Quebec is the country’s largest province and is almost entirely situated on the Canadian Shield, an approximately 4-billion-year-old ridged area of exposed rocks. Thanks to this geological feature, the area is rich in resources, such as gold, iron, uranium, copper, and others.
Here’s an interesting fact. Quebec is being a Little France tucked in between English-speaking areas: French is the only official language in the province.
The area is crossed by the Saint Lawrence River. At 1200km long, this is the world’s most navigable river. The riverbank is home to multiple animal and agricultural farms, which make up the biggest part of the region’s economy. The world-renowned maple syrup is also produced in Quebec, and the sugar maple leaf used for making this sweet treat can be found on the Canadian flag.
Jacque Cartier, the explorer who first discovered Canada for Europe, founded the first Canadian settlement in 1534 on this very fertile land. These days most of the population lives in big cities, such as Quebec City (the capital of the province) and Montreal.
Montreal—the sailing heart of the rivers Saint Lawrence, Ottawa, and Richelieu—is a home to most of the province’s manufacturing facilities and churches. One of them, Saint Joseph, was built atop a hill in the downtown area, and this Catholic symbol is visible from any part of the city. The 33m-tall cross attracts pilgrims from all over the world each year.
A few peculiar pieces of local architecture stand out from the traditional European style: they are small replicas of well-known buildings. The full-size version of Saint James’ Cathedral can be found in Rome where it’s called Saint Peter’s Basilica; whereas one street has the oldest building in town: an 1824 replica of Notre Dame de Paris. This basilica’s interior is also quite exceptional: pictures of saints and patron seamen and travelers, ancient anchors, and a diverse collection of sea vessels dating back as far as the 15th century. Newer areas are just as exciting as the Old Town: Saint Catherine Street with over 1,000 charming shops; the Olympic stadium; the city amusement park; and lots of gardens and bridges sitting on the riverbank, giving it a Venice-like feel.
The capital city was founded in the 17th century. It started out as a French fort built to defend against the British. What remains of the fortified city wall is now a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Old Town is also home to Chateau Frontenac, a 19th-century castle built in the medieval style. Photographers’ sweet spot is situated next to it, Terrasse Dufferin, a viewing platform offering a panorama of the city.
Another popular all-year tourist attraction is the Montmorency Falls. The water falls from a height of 84m in the summer and freezes in the winter, as if time had stopped in this ice column.
The province’s motto is, “Je me souviens” (“I remember”).