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27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City

I don’t know of anyone who’s been to Quebec City who hasn’t loved the place. It’s got a 400 year history set against the backdrop of a walled city filled with narrow, winding cobbled streets. The place oozes history and charm in a manner reminiscent of old European cities. The last time I spent any time in the city was back in university days when the Chateau Frontenac was actually the hotel we used for a week long ski trip. Those prices are long gone but still I think I’m overdue for a visit.

If you’re heading to Quebec City you might enjoy reading these 27 fun, interesting and useful facts.

"Old Quebec City"

Old Quebec City

  • Jacques Cartier, a French explorer landed here in 1535. It wasn’t until 1608 when Samuel de Champlain arrived that a permanent wooden fort and fur trading post were set up.
  • Quebec City – not Montreal – is the capital of the province of Quebec.
  • The word “Kebec” is an Algonquin word meaning where the river narrows.
  • Quebec City’s location is at the intersection of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles River.
  • Quebec City’s 400th anniversary was celebrated in 2008. It’s the oldest French speaking community in North America.
  • Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico. It has 4.6 kilometers of walls.
  • The oldest part of Quebec City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
  • The population in 2011 of Quebec City was 516, 622. The metropolitan area has a population of approximately 765,706.
  • Only about 1.5% of the population speaks English. Over 95% of the population is French speaking. But more than a third of the population can speak both English and French.
  • Quebec City’s median age is 43.5 – the oldest median age of any major city in Canada.
  • The city’s main event is the Quebec Winter Carnival which takes place every year in February.
"Ice sculpture at Quebec's Winter carnival"

Ice sculpture at Quebec’s Winter Carnival

"Chateau Frontenac"

Chateau Frontenac

  • The Plains of Abraham is the site of the 1759 battle between General Wolfe and Montcalm. This is where Quebec’s biggest holiday – St. Jean Baptiste Day gets celebrated every year. It’s also a 103 hectare park used by tourists and locals alike on a year round basis. It’s got a great skating rink in winter.
Skating rink on the Plains of Abraham

Skating rink on the Plains of Abraham

  • On the winter solstice the sun rises at 7:27 am and sets at 3:59 pm.
  • On the summer solstice the sun rises at 4:51 am and sets at 8:43 pm.
  • Quebec City has 149 days on average per year when the snow is at least one inch deep.
  • The average annual snowfall is 342 cms (135 inches) and the average annual rainfall is 86 cms (34 inches).
  • The average July temperature is 25C (77F) and the average January temperature is -7.8C (18F).
  • J.A. Moisan Epicier dating back to 1871 is the oldest grocery store in North America.
"The oldest grocery store in North America - dating back to 1871"

The oldest grocery store in North America

  • Eating is one of the many pleasures in Quebec City. Read – Where I Lost My Poutine Virginity Twice in an Hour.
  • Quebec City is home to a Chocolate Museum. Other museums worth visiting include Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec – an art museum, Musée de la Civilisation, La Citadelle de Québec – North America’s largest British fortress and Musée de l’Amérique Francaise – Canada’s oldest museum.
  • There are 85 Roman Catholic parishes in the Quebec City area. The Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral near the Chateau Frontenac is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec. Other churches you’ll find in Quebec City are one for each of these religions – Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness and Buddhist.
  • The legal drinking age in Quebec City – and all of Quebec  for that matter is 18.
  • The provincial government is the largest employer in the city.
  • There are 37 National Historic Sites of Canada in and around Quebec City.
  • Quebec City is home to Laval University – which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • There are three ski resorts close to Quebec City – Mont. Ste. Anne, Stoneham and Le Massif.

Have you ever been to Quebec City? What made your visit memorable?

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City

Le Massif

Other posts in my fun, weird and interesting facts series you might enjoy.

Leigh McAdam

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Photo credit: Old Quebec, ice sculpture, Chateau Frontenac, grocery store,

Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 58 Comments

  • Christina says:

    I had no idea the most photographed hotel was in … Quebec City?!? Odd. It does look memorable though the center part reminds me of the hotel in the Shining! The ice sculpture is beautiful, would love to see the winter carnival one day. I still have a lot of Canada to explore!

  • Christina says:

    I had no idea the most photographed hotel was in … Quebec City?!? Odd. It does look memorable though the center part reminds me of the hotel in the Shining! The ice sculpture is beautiful, would love to see the winter carnival one day. I still have a lot of Canada to explore!

  • Lisa says:

    I love Québec City but I have only been in the summer – some day I’m going to make it to Carnaval!!

  • Lisa says:

    I love Québec City but I have only been in the summer – some day I’m going to make it to Carnaval!!

  • jan says:

    I loved Quebec City – the way the city is divided into high and low – the beautiful river and ferry crossing to explore the opposite bank – the architecture – and the walls.
    What made it special for me was that we stayed in an apartment where the owners (wife a Canadian from Vancouver, husband from Q.C. and their two lovely daughters with Inuit names) made us so welcome. They lived next door and were very friendly and helpful.
    It is always the people that make a place extra special.

  • jan says:

    I loved Quebec City – the way the city is divided into high and low – the beautiful river and ferry crossing to explore the opposite bank – the architecture – and the walls.
    What made it special for me was that we stayed in an apartment where the owners (wife a Canadian from Vancouver, husband from Q.C. and their two lovely daughters with Inuit names) made us so welcome. They lived next door and were very friendly and helpful.
    It is always the people that make a place extra special.

  • jan says:

    I forgot to tell you that I absolutely love your first photo. I wish I was there in that photo right now. It would be beautiful to see the ice sculptures too.

  • jan says:

    I forgot to tell you that I absolutely love your first photo. I wish I was there in that photo right now. It would be beautiful to see the ice sculptures too.

  • Nancie says:

    Love this, Leigh! I was fortunate enough to have both Quebec City and Montreal as part of my sales territory, for 7 years. I ended up loving both cities. However, the first time I visited QC to meet customers I left in tears. My French was so bad, and English was not exactly spoken on any street corner. Over the years, my French did improve, and the customers that I built relationships with were so gracious.

    I was fortunate enough to stay at the Frontenac many times. On one visit I was given the smallest room imaginable. The next day I was upgraded to a huge, beautiful room overlooking the river.

    I’ve also been to the winter carnival. That was eons ago, long before my sales rep days. I remember it being so much fun and SO COLD…I think we drank a lot of the local hooch just to keep warm!!

  • Nancie says:

    Love this, Leigh! I was fortunate enough to have both Quebec City and Montreal as part of my sales territory, for 7 years. I ended up loving both cities. However, the first time I visited QC to meet customers I left in tears. My French was so bad, and English was not exactly spoken on any street corner. Over the years, my French did improve, and the customers that I built relationships with were so gracious.

    I was fortunate enough to stay at the Frontenac many times. On one visit I was given the smallest room imaginable. The next day I was upgraded to a huge, beautiful room overlooking the river.

    I’ve also been to the winter carnival. That was eons ago, long before my sales rep days. I remember it being so much fun and SO COLD…I think we drank a lot of the local hooch just to keep warm!!

    • @Nancie Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good memories ted up with the city. I just booked a ticket to Quebec City in July & am very much looking forward to the Quebec brand of hospitality. I bet your Korean is now better than your French after so many years away.

  • Arti says:

    I have never been there but it does look pretty inviting!! The fact that only few speak English makes me a bit nervy but I know a bit of French so might not be such a big problem. Your captures are fascinating.
    Have a nice day Leigh :)

  • Arti says:

    I have never been there but it does look pretty inviting!! The fact that only few speak English makes me a bit nervy but I know a bit of French so might not be such a big problem. Your captures are fascinating.
    Have a nice day Leigh :)

  • Kate says:

    I am about to apply for the Canadian working holiday visa so loving posts about Canada at the moment. I actually know very little about the country except that Canadians are nice and that winter is cold. Thanks for the post!

  • Kate says:

    I am about to apply for the Canadian working holiday visa so loving posts about Canada at the moment. I actually know very little about the country except that Canadians are nice and that winter is cold. Thanks for the post!

  • Alouise says:

    These are such fun tips. I haven’t been to Quebec City, or even to Quebec, but I keep thinking about going there next year, and I keep running into posts about Quebec. It seems to be a sign. Probably time to dig out my old High School French notes.

  • Alouise says:

    These are such fun tips. I haven’t been to Quebec City, or even to Quebec, but I keep thinking about going there next year, and I keep running into posts about Quebec. It seems to be a sign. Probably time to dig out my old High School French notes.

  • This post put QC on my must see while in Canada list. Thanks :D

  • This post put QC on my must see while in Canada list. Thanks :D

  • Ruby Sun says:

    I like it :-) The facts are interesting. And they are right, of course! Thanks the writer! This helped me a lot with my problems on Quebec… But I’m bad at French. Bonjour! Au revoir!

  • Ruby Sun says:

    By the way, this is a fun facts website. I’m going to tell my friends about this awesome website!

  • mikaila says:

    this is so cool

  • Andrew says:

    this website is crap

  • @Andrew Thanks for your lovely comment. Easy to be nasty when you don’t actually meet the person isn’t it. I find constructive criticism works a lot better.

  • sara says:

    this helped myoject

  • Teddi says:

    What is the hotel made of? Also,can you go inside it?

  • bob says:

    this is a good facts

  • Glad you liked them Bob.

  • Trevor Vernola says:

    As a Traveler of many places i do appreciate me some quebec. this place is swaggy af. i love being amongst the frenchnadian people. these facts made me lol a few times. bonjour amigos

  • @Trevor Happy I had you LOL.

  • Gabriel Wallace says:

    Hey this was really useful I was visiting this place today

  • @Gabriel That’s great.

  • Mélanie says:

    Great job there! As a Quebec City resident I can say all the info here is correct. I might add that Bonhomme, who is the mascot of the Winter Carnival, is recognized all over the world and is the only mascot who is allowed to speak. Apparently (but that would need to be verified), there is a voice modeler in the costume so that the voice always sounds the same no matter who is inside. Bonhommme has travaled the world and is considred as the City’s ambassador. If you don’t speak any French you might feel a bit lost here, as some of my USA friends have experienced, since ALL signs are in French (whereas they’re both in French and English in Montreal) and most people are not that comfortable with the Shakespearian language, but in the most touristic areas (such as the Old city) almost everyone speaks both French and English fluently. Sir Paul McCartney went on a bike ride on the Plains of Abrahams everyday during his stay in 2008 and extended his vacation here because he liked it so much! This huge park that overlooks the St-Lawrence River is a beautiful spot for a picnic. Quebec City is also on Metallica’s and the Rolling Stone’s top places to be list : they love the fact that people leave them enjoy the scenery while they roam the streets. Oh BTW: the Stones are playing on the Plains of Abrahams this summer during the Summer fest :)

    • @Melanie (sorry can’t do accents in comments) Thanks for your great comment. My husband went skating on the Plains of Abraham on our last visit to Quebec City. Magical is how he described it.

  • CHASMISTER AND HANSELROY says:

    what a bae, love quebec and some of these facts blow me away!

  • exomonkey says:

    helped a lt w/ project

  • @exomonkey Glad to hear it.

  • Shanis alfred says:

    I think the same thing

  • student says:

    there should be facts for quebec in the 1600s

  • Josee Couture says:

    I was born in Quebec City and moved to Toronto when I was 22. Great blog! I had no idea that our Chateau Frontenac was the most photographed hotel in the world. Quebec City is a beautiful City. I miss it sometimes. My mother worked at the first and for a long time the only Holt Renfrew store in the country. It was not a department store like it is today and had an elevator with a guy opening and closing the gate before the door. One of my favorite memories of Quebec City.

  • vinod kumar gupta says:

    after reading i think this place is worth seeing .

  • rosea says:

    yup u all are right i went there in grade 7 in middle school for a field trip it was funnish

  • jayden says:

    Quebec is a beautiful city

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