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Explore a destination located in Quebec, Canada
Located in central Canada, Quebec is the largest of the country’s provinces. Quebec shares borders with Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland; it also neighbors the American states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The province’s name was originally New France before being changed to the Algonquian word Quebec meaning “where the river narrows.” Quebec is a French-speaking province, its first settlers were French explorers in 1608, and over 50% of the current population speak French as their first language. Over 4.9 million tourists visit the province annually, typically during the summer months of July and August. The region is known for its humid summers and harsh winters. During summer, guests can visit the capital Quebec City or Montreal. Both cities were established in the 17th century and have many historical attractions such as museums, old hotels, and parks. The Chateau Frontenac Hotel located in Quebec City is the most photographed hotel in the world. During winters, there are numerous ski resorts open throughout Quebec. The province has many important industries producing electric power across the nation as well as maple syrup, lumber, mined goods, and other manufactured products. The St. Lawrence River and its surrounding valley is a vital waterway through all of North America as it connects many lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and is a navigation route for deep-draft ocean vessels.
Quebec is one of Canada's thirteen provinces, the largest province by area and the second-largest province by population. Quebec is covered in a network of rivers, lakes, and mountains. Most of the province's population lives in urban areas along the St. Lawrence River. Quebec City is the capital of the province, the city is the oldest in Canada, established in 1608, and its current population is around 696,000 people. The city is the only fortified city north of Mexico. The largest city in both size and population is Montreal; this city has a population of around 3 million residents. Other significant cities in Quebec are Ottawa-Gatineau and Sherbrook. Quebec is a French-speaking province as it was founded and developed by French explorers. The land is the birthplace of French Canada. Overall, Quebec has a population of 8 million people; over 50% of the population comes from European descent and speaks French. It is required throughout the school systems in Quebec that all students study the French language in school.
Around 4.9 million tourists visit Quebec annually. It is recorded that most visitors come from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, and Japan. Quebec generates revenue reaching around 1.4 billion dollars from tourism yearly. As a result of the high tourism rates in the province, there are over 296,000 tourism-related jobs. This number makes up 7.3% of the total employment in Quebec. The peak season for tourism in Quebec is during the summer months, specifically July and August. This time is popular for the warm weather and clear skies. Visitors in Quebec come to explore the historical attractions of Montreal and Quebec, as well as visit European towns and explore the province's countryside. There are several golf courses in the valleys, and fishing is a common pastime for outdoors enthusiasts. The winter season also receives a steady flow of visitors due to the number of ski resorts in Quebec. The province sustains around 85 inches of snow annually, which provides optimal conditions for participation in snow sports, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
There are several world-famous attractions in Quebec. Most of these attractions are located in the cities of Montreal and Quebec. The Canadian Museum of History is one of the country's oldest museums and is the most visited museum in Canada, with around 1.2 million annual visitors. The attraction has four million items, some of which can be traced back to 20,000 years ago. The Quartier de Petit Champlain, located inside Old Quebec, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in North America with cobblestone streets, boutiques, and locally-owned restaurants. Mont-Tremblant is located in the Laurentian Mountains and is popular among both summer and winter visitors as the resort covers an entire mountainside with hiking and ski trails. Other activities that can be done at Mont-Tremblant are snowshoeing, dog sledding, skating, and mountain biking. A common day trip stop among tourists is the neighborhood of Old Montreal. Similar to the Quartier de Petit Champlain, this century-old neighborhood sits along the waterfront with maze-like streets and live music daily.
Quebec has multiple important industries that not only provide for the province but also provide resources for the rest of Canada and other countries throughout the world. For example, Quebec produces 90% of the maple syrup throughout the entire world. Beyond this, the main points of industry throughout the province are tourism, manufacturing, electric power generation, mining, paper, agriculture, and forestry. Nearly 30,000 businesses within Quebec are related to tourism. The company Hydro-Quebec is one of the world's largest hydroelectricity producers and employs around 40,000 individuals. There are 27 mines in Quebec, and these companies are valued at over 6.8 billion dollars. Thirty different minerals, iron, gold, nickel, titanium, copper, silver, and niobium are harvested in the province. Due to St. Lawrence River Valley's fertile soil and rich terrain, the forestry industry uses much of the coniferous trees in the valley for its production of pulp, paper, and lumber.
The geography of Quebec is composed of three physiographic regions. The St. Lawrence Lowlands is the most fertile and densely populated of these regions, reaching from Quebec City to Montreal along the St. Lawrence River. The second region is the Appalachian Uplands, located along the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains. The region is covered in forested hills, high plains, mountain ranges, and arable plateaus. Anticosti Island and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence across the Gaspe Peninsula are also included in the Appalachian Uplands. The last of the physiographic regions is the Canadian Shield. Covering four-fifths of Quebec, the region begins in the foothills of the Laurentians and reaches the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Three subdivisions divide the Canadian Shield: the Laurentians covered in lakes and trees, the Taiga, a region of stunted trees in the north, and the tundra, a frozen landscape where little to no vegetation grows. Overall the landscape of Quebec is covered in thousands of lakes, rivers, and freshwater systems. One of America’s most vital waterways, the St. Lawrence River, runs through Quebec west to east.
The weather in Quebec is extreme, with severe hot and cold seasons. These extremes are a result of major continental air masses passing through the province. When these airways meet with the Labrador Current, cool summers reach the northwestern regions of Quebec. Humid hot air moves up from the Gulf of Mexico and causes heat waves during the summer months in the northern areas of the province. The summer season lasts four months with a daily average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically the summer is very rainy as well. Winter lasts three months, from December to March, the average temperature during this season is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is partly cloudy year round in Quebec. The overall annual rainfall precipitation is around 46 inches. July is the wettest month of the year, and the region receives around 50 inches of rain a year. February is the driest month of the year. Quebec sustains around 85 inches of snow annually. Most tourist activities take place during the warm summer months and the early fall.
Quebec’s plant and animal life depend widely on the province’s weather. The vegetation varies depending on the geographical region. Only small trees, mosses, and hard grasses can grow in the frozen climate in the Arctic tundra. Examples of these plants include reindeer moss and dwarf birches. Animals that reside in the Arctic tundra include polar bears, foxes, and Arctic hares. The Taiga is a fertile land where fir, spruce, and other shrubs grow well. Herds of caribou roam the land near a forest of fir and pine. The St. Lawrence river valley is covered in small forests of beech, oak, ash, and maple. Animal life in these valleys includes moose, coyotes, deer, and hundreds of bird species. In the river, there are several hundred freshwater fish species. Quebec is part of the flight path for many migratory birds such as Canada geese and snow geese.
The province of Quebec was first inhabited by Native Indians in the south and Inuit people to the north near Harbor Bay. European Jacques Cartier first explored the land in 1535. The French explorer landed his ship in the harbor of present-day Gaspe and claimed the land for France. The arrival of permanent European settlers began around 1608 when Samual de Champlain established a fort at Cape Diamond which would later be renamed Quebec City. Over the next fifty years, only 3,000 French settlers populated the land. Quebec was called New France for a century. Its first three cities were established during the 17th century: Quebec City in 1608, Trois-Rivieres in 1616, and Montreal in 1642. The French territory encompassed Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland, and all of the land down to the state of Louisiana. In the War of the Spanish Succession, France was defeated, and Great Britain acquired all of France’s previously owned territory, except for the land of Quebec.
After Great Britain established its 13 original colonies in 1774, the government passed the Quebec Act in order to mend relationships and build loyalty among their French subjects. This act gave French and Catholic residents the ability to practice religion freely and extended Quebec's borders to satisfy fur traders. It also made it easy for Great Britain to invade and claim ownership of Quebec and Nova Scotia after losing its American colonies. Quebec was then divided into two sections; Lower Canada and Upper Canada. In 1789 the theatre company Les Jeunes Messieurs Canadiens was established; this was the first of many Canada-based businesses and attractions. Some major additions to the land include the building of the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Church, and the Citadelle of Quebec. The 19th century was Quebec and Canada’s biggest century of growth as the government system of Canada was established.
As more land was claimed by Great Britain and made to be part of Canada, the land was divided more evenly into its provinces. Quebec was split in half, its west half being established as Ontario. The 20th century was a time filled with constitutional struggles and government disputes in Quebec. Today the province government consists of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The Lieutenant Governor, Premier, legislature, and cabinet all reside in the capital city of Quebec, Quebec City. Over 50% of Quebec’s population only speaks French, and most of the grocery stores, city streets, and school systems revolve around French culture, including language, food, and traditions.
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