Population: 7,886,108 people
Area: 1,365,128 sq/ kilometres
Je me souviens
- Once known as New France, and then Lower Canada
, Quebec has hundreds of years of history, with a twist. The official language is French. Beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and excellent nightlife add mystique to this province of Canada that welcomes anyone regardless of whatever langauge you speak.
The name "Quebec", which comes from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Québecq (Levasseur, 1601) and Kébec (Lescarbot 1609). French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of New France.
The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of Canada to Britain after the Seven Years' War. The proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 restored the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley regions to the province. The Treaty of Versailles, 1783 ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States.
After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada (present day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present day Ontario), with each being granted an elected Legislative Assembly. In 1840, these became Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867. Each became one of the first four provinces.
More than 90% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield, a rough, rocky terrain sculpted and scraped clean of soil by successive ice ages. It is rich in the forestry, mineral and hydro-electric resources that are a mainstay of the Quebec economy. Primary industries sustain small cities in regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord.
Given the province's heritage and the preponderance of French (unique among the Canadian provinces), there is an ongoing debate in Canada regarding the unique status (statut particulier) of Quebec and its people, wholly or partially. Prior attempts to amend the Canadian constitution to acknowledge Quebec as a 'distinct society' – referring to the province's uniqueness within Canada regarding law, language, and culture – have been unsuccessful; however, the federal government under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien would later endorse recognition of Quebec as a "unique society".
At present, nationalism plays a large role in the politics of Quebec, with all three major provincial political parties seeking greater autonomy and recognition of Quebec's unique status. In recent years, much attention has been devoted to examining and defining the nature of Quebec's association with the rest of Canada.
Quebec is great. Immediately after crossing into the province I was met with well marked bicycle lanes, that took me all the way to Quebec City if I so wished. Due to my language barrier with my ability to speak fluent french, each person I communicated with took the time to understand me, communicate back and make sure I felt welcome in their province. The picturesque views of the farmland, valleys, and coastal towns hold dear memories in my mind and I would recommend anyone who considers cycling Quebec to do it! Oh, and you can buy beer at gas stations.
I strongly recommend you ride La Route Verte, a bicycle route that travels across most of the province.
The following is a list of journal entries I wrote while travelling through Quebec. Click one to read!