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Rue de Petit Champlain is one of the prettiest streets in Canada

34 Interesting & Fun Facts About Quebec City

I don’t know of anyone who’s been to Quebec City who hasn’t loved the place. It’s got a 400-year history set against the backdrop of a walled city filled with narrow, winding cobbled streets. The place oozes history and charm in a manner reminiscent of old European cities. The last time I spent any time in the city was back in university days when the Chateau Frontenac was actually the hotel we used for a week long ski trip. Unfortunately those prices are long.

If you’re heading to the Quebec region, you might enjoy reading these 34 interesting and fun facts about Quebec City. Its a vibrant city with a terrific joie de vivre and one of the top cities to visit in Canada.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
Walking the streets of Old Quebec

Quebec City – not Montreal – is the capital of the province of Quebec. It was named the capital in 1867 when Canada was created.

Quebec City sometimes just goes by the name Quebec. In French the city is called the Ville de Québec.

The word “Kebec” is an Algonquin word meaning where the river narrows

Quebec City’s location is at the intersection of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles River.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
The walls of Quebec City

Interesting and fun facts about Quebec City history

Jacques Cartier, a French explorer landed here in 1535. It wasn’t until 1608 when Samuel de Champlain arrived that a permanent wooden fort and fur trading post were set up.

Quebec City’s 400th anniversary was celebrated in 2008. It’s the oldest French speaking community in North America.

Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico. It has 4.6 kilometres of walls. They were primarily built for defensive purposes by the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. In present day Quebec City there are three towers, four gates, and the citadel.

The oldest part of Quebec City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It received UNESCO status as it is the only North American city to have preserved not only its ramparts but bastions, gates and defensive works that you can still see around Quebec City. 

Fun facts about the population of Quebec City 

The population in 2020 of Quebec City is approximately 826,109. In 1950 the population was 268, 268.

Only about 1.5% of the population speaks English. French is the official language of the province and in Quebec City over 95% of the population is French speaking. But more than a third of the population can speak both English and French.

There is a surprisingly large Irish population in Quebec City. It’s been estimated that almost 40% of the Quebec population has some Irish blood – largely because Irish inhabitants of France were sent here in the 17th century.

Quebec City’s median age in 2021 is 43.3 – the oldest median age of any major city in Canada.

The city’s main event is the Quebec Winter Carnival which takes place every year in February. It is the oldest winter festival held on a yearly basis in Canada. Enjoy a host of activities including skating, shows, snow sculptured, sledding, night parades and even a canoe race across the St. Lawrence River. Every year thousands of people brave the cold to attend and enjoy the excitement.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
The design of the Ice Hotel changes from year to year in Quebec City

The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel – as noted by the Guinness Book of World Records – and is one of the coolest fun facts about Quebec City. The building is 80 m tall, with 18 floors and 610 guestrooms. It is considered to be a luxury hotel and is truly a wonderful place to spend a few nights. The hotel was built by CP Railways starting in 1892 – to try and get people onto trains. They certainly succeeded.  

Another fun fact about Quebec City is that you can sleep in La Monastère de Augustines, formerly part of Hotel-Dieu – a religious and hospital complex, started by the Augustine nuns in the 1600’s. While I didn’t stay here I did take a tour and marveled at the simplicity but beauty of the rooms. The onsite restaurant is also outstanding.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
The Chateau Frontenac as seen from the St. Lawrence River

The Plains of Abraham is the site of the 1759 battle between General Wolfe and Montcalm. This is where Quebec’s biggest holiday – St. Jean Baptiste Day gets celebrated every year. It’s also a 103 hectare park used by tourists and locals alike on a year round basis. It’s got a great skating rink in winter.

The skating rink before it's opening time of 10 AM
The skating rink before it’s opening time of 10 AM

J.A. Moisan Epicier dating back to 1871 is the oldest grocery store in North America.

Eating is one of the many pleasures in Quebec City. The city is known for its poutine, crepes, maple syrup, maple taffy, French onion soup, pea soup, and tourtière. Quebec City is the first place I ever tried poutine – which is a high calorie concoction of French fries, squeaky cheese curds and gravy – along with all sorts of embellishments like foie gras depending on where you purchase them.

Maple syrup is a big deal in Quebec – and in Quebec City too. Almost 73% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec -and that number was 12 million gallons in 2019 – up significantly from the year before. 

In Quebec, there is a maple syrup reserve system to help prevent shortages of this wonderful syrup – which I personally can’t get enough of. There is a strategic reserve which is being tapped in late 2021 according to CBC.

ReadThe Educational and Delicious Quebec City Food Tour

Interesting and fun facts about Quebec City - J.A. Moisan Epicier is the oldest grocery store in North America
J.A. Moisan Epicier – the oldest grocery store in North America

Fun facts about Quebec City related to weather

On the winter solstice, the sun rises at 7:27 AM and sets at 3:59 PM.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises at 4:51 AM and sets at 8:43 PM.

Quebec City has 149 days on average per year when the snow is at least one inch deep.

The average annual snowfall is 342 cm (135 inches) and the average annual rainfall is 86 cm (34 inches).

The average July temperature is 25°C (77°F) and the average January temperature is -7.8°C (18°F).


Museums in Quebec City

Quebec City is home to a Chocolate Museum. Other museums worth visiting include Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec – an art museum, Musée de la Civilisation, La Citadelle de Québec – North America’s largest British fortress and Musée de l’Amérique Francaise – Canada’s oldest museum.

Beautiful mask in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec
Beautiful mask in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

There are 85 Roman Catholic parishes in the Quebec City area. The Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral near the Chateau Frontenac is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec.  It ranks as the oldest Catholic parish in North America – and in fact remains on the same site where it was first built in 1647. Other churches you’ll find in Quebec City are one for each of these religions – Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness and Buddhist.

One of the fun facts about Quebec City is that the legal drinking age in Quebec City – and all of Quebec  for that matter is 18. 

La Brasseries du Roi translated as the king’s brewery was founded in 1668 by Jean Talon. It was the first commercial brewery in Canada. 

The provincial government is the largest employer in the city.

Skiing near Quebec City

There are three ski resorts close to Quebec City – Mont. Ste. Anne, Stoneham and Le Massif. Mont Ste. Anne offers great views of the St. Lawrence River and a vertical drop of 625 m. Le Massif boasts the highest vertical east of the Rockies at 770 m. Stoneham comes in with a 345 m vertical. New in late 2021 in a Club Med – their first mountain resort in North America. You’ll now find a whole lot more to do than just skiing.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
Le Massif Ski Resort
The amount of snow at Mont Ste Anne was amazing - and conditions were superb
The amount of snow that Mont Ste. Anne gets is amazing 

There are 37 National Historic Sites of Canada in and around Quebec City.

Quebec City is home to Laval University, with 64% of the campus covered in green space and trees. It also has over five kilometres of underground tunnels and a library that contains over six million documents.

Montmorency Falls

Not far from downtown Quebec City sit the beautiful Montmorency Falls. At 83 metres tall, they are a whopping 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls. You’ll find lots to do around the falls including ziplining and a walk along a boardwalk that provides some airy views. 

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City
Beautiful Montmorency Falls

Have you ever been to Quebec City? What made your visit memorable?

Other posts in my fun facts series you might enjoy.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

27 Fun, Interesting & Useful Facts About Quebec City

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. I had no idea the most photographed hotel was in … Quebec City?!? Odd. It does look memorable though the center part reminds me of the hotel in the Shining! The ice sculpture is beautiful, would love to see the winter carnival one day. I still have a lot of Canada to explore!

  2. I loved Quebec City – the way the city is divided into high and low – the beautiful river and ferry crossing to explore the opposite bank – the architecture – and the walls.
    What made it special for me was that we stayed in an apartment where the owners (wife a Canadian from Vancouver, husband from Q.C. and their two lovely daughters with Inuit names) made us so welcome. They lived next door and were very friendly and helpful.
    It is always the people that make a place extra special.

  3. I forgot to tell you that I absolutely love your first photo. I wish I was there in that photo right now. It would be beautiful to see the ice sculptures too.

  4. Love this, Leigh! I was fortunate enough to have both Quebec City and Montreal as part of my sales territory, for 7 years. I ended up loving both cities. However, the first time I visited QC to meet customers I left in tears. My French was so bad, and English was not exactly spoken on any street corner. Over the years, my French did improve, and the customers that I built relationships with were so gracious.

    I was fortunate enough to stay at the Frontenac many times. On one visit I was given the smallest room imaginable. The next day I was upgraded to a huge, beautiful room overlooking the river.

    I’ve also been to the winter carnival. That was eons ago, long before my sales rep days. I remember it being so much fun and SO COLD…I think we drank a lot of the local hooch just to keep warm!!

  5. @Nancie Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good memories ted up with the city. I just booked a ticket to Quebec City in July & am very much looking forward to the Quebec brand of hospitality. I bet your Korean is now better than your French after so many years away.

  6. I have never been there but it does look pretty inviting!! The fact that only few speak English makes me a bit nervy but I know a bit of French so might not be such a big problem. Your captures are fascinating.
    Have a nice day Leigh 🙂

  7. I am about to apply for the Canadian working holiday visa so loving posts about Canada at the moment. I actually know very little about the country except that Canadians are nice and that winter is cold. Thanks for the post!

  8. These are such fun tips. I haven’t been to Quebec City, or even to Quebec, but I keep thinking about going there next year, and I keep running into posts about Quebec. It seems to be a sign. Probably time to dig out my old High School French notes.

  9. I like it 🙂 The facts are interesting. And they are right, of course! Thanks the writer! This helped me a lot with my problems on Quebec… But I’m bad at French. Bonjour! Au revoir!

  10. As a Traveler of many places i do appreciate me some quebec. this place is swaggy af. i love being amongst the frenchnadian people. these facts made me lol a few times. bonjour amigos

  11. Great job there! As a Quebec City resident I can say all the info here is correct. I might add that Bonhomme, who is the mascot of the Winter Carnival, is recognized all over the world and is the only mascot who is allowed to speak. Apparently (but that would need to be verified), there is a voice modeler in the costume so that the voice always sounds the same no matter who is inside. Bonhommme has travaled the world and is considred as the City’s ambassador. If you don’t speak any French you might feel a bit lost here, as some of my USA friends have experienced, since ALL signs are in French (whereas they’re both in French and English in Montreal) and most people are not that comfortable with the Shakespearian language, but in the most touristic areas (such as the Old city) almost everyone speaks both French and English fluently. Sir Paul McCartney went on a bike ride on the Plains of Abrahams everyday during his stay in 2008 and extended his vacation here because he liked it so much! This huge park that overlooks the St-Lawrence River is a beautiful spot for a picnic. Quebec City is also on Metallica’s and the Rolling Stone’s top places to be list : they love the fact that people leave them enjoy the scenery while they roam the streets. Oh BTW: the Stones are playing on the Plains of Abrahams this summer during the Summer fest 🙂

    1. @Melanie (sorry can’t do accents in comments) Thanks for your great comment. My husband went skating on the Plains of Abraham on our last visit to Quebec City. Magical is how he described it.

  12. I was born in Quebec City and moved to Toronto when I was 22. Great blog! I had no idea that our Chateau Frontenac was the most photographed hotel in the world. Quebec City is a beautiful City. I miss it sometimes. My mother worked at the first and for a long time the only Holt Renfrew store in the country. It was not a department store like it is today and had an elevator with a guy opening and closing the gate before the door. One of my favorite memories of Quebec City.

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