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Québec in a nutshell
Le Château Frontenac, Vieux-Québec, Louise Mondoux#013;© Tourisme Québec
Québec is North American by its geographic location, French by its language and civil code and British by its parliamentary system. Initially a French colony that was later ceded to England, Québec is one of Canada's founding provinces.

Since the early 20th century, some 700,000 immigrants from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia have become part of Québec society. Before that, Québec was composed primarily of settlers of French or British descent, in addition to its 11 First Nations peoples. The cultural diversity of recent years has given Québec a new face, one that is most visible in Montréal, the French-speaking capital of North America.
Coat of arms and motto of Québec
Coat of arms
The Québec coat of arms features three gold lilies on a blue background, symbolizing the French regime, a gold leopard on a red background, symbolizing the British regime, and a branch with three maple leaves, symbolizing Canada. Below the shield is a banner with the motto Je me souviens (I remember).

« Je me souviens » ("I remember") has been Québec's official motto since 1939. Its origins date back to 1883, the year plans were drawn up for Québec's legislative building (today the National Assembly). Eugène-Étienne Taché, architect and Deputy Minister of Crown Lands, had the words Je me souviensengraved in stone above the main entrance to the parliament building. He wanted to pay tribute to the province's French, English and Amerindian origins.

Drapeau du Québec
The fleurdelisé became the official flag of Québec on January 21, 1948. Its white lilies set against a background of royal blue recall the French origins of many Quebecers, and its white cross symbolizes the Christian faith.

Iris versicolore
The blue flag iris (Iris versicolor Linnaeus) is Québec's floral emblem. It grows abundantly in the province's different regions. Its flowering period coincides nicely with La Saint-Jean-Baptiste (June 24), Québec's national holiday.

Harfang des neiges The snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca) has served as the province's avian emblem since 1987. This handsome white tundra bird symbolizes the desire to improve the environment and preserve wild species.

Bouleau jaune Québec's official tree is the yellow birch (Betula Alleghianensis Britton)—a tree that, due to its hardy nature and associated economic activity, is an appropriate symbol for the province's forests.

Lastly, the white admiral butterfly (Limenitis arthemis Drury) has been the province's official insect since 1998. It was Québec's first natural symbol to be chosen by popular vote.

See also