quebec was the first province in Canada to change the term “husband and wife” to more gender-neutral term “spouse”.

As for the language, Quebec French, there are 7 million native speakers in Quebec and 700,000 speakers elsewhere in Canada and the US. They operate in both English and French, so don’t worry about it.

The best time to visit?

Summer, summer, summer!! You get Montreal international jazz festival around the end of June till the beginning of July. Also, Just for Laughs comedy festival, largest stand-up comedy festival in the world, held in the beginning of July. Tons of outdoor fun during summer, it’s the highlight of the year. But when it comes to winter in Canada… nobody likes it. November can be freezing already, sometimes till early April would still be pretty bad. It’s common to see people fly out of the country to escape the entire winter. For those who are brave enough to visit Quebec during this time, Quebec Winter Carnival is for you. Enjoy sleigh ride, ice skate rink and the stunning ice palace!

Best Instagram spots?

For Quebec City, definitely Quartier Petit Champlain, it’s a small commercial zone that can be tracked back to the 17th century. You get that beautiful winter wonderland backdrop mix with a European flavor to it.

As for Montreal, Old Port of Montreal is your best bet. Facing St. Lawrence River, walking on cobblestone streets, tons of photogenic bars and restaurant to up your Instagram game. Don’t miss out Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, this stunning old Catholic church is not just old enough to wow you, all the projecting lights inside the church will leave your mouth open.

Family-friendly adventure suggestions?

Not only is Quebec great for raising little ones, it’s for sure one perfect destination for family trip. Want to keep it educational, or just pure thrill fun, Quebec has them all:

# 1 La Ronde amusement park (was first built for the 1967 world fair, “Ronde” means round, it’s located in a small island.)

# 2 Montreal Science Centre (high reviews from parents and everyone else, fun and educational, Science Centre won’t let you down.)

# 3 Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium (to know more about this wonderful universe, pay a visit and gain better knowledge on space and astronomy)

Food culture in Quebec?

No trip is complete without trying their authentic food. You can see lots of meat and maple syrup in their iconic dishes. Craving for a good salty dish? Go for poutine, how comforting is that? French fries with cheese curds and gravy. Yum!

Quebec supplies more than 75% of the maple syrup in the world, for sure we are going to talk about heavy-maple-syrup-food.
Pouding chômeur! Literally poor man’s pudding, founded during Great Depression, it was meant to be cheap. Flour, sugar, oil, egg, milk, butter, bake all that goodness and drizzle tons of maple syrup to get this quick, easy, and delicious dessert.

Quebec has their own National Holiday?

Despite the language differences, Quebecois has their own “National Holiday” (the Fête nationale; Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day)! It’s on June 24, one week earlier to “Canadian day”. People have free public concert the night before to celebrate.

Can we talk about the architecture of Montreal and Habitat 67?

In this metropolitan city with a rich historic background, you get the best of both worlds, European feel old churches and modern stylish skyscrapers. Here are few that really worth talk about.

Olympic Stadium
Designed for the 1976 Summer Olympics, it’s the tallest inclined tower in the world.

Montreal World Trade Centre

Completed in 1992, it’s crazy beautiful, especially the reflecting pool.

Habitat 67

It resembles stacked cubes. Just a glimpse of this fascinating architecture sparks everyone’s curiosity. It was meant to exhibit in the World’s Fair.