The capital of the Quebec province in eastern Canada, Quebec City is one of the major tourist spots in the country, with practically everything the visitor could want, from fantastic sights to great food.

Often considered the first true city in Canada, Quebec City was founded as a permanent settlement in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain on the abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement previously known as Stadacona. The city’s name, taken from the Algonquin aboriginal word for ‘where the river narrows’, refers to the width of the river running through Quebec. The site was capital of French Canada and New France between 1608 and 1763 (excepting a brief period between 1627 and 1632) but French rule was disrupted by the British victory at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, later resulting in the ceding of New France to Britain.

Capital of Canada from 1859 to 1865, Quebec City remains one of Canada’s largest and most important areas and, with plenty to see and do, a thoroughly enchanting tourist location.


You cannot visit Quebec City and miss the Old Town (Vieux Québec). Classified a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old Town contains some of the finest architecture in the city, as well as the old fortification walls and the Plains of Abraham, now a beautiful park replete with memorials to the historic battle.

Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as far back as 1893, the Château Frontenac is another impressive edifice, which professes to be the most photographed hotel in North America.

Quebec City’s religious buildings include some of the oldest and most picturesque in the continent. Particularly important is the Basilica of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré. Rebuilt after a fire in 1922, the Basilica is a pilgrimage spot for Roman Catholics, containing a number of relics as well as the only copy in the world of Michelangelo’s masterpiece ‘Pietà’. Also impressive is the Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral, one of the oldest sees in the New World. Built in 1647 but twice destroyed by fires, the current building was constructed in 1843 with a wonderful neoclassical façade and contains a number of fine works of religious art.

One further major point of interest is the Montmorency Falls. Named by Champlain in 1613 after Henri II, duc de Montmorency, the Falls stand at 83 metres tall, significantly greater than its counterpart in Niagara Falls. During January, an 85 bed ice hotel, one of the world’s largest ice sculptures, is erected until April.

Quebec City is also home to a number of fine museums and galleries, including the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Civilisation, the Naval Museum and the Musée de l’Amérique française.

However, Quebec City is known worldwide for its fabulous annual festivals and events. The most popular of these is the Winter Carnival, the biggest of its type in the world, which was first held in 1894 and now contains night parades, snow baths, concerts and an ice sculpture festival, all supervised by the iconic Bonhomme Carnaval snowman, ambassador of the event. Over the course of the 17 days, millions of visitors partake in the festival. Of the many other events in the city, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 23rd and June 24th and the Festival d’été de Québec in July are also extremely popular.

Quebec City has a number of local sports teams, including Quebec City Kebekwa (the basketball team soon to compete in the ABA), Quebec Radio X (competing in the LNAH hockey league at the Colisée Pepsi arena) and Quebec Capitales (competing in the Can-Am baseball league at the Stade Municipal).


Quebec City’s Vieux Québec is the place to go for shopping, packed with fantastic stores. However, also try Dufferin Terrace and the Quartier Petit-Champlain, the latter being filled with outlets selling local goods.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Reflecting the Old Town’s importance, the Vieux Québec is also lined with fabulous restaurants. That said, Quebec City claims to have more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in North America, so you’ll never be far away from somewhere great to eat. Of the many establishments, the Restaurant Mandarin in the rue d’Auteil and the Restaurant le Marie Clarisse in Petit Champlain Québec are recommended.

There are many excellent pubs, bars and clubs in Quebec City, particularly around La Grande Allée and St. Jean Street.

Alternatively, for some high culture, try the Grand Théâtre de Quebec in the boulevard René-Lévesque East.

Tourist Information

  • Québec City Tourism, Saint-Joseph Est 399, QC G1k 8E2, Quebec City
  • Telephone: +1 418 641 6654
  • Website:

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