The streets and buildings of Old Quebec must be experienced because of their quaint European nature and the variety of cafes, shops and boutiques. This part of the city is divided into the Upper and Lower sections by a steep cliff that historically protected the citadel located above - and whose cannons controlled the passage of ships on the St. Lawrence River. Photo taken looking down into the Petit Champlain district of the Lower section as we descend from higher ground.
Walking in QC
Walking is the key to enjoying old Quebec and the lower town. With the exception of visiting outlying attractions such as Montmorency Falls, the Beaupre Coast and Ile d'Orleans, there's no need for you to use your vehicle in the city. The Radisson Hotel with its ample parking, makes an excellent home base, situated as it is two blocks from the main Parliament building that is located just outside the Saint Louis gate that leads to the old city. You should plan to spend at least two days exploring Old Quebec and Quartier Petit-Champlain
Taxes and tipping
Taxes and tipping
Most goods and services are subject to a federal tax (GST) and a provincial tax (TVQ) in Québec. Foreign residents may be entitled to certain tax rebates on tourism-related goods and services, however. For more information, contact
Visitor Rebate Program
Summerside Tax Centre
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
275 Pope Road, Suite 104
Summerside, PE C1N 6C6
Tel.: 1-800-668-4748 (inside Canada)
(902) 432-5608 (outside Canada)
Service is rarely included in restaurant and hotel bills. Tips usually range from 10% to 15% of the total bill, excluding tax. Cab drivers, bellhops and hairdressers are usually tipped at the customer's discretion.
Buying alcoholic beverages
Wines and spirits are sold in outlets of the Société des alcools du Québec . Beer and local ciders, along with a limited selection of wines, are available in supermarkets and 'dépanneurs' (convenience stores).
Store business hours
Most stores are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Some may be closed on Sunday or after 6:00 p.m. Monday to Wednesday.
New Year's (January 1 and 2)
Victoria Day (next to last Monday in May)
Québec National Holiday (June 24)
Canada Day (July 1)
Labour Day (first Monday in September)
Thanksgiving (second Monday in October)
Christmas (December 25 and 26)
Currency and credit cards
Legal tender is the Canadian dollar, which divides into 100 cents. Bills come in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-dollar denominations; coins in use are 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents and 1 and 2 dollars.
Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted most everywhere. Travellers' cheques can be cashed in major hotels, some restaurants and large stores in major cities; otherwise they should be cashed at foreign exchange offices or banks.
Banks are generally open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. An extensive network of automatic banking machines is also accessible at all times.
Québec, like everywhere else in North America, uses 110-volt, 60-cycle AC electric power. Since electrical outlets are of the American type, visitors wishing to use other types of plugs must bring an adapter.
In 1980 Québec (and all of Canada) traded in pounds and inches for the metric system. You'll notice the road signs are all in kilometres-just multiply by .6 to get the equivalent in miles. Gas is sold by the litre. There are 4.5 litres in one Canadian gallon and 3.8 litres in one American gallon. Time is generally indicated using the 24-hour system: 8 h means 8 a.m. and 20 h means 8 p.m.
There's no winter like a Quebec City winter!
Quebec City is one of Canada's snowiest cities. On average, we receive 3 m of snow every year but the 2007-2008 winter was our snowiest ever, with about 5.6 m of snow!! It is not rare to see the first snowfall in October, but we sometimes have to wait until January before there is any snow to speak of. As a rule of thumb, the milder the temperature is, the more snow we get!
Temperatures usually drop below 0°C in November, and sometimes drop below -20°C in January and February. Also, thanks to the "wind chill" factor, the coldest days can actually feel like -45°C! Although we might get beautiful sunny days in March, we usually have to wait until April before we can see the snow melt away.
There's very little one can do against the heat, but you can always dress against the cold so if you're planning on visiting Quebec City in winter, make sure to bring a pair of winter boots and a good coat, hat, scarf and gloves. Don't let the cold keep you from enjoying a nice day at the Carnaval or on the slopes!
Jardins de Metis
Reford Gardens and International Garden Festival
This garden, which the Michelin guide to Canada calls "among the most beautiful in the world," sits on a peninsula on the south shore of the St. Lawrence about 220 miles northeast of Quebec City. It was created after World War I by Elsie Reford, a Montreal society woman who migrated north each summer to escape city heat and enjoy the fresh air hence the garden's former name, Reford Gardens. Her great-grandson is the garden's general manager, which may explain why much of the magic of the place survives.
The 42-acre garden still feels very much like a private estate. Its greatest assets are Elsie Reford's artful plantings, fortunately preserved over the years. Traditional flower beds, as well as numerous large areas where plants have been naturalized, merge into the surrounding native ferns and forest. The plants fit so perfectly into their environment that, if you did not know otherwise, you would think most of the plants were native.
200, route 132