You have the answer. The question is: “What is one of the most beautiful, charming, and magical cities in Canada?”
Next to Montreal, Québec City is the second largest city in the province of Québec, with the 2011 Census indicating the population of the city proper at just over 516,000 and of the metropolitan area at just over 765,000. This indicates a growth rate of approximately 5% since the last Census. The city’s landmass is approximately 485 sq. km (186 sq. miles). Much of the city’s (and region’s) economy revolves around tourism, transportation, the private sector, and to an extent the military and provincial government. Québec is known for its pulp and paper, food, metal, wood items, chemicals, and electronics.
The city is located along the Saint Lawrence River (meeting the St. Charles River). While much of the city is flat, the awesome grandeur of the Laurentian Mountains can be seen to the north. If you travel to or from Québec by land – this is especially true by train (take The Ocean some time for one of Canada’s most scenic rail rides) – you get to see the city and surrounding landscape up close. Speaking of travel, here are a few distances from Québec relative to some other major cities:
- Montreal. Approximately 250 km (155 miles) west.
- Ottawa. Approximately 380 km (235 miles) west.
- Boston. Approximately 495 km (307 miles) south.
- Halifax. Approximately 640 km (397 miles) east.
- Toronto. Approximately 800 km (500 miles) west.
Whether by car, train, bus, or plane, Québec is within a few hours reach to many other major travel destinations. Consider adding Québec to your itinerary. There are countless festivals in or near the city, the most famous of which is Winter Carnival, there’s the Citadelle, and there’s nature’s own splendid beauty.
Québec has an amazing heritage and history. Unlike similar older centers such as Nova Scotia’s Port Royal, Québec was established with the idea of being a city, versus an outpost. In 1535, Jacques Cartier erected a fort in Québec. His dream to create a permanent settlement, some five years later, didn’t come to fruition. But it didn’t take long to become a reality, as in 1608 Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City. 100 years after that, the British took over the city, but their control was wrestled back by France a year later. Two years after that, as part of “New France”, the city was ceded to Great Britain. Bearing witness to the many struggles the city has endured is The Citadelle de Québec. The first of its protective walls was built in the 17th century, with some fortifications being made in the early and mid-1700s, and more in the 1820s (the famous star-shaped battlements that exist today) courtesy of the United Kingdom. This amazing structure has served since 1920 as the home of the Royal 22e Régiment of the Canadian Forces, as well as serving as a military installation. In 1943 and 1944, leaders such as Churchill and Roosevelt discussed World War II strategies there.
Despite its sometimes turbulent and important military history, this large Canadian city maintains its old-world charm year around. Tourists flock to “Old Québec”, as it’s called. There’s every reason it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Treasure: in fact, there are probably hundreds of reasons! Stepping through the walls of The Citadelle de Québec is like stepping into another world.
The city offers so much. For starters, there’s the sheer age of it, along with its military history and importance. Add in two impressive Cathedrals – the Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica-and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity – along with the Jesuits Chapel and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, amazing dining and shopping experiences, several museums, and, well, we hope you get the picture. Certainly, you’ll end up taking countless pictures of your own.
Depending on which season you prefer, look into booking a night or two at one of the many boutique hotels in the old section of town, and enjoy your stay in this historic Canadian city.