Quebec city sits on the St. Lawrence River and is in the predominantly French speaking Quebec province. Among its main distinguishing characteristics are its narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings, fortifications, and rich French Canadian culture.
Brief history of Quebec and its french connection..
Canada is predominantly an English speaking country with Francophone communities throughout its provinces. French is the native language of 20 % of Canadians.Most native french speakers live in Quebec where it is the official language.
In the 16th century, Cartier ventured across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia and landed at Newfoundland and mapped his route along the St Lawrence River. He tried to establish a French colony but was resisted by the aboriginals.
The name Canada originated from Kanata …the indigenous word for village. Cartier used this name for the French colony that developed along the St Lawrence River.
French Colony was established by the early 17th century in eastern Canada by Samuel Champlain and Quebec city was established in 1608. By 1642 a settlement called Ville Marie was established which subsequently became Montreal.
The 18th century saw French Canada fall to the British rule and consequently French lost its importance. Gradually Canada emerged as a federal state and it was divided into two provinces..Upper Canada(now Ontario) and Lower Canada(now Quebec). French was subsequently established as the official language in Quebec and many of the Eastern Maritime Provinces of Canada. Thus many of these places have French as the official language and that makes it a little difficult for non French speakers like us to visit and move around.
Come along to see the city….
Old Quebec city is a UNESCO heritage site and lies within fortified walls…the only city in North America to be so…
Being located in a hilly slope, the city is divided into upper town and lower town connected by funicular railway.
A typical Quebec street…the funicular railway seen in the backdrop..
We reached Quebec by noon and first visited the Quebec Tower ( Observatoire de la Capitale)from where you get a 360 degree view of the city. This is actually on the 31st floor of what looks like an office building!!!
From the tower, the old city can be clearly seen behind walls.
View from tower… St Lawrence River, Chateau Frontenac Hotel and walls of old city
After getting a view of the city from the tower, we went to the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
The Dufferin Terrace, a long wooden promenade located along the banks of the St. Lawrence River is one of the main attractions here. The Château Frontenac, a hotel that was initially built for the railways and is a luxury hotel today, is a landmark of Quebec. In the summer, musicians and street entertainers perform on this wooden promenade
The opening image of this blog features this hotel .
With its breathtaking view of the Château Frontenac, as well as of the St. Lawrence River and surrounding area, the Dufferin Terrace is the perfect spot to take beautiful pictures.
The Dufferin Terrace with The Chateau Fontenac Hotel in the background
A street singer and the canons along the river side on Dufferin terrace
From the Dufferin terrace area, we walked around the streets of Old Quebec. This place has an old world fairy tale charm about it. The narrow cobble stone streets with stone buildings gives it an ancient look. There are horse drawn carriages here which add to the old world look….and there are sightseeing tours on horse carriages
A family takes a joy ride on a horse drawn carriage..old world charm
A sightseeing bus….modern times
We walked along the cobble stone streets of old Quebec soaking in the old meets new feel….
There were lots of street musicians singing or playing various instruments…lost in their own little worlds….not affected by the passers by ….
There were street artists….some doing general paintings and others making portraits of willing clients….
A street side artistic…portrait maker
All in all it was a heady mix of history, culture, fun, art and tourism!!!!
Talking of art…there were some nice sculptures by Salvador Dali at the Dufferin terrace… take a look
After a long day of sightseeing we retired to the hotel for the night.
Next morning we had yet another interesting trip to do…the Thousand Islands Cruise…
This is a one hour cruise on the St Lawrence river to see this archipelago of islands.
The Thousand Islands are a group of more than 1,800 islands in the St. Lawrence River, straddling the border of the U.S. and Canada.The islands vary in size from over 100 sq kms to smaller ones occupied by a single residence or the uninhabited ones with just a few rocks. The criterion to be included in the island count is that it should have at least one square foot area and support at least two trees!!!
A fashionable retreat for the elite in the late 19th century, today the area is a hub for outdoor activities. It is home to elaborate island mansions such as the German-style Boldt Castle on Heart Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island, with its Gothic windows and secret passageways.There are a variety of recreational activities available here for the tourists….fishing, diving, hiking, being some of them
Some of these islands are privately owned and have mansions belonging to the elite. There are some extremely small islands and many are connected by small overbridges. There are two islands connected by a bridge here, where one island belongs to US and another to Canada.
The Thousand islands International bridge connects Ontario province in Canada with New York state in US.
Some pictures from the thousand islands….
On board the cruise
The Thousand islands International bridge .
Two tiny islands with a single mansion connected by a cute bridge
After the cruise we were picked up by our tour company and driven back to Toronto…after a 3 day roundup of some heritage, historic and cultural places in Canada…
Next week we move on to Calgary…in Alberta Province famous for its Rocky mountains…
See you at Calgary…the gateway to the Rockies
Meanwhile do subscribe below