Quebéc: Old City
Quebec, Canada
July 2001

Quebec (keh-BEHK) is Canada's oldest city, founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. Its name was an adaptation of the Algonquian word meaning "the river narrows here". Champlain chose this spot for the settlement because the high cliffs and narrowing of the St. Lawrence River offered excellent natural and strategic defences.

While Quebec was regarded as the centre of New France--the growing North American empire of the French--the colony struggled. The harsh climate combined with the rough terrain failed to attract great numbers of French families to the New World. Further, many of the colony's few settlers were migrants. Couriers de bois who would come in from the wilderness with furs they had gotten in barter with Native Americans. These men had no interest in taking up permanent residence in Quebec, and often ended up marrying Iroquois or Huron women.
In the picture above, the background is Le Chateau Frontenac, a hotel we can not afford to sleep in. Built in 1893 in the medieval French style, with numerous turrets and verdigris copper roofs (hence the greenish color). The hotel is an example of 19th-century Canadian Railway architecture. The painted ceilings and handsome metalwork of the banisters in the lobby recall its lavish past. (from AAA tour book)

Street artists. They are good, but you have to sit for about an hour.

At one point in the history of Quebec, King Louis XIV had French women sent to New France as wives for the men who inhabited the fledging settlement. These filles de roi exemplified the state of the colony in its early days. In 1666, 58 years after its founding, the population was only 547. Only with increased incentives and persuasion was France able to increase the number of permanent residents to 1,500 by the end of 1690, and to 34,000 by 1730, 120 years after the creation of New France.

In the 18th century, the city of Quebec finally began to grow. With a larger population, industry and trade flourished. Couriers de bois continued to bring pelts and furs into the marketplace to trade for other goods which they could take back into the wilderness. Stores and workshops were built on the river's edge in the Lower Town. This market area was Place Royale, still one of the Lower Town's most popular landmarks, along with the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church. The latter is noted for having its altar shaped as a fort. It was completed in 1688 and stands on the site of Champlain's very first settlement. Meanwhile, the Upper Town gradually began to take its current shape. Houses and schools sprang up within the city's walls as French citizens began to put down roots in Canada. Today, the Upper Town is full of gourmet restaurants, fine hotels like the Château Frontenac, and numerous shops and boutiques. You will also find the Quebec National Assembly here.

Caleches (that is kalesa for you Pinoys!).

As the city grew in size, so did its economic and military importance. The French knew they needed to create a strong system of defences to protect the capital of New France from the enemy British, ensconsed to the south in the American colonies. What they constructed was the Citadel. Perhaps the most famous of Quebec City's landmarks, it stands 106 metres above the city on Cap Diamant. It was assumed that an attack would come from the river, the city's most vulnerable point, and that is where the cannons were aimed.

Restaurants place attractive women on their doors. She is holding the menu.

Behind is Saint Louis Fort, the main gate entrance to Quebec's walled Old City.

In our hotel room where we heat/prepare our breakfast and dinner.

Radienxe and Qzedell can not resist this playground.

inside Quebec's Parliament building
Materials above about Quebec's historical background was lifted from quebeccitytourism.ca.