QUÉBEC - “Where the river narrows”
A bit of history
Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, after two failed attempts to establish a settlement in 1535 and 1541 by Jacques Cartier, Québec, or Quebec City, is the oldest fortified city in North America, and the ramparts are the only city walls remaining in the Americas north of Mexico. Québec boasts four centuries of history marked by encounters with the First Nations (American Indians), battles between the French and English, epidemics, and the acts of men and women after whom the city’s streets are named today.
Today, Québec, in addition to being the provincial capital, is the cradle of francophone culture in North America, and the people, the Québécois, are proud of this heritage and language.
What’s in a name?
Québec comes from an Algonquin word, ‘kébec’ meaning ‘where the river narrows’ or‘where the waters narrow’. Looking at a map of North America, you can see where the St. Lawrence River empties into the North Atlantic. If you follow the river inland, you see where the river becomes noticeably narrower. It is at this narrowing of the river that you find Québec.
French is the official language of the Province of Québec. In Quebec City, French is the native language for approximately 95% of the population, with 1.5% speaking English as their mother tongue.
However, close to 35% of the population is bilingual, and you can hear English spoken in most places in the Old City, and even those who do not consider themselves as bilingual can speak some English.
Québec boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Canada, and most areas of the city are safe to walk around after dark.
So I’m here, what is there to do?
Québec is a popular year-round tourist destination and there is something for everyone, from adrenaline junkies to history aficionados and shopaholics.
Take an afternoon or two (or more) to wander the cobblestone streets of Vieux Québecand browse through the small shops. Try some of the local cuisine made with local products. Québec cheeses are world class, and you have to try some of them.
For the adrenaline junkies, there is rafting, karting, tree-top climbing, and other activities.
For the history lovers, what more can we say? Pick your theme, whether visiting the many churches and buildings, to the many museums, to simply wandering around the city. Our city is 400 years old. It is yours to discover.