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Quebec City


Canada facts & history in brief

Quebec City is the capital of Quebec province, in Canada, at the merging of the St Charles and St Lawrence rivers.
The Huron-Wendat Indians lived I the village called Stadacona on the site of present day Quebec City.
Their nation was devastated in the first half of the 17th century, with disease and intertribal wars.
The survivors resettled at a place called Wendake, where they still live today.
In 1535, the French explorer Jacques Cartier landed at Stadacona and claimed it in the name of the King of France.
In 1608 French settlers established Kebec (An Algonquin word meaning 'where the river narrows') as a fur trading post on Cape Diamond, laying the foundations for today's city.
The English snatched control of the growing city in 1629.
A few years later a treaty returned the territory to the French.
The English victory over the French in the battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, where both the English and the French generals died, give the English sovereignty over Canada in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
In 1791 the territory was divided into Upper and Lower Canada, with the vast majority of French speakers settling in Lower Canada.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Lower Canada became Quebec and Quebec City as its capital.
In 1841, the city became the capital of the United Provinces of Canada, when the Lower and Upper Canada were joined.
In 1867 Ottawa was declared Capital of the Canadian Confederation, joining the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In 1832, British soldiers returning from India introduced cholera to the city and around 3500 people died.
To prevent a recurrence the local authorities set up a quarantine station on Grosse Ile, a small island in the St Lawrence River to the city's east.
One of its busiest periods was during the 1840s, when the Irish potato famine drove 100,000 people to Canada, 7500 of whom died on Grosse Île of typhus.
The station handled many European immigrants until its closure in 1937.
Quebec City developed during the next century as agricultural, industrial and tourist centre.
The city's development was greatly helped by the successful first Winter Carnival in 1954.
Further development was hindered on a recurring basis by the sometimes violent reawakening of French nationhood in the 1960s and 70s.
In early 2002, its municipal limits were expanded a hundredfold to engulf all of the surrounding cities, including Lévis and Ste Foy.
Part of the city on the cape is called Upper Town (Haute Ville), and the other part at the base of the cliffs is called Lower Town (Basse Ville); both areas have old and new sections.
The walled Old Town (Vieux Quebec), the northeastern end of Upper Town was World Heritage-listed in 1985.
The Rue St Jean, in the heart of the Old Town has many bars, cafes, restaurants.
Running along the cliff edge is a boardwalk called Terrasse Dufferin.
Just north of busy Place Royal, at the eastern end of Lower Town, and surrounded by the oldest network of streets in the city, is Old Port (Vieux Port) that has recently been redeveloped.
West of the Old Town walls are neighbourhoods of St Roch (in Lower Town) and St Jean Baptiste (in Upper Town).
The summer temperatures are between 10°C and 30°C, while in winter it varies between -25°C and -5°C.
Some of Quebec City's many attractions are;
The Upper Town (Haute Ville) is the old fortified part of Quebec City with a wall encircled La Citadelle.
A large fort built as storage facility by the French for gunpowder in 1750, and was completed 70 years later by the British waiting for an American attack.
The large grassy plain near the cliffs is called the Plains of Abraham and it was here that the British won a famous victory over the French in 1759.
Inside the park boundary is the Musée du Quebec, with many priceless pieces in its collections. The Ursuline Convent & Museum, the handsome Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, built in 1804 and the Le Château Frontenac is a glorious landmark hotel with a stately medieval tower are all near the La Citadelle.
Behind the hotel is Terrasse Dufferin.
The oldest and most interesting part of the Lower Town is the section to the immediate east of the Upper Town.
The two 'towns' are connected by a funicular that travels up and down the cape, but the most rewarding path between them is carved out by a collection of steep, winding streets and short-cut staircases, one of them is called Break-Neck Staircase (Escalier Casse-Cou).
The Rue du Petit Champlain and Rue Sous le Cap, two of the oldest streets in North America and, with individual widths of 2.5m also two of the narrowest. The 400-year-old Place Royale is one of Lower Town's main attraction.
Église Notre Dame des Victoires, built in 1688 is one of the oldest stone church on the continent, on the western side of Place Royale.
Hanging in the church is a replica of a wooden boat called the Brézé, a lucky charm for Atlantic navigators.
The city's old harbourside has been redeveloped with some government buildings, modern apartments, retail boutiques, entertainment and recreational facilities.
Nearby is the Musée de la Civilisation, permanently displaying the diversity of native Indians and the early European influence on the continent.
St Jean Baptiste is part of the Upper Town with small picturesque houses, discos, taverns and alfresco restaurants.
St Roch, in the Lower Town, is a former working class residential stronghold, which has been rejuvenated and made trendy in recent years.
Since 1994 guided tours of Grosse Ile show the old disinfection chambers, hospital, cemetery and immigrants' living quarters.
Fifteen kilometres north-west of Quebec City is the small community of Wendake and its reconstructed Huron-Wendat village, called Onhoüa Cheteke, where guided tours let you view the traditional dwelling and old dances.
Quebec City have many interesting events and activities all year around like the coming of spring Festival (de la Neige) in March or the Winter Carnival in the first half of February.
Quebec City's area is about 93 sq km with a population of about 300,000.

Another city we arrived at late night.
Mind you, we've did it on purpose, so we could spend most of our time to sightseeing.
We rang a few places from the Bus Station and managed to book the 'Acadia' at St Ursule Street, and the Security Guy at the station talked us out to walk to it at half past eleven at night to the 'Old City'.
The hotel was Ok.
Went for a conducted tour next morning.
Much to see. Interesting place.
I had a feeling that the city was caught in the time warp, just for the tourist.
Very interesting town, very interesting history.
It was quiet cold.
We enjoyed the city.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

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