History, culture and politics, Quebec
When walking through an old city you will always come across some nice brass monuments preserving the history of the district and the way of life. We found this brass monument whilst walking the old town just after 9pm and we thought how good it was and a great reminder to our generation of how life was a century ago.
It is a recent piece of art and congratulations to the city management for recording history in this manner. Located in a street very close to L'Hotel de Ville.
As you probably already knew, French is the lingua franca of Quebec City. Yet because this is such a tourist destination, most people are bilingual or at least very good at English. However, out of courtesy, it's always best to know a few French phrases. Politeness always scores you good tourist points.
Being the provincial and cultural capital of the province, this is the heart of French Canada, and also heart of the now-dormant separation issue. Although you're not probably likely to hear much talk about separation on the streets right now, lots of tourists have interest in the topic. When I was in the province, I did find myself asking a few people about their opinions on the topic. It's not exactly a scientific poll, but I did find that the people I at least talked to in Montreal were general against separation, while in Quebec City, opinion seemed to be more in the pro camp. The last separation vote in 1995 lost by less than 1%--almost as close as you could get in an election.
If you're interested politically in the deeper ramifications of Quebec separation, contact the Bloc Quebecois, a federal party which generally does support separation. The more Leftist and provincial Parti Quebecois represent pro-separation sentiment in the provincial legislature. Or for the other point of view, contact either the Liberal or Progessive Conservative parties, who both strongly support federalism and thus Quebec staying within Canada.
In Quebec, people DO NOT CELEBRATE VICTORIA DAY! And honestly, last time a royal came here..they we're so spooked, they never came back and probably never will.
Victoria day is then replaced by : Dollard-des-Ormeaux Day. A crook to some, hero to others! Adam Dollard, Sieur Des Ormeaux is told to have saved 'La Nouvelle-France'!!
On a more historical note, in french again (sorry!) I recommend Jacques Lacoursiere's:
'Histoire Populaire du Québec'
Mr. Lacoursiere is very well know for the way he makes history a easy and interesting read. You can also buy the video tapes of the tv-series that has same title that were translated in english too.
For those really interested in understanding the people here, I STRONGLY suggets this book: 'Une enfance Bleu-Blanc-Rouge' It's a collection of short stories that are related to hockey, for sure, but trought it, you'll better understand who we are and why. P:S: A TOUS LES QUÉBECOIS! Ce livre saura surement tirer quelques doux souvenirs de votre enfance. :)
A BIT OF HISTORY : Fifty years ago, most people in my region, south of Québec city, lived on farm. But the farming was not enough to take care of their large family ( lots of ten children and even more ). So the men used to go for the winter working in the forest. So today, lots of men around here relate to lumberjack and pretend to know all about the forest ( the myth of 'les coureurs des bois'). And women of Québec are somewhat strongminded and straitforward. Look, their mothers and grandma used to take care of big family and farm, all by themselves for our long winter.
Other largely unknown fact, between 1860 and 1900, half a million french canadians leaved to reach the USA. This departure was close to one third of the Québec province at this time! Most of this population have children now in the New England states of the Union! Stephen King often use french canadian name in his stories !
Canada's Provinces are huge for the most part. The country itself is the 2nd largest in land area in the world. Though most exhibit English trappings(Ontario and British Columbia) and French (mostly Quebec but several others have large French populations) and one, Nova Scotia is in actuality New Scotland.
THE SEPARATIST MOVEMENT: Quebec, with it distict French influence, has many times voted and threatened to secede from Canada as a sovereign country. If it did so, it would be the 2nd largest French speaking country in the world.
Quebec is a city steeped in history, so much so that you might see one or two historical figures wandering round the city!