welcome to quebec!
Written by Wendy Williams (a.k.a. Mom)
Quebec is Canada’s largest province. The name Quebec originates from an Algonquin word meaning where the river narrows. The original French fur trade and exploration has formed a strong identity with the inhabitants of Francophone Quebecois. Quebec geology consists of three main regions: the St. Lawrence River Valley, the Canadian Shield and the Appalachian Region. The ancient glaciers melting on the Canadian Shield left countless lakes and rivers. The most fertile soil is in the St. Lawrence Valley and southern Quebec near the U.S. border.
Quebec vegetation varies from lichen in the arctic tundra areas to the taiga zone which grows spruce, fir and dwarf shrubs. The Ottawa Valley area is covered with dense forests of: pine, larch, maple, ash, beech and oak.
Wildlife to be found in various areas of Quebec are: polar bear, fox, hare, caribou, deer, moose, coyotes and lynx. The St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers harbour seals, white beluga, killer and blue whales. Fish varieties to be found are: trout, perch, pike, spawning smelt and salmon. Bird watchers can photograph some of the three hundred and fifty bird species, some of which are: merlin, kestrel, great horned owl, crows, starlings, finches and geese.
Quebec produces large mounts of minerals: asbestos, gold, titanium, peat, limestone, silica, granite and mica. Pollution of Ontario’s rivers and lakes has become a concern as most are polluted with acid rain.
The first inhabitants of Quebec were Aboriginal people: Algonquin, Eskimo-Aleut and Iroquoian according to linguistic classification. After Cartier landed in Gaspe in 1534, people immigrated from France came to settle “New France”. Under the French regime land was settled with a seigneurial system meant to promote a sense of community among the inhabitants. A series of explorers during the 17th century expanded the empire. After many years of dissention and following the Seven Years War, the battle between French and British for this Canadian territory resulted in British rule. The Census report of 2011 reported 78.1 % still used French as their mother tongue. Other cultures are: Irish, Italian, Jewish, Greek, Portugese, Chinese, Carribean and South East Asian. Montreal is the largest Francophone city in Canada.
The principal industries of Quebec are: manufacturing, generation of electric power, mining and pulp and paper. Important parts of the manufacturing sector are: clothing and textile, food and beverages, paper products metal products and wood products. Quebec has the second largest forest area in Canada and forestry (including pulp and paper) is a huge industry. Much of the wood cut is conifer and restoration programs are being practiced. Commercial fishing is a major industry in especially in the Gaspe Peninsula. Quebec is the largest producer of hydro electric power in Canada. In the 1979’s, the James Bay project was developed and presently being developed for 2020, is the Romaine complex.
Pingualuit National Park was created in 2004, followed by Park Kuururjuaq both which are managed by Nunavik Parks. Quebec offers myriad literature and sculpture and has been mentioned as the most cultivated province in Canada. Famous entertainments are: Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Les Grand Ballets Canadiens and La La La Human Steps.
A few famous people to name are: Father Casgrain, Bishop Roy, Emma Albani, Mordecai Richler and Celine Dion. International awards have been won by film directors Denys Acand, Dennis Villeneuve and Jean-Marc Vallee.
Visitors can learn about Quebec by visiting many well known historic sites such as: Forges Saint Maurice, the Fortification of Quebec, Grosse Isl and the Irish Memorial and Jardin de Metis. Quebec has one of the longer histories in Canada and deserves a thorough exploration by interested tourists.