Complete Guide to Quebec – All You Need to Know
Quebec was founded in 1763 and has become the second most populated province in Canada. Quebec stands out in the Canadian provincial landscape thanks to the fact that the official provincial language is French. This consequently lead to the majority of the population being French-speaking.
Approximately half of the residents of the entire province of Quebec choose to settle in the greater Montreal area, and for good reason. You can find several of these reasons in an article released earlier this year – 10 Reasons to Move to Montreal .
So what makes us so sure it’s better than France?
The government of Quebec has launched the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation (SQRI) in 2007 which aims to promote development through research, science and technology. The government hopes to create a strong culture of innovation in Quebec for the next decades and to create a sustainable economy. Quebec is considered as one of world leaders in fundamental scientific research, having produced ten Nobel laureates in either physics, chemistry, or medicine.
Quebec’s economy leans heavily on its substantial amount of natural resources, but it also has a developed technological sector which includes a wide variety of industries such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and more. All these have contributed to keeping Quebec in second place in economic output. The economy of Quebec is ranked the 37th largest economy in the world and 28th for the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Firmly grounded in the knowledge economy, Quebec has one of the highest growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada. Quebec is experiencing faster growth of its R&D spending than the other Canadian provinces, creating more jobs and opportunities and attracting immigrants from all over the world.
This is the reason so many French speakers choose Quebec over France or even Switzerland. With so many opportunities and a wide variety of positions, and with the speed of Quebec’s economic growth, Quebec is in need of French speaking immigrants. It is the ideal immigration destination for French speakers.
Ready to move to Canada now? Click 👇🏻 and start packing
Society of Quebec
The Commission tasked with consulting Quebec Society on the matter of arrangements regarding cultural diversity founded by the Quebec Premier in 2007 reasserted the 3 fundamental values which comprise the base for Quebec society:
- Equality between men and women
- Primacy of the French language
- Separation of church and state
Furthermore, Quebec is a free and democratic society that abides by the rule of law.
These fundamental values are not subject to argument and are expected to be upheld by all citizens, residents and visitors.
You could argue these are the same values as anywhere else in the developed western world, but anyone who watches the news or talks to the local population in many of the countries in the developed world knows it’s not so simple. Many countries may claim these as their values, but in reality these values are bent for the benefit of the wealthy or the government.
Meanwhile, Canada maintains these values above all, even when it comes to Trudeau.
Quebec winters are cold and snowy – perfect for those who love winter wonderlands, skating or skiing. The summers are hot and – in some areas – humid, perfect for swimming, biking, and other summer activities. Slightly cooler summers can be found in the northern territories. Climate conditions can vary from region to region, depending on elevation and distance from the ocean.
Quebec is fortunate to have one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water: it has 3% of the world’s renewable fresh water. Over its massive territory, it contains many bodies of water: Over half a million lakes and 4500 rivers that pour into the Atlantic ocean.
It’s a paradise for nature lovers; Quebec has some of the world’s legendary and most adorable land wildlife, inhabiting Quebec’s 750,300 square km of forest: white tailed deer, moose, muskox, caribou, black bears, polar bears, cougar, arctic fox, squirrels, snowshoe hare, groundhog, chipmunk and the Canadian Beaver. The aquatic wildlife does not fall behind: blue whales, beluga whales, mike whales, harp seals, walrus and narwhals.
It’s enough to make us think we’re living in a Disney movie!
One of the main arguments on behalf of France is that of the culture – France has a wealth of art history which keeps it at the top of the cultural world to this day. While we bear no disrespect for France’s cultural credentials, we believe Quebec’s culture is just as rich, diverse and wonderful as that of France, if not better in some ways. Quebec’s cultural world is also deeply rooted in history as well as the modern world and we know you’ll love it too. Quebec’s culture blends its historic roots with its aboriginal heritage and the contributions of recent immigrants, as well as receiving a strong influence from English-speaking North America.
Music and Dance
Montreal’s cabarets rose to the forefront of the city’s cultural life during the Prohibition era of Canada and the United States in the 1920s. The cabarets radically transformed the artistic scene, greatly influencing the live entertainment industry of Quebec. The Quartier Latin of Montreal and Vieux-Québec in Quebec City are two hubs of activity for today’s artists. Life in the cafés and “terrasses” (outdoor restaurant terraces) reveals a Latin influence in Quebec’s culture, with the théâtre Saint-Denis in Montréal and the Capitole de Québec theatre in Quebec City being among the principal attractions. Of course, as the province is a modern society, you can find all types of music in Quebec today.
Traditional Quebec music is imbued with many dances: the jig, the quadrille, the reel and line dancing. Various instruments are more popular in Quebec’s culture: harmonica, fiddle, spoons, jaw harp and accordion. The podorythmie is a characteristic of traditional Quebec music and means “giving the rhythm with the feet”. Quebec traditional music is currently provided by various contemporary groups seen mostly during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, Quebec National Holiday and many local festivals.
Festival du Bois, Quebec
Several movie theatres across Quebec ensure the dissemination of Quebec cinema. Thank s to the Cité du cinéma and Mel’s studios the city of Montreal is home to the filming of various productions. The State corporation Télé-Québec, the federal Crown corporation CBC, general and specialized private channels, networks, independent and community radio stations broadcast the various Quebec téléromans, the national and regional news, interactive and spoken programmations, etc.
Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois is a festival surrounding the ceremony of the Jutra Awards Night that rewards work and personalities of Quebec cinema. The Artis and the Gemini Awards gala recognize the personalities of television and radio industry in Quebec and French Canada. The Film Festival of the 3 Americas in Quebec City, the Festival of International Short Film, Saguenay, the World Film Festival and the Festival of New Cinema, Montreal, are other annual events surrounding the film industry in Quebec.
Quebec literature was first developed in the travel accounts of explorers such as Jacques Cartier, Jean de Brébeuf, the Baron de La Hontan and Nicolas Perrot, describing their relations with indigenous peoples. The Moulin à paroles traces the great texts that have shaped the history of Quebec since its foundation in 1534 until the era of modernity. The first to write the history of Quebec, since its discovery, was the historian François-Xavier Garneau.
Various tales and stories are told through oral tradition such as the legends of the Bogeyman, the Chasse-galerie, the Black Horse of Trois-Pistoles, the Complainte de Cadieux, the Corriveau, the dancing devil of Saint-Ambroise, the Giant Beaupré, the monsters of the lakes Pohénégamook and Memphremagog, of Quebec Bridge (called the Devil’s Bridge), the Rocher Percé, of Rose Latulipe, and many more.
Popular French-language contemporary writers include Louis Caron, Suzanne Jacob, Yves Beauchemin, and Gilles Archambault. Mavis Gallant, born in Quebec, lived in Paris from the 1950s onward. Well-known English-language writers from Quebec include Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, and Neil Bissoondath.
Tell your friends! I know everything about Quebec! 🙂
Click To Tweet
Many Quebec poets and prominent authors marked their era and today remain anchored in the collective imagination, like, among others, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Octave Crémazie, Honoré Beaugrand, Émile Nelligan, Lionel Groulx, Gabrielle Roy, Hubert Aquin, Michel Tremblay, Marie Laberge, Fred Pellerin and Gaston Miron. The regional novel from Quebec is called Terroir novel and is a literary tradition specific to the province. It includes such works as The Old Canadians, Maria Chapdelaine, Un homme et son péché, Le Survenant, etc. There are also many successful plays from this literary category, such as Les Belles-sœurs and Broue.
The Fine arts of Quebec are displayed at the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Quebec Salon des métiers d’art and in many art galleries. While many works decorate the public areas of Quebec, others are displayed in foreign countries such as the sculpture Embâcle by Charles Daudelin on Québec Place in Paris and the statue Québec Libre! by Armand Vaillancourt in San Francisco. The Montreal School of Fine Arts forms the painters, printmakers and sculptors of Quebec.
Art in Quebec has developed around the specific characteristics of its landscapes and cultural, historical, social and political representations. The development of Quebec masterpieces in painting, printmaking and sculpture is marked by the contribution of artists such as Louis-Philippe Hébert, Cornelius Krieghoff, Alfred Laliberté, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Jean Paul Lemieux, and many more.
Circus and street art
Several circus troupes were created in recent decades, the most important being without any doubt the magnificent Cirque du Soleil. Among these troops are contemporary, travelling and on-horseback circuses such as Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Cirque Éloize, Cavalia, Kosmogonia, Saka and Cirque Akya. The circuses attract large crowds both in Quebec and abroad. In the manner of touring companies of the Renaissance, the clowns, street performers, minstrels, or troubadours travel from city to city to play their comedies. Although they may perform randomly from time to time during the year, they are always visible in the cultural events such as the Winterlude in Gatineau, the Quebec Winter Carnival, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Quebec City Summer Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and the Festival of New France in Quebec.
The National Circus School and the École de cirque de Québec were created to train future Contemporary circus artists. Tohu, la Cité des Arts du Cirque was founded in 2004 to disseminate the circus arts.
It’s not just for kids
‘Traditional’ Quebec cuisine is one where many dishes have a high fat or lard content. Early settelers in the area sought a new cuisine to confront the climate and the needs arising from the work of colonization. Quebec is most famous for its Tourtière, Pâté Chinois, Poutine, St. Catherine’s taffy among others. The temps des sucres is one of the oldest of Quebec culinary traditions. During springtime, many Quebecers go to the cabane à sucre for a traditional meal. The Jewish community of Montreal has contributed Montreal-style bagels and smoked meat which is similar to pastrami.
Quebec has produced cheese for centuries. In 1893 the monks of La Trappe of Oka began to produce the famous Oka cheese. Today there are over 300 different cheeses in Quebec.
Quebec has produced beer since the beginning of colonization especially with the emergence of spruce beer. Although many people tried to produce a beer between the 17th and 18th centuries, it is only since the 1980s that the industries had produced on a larger scale. Today there are nearly a hundred breweries and companies, including Unibroue, Molson Coors, Labatt and many others. Quebec also produces wine, ice wine and ice cider.
Sports is an essential staple of Quebec culture. Thanks to its financial possibilities and modern development, Canada has been able to invest in excellent sporting centers, and has become famous for producing many of the world’s finest athletes in nearly every type of sport. Quebec, being one of Canada’s more developed provinces, has produced a large share of these athletes. Ice hockey is of course very popular as the national sport. Other major sports in Quebec include Canadian Football with the Montreal Alouettes, soccer with the Montreal Impact, the Grand Prix du Canada Formula 1 racing with drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Villeneuve, and professional baseball with the former Montreal Expos. Quebec has hosted several major sporting events over the years including the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Fencing World Championships in 1967, track cycling in 1974, and the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo race created for the first time in 1984.
Québec athletes have performed well at the Winter Olympics over recent years. They won 12 of Canada’s 29 medals at the most recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (2018); they won 12 of the 27 Canadian medals in Sochi (2014); and 9 of the 26 Canadian medals in Vancouver (2010).
Canada’s figure skating team celebrates victory at 20180 Olympics
National symbols in Quebec
In 1939, the government of Quebec unilaterally ratified its coat of arms to reflect Quebec’s political history: French rule (gold lily on blue background), British rule (lion on red background) and Canadian rule (maple leaves) and with Quebec’s motto below “Je me souviens”.
The fleur-de-lis, the ancient symbol of the French monarchy arrived on the shores of the Gaspésie in 1534. The flag in its present form with its 4 white “fleur-de-lis” lilies on a blue background with a white cross replaced the Union Jack on Quebec’s Parliament Building on January 21, 1948.
Other official symbols
- The floral emblem of Quebec is the Iris versicolor.
- Since 1987 the avian emblem of Quebec has been the snowy owl.
- An official tree, the yellow birch (bouleau jaune, merisier), symbolizes the importance Quebecers give to the forests. The tree is known for the variety of its uses and commercial value, as well as its autumn colours.
Fête nationale (National Holiday)
Quebec knows how to party. Aside from various festivals in the different cities, the province celebrates several “national holidays”. In 1977 the Quebec Parliament declared June 24 to be Quebec’s National Holiday, honouring French Canada’s patron saint – St. John the Baptist – which is why it is commonly known as La Saint-Jean-Baptiste (often shortened to La St-Jean). On this day, the song “Gens du pays” by Gilles Vigneault is often heard and commonly regarded as Quebec’s unofficial anthem. The festivities occur on June 23 and 24 and are celebrated all over Quebec. In cities like Québec and Montréal, great shows are organized in the main public places where several of the most popular Quebec artists perform until late at night.
If you read all this and if you speak French, people might mistake you for a native! So what are you waiting for? Come live in Canada’s French Paradise! START HERE!