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Quebec Province, Canada

Quebec-Province

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

4.5

Total Stars:

9.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Middle of personality curve likes it best—Mid and Centric Venturers and Centric-Authentics

Did You Know…?

  • Quebec is twice the size of Texas, three times the size of France.
  • Sixty percent of Quebecois speak only French; 80% have French ancestry.
  • The snowmobile was invented in Quebec, by Joseph-Armand Bombardier.
  • The world’s largest caribou herds (close to 1 million) roam Nunavik in Arctic Quebec.
  • In summer, 13 marine mammal species, mostly whales, visit the St. Lawrence River.

Bonjour Quebec

By reason of its history, Canada’s largest province, Quebec, is noted for attractions associated with France: Old World architecture, good food and wines, urbane city lifestyles and quaint villages. The French language lives on, as well. These cultural features are beautifully complemented by the North American landscape of the far north, with two mountain chains, much untouched wilderness, thousands of lakes and rivers, including the mighty St. Lawrence.

That combination of European culture and the great outdoors appeals most to venturesome travelers, but all visitors rate the province highly once they have seen it.

The French empire in North America once stretched from Mexico to Canada, but today the Canadian province of Quebec represents the last outpost of significant French influence.

Quebec City, founded by the French in 1608, was the first year-round settlement in the province. In addition, the land that had been called New France spent a century as part of the British empire, beginning in 1763, and has now spent nearly another century and a half as part of the independent Canada.

That combination produces for Americans — and other Canadians, for that matter — the prospect of a unique cultural experience without having to vacation very far from home, without jet lag and without an often-strong strong euro.

In Quebec City, the cobbled walkways, quaint shops and French restaurants inside the old city’s fortress walls enchant walkers, especially in spring and summer when flowers are on display everywhere.

Montreal is the bustling metropolis of French Canada, with rich traditions to go with its fine churches, universities and museums. In addition, American visitors like the shopping, though this is not necessarily about bargains. Shoppers appreciate that Quebec stores carry some goods not carried in U.S. establishments.

Vacationers can enjoy the charm, joie de vivre and shopping in the province’s two main cities or head for the outdoor recreation areas of the Laurentian Mountains and the Eastern Townships, or innumerable other areas. For a taste of real wilderness, they hunt, fish or just observe the wildlife on the isolated Gaspe Peninsula — or head to the Arctic north for the ultimate adventure.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Sleep on ice — at the Ice Hotel Quebec-Canada (between early January and early April).
  • Go to prison. The Trois-Rivieres Prison in Mauricie, now the Quebec Museum of Folk Culture, sponsors a “Go to Jail” exhibit which invites interested persons to spend a night in the cells and experience something of what it would have been like to be an inmate.
  • Take a combined canoe and camping trip in one of Quebec’s parks or wildlife reserves. Or, go whitewater rafting on the Riviere Rouge (Red River) or any of several other swift-moving rivers.
  • Drive your own dogsled team for a two-day excursion in the Regional Appalachian Park (on the Maine border) and overnight in a prospector’s tent.
  • Head way north to Nunavik, Quebec’s Arctic region. Hike the Torngat Mountains, or go fishing, or practice your sea kayaking. Travel by freighter canoe among icebergs. Go dogsledding, or cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. Because facilities are limited, book ground arrangements in advance of travel.
  • Kayak on the St. Lawrence. Or, for a more exotic choice, join an adventure tour operator’s kayaking trip to very out-of-the-way waters, to rivers with names like Ashuapmushuan and Metabetchouane.

Things to do for Centrics

  • At Gatineau (a stone’s throw from Ottawa), go boating on the Ottawa River or go cycling or cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park.
  • Take a two-day cruise from Montreal to the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, a dozen islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where land-based options include biking, bird-watching, fishing or horseback riding. Or, explore the coast by canoe or kayak or in a sailboat. Make that a late-February visit and see thousands of seals on nearby ice floes with their newborns, the whitecoat pups.
  • Go ice skating on the Riviere l’Assomption (Assumption River) in Joliette. It has the world’s longest groomed river ice track, about six miles. Quebec offers venues for cross-country and downhill skiing, too.
  • Tour Nid’Otruche, an ostrich farm in St-Eustache, see ostrich races and sample ostrich meat. Visit wineries in the area, too.
  • Vacation on a ranch, where you can ride horses and, depending on season, go dogsledding with you as the driver of the team.
  • Play golf in warmer weather (nearly 400 courses to choose from) or in winter on the pack ice each February in Rimouoski. Or play the new course next to Quebec’s Ice Hotel.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Enjoy fine dining in any town or city on your itinerary. Try some Quebec specialties, too, such as caviar de corregone, foie gras, magret de canard and ice wine.
  • Explore the important landmarks in the old towns of Montreal and Quebec City on foot or with a guided tour, but in each, you also can sightsee in a horse-drawn carriage.
  • Join an outing aboard one of Canada’s last steam trains. This one offers a half-day trip between Hull and Wakefield, 40 miles each way, with sightseeing time in picturesque Wakefield.
  • Gamble at the Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau. Alternatives are the Casino de Montreal and the Casino de Charlevoix in La Malbaie.
  • If you like jazz or a good joke, attend the Montreal Jazz Festival or its summer Just for Laughs/Juste Pour Rire comedy festival.
  • Take advantage of the mighty St. Lawrence by joining any of a number of pleasure cruises for sightseeing, lunches or dinners.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Tourisme Quebec at www.quebecoriginal.com/en for its English-language site or www.quebecoriginal.com/fr for the French.