Fun Facts: Things You Might Not Know About Quebec City

Quebec City is a classic beauty that is rich history, European charm, and romantic ambiance. It is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. Coined, “So Europe, So Close,” there are tons to tour and experience in this historic city.

  • Quebec City, also known simply as Quebec or “Ville de Québec” in French, is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, not Montreal. It is the second largest city in the province, just behind Montreal. It’s located at the intersection of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles River. The word “Kébec” is an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows.”

  • Founded in 1608, Quebec City celebrated its 400th anniversary as a city. It’s the oldest French-speaking community in North America. Quebec City is commonly known as “the cradle of French Civilization in North America.” Everywhere you go, you will hear French spoken. More than 95% of the population is French-speaking. In the lower old town and around Rue du Petit-Champlain and Place Royale, the French influence can easily be seen in the architecture and cobbled streets. Walking in this part of Quebec City will make you feel like you’re in Europe! The section of the city called Old Quebec is surrounded by 2.85 miles of fortified city walls that were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
Located in Canada, the Ramparts of Quebec City are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico.
  • Quebec was almost a United States colony. Originally settled by the French, the region changed hands a couple of times over the years. France lost the Quebec region and the rest of Canada to the British at the battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Shortly after, in 1775, the American troops led by Benedict Arnold unsuccessfully attempted to invade and take over Quebec City in the Battle of Quebec to liberate the region from British rule. Quebec did not become the 14th colony but remained under British rule until Canada became its own country in 1867.
The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Oil on canvas, 1770
  • The stunning Fairmont Le Château Frontenac holds the Guinness World Record for the most photographed hotel in the world. Once you see it for yourself, you will quickly understand why. The large castle-like hotel sits over the St. Lawrence River and Dufferin Terrace; it conjures up a Canadian version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the hotel was not previously a castle at one point; it had always been a hotel. Built in 1892, the chateau-style hotel was fashioned to lure wealthy travelers on the Canadian Pacific Railways. Additions have been made to the hotel over the years and not it houses more than 600 rooms, a Starbucks, a spa, and multiple restaurants.

  • Yum, chocolate! Quebec City is home to a Chocolate Museum. Located at the Erico creative chocolate shop, the museum illustrates the history of chocolate from the Mayan civilization to the present day. In the museum, you’ll learn about the cocoa plant, discover a collection of over 200 items from Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and Europe, and gaze upon several artistic creations made entirely of chocolate. From the museum, you can look from a window overlooking the kitchen and see the artisanal chocolate making process.

  • The Montmorency Falls located on the Montmorency River in Montmorency Park just 7.5 miles from Old Quebec is 270 feet tall. That’s 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls.
Montmorency Rainbow – Montmorency Falls.
  • “Carnaval,” the Quebec Winter Carnival Festival, is one of the largest winter festivals in the world. It earned this distinction in 2006 when 1 million people attended this festival. The festival is a pre-Lenten festival celebrated annually since 1955. The festival opening and closing ceremonies take place at the ice palace. Daytime and nighttime parades whined through the upper town which is decorated with lights and ice sculptures. Other events include a masquerade ball at the Château Frontenac, outdoor public banquets at the ice palace, outdoor sports events, and ice sculpting contests.

  • Poutine is a famous Canadian dish. You can find this dish on menus throughout North America. Fun fact: Poutine originated in the Quebec region. It consists of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Don’t worry the fries do not get soggy. This dish is pure comfort food.

  • Canada produces 70 percent of the world’s pure maple syrup. Out of that 70%, about 90% is from the province of Quebec. To give you an idea of how much is produced in Quebec, roughly 7,989,000 gallons of maple syrup was produced in 2010. This is in comparison to Vermont, the leading producer of maple syrup from the United States that had produced roughly 890,000 gallons.

  • The Old Quebec funicular, or the Escalier “neck-breaking” steps, links the Quebec City’s Haute-Ville, upper town, to the Basse-Ville, lower town. The 210-foot funicular railway first opened on November 17, 1879.

  • The Plains of Abraham is the site of the 1759 battle. It is also the location of Quebec’s most significant holiday, St. Jean Baptiste Day is celebrated every year. The 103-hectare park is used by locals and tourists on a year-round basis and is a great skating rink in the winter.