8 Facts You Might Not Have Known About Quebec

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I’m currently in Montreal after having spent the last several days visiting Toronto and Ottawa by train (The Canadian passenger rail company VIA Rail is instituting a new wifi service so I and several other bloggers were invited to try it out.) I’ll be heading to Quebec City later today and I figured it would be a good time to do another installment of “8 Facts You Might Not Have Known..”

  1. Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area. At over 1,500,000 sq/km it is almost 50% larger than Ontario and only slightly smaller than Alaska. It is not as large as the Canadian territory of Nunavut which is over 2,000,000 sq/km in size. Nunavut is not a province, however.
  2. It has the oldest English language newspaper in North America. Despite being a French speaking province, Quebec City is home to the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, an English language newspaper. It was founded in 1764, making it the oldest surviving newspaper and English newspaper, in North America.
  3. America once invaded Quebec. The Battle of Chateauguay took place on October 26, 1813 during the War of 1812. 4,000 Americans attempted to take Montreal but were repulsed by 1,630 French Canadians. If the Americans had been successful, all subsequent North American history would have been different and there might not even be a Canada today.
  4. The Appalachian Mountains run through Quebec. The mountain range keeps going after it hits the border and extends through Quebec all the way up to Labrador. I don’t think the Quebecois have their own version of hillbillies, however.
  5. Quebec was the scene of many terrorism acts in the 60’s and 70’s. The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) was a Quebec separtist organization which committed several political murders and bombings.
  6. It took 30 years to finish the 1976 Olympics. The 1976 Olympics were held in Montreal and the city took on a huge debt to finance the games. The mayor of Montreal famously said “the Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby”. Well, men started having babies when the bonds to pay for the Olympics weren’t finally paid off until 2006.
  7. Olympic Stadium is largest inclined tower in the world. The stadium built fo the ’76 Olympics is unique in many ways. The tower, which supports the fabric dome roof of the stadium, is the largest inclined tower in the world (574 ft). The building wasn’t completed in time for the 1976 Olympics and ended up costing over $1.6b. Today the stadium has no permanent tenant since the Expos left for Washington. There have been calls to demolish the stadium because it has so many structural problems, but because it sits on top of a subway line, demolition would cost an additional $700m. This is why it is known as the “Big O” (as in owe).
  8. The Montreal Canadiens are the most storied team in NHL history. The Canadiens were one of the original teams of the National Hockey Association in 1909. They have won the Stanley Cup 24 times and were the fist team in NHL history to win 3,000 games.

18 thoughts on “8 Facts You Might Not Have Known About Quebec”

  1. Great post! Love hearing visitors’ impressions of our city, and particularly the hilarious Olympics debacle. Safe travels.

  2. Another thing you might not have known is that the English speakers of Quebec (yes, we have a large English-speaking community. It’s not all French) built Montreal into a lively, financially-powerful city. Since 1976, “separation anxiety” has driven this beautiful city into a downward tailspin.

  3. Great post Gary! I loved the Via Rail when I took it to Montreal as well… it definitely beats the “greyhound experince”. One thing I also found that was really funny was the starbucks.. it was starbucks café lol

  4. I lived in Montreal for about 5 years and visited Quebec City several times. It’s a gorgeous city, filled with history, beautiful buildings and good food :-) It’s probably the closest North America gets to a European city, but with a modern, North American vibe: the best of both worlds!

  5. I loved Montreal. A beautiful mix of old and new world charm. Will you be going to the Madelen Islands? Take it from me they are absolutely fantastic! (Although the Ferry ride from PEI was a bit ropey!).

  6. Wow,a trip across Canada via VIA Rail (sorry couldn’t resist!) is an absolute dream for me. Interesting to hear that Quebec seems more divided politically/culturally/linguistically than Montreal. I’d hear it has a rep for being quite radical. I recently had to research Montreal for a post about it and am now seriously fired up about the place despite having never been! I hope I get to watch a Habs Ice Hockey game and sample some poutine before too long. Quebec seems int too, oh for unlimited time and money! Thanks, Jools

  7. “They have won the Stanley Cup 24 times and were the fist team in NHL history to win 3,000 games. ”



  8. You’ve got to be kidding, Quebec is FULL of hillbillies! Don’t let the French fool you.

    Try poutine, Montreal-style bagels, and smoked meat while you’re here.

  9. Welcome to Montreal. I moved here from England two years ago and blog about the difference between the two in Dear England, Love Canada at http://annekostalas.blogspot.com.
    Good luck on your travels. I drove alone across the States a few years back. Loved every minute of it.

  10. Great list, Gary! Yes, those damn Canadiens… We’re still looking for our first Cup here in Vancouver. :)

    • Well, considering how great our team has been doing for the past years, you might as well just win the Cup this year ;)

      • Well, it’s been predicted this year! Aw, we don’t have to fight over this, do we? ;) How Canadian to be filling up the comments section with hockey banter…

  11. Good points! We do love our Olympic Stadium, although it is often referred to as the expensive UFO (not only did we have trouble paying it, but there were many problems with the roof that made the headlines and cost a lot of money).

    I like that you mentionned our history and underlined the fact that we could be Americans today. I wonder what nickname you’d give us ;)

  12. The Apalachian are only on the sout shore of St-Lawrence River , on the North Shore it’s called the Bouclier Canadien. It’s not the same kinds of soil and rock. There is a little part of Appalachian in Newfoudland but not in Labrador (bouclier canadien) wich is on the north shore of St-Lawrence River.


  13. We loved Quebec City…great place to take photos. We were there on Canada Day, so there was a lot of activity (including a fair share of separatists protesting).
    Oh…and have some poutine. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had it, but it’s a pretty guilty pleasure for a lot of folks :)

  14. Quebec definitely has its own version of a hillbilly. If you get a chance, go and eat at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. You will see what I mean.



    (It’s famous, and apparently an amazing culinary experience. The head chef and owner, though, is pretty wacked)

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