View of Québec City from the St. Lawrence River.
Québec City Album
Click on the thumbnail to see the full photo.
Québec City is the capital of the province of Québec. It is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, where it joins with the St. Charles River. Past Île D’Orléans, the river widens as it approaches the sea. The name “Québec” likely originates from an Algonquian word meaning “narrowing of the river”.
In 1535, the native Iroquois in a village called Stadacona saw the arrival of European explorers led by Jacques Cartier. But sometime before the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1608 to establish a trading post, the Iroquois had disappeared and in their place were a group of Algonquians.
During the Seven Years War, French territory was lost to England. The Plains of Abraham, just to the west of the city, was the scene of an important battle on September 13, 1759. The British forces under the command of Major General James Wolfe scaled the cliffs a few kilometers past the city. The French forces were commanded by Lt-Gen Montcalm. But although the armies had roughly equal numbers, the well-trained British troops had little trouble defeating the poorly trained French militia. However, both Wolfe and Montcalm were mortally wounded during the battel. Five days later, Québec surrendered.
We visited for a couple of days in 1995. We took the train from Toronto, changing trains in Montréal, riding first class for an extra bit of comfort. After arriving, we tried going to our bed and breakfast by taxi. Unfortunately, the roads in the old city were jammed, and after ten minutes in a traffic jam, we decided to walk instead. It wouldn’t have been too bad, but the walk was all uphill.
For the first full day, we toured the city on a tourist bus. It was the type of tour where you could disembark anywhere along the route and board a later bus to continue the tour.
We found Québec City to be a great getaway destination, with lots of things to see and do throughout the city and environs.
Some people like to say that Québec City is the most European of North American cities. But based on our visits to Europe, I can say that Québec City is most definitely a North America city, having much more in common with other old cities in North America like Halifax and Kingston.