Portrait of Québec

Unique in North America!

Photo. Québec boasts a multi-faceted geography and diverse landscapes, vegetation and climate. Four very distinct seasons put their stamp on this vast territory—Canada’s largest province. 

After 12,000 years of Native American habitation, Jacques Cartier took possession of this land on behalf of the King of France, beginning an era of colonization that would endure until the advent of the industrial age and the challenges of the modern world. 

Exuding enthusiasm and determination, Québecers today are creatively and passionately preserving the vitality of their culture within North America!

Geography and climateHistory & HeritageQuébec nowGourmet delights

Québec over time

A brief history

More info on this photo...Sent on an expedition by Francis I, King of France, Jacques Cartier arrived at Gaspé in 1534, taking possession of lands that had been inhabited for thousands of years by Amerindians and the Inuit. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain made landfall on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River at a spot that the Aboriginals called Kébec. In 1642, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded a Catholic mission that he named Ville-Marie and which would become Montréal at the end of the 18th century.

Old crown, new crown

QuébecNew France expanded rapidly between 1660 and 1713. During the Seven Years’ War, the army of General Wolfe laid siege to Québec, and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham culminated in the defeat of the French General Montcalm on September 13, 1759. Four years later, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the King of France ceded to the British crown “Canada and all its dependencies.” This led to significant immigration on the part of English, Irish and Scottish settlers.

In 1791, the Constitutional Act established two provinces in British North America: Upper Canada (Ontario), with an English-speaking majority, and Lower Canada (Québec), which had a French‑speaking majority. The Lower Canada Rebellion, in 1837 and 1838, was put down decisively by the British army. In 1867, the British North America Act established a federation of provinces that became known as Canada.

On the road to modern times

PhotoUntil the early 20th century, Québec’s economic life was heavily dependent on agriculture and the forest industry.  With subsequent rapid industrialization and urbanization, there was a huge migration of people from the countryside to the cities. The 1960s were marked by the advent of the Quiet Revolution, crystallizing a decade later in debates on the predominant role of the French language. In 1976, the Parti Québécois, led by René Lévesque, was swept to power. In referendums held in 1980, and again in 1995, the people of Québec voted against a proposal for sovereignty-association with the rest of Canada.

Living history

Les Moulins de L'Isle-aux-Coudres, CharlevoixQuébec’s roads and waterways echo with countless reminders of the often rustic life led by the province’s first settlers: ancestral homes, historic churches and chapels, covered bridges, mills, and lighthouses—all repositories for the collective memories of current and future generations.

The addition of the historic district of Québec City to UNESCO’s World Heritage List recognizes the efforts made to preserve and enhance the value of one of the most remarkable historical sites on Québec soil. This recognition also encourages initiatives that aim to protect an architectural heritage that dates back more than three centuries and is a testimonial to the day-to-day lives of Québecers in North America.

Family trees

Numerous visitors from North America and Europe come to Québec to research branches of their family tree, examining records from both the recent and more remote past. A unique opportunity for family reunions and occasionally surprising discoveries!

Louis Jolliet, La Vérendrye, Pierre Lemoyne D’Iberville and his brothers, whose names are known from the source to the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River, were born in New France. They were among the very first explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries to penetrate the vast interior of the continent, from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Great Lakes.
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