14 Fun Facts About Quebec City, Canada

by Janis on June 28, 2015

We will be visiting Quebec City, Quebec, Canada today via a 7-Day Canada and New England cruise on Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam. We did some quick advance research and found these interesting facts.

Quebec City mural14 Fun Facts About Quebec City, Canada

1. Quebec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec.

2. While Québec is the city’s official name in both French and English, the city is most often referred to as Quebec City (or Ville de Québec in French) to distinguish the city from the province.

A panorama of Quebec City's skyline. Photo by Martin St-Amant.

A panorama of Quebec City’s skyline. Photo by Martin St-Amant.


3. With a population of 516,622 residents in 2011, Quebec City is the second most populous city in the Quebec province after Montreal, which is 145 miles to the southwest.

4. Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, arrived in Quebec in 1535, but only stayed for only one winter before going back to France. Cartier returned again in 1541 to build a permanent settlement, but it was abandoned within a year due to the harsh weather conditions and hostility of the natives.

5. On July 3rd, 1608, a French explorer and diplomat Samuel de Champlain arrived. He set up a permanent wooden fort and fur trading post, and founded Quebec City. Champlain was also called “The Father of New France“, serving as the administrator of the new colony for the rest of his life.

6. Quebec City  is located at the intersection of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles River. The city’s name is derived from Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows”.

7. During the American Revolution, troops from the southern colonies attempted to ‘liberate’ Quebec City in the Battle of Quebec, so that Canada would join the Continental Congress and become part of the original United States of America. The American revolutionaries were defeated and resulted in the  split of British North America into two distinct political entities.

Quebec City, Canada8. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only fortified city walls remaining in the Americas north of Mexico.  The area inside the 2.85 miles of city walls was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. 

9. The massive Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Hotel dominates Quebec City’s skyline from the top of Cap-Diamant. The hotel was designed by architect Bruce Price as one of a series of chateay-style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company. The railway company sought to encourage luxury tourism and bring wealthy travelers to its trains. Today the  Chateau Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel.

10. Along the edge of the cliff in front of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, the Dufferin Terrace walkway offers picturesque views of the Saint Lawrence River.

funicular, Quebec City, Canada11. Quebec City’s Haute-Ville (Upper Town) is linked to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town) by your choice of the Escalier (“neck-breaking” steps) or the Old Quebec Funicular,  a 210-ft funicular railway that first opened on November 17, 1879.

12. Quebec City was the meeting place for two major World War II conferences focused on D-Day landing plans: the First Quebec Conference in 1943 with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, William Lyon Mackenzie King (Canada’s prime minister) and T.V. Soong (China’s minister of foreign affairs) attending. In 1944, the Second Quebec Conference was attended by Churchill and Roosevelt.

13. Today more than 95 percent of Quebec City residents speak French, with a third of the population speaking both English and French.

14. Quebec City had a NHL hockey team called the Quebec Nordiques between 1979 to 1995. The team moved to Denver in 1995 and became the Colorado Avalanche.

Learn more about Quebec City with these resources:

Moon Québec City

La Joie de Vivre in Quebec City, Canada

Exploring Old Quebec: Walking Tours

Have you visited Quebec City? What “fun fact” can you add to this list? 

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