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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..”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.