With today’s Q-word, I take you to La Belle Province du Québec and more specifically, its capital – Québec City – home turf of my husband. I’ve had the privilege of visiting this beautiful city on numerous occasions over the years and each trip leaves me with a deep love and appreciation for its uniqueness in Canada.
For anyone not familiar with Canadian history – which is almost everyone, whether Canadian or not – the colony of New France was defeated by the British in the famous battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Since Britain was still very preoccupied with matters at home – ie the Seven Years’ War – they allowed this former French colony to self-govern and did not enforce English common law, customs or language. To oversimplify a complex history, this initial non-requirement by the British essentially became the groundwork for the complicated and often volatile politics that defines Canada today.
This has also translated into a fierce pride for the French culture and language, however if you asked any French Canadian, I’m confident he would give you a different perspective – but in considerably more words. After all, why use a few dozen words when an hour’s dissertation can accomplish the same thing? Such is the passion of the typical Quebecker. Years of experience has taught me not to ask their opinion on anything even remotely controversial.
Québec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. In 2008, it celebrated its 400th anniversary and several commemorative plaques from their neighbours to the south – in the New England states – line the city’s waterfront.
La Vieux Québec – the original old city – is the only city in Canada or the US where the protective walls around the old town still exist intact.
Walking the streets of Vieux-Québec is like stepping back in time – something Europeans with their long history take for granted but is a rarity in North America. Add to the fact that La Belle Province gets increasingly french as you venture away from Montreal, and you will discover a distinctively foreign feel to Québec City.
Finding a Canadian flag flying in Québec is also unusual. Quebeckers are more inclined to fly their provincial flag – the Fleur de Lys. Did I mention their pride?
You would think that someone who has been to Québec City as often as I have, would have volumes of photos – but that wouldn’t necessarily be true. It is however a beautiful place to visit and I highly recommend it.