QUÉBEC CITY (Québec)
VILLE DE QUÉBEC
Québec City is located in the southern portion of Québec province, near where the north bank of the Saint Lawrence River valley meets the Saint Charles River. The region is low-lying and flat. The river valley has rich, arable soil, which makes this region the most fertile in the province. Québec City is the second biggest city in Québec and the capital of the province.
There were 516,622 people living in the city proper in 2011, with most of the residents having French as a native language. About 95 percent of the city's population has French as a native language their mother tongue. Unlike Montreal which is now considered to have a bilingual populace with many residents knowing to use both English and French in the workplace, Québec City plus its nearby areas are largely French speakers. The city's English speakers reached its highest percentage probably in the 1860s. Today however, Anglophones only make up about two percent of the city's population although a third of Québec City's residents speak both English and French. Also, most (over 90 percent) of those living in Québec City are Roman Catholics.
Most of those who live in Québec City have jobs in public administration, commerce, defense, tourism and transportation. Since it is the province's capital, it is not surprising that the province's government is the city's largest employer. The city is currently developing its high-technology industry. In cooperation with the university in nearby Laval City, enterprises dealing with high-tech operations are developing, particularly in fields such as geomatics, photonics, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals.
HOW IT BEGAN
Québec City was founded in the early 17th century, making it one of the earliest cities in the entire North America. Old Québec or Vieux-Québec can still be seen with its surrounding ramparts, the only walled city in existence in North America, with the exception of the one in Mexico. UNESCO has actually declared the Old Québec district as a World Heritage Site in 1985.
The French ruled in the city and the surrounding areas up to the 1760s. It is then ruled by the British from the 19th century. Québec City has always been a part of vital decision making for international events, particularly during the Second World War. Actually it was designated as Canada's capital at one period in the middle of the 19th century so don't be surprised if you hear the city referred to as Capitale-Nationale or national capital.
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╣Old Québec City or Vieux Québec. This walled city has been turned to a sort of living museum with narrow streets are made of cobbled stones and 18th-century style houses. There are historical plaques everywhere to mark the significant places that witnessed the disputes between the British and French Empires. The old city is a symbol of the struggle faced by French colonists to survive in English-speaking region.
╣Old Port or Vieux Port. It reflects Québec city’s importance as a commercial region in the past up to today. In the city's earlier times, it used to be one of the important stopping points of European ships that are bringing in settlers and goods needed in a growing colony. Now, the Old Port has become a tourist attraction in itself, giving tourists wonderful picturesque views of Old Québec City and the St. Lawrence River.
╣Saint Jean Baptiste district. This is a colorful and bohemian neighborhood with French-sounding street and store names. Aside from the Empire style architecture of its numerous churches, also check out the various little shops, bars and restaurants.
╣Saint Roch district. It is a few minutes away from the Saint Jean Baptiste neighborhood. It has trendy looking buildings and structures, which are surprising since the district is one of the city's oldest communities. It has a small department store and boutiques, as well as bakeries, delicatessen and a tea room.
╣Parc de la Chute Montmorency (Montmorency Falls). It is a park situated a few minutes from the Old City and is open throughout the year. The highlight of the park is its waterfall which goes as high as 83-meter or over 270 feet, complete with a cable car system. You can either ride a cable car or walk across the suspended bridge to get stunning views of this park and its surroundings. You can also go to Montmorency Manor at the top, which has quaint restaurants and a gift shop.
╣Chemin du Roy or the King's Way. It was built in the 1730s and is considered as the oldest highway in the country. It goes along the St. Lawrence River where you will encounter three picturesque rural villages: Neuville, which has old-fashioned houses and gardens; Cap-Santé, with churches built during the French occupation of Québec; and Deschambault–Grondines that has the Vieux Presbytère, a convent turned into a restaurant and hotel, and the church Église Saint-Joseph. The road also goes near the historical monuments of Moulin à vent de Grondines and Moulin de La Chevrotière.
╣Parc national de la Jacques Cartier. This is a park in the region surrounding the Jacques Cartier River. Although fishing is a commonplace activity in the park, you can also go canoeing, hiking or camping during your visit.
╣Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area. This is one of the top sites in the whole country meant for bird-watching. You will also get spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding coastal marshes, mountains and lowlands. Here, you will see Snow Geese flocks which come during spring and autumn. For those who are into outdoor activities, you will be glad to know that the site also has 20 kilometers of hiking trails.
╣At Station Touristique Duchesnay resort. It is a favorite destination among Canadians and tourists for outdoor activities during the summer and winter. Aside from swimming and canoeing during the summertime, you can also join in the classes for treetop adventures. During winter, visitors can choose among various activities such as go skiing, dog sledding, and ice fishing.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
It is customary to give a 15 percent tip in restaurants. Additional service charge may be given if you are part of large parties. In such cases, you don't have to give a tip unless the service was extraordinary. You can either put the tip on the table when you leave, or you can give it directly to the staff.