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Quebec, the large French-speaking province in the eastern part of Canada, is an interesting contrast to most of the rest of North America. Offering a culture and lifestyle that merges the "go-go" free-wheeling individualism of North America with a European attitude, it provides the visitor a unique experience.
Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It lies in the east of Canada and is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario, James Bay and Hudson Bay. To the north are the Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay, to the east the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the provinces of New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, and to the south the United States (the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine). It also shares maritime borders with the Territory of Nunavut and the provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
More than 95% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield. It is generally a quite flat and exposed mountainous terrain interspersed with higher points such as the Laurentian Mountains in southern Quebec, the Otish Mountains in central Quebec and the Torngat Mountains near Ungava Bay. The Labrador Peninsula is covered by the Laurentian Plateau (Canadian Shield), dotted with mountains such as Otish Mountains. The Ungava Peninsula is notably composed of D'Youville mountains, Puvirnituq mountains and Pingualuit crater.
The Appalachian region of Quebec has a narrow strip of ancient mountains along the southeastern border of Quebec. The Appalachians are actually a huge chain that extends from Alabama to Newfoundland. In between, it covers in Quebec near 800 km, from the Montérégie hills to the Gaspé Peninsula. In western Quebec, the average altitude is about 500 meters, while in the Gaspé Peninsula, the Appalachian peaks (especially the Chic-Choc) are among the highest in Quebec, since they exceed 1000 metres. Quebec's highest point at 1,652 metres is Mont d'Iberville, known in English as Mount Caubvick, located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the province, in the Torngat Mountains.
Montreal is the largest city in Quebec, and has a vibrant mix of French, English and immigrant cultures. Montreal is the party capital of Canada, and has the most fashionable and hip population. It also offers amazing historical and cultural sites, and the famous Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. There is also a wonderful section of the city (known as Old Montreal) that is dedicated to the preservation of the old style buildings, cobbled roads, and sights. This is a quaint part of town, and much more quiet than the party scene of Montreal.
The Laurentians (French: Laurentides) are a mountain range just north of Montreal and a popular getaway for the inhabitants of that city. Mont Tremblant, one of the tallest peaks in the range, is a popular ski resort.
Miguasha National Park is a protected area near Carleton-sur-Mer on the Gaspé Peninsula. Created in 1985 by the Government of Quebec, Miguasha was designated a World Heritage Site in 1999 in recognition of its wealth of fossils, which display a crucial time during the evolution of life on Earth. Other names for this site are the Miguasha Fossil Site, the Bay of Escuminac Fossil Site, the Upper Devonian Escuminac Formation, and the Hugh-Miller Cliffs. It is also sometimes referred to on fossil specimens as 'Scaumenac Bay' or 'Scaumenac Bay P.Q.' The park's museum features exhibits about the fossils and paleontology of the park. The museum's collection includes over 9,000 specimens of fossil fish and plants.
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The Montreal International Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world, a title it earned in 2004 according to the Guinness World Record book. The first one was in 1980 and since then it kept on growing and growing until its current proportions. It is held in the summer season, usually at the beginning of July and every year features over 3,000 artists from several dozens of countries. There are a whopping 650+ concerts and welcomes no less than 2.5 million visitors, of which about a third are tourists, some of them planning their holiday around this incredible event. The festival takes place at 10 free outdoor stages and 10 indoor concert halls. As the free outdoor shows are scattered around the city, much of the city comes to a complete stop during those days, as frequently 100,000 people attend one of the free shows, and sometimes even twice that many!
The Quebec Winter Carnival, held in Quebec City since 1894 is the world's largest winter carnival and has given the natives and thousands of visitors a reason to celebrate and indulge in merry-making during cold and snowy winters. This annual event lasts for 17 days and is normally held between the end of January to mid-Febraury.
The carnival takes place in various locations of Old Quebec. The opening and closing ceremonies take place in the legendary Ice Palace in front of thousands of visitors and the mayor of Quebec. 'Bonhomme' , a large snowman sporting a red cap and black buttons, is the official symbol and ambassador of the festivities. Some of the attractions and activities popular at the carnival are the Arctic Spa Village, Snow slides, Giant Table Soccer games, Ice palace, Ice tower, snow rafting and skating, Bistro, Zipline, snow sculpture and canoe races.
Kiosks and other outlets in the city sell the traditional Bonhomme effigy tag for around $10 that gives access to many of the carnival events, however some activites may cost extra.
Quebec has three main climate regions. Southern and western Quebec, including most of the major population centres, have a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons having warm to occasionally hot and humid summers and often very cold and snowy winters. Because of the influence of both storm systems from the core of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is abundant throughout the year, with most areas receiving more than 1000 mm of precipitation, including over 300 centimetres of snow in many areas.
During the summer, severe weather patterns (such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms) occur occasionally. Most of central Quebec has a subarctic climate. Winters are long, very cold, and snowy, and among the coldest in eastern Canada, while summers are warm but very short due to the higher latitude and the greater influence of Arctic air masses. Precipitation is also somewhat less than farther south, except at some of the higher elevations. The northern regions of Quebec have an arctic climate, with very cold winters and short, much cooler summers. The primary influences in this region are the Arctic Ocean currents and continental air masses from the High Arctic.
From south to north, average temperatures range in summer between 25 °C and 5 °C and, in winter, between -10 °C and -25 °C. In periods of intense heat and cold, temperatures can reach 35 °C in the summer and -40 °C during the Quebec winter.
|Avg Max||-7.9 °C||-6.1 °C||0.1 °C||7.8 °C||17.1 °C||22.2 °C||25 °C||23.4 °C||17.7 °C||10.7 °C||2.9 °C||-4.8 °C|
|Avg Min||-17.6 °C||-16 °C||-9.4 °C||-1.3 °C||5.3 °C||10.6 °C||13.4 °C||12.4 °C||7.2 °C||1.7 °C||-4.3 °C||-13.4 °C|
|Rainfall||89.8 mm||70.6 mm||90.3 mm||81.2 mm||106.1 mm||114.2 mm||127.8 mm||116.7 mm||125.5 mm||101.7 mm||102 mm||104.4 mm|
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (airport code: YUL), formerly called Dorval Airport, near Montreal is the main gateway to the province of Quebec. There are international and domestic flights and Trudeau airport is approximately 20 kilometres from downtown Montreal.
Jean Lesage International Airport near Quebec City (airport code: YQB) is another international airport but with much less flights compared to Montreal.
Flights mainly go to other Canadian cities but there are connections with Central America, the USA, the Caribbean and even Paris as well.
Services include the Via Rail service between Windsor and Quebec City, including trains from Toronto, and service from Ottawa. Amtrak provides service to and from New York: the Adirondack travels this way via Albany.
From Toronto, highway 401 takes six hours by car to the eastern edges of Quebec. There are many entry points between Quebec and both Ontario as well as New Brunswick. Quebec Hwy 389 makes travelling between Quebec and Labrador City possible, but it is a remote trip. From the United States, visitors can enter from New York State (six hours by car from New York City), and from Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine.
Only flying to remote places in the extreme north and east makes sense.
Via Rail has trains between Montreal and Quebec City, with several intermediate stops.
Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:
Quebec is known for the invention of poutine, a dish that is oh so good, but could kill you. Poutine is fries, topped with cheese curds and gravy. Available in specialty restaurants and fast food restaurants, this is one meal you don't want to miss while in Quebec.
Legal drinking age in Quebec is 18. Quebecers’ favourite alcohol is beer given the high taxes on wine. The province boasts several very good microbreweries. Here is a list of the best brew pubs in Québec by region. In Montréal, there is Dieu du Ciel!, L’Amère à Boire, Le Cheval Blanc and Brutopia. In Québec City, there is La Barberie and L'Inox. One of the best is Le Broumont in Bromont, near the foot of the ski hill. If you visit Sherbrooke, be sure to stop in at the Mare au Diable. In the Mauricie region, there is Le Trou du Diable (Shawinigan) and Gambrinus (Trois-Rivières). For anyone wishing to visit the stunning Charlevoix region, there is the Charlevoix microbrewery in Baie St-Paul. Liquor and wine are sold mainly at Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores, but beer and wine (often of a lesser quality) can also be found at supermarkets and convenience stores. In the country, good quality wine and liquor can be found at the grocery store. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 11PM at convenience stores and supermarkets, and may not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Bars are open until 3:00am (except in Gatineau where they close at 2:00am to avoid an influx of partiers when the bars close in Ottawa).
Beer and a so-so selection of wine are available at most grocery stores and depanneurs (corner markets), but by law distilled spirits are only available at provincial stores called the SAQ (pronounced "ess-ay-cue" or "sack"). The SAQ also has a higher-quality selection of wine, mostly European, Australian, or South American - there's a peculiar blind spot for California vintages, though British Columbian wines are plentiful, unlike in Ontario's LCBO stores. Although closing time in bars is 3:00am, most SAQs close between 6:00pm and 9:00pm (some Express SAQ may close at 10:00pm or 11:00pm), and sales of other alcohol are banned after 11:00pm.
Quebec is blessed with some of the finest beers on the North American continent. As in the rest of Canada, they are higher-proof than in the US; alcohol content starts around 5-6% but 8-12% is not unusual.
Quebec offers the usual range of North American accommodations including hostels, chain motels, and high-end resort hotels. Particular to Quebec are Auberge, literally "Inn" but range from faux-lodge style motels to Gites, B&B style guest houses with sometimes only a single room for rent.
|Auberge Amerik||1720 Chemin de la Canardiere||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Auberge du Littoral||910, boul. Sainte-Anne||Hotel||81|
|Auberge du Quartier||170, Grande-Allée Ouest||hotel||-|
|Auberge l'Autre Jardin||365, boulevard Charest Est||hotel||-|
|Auberge Michel Doyon||1215, Chemin Sainte-Foy||hotel||72|
|Econolodge - Lévis / Quebec City||208 Route Kennedy||hotel||-|
|Econolodge - Montmorency Falls / Quebec City||5490 Boulevard Sainte-Anne||hotel||-|
|HI-Quebec- Auberge Internationale de Québec||19, Rue Ste-Ursule||Hostel||87|
|Hotel Motel Le Chateauguay||3842 Boul. Ste-Anne||HOTEL||80|
|La Belle Planete Backpacker Hostel Downtown Quebec||386 du pont Downtown Quebec||Hostel||72|
|Motel Spring||8520 boulevard Sainte-Anne Château-Richer Chateau-Richer||HOTEL||81|
|Quebec Downtown Apartment||790 St-Joseph Est ,Quebec , H2J3C3 Quebec||Apartment||-|
|B&B Saint-Louis||82 Rue Saint-Louis||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Abat-Jour B&B||2064 de Fondville||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Centre Santé-Nature||835 Des Ruisseaux avenue||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel L'Urbania||3600, Boul. Gene-H. Kruger Trois-Rivières||Hotel||-|
|Auberge de Jeunesse Maeva Quebec||671 Rue Saint-Francois||HOSTEL||84|
|Auberge Jeunesse a LouLou - Levis||3365 des Eglises Secteur Charny, Levis||HOSTEL||82|
|Les Cours Lavignes||14201, Ave, Anselme-Lavigne Pierrefonds||APARTMENT||-|
|Le Soleil Nordique||919 Madeleine-de-Vercheres||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Auberge de la Paix Québec||31, Rue Couillard||HOSTEL||-|
The official language of Quebec is French; it is the sole Canadian province whose population is mainly French Canadian, and where English is not an official language at the provincial level. For a traveller, it is important to note that in many areas of Quebec, English is not understood by the population. This is more true the further east you head. Brushing up on some basic French is highly advised.
However, the main tourist sites are used to catering to English speaking people. Montreal is an example of a very bilingual city, where most locals know basic English or better. Many stores hire only people with knowledge of both languages. This is true, to a lesser extent, in Quebec City, as it is a tourist site and has a globally respected university. Even then it is quite common if in the more French area's of these two cities to encounter restaurants that do not have english menus.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Quebec searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Quebec and areas nearby.
Ask mamzalbambam a question about Quebec
I was born and raised in the province of Quebec, I never did much tourism related things there, but I can still give tips and suggestions having lived there for 22 years!
I am also a certified travel counsellor and A home based travel agent for The Destination Experts in Canada.
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