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Quebec City

As its very name implies, Quebec City is the spiritual heart of the province. Still referred to as the National Capital by French-speaking Quebecers, Quebec City is a monument to the history and culture of all Quebecers and among the oldest cities in all North America.

The name “Quebec” derives from the Algonguins, a distinct people who first inhabited the north shore of modern-day Quebec City, “where the river narrows.” A flat, low–lying area along the northern coast became the location of the first settlement of French explorers in 1608 and gradually spread up the surrounding cliffs for obvious strategic reasons.

Thus the Upper Town and Lower Town formed the initial topology of the city. And it was climbing those steep cliffs one night in 1763 that soldiers of the British Empire–after several unsuccessful previous attempts–finally overwhelmed the troops of New France, making the territory but part of England’s vast colonial occupation of North America, which was to end abruptly 13 years later with the American Revolution. Fortunately, French-speaking Quebecers remained a forceful majority, thus retaining their language and culture to this day.

Today’s Quebec City is the seat of the provincial government and geographical centre of the province. The city and its inhabitants offer visitors a particularly warm welcome. Its architecture and narrow streets speak of its proud past as the heart of French North-American culture, best exemplified by the numerous crafts-people and antique shops that offer their fascinating, time-worn wares to curious visitors.

Things to see and do

Every year, major events such as the Quebec Winter Carnival and numerous other cultural festivals take place, where outdoor terraces teem with Quebecois and tourists alike, attesting to the city’s uniquely civilized and very European lifestyle.

The Carnival offers enormous ice slides designed to thrill visitors from around the world. Traditional Quebecois food and drink are also featured. There is terrific skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities to enjoy just north of the city too. Summer offers the Quebec City Summer Music Festival, with its eclectic roster of international acts. And Quebec’s gift to the world,Cirque du Soleil, offers one of its unique shows under the stars to delight visitors and residents alike. Horse-and-buggy tours are always available and, more recently, the Hôtel de Glace which is an ice hotel constructed annually where the curious can actually sleep warmly on beds of ice under animal skins, an appreciative nod to the Northern people who first inhabited this wonderful province.

For more information on what to do in Quebec City, visit Québec tourism site.

Name meaning

Where the river narrows.




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