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Quebec

Photo © Peter

Travel Guide North America Canada Quebec

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Introduction

Lighthouse in Gaspesie, Quebec

Lighthouse in Gaspesie, Quebec

© All Rights Reserved snowgirl

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.

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Geography

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.[37] 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.

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Cities

Montreal

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.

Quebec City

  • Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec, one of the oldest cities in North America, and the proud defender of the Francophone culture and language in Canada.

Other Cities and Villages

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Sights and Activities

  • 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.

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Events and Festivals

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Montreal Jazz Festival Parade

Montreal Jazz Festival Parade

© All Rights Reserved Taffski

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!

Quebec Winter Carnival

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.

Others Events and Festivals

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Weather

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.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-7.9 °C-6.1 °C0.1 °C7.8 °C17.1 °C22.2 °C25 °C23.4 °C17.7 °C10.7 °C2.9 °C-4.8 °C
Avg Min-17.6 °C-16 °C-9.4 °C-1.3 °C5.3 °C10.6 °C13.4 °C12.4 °C7.2 °C1.7 °C-4.3 °C-13.4 °C
Rainfall89.8 mm70.6 mm90.3 mm81.2 mm106.1 mm114.2 mm127.8 mm116.7 mm125.5 mm101.7 mm102 mm104.4 mm
Rain Days18.514.914.313.314.313.713.813.914.215.116.419.5

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Getting there

By Plane

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.

There are dozens of destination, from Canada and the US to the Caribbean Islands, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

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.

By Train

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.

By Car

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.

By Bus

Greyhound, Coach Canada and Acadian Bus connect Quebec to Ontario and the Atlantic provinces like Nova Scotia.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Only flying to remote places in the extreme north and east makes sense.

By Train

Via Rail has trains between Montreal and Quebec City, with several intermediate stops.

By Car

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Bus

Autobus Maheux has buses throughout the northwest regions. Others include Galland Bus, Intercar and Limocar, Orleans Express.

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Eat

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.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Auberge Amerik1720 Chemin de la CanardiereGUESTHOUSE88
Auberge du Littoral910, boul. Sainte-AnneHotel84
Auberge du Quartier170, Grande-Allée Ouesthotel89
Auberge l'Autre Jardin365, boulevard Charest Esthotel-
Auberge Michel Doyon1215, Chemin Sainte-Foyhotel79
Econolodge - Lévis / Quebec City208 Route Kennedyhotel-
Econolodge - Montmorency Falls / Quebec City5490 Boulevard Sainte-Annehotel-
HI-Quebec- Auberge Internationale de Québec19, Rue Ste-UrsuleHostel87
Hotel Motel Le Chateauguay3842 Boul. Ste-AnneHOTEL85
La Belle Planete Backpacker Hostel Downtown Quebec386 du pont Downtown QuebecHostel67
Motel Spring8520 boulevard Sainte-Anne Château-Richer Chateau-RicherHOTEL85
Quebec Downtown Apartment790 St-Joseph Est ,Quebec , H2J3C3 QuebecApartment-
B&B Saint-Louis82 Rue Saint-LouisGUESTHOUSE-
Abat-Jour B&B2064 de FondvilleGUESTHOUSE-
Centre Santé-Nature835 Des Ruisseaux avenueAPARTMENT86
Hotel L'Urbania3600, Boul. Gene-H. Kruger Trois-RivièresHotel-
Auberge de Jeunesse Maeva Quebec671 Rue Saint-FrancoisHOSTEL84
Auberge Jeunesse a LouLou - Levis3365 des Eglises Secteur Charny, LevisHOSTEL-
Les Cours Lavignes14201, Ave, Anselme-Lavigne PierrefondsAPARTMENT-
Le Soleil Nordique919 Madeleine-de-VercheresGUESTHOUSE-
Auberge de la Paix Québec31, Rue CouillardHOSTEL-

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Language

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.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 46.812407
  • Longitude: -71.214695

Contributors

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Quebec Travel Helpers

  • mamzalbambam

    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.

    Ask mamzalbambam a question about Quebec

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