10 Truths About Québec City (According to Me)

I have been living here in Québec City for two and a half weeks now, and during my time here, I have learned/observed a few things which I would like to share with you:

1. The city hates pedestrians.

 

It’s deceiving. You don’t push it.

 Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. Québec is a beautiful city with lovely people, but when they get behind the wheel of a car, something seems to go off. First, people accelerate when they see you. No joke. I’m talking from experience and with the admission of a real Quebecois guy himself! Secondly, the traffic lights are horrible. The city is stuck between European rules and Canadian ones. In the rest of Canada you can make a right turn on a red light, but in Québec you can’t. There are multiple advanced turn signals, randomly changing lights, and the pedestrian crossing signals never change fast enough and when they do change, you don’t have enough time to cross. And if you are waiting on the sidewalk for the signal to come on, drivers will get mad at you for not crossing when there is a red light. It’s a no-win situation. I have become a professional jaywalker out of pure necessity.

A sampling of the hills

2. Québec is built on hills.

Lots of hills – in Old Québec/Downtown and the Ste Foy region at least (where the university I’m staying at is located). Biking takes a lot of energy because you go up and down and up and down. Walking around Old Québec is a constant series of hills as well as admiring in awe at the talented bus drivers who navigate the roads with intense skill.

3. People are fit.

Probably because of the hills, and an intense love for bikes, rollerblading and running.

4. Malls close ridiculously early.

near the parliament buildings

The university is about a 15-20 min walking distance from 3 malls, all sort of connected. The unfortunate thing is that the malls all close at 6. And this is a common occurrence throughout the province. In Ontario, malls close at 9 or 10 on a weekday and 6 or 7 on the weekends. How are high school students suppose to spend their time? Doing homework? That’s nonsense!

5. There is a good transportation system.

Although I am not here for very long (only two and a half more weeks left), I have a bus pass: and it has served me well! The main buses between the campus and downtown comes every 2-5 mins or so. Plus, my pass is cheaper than back home, it’s re-loadable, has my picture and an electronic chip that beeps when you get on. Soooo cooool!!!

6. They can sniff out an English speaker from a kilometre away

This happens quite frequently: even though I speak to someone in French, they can tell I am an anglophone, so they immediately switch to English, even if my French is better than their English. It is annoying and a bit insulting because most of the time we understand each other perfectly fine in French.

Recognize it from Catch Me If You Can?
7. There is a lot of history

Compared to Toronto, even Ottawa, the history of the city is really obvious. Recollecting wars, founders, acts and treaties are common occurrences in the downtown area. It was one of the first, if not the first, Canadian city to be founded and with that title comes a long history. It is a nice thing to see though, because in other places, history is not so prominent and remembering the past takes a lot more effort. But then again, the motto of the province is «Je me souviens», which means “I remember”.

8. They love maple.
I’ve fallen in love too.

It’s EVERYWHERE. Maple syrup, maple butter, maple sugar, maple candy, maple ice cream, maple fudge, maple donuts, maple tea, maple cotton candy, maple meat rubs, and my guess, even maple poutine.Good thing I adore maple 😀

9. Beer = Pride

I am not a beer drinker myself, but la biere quebecoise has been recommended to me numerous amounts of times by various people. Common phrases like, “it’s not like other beers you’ve tasted”, or “we have fantastic microbreweries” can be heard all around. A Quebecois guy told me jokingly that (roughly translated) “raising the elbow”, referring to lifting a mug of beer, is a popular past time. I guess I’ll just have to take their word for it.

10. I love it.

The parliament building of Québec – L’Assemblée Nationale

I would have to say, this is one of my favourite cities that I have ever been too. I admit, I haven’t been to the suburbs, but suburbs everywhere usually follow the same cookie cutter template, hence the label of suburbia. But the downtown area is fantastic. It is stunningly beautiful in so many places, the people are really kind, the bus drivers are the nicest I have ever encountered in my life and there is a great vibe overall. I don’t know what their winters are like, but most Canadian places are worst than Toronto. Still, it is a great place to be.

♥ Turtles

More info on Québec City and the province of Québec

The city
The province
Wikipedia: Quebec City / The province

Note: This is just my opinion and a bit of generalization. Best way to form your own opinion of a place is to go there yourself. I highly recommend it. Also, all pictures were taken by moi.

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