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Quebec (/kəˈbɛk/, sometimes /kwəˈbɛk/; French: Québec [kebɛk] (listen))[9] is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, the province shares borders with Ontario to the southwest, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, and New Brunswick to the southeast; and the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to the south. Quebec is the largest province by area, being 1,542,056 km2 (595,391 sq mi), and the second-largest by population, with 8,164,361 people. Much of the population live in urban areas along the Saint Lawrence River, between the most populous city, Montreal, and its capital city, Quebec. A motion was passed in the House of Commons of Canada in 2006, recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada".

French is Quebec's official language and 94.6% of the province's population reports knowledge of French. Québécois French is the local variety, and there are 14 regional accents deriving from it. Quebec is renowned for its unique and vibrant culture. The province has its own celebrities, and produces its own literature, music, films, TV shows, festivals, folklore, songs, art and more. Quebec also has its own cuisine and national symbols. Quebec is well-known for its comedy shows, producing nearly 72 per cent of the world's maple syrup, and making hockey popular in Canada.

Between 1534 and 1763, Quebec was called Canada and it was the most developed colony in New France. Following the Seven Years' War, Quebec became a British colony in the British Empire. It remained as such from 1763 to 1867, first as the Province of Quebec (1763–1791), then as Lower Canada (1791–1841), before becoming Canada East (1841–1867) as a result of the Lower Canada Rebellion. It was, finally, confederated with Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1867, beginning the Confederation of Canada. Until the early 1960s, the Catholic Church played a large role in the development of social and cultural institutions in Quebec. However, in the 1960s, the Quiet Revolution increased the role of the Government of Quebec in controlling political, social and future developments of the state of Quebec.

The Government of Quebec functions within the context of a Westminster system, as described by the Constitution Act, 1867, and is both a liberal democracy and a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. The premier of Quebec, presently Francois Legault, commands the confidence of the elected National Assembly. Québécois political culture mostly differs on a federalist-vs-nationalist continuum instead of a left-vs-right continuum. Quebec independence debates have played a large role in politics. Parti Québécois governments have held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995. The 1995 referendum saw the highest voter turnout in Quebec history, at over 93%, and only failed by 0.6%.

Quebec society's cohesion and specificity is based on three of its unique statutory documents: the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Charter of the French Language and the Civil Code of Quebec. Furthermore, unlike in the rest of Canada, law in Quebec is mixed. Private law is exercised under a civil law system, and public law is exercised under a common law system. The economy is diversified and post-industrial. Sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry play leading roles. Quebec's substantial natural resources, notably exploited in hydroelectricity, forestry and mining, have also long been a mainstay. The province's 2018 output was CA$439.3 billion, making it the second largest province or territory by GDP.


The name "Québec", which comes from the Algonquin or Ojibwe word kébec meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Québecq (Levasseur, 1601) and Kébec (Lescarbot, 1609).[10] French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of New France.[11]


Map of Quebec

Located in the eastern part of Canada, and (from a historical and political perspective) part of Central Canada, Quebec occupies a territory nearly three times the size of France or Texas, most of which is very sparsely populated.[12] Its topography is very different from one region to another due to the varying composition of the ground, the climate (latitude and altitude), and the proximity to water. The Saint Lawrence Lowland and the Appalachians are the two main topographic regions in southern Quebec, while the Canadian Shield occupies most of central and northern Quebec.[13]


Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of fresh water,[14] occupying 12% of its surface.[15] It has 3% of the world's renewable fresh water, whereas it has only 0.1% of its population.[16] More than half a million lakes,[14] including 30 with an area greater than 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi), and 4,500 rivers[14] pour their torrents into the Atlantic Ocean, through the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Arctic Ocean, by James, Hudson, and Ungava bays. The largest inland body of water is the Caniapiscau Reservoir, created in the realization of the James Bay Project to produce hydroelectric power. Lake Mistassini is the largest natural lake in Quebec.[17]

Michel's falls on Ashuapmushuan River in Saint-Félicien, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean

The Saint Lawrence River has some of the world's largest sustaining inland Atlantic ports at Montreal (the province's largest city), Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City (the capital). Its access to the Atlantic Ocean and the interior of North America made it the base of early French exploration and settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1959, the Saint Lawrence Seaway has provided a navigable link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Northeast of Quebec City, the river broadens into the world's largest estuary, the feeding site of numerous species of whales, fish, and seabirds.[18] The river empties into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. This marine environment sustains fisheries and smaller ports in the Lower Saint Lawrence (Bas-Saint-Laurent), Lower North Shore (Côte-Nord), and Gaspé (Gaspésie) regions of the province. The Saint Lawrence River with its estuary forms the basis of Quebec's development through the centuries. Other notable rivers include the Ashuapmushuan, Chaudière, Gatineau, Manicouagan, Ottawa, Richelieu, Rupert, Saguenay, Saint-François, and Saint-Maurice.


Jacques-Cartier River

Quebec's highest point at 1,652 metres is Mont d'Iberville, known in English as Mount Caubvick, located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the province, in the Torngat Mountains.[19] The most populous physiographic region is the Saint Lawrence Lowland. It extends northeastward from the southwestern portion of the province along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River to the Quebec City region, limited to the North by the Laurentian Mountains and to the South by the Appalachians. It mainly covers the areas of the Centre-du-Québec, Laval, Montérégie and Montreal, the southern regions of the Capitale-Nationale, Lanaudière, Laurentides, Mauricie and includes Anticosti Island, the Mingan Archipelago,[20] and other small islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence lowland forests ecoregion.[21] Its landscape is low-lying and flat, except for isolated igneous outcrops near Montreal called the Monteregian Hills, formerly covered by the waters of Lake Champlain. The Oka hills also rise from the plain. Geologically, the lowlands formed as a rift valley about 100 million years ago and are prone to infrequent but significant earthquakes.[13] The most recent layers of sedimentary rock were formed as the seabed of the ancient Champlain Sea at the end of the last ice age about 14,000 years ago.[22] The combination of rich and easily arable soils and Quebec's relatively warm climate makes this valley the most prolific agricultural area of Quebec province. Mixed forests provide most of Canada's springtime maple syrup crop. The rural part of the landscape is divided into narrow rectangular tracts of land that extend from the river and date back to settlement patterns in 17th century New France.

Autumn landscape of Haute-Gaspésie

More than 95% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield.[23] It is generally a quite flat and exposed mountainous terrain interspersed with higher points such as the Laurentian Mountains in southern Quebec, the Otish Mountains in central Quebec and the Torngat Mountains near Ungava Bay. The topography of the Shield has been shaped by glaciers from the successive ice ages, which explains the glacial deposits of boulders, gravel and sand, and by sea water and post-glacial lakes that left behind thick deposits of clay in parts of the Shield. The Canadian Shield also has a complex hydrological network of perhaps a million lakes, bogs, streams and rivers. It is rich in the forestry, mineral and hydro-electric resources that are a mainstay of the Quebec economy. Primary industries sustain small cities in regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord.

Mont Tremblant Resort, Laurentian Mountains

The Labrador Peninsula is covered by the Laurentian Plateau (or Canadian Shield), dotted with mountains such as Otish Mountains. The Ungava Peninsula is notably composed of D'Youville mountains, Puvirnituq mountains and Pingualuit crater. While low and medium altitude peak from western Quebec to the far north, high altitudes mountains emerge in the Capitale-Nationale region to the extreme east, along its longitude. In the Labrador Peninsula portion of the Shield, the far northern region of Nunavik includes the Ungava Peninsula and consists of flat Arctic tundra inhabited mostly by the Inuit. Further south lie the subarctic taiga of the Eastern Canadian Shield taiga ecoregion and the boreal forest of the Central Canadian Shield forests, where spruce, fir, and poplar trees provide raw materials for Quebec's pulp and paper and lumber industries. Although the area is inhabited principally by the Cree, Naskapi, and Innu First Nations, thousands of temporary workers reside at Radisson to service the massive James Bay Hydroelectric Project on the La Grande and Eastmain rivers. The southern portion of the shield extends to the Laurentians, a mountain range just north of the Saint Lawrence Lowland, that attracts local and international tourists to ski hills and lakeside resorts.

The Appalachian region of Quebec has a narrow strip of ancient mountains along the southeastern border of Quebec. The Appalachians are actually a huge chain that extends from Alabama to Newfoundland. In between, it covers in Quebec near 800 km (497 mi), from the Montérégie hills to the Gaspé Peninsula. In western Quebec, the average altitude is about 500 metres, while in the Gaspé Peninsula, the Appalachian peaks (especially the Chic-Choc) are among the highest in Quebec, exceeding 1000 metres.


Köppen climate types of Quebec

In general, the climate of Quebec is cold and humid.[24] The climate of the province is largely determined by its latitude, maritime and elevation influences.[24] According to the Köppen climate classification, Quebec has three main climate regions.[24] Southern and western Quebec, including most of the major population centres and areas south of 51oN, have a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with four distinct seasons having warm to occasionally hot and humid summers and often very cold and snowy winters.[24][25] The main climatic influences are from western and northern Canada and move eastward, and from the southern and central United States that move northward. Because of the influence of both storm systems from the core of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is abundant throughout the year, with most areas receiving more than 1,000 millimetres (39 in) of precipitation, including over 300 centimetres (120 in) of snow in many areas.[26] During the summer, severe weather patterns (such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms) occur occasionally.[27] Most of central Quebec, ranging from 51 to 58 degrees North has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc).[24] Winters are long, very cold, and snowy, and among the coldest in eastern Canada, while summers are warm but very short due to the higher latitude and the greater influence of Arctic air masses. Precipitation is also somewhat less than farther south, except at some of the higher elevations. The northern regions of Quebec have an arctic climate (Köppen ET), with very cold winters and short, much cooler summers.[24] The primary influences in this region are the Arctic Ocean currents (such as the Labrador Current) and continental air masses from the High Arctic.

Baie-Saint-Paul during winter

The four calendar seasons in Quebec are spring, summer, autumn and winter, with conditions differing by region. They are then differentiated according to the insolation, temperature, and precipitation of snow and rain.[28]

At Quebec City, the length of the daily sunshine varies from 8:37 hrs in December to 15:50 hrs in June; the annual variation is much greater (from 4:54 to 19:29 hrs) at the northern tip of the province.[29] From temperate zones to the northern territories of the Far North, the brightness varies with latitude, as well as the Northern Lights and midnight sun.

Quebec is divided into four climatic zones: arctic, subarctic, humid continental and East maritime. From south to north, average temperatures range in summer between 25 and 5 °C (77 and 41 °F) and, in winter, between −10 and −25 °C (14 and −13 °F).[30][31] In periods of intense heat and cold, temperatures can reach 35 °C (95 °F) in the summer[32] and −40 °C (−40 °F) during the Quebec winter,[32] They may vary depending on the Humidex or Wind chill. The all time record high was 40.0 °C (104.0 °F) and the all time record low was −51.0 °C (−59.8 °F).[33]

The all-time record of the greatest precipitation in winter was established in winter 2007–2008, with more than five metres[34] of snow in the area of Quebec City, while the average amount received per winter is around three metres.[35] March 1971, however, saw the "Century's Snowstorm" with more than 40 centimetres (16 in) in Montreal to 80 centimetres (31 in) in Mont Apica of snow within 24 hours in many regions of southern Quebec. Also, the winter of 2010 was the warmest and driest recorded in more than 60 years.[36]


The large land wildlife is mainly composed of the white-tailed deer, the moose, the muskox, the caribou (reindeer), the American black bear and the polar bear. The average land wildlife includes the cougar, the coyote, the eastern wolf, the bobcat, the Arctic fox, the fox, etc. The small animals seen most commonly include the eastern grey squirrel, the snowshoe hare, the groundhog, the skunk, the raccoon, the chipmunk and the Canadian beaver.

Biodiversity of the estuary and gulf of Saint Lawrence River[38] consists of an aquatic mammal wildlife, of which most goes upriver through the estuary and the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park until the Île d'Orléans (French for Orleans Island), such as the blue whale, the beluga, the minke whale and the harp seal (earless seal). Among the Nordic marine animals, there are two particularly important to cite: the walrus and the narwhal.[39]

Snowy owl, the official bird of Quebec

Inland waters are populated by small to large fresh water fish, such as the largemouth bass, the American pickerel, the walleye, the Acipenser oxyrinchus, the muskellunge, the Atlantic cod, the Arctic char, the brook trout, the Microgadus tomcod (tomcod), the Atlantic salmon, the rainbow trout, etc.[40]

Among the birds commonly seen in the southern inhabited part of Quebec, there are the American robin, the house sparrow, the red-winged blackbird, the mallard, the common grackle, the blue jay, the American crow, the black-capped chickadee, some warblers and swallows, the starling and the rock pigeon, the latter two having been introduced in Quebec and are found mainly in urban areas.[41] Avian fauna includes birds of prey like the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the snowy owl and the bald eagle. Sea and semi-aquatic birds seen in Quebec are mostly the Canada goose, the double-crested cormorant, the northern gannet, the European herring gull, the great blue heron, the sandhill crane, the Atlantic puffin and the common loon.[42]Many more species of land, maritime or avian wildlife are seen in Quebec, but most of the Quebec-specific species and the most commonly seen species are listed above.

Some livestock have the title of "Québec heritage breed", namely the Canadian horse, the Chantecler chicken and the Canadian cow.[43] Moreover, in addition to food certified as "organic", Charlevoix lamb is the first local Quebec product whose geographical indication is protected.[44] Livestock production also includes the pig breeds Landrace, Duroc and Yorkshire[45] and many breeds of sheep[46] and cattle.

The Wildlife Foundation of Quebec and the Data Centre on Natural Heritage of Quebec (CDPNQ)(French acronym)[47] are the main agencies working with officers for wildlife conservation in Quebec.


Taiga forest in Gaspé, Québec, Canada

Given the geology of the province and its different climates, there is an established number of large areas of vegetation in Quebec. These areas, listed in order from the northernmost to the southernmost are: the tundra, the taiga, the Canadian boreal forest (coniferous), mixed forest and Deciduous forest.[23]

On the edge of the Ungava Bay and Hudson Strait is the tundra, whose flora is limited to a low vegetation of lichen with only less than 50 growing days a year. The tundra vegetation survives an average annual temperature of −8 °C (18 °F). The tundra covers more than 24% of the area of Quebec.[23] Further south, the climate is conducive to the growth of the Canadian boreal forest, bounded on the north by the taiga.

Different forest areas of Quebec

Not as arid as the tundra, the taiga is associated with the sub-Arctic regions of the Canadian Shield[48] and is characterized by a greater number of both plant (600) and animal (206) species, many of which live there all year. The taiga covers about 20% of the total area of Quebec.[23] The Canadian boreal forest is the northernmost and most abundant of the three forest areas in Quebec that straddle the Canadian Shield and the upper lowlands of the province. Given a warmer climate, the diversity of organisms is also higher, since there are about 850 plant species and 280 vertebrates species. The Canadian boreal forest covers 27% of the area of Quebec.[23] The mixed forest is a transition zone between the Canadian boreal forest and deciduous forest. By virtue of its transient nature, this area contains a diversity of habitats resulting in large numbers of plant (1000) and vertebrates (350) species, despite relatively cool temperatures. The ecozone mixed forest covers 11.5% of the area of Quebec and is characteristic of the Laurentians, the Appalachians and the eastern lowlands forests.[48] The third most northern forest area is characterized by deciduous forests. Because of its climate (average annual temperature of 7 °C (45 °F)), it is in this area that one finds the greatest diversity of species, including more than 1600 vascular plants and 440 vertebrates. Its relatively long growing season lasts almost 200 days and its fertile soils make it the centre of agricultural activity and therefore of urbanization of Quebec. Most of Quebec's population lives in this area of vegetation, almost entirely along the banks of the St. Lawrence. Deciduous forests cover approximately 6.6% of the area of Quebec.[23]

The total forest area of Quebec is estimated at 750,300 square kilometres (289,700 sq mi).[49] From the Abitibi-Témiscamingue to the North Shore, the forest is composed primarily of conifers such as the Abies balsamea, the jack pine, the white spruce, the black spruce and the tamarack. Some species of deciduous trees such as the yellow birch appear when the river is approached in the south. The deciduous forest of the Saint Lawrence Lowlands is mostly composed of deciduous species such as the sugar maple, the red maple, the white ash, the American beech, the butternut (white walnut), the American elm, the basswood, the bitternut hickory and the northern red oak as well as some conifers such as the eastern white pine and the northern whitecedar. The distribution areas of the paper birch, the trembling aspen and the mountain ash cover more than half of Quebec territory.[50]

Territorial evolution

  • Territorial evolution of Quebec
  • The New France colony of Canada (in blue) in 1650.

  • The New France colony of Canada (in red) in 1719.

  • North America in 1750.

  • The Province of Quebec from 1763 to 1783.

  • Lower Canada from 1791 to 1841. (Patriots' War in 1837)

  • The Province of Canada in 1850. (Canada East in green and Canada West in orange)

  • Quebec from 1867 to 1927. (Confederation in 1867)

  • Quebec today. Quebec (in blue) has a border dispute with Labrador (in red).

The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of Canada[51] to Britain after the Seven Years' War. The proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 expanded the territory of the province to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley and south of Rupert's Land, more or less restoring the borders previously existing under French rule before the Conquest of 1760.[52] The Treaty of Paris (1783) ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States.[53] After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), with each being granted an elected legislative assembly.[54] In 1840, these become Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada.[55] This territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867.[56] Each became one of the first four provinces.

In 1870, Canada purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company and over the next few decades the Parliament of Canada transferred to Quebec portions of this territory that would more than triple the size of the province.[57] In 1898, the Canadian Parliament passed the first Quebec Boundary Extension Act that expanded the provincial boundaries northward to include the lands of the local aboriginal peoples.[58] This was followed by the addition of the District of Ungava through the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act of 1912 that added the northernmost lands of the Inuit to create the modern Province of Quebec.[58] In 1927, the border between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador was established by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Quebec officially disputes this boundary.[59]


Prehistory and Protohistory

Indigenous peoples

A depiction of Jacques Cartier by Théophile Hamel, 1844. No contemporary likeness of Cartier has been found to exist.[60]

At the time of first European contact and later colonization, Algonquian, Iroquois and Inuit nations controlled what is now Quebec.[61] Their lifestyles and cultures reflected the land on which they lived. Algonquians organized into seven political entities lived nomadic lives based on hunting, gathering, and fishing in the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield (James Bay Cree, Innu, Algonquins) and Appalachian Mountains (Mi'kmaq, Abenaki).[62] St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a branch of the Iroquois, lived more settled lives, growing corn, beans and squash in the fertile soils of the St. Lawrence Valley. They appear to have been later supplanted by the Mohawk nation.[63] The Inuit continue to fish and hunt whale and seal in the harsh Arctic climate along the coasts of Hudson and Ungava Bay.[64] These people traded fur and food and sometimes warred with each other.

European explorations

The arrival of Samuel de Champlain, the father of New France, on the site of Quebec City

Around 1522–1523, the Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano persuaded King Francis I of France to commission an expedition to find a western route to Cathay (China). In 1534, Breton explorer Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of King Francis I.[65] It was the first province of New France. However, initial French attempts at settling the region met with failure.[65] French fishing fleets, however, continued to sail to the Atlantic coast and into the St. Lawrence River, making alliances with First Nations that would become important once France began to occupy the land.[66]

Samuel de Champlain was part of a 1603 expedition from France that travelled into the St. Lawrence River.[67] In 1608, he returned as head of an exploration party and founded Quebec City with the intention of making the area part of the French colonial empire.[68][69][70] Champlain's Habitation de Québec, built as a permanent fur trading outpost, was where he would forge a trading, and ultimately a military alliance, with the Algonquin and Huron nations.[71] First Nations traded their furs for many French goods such as metal objects, guns, alcohol, and clothing.

New France (1608-1765)

Settlements and colonial companies (1608-1663)

Three Huron-Wyandot chiefs from Wendake in Quebec. New France had largely peaceful relations with the indigenous people such as their allies the Huron. After the defeat of the Huron by their mutual enemies the Iroquois many fled from Ontario to Quebec.

Coureurs des bois, voyageurs and Catholic missionaries used river canoes to explore the interior of the North American continent.[72] They established fur trading forts on the Great Lakes (Étienne Brûlé 1615), Hudson Bay (Radisson and Groseilliers 1659–60), Ohio River and Mississippi River (La Salle 1682), as well as the Saskatchewan River and Missouri River (de la Verendrye 1734–1738).[73]

After 1627, King Louis XIII of France allowed the Company of New France to introduced the seigneurial system and forbade settlement in New France by anyone other than Roman Catholics.[74]

In 1629 there was the surrender of Quebec, without battle, to English privateers led by David Kirke during the Anglo-French War. However, Samuel de Champlain argued that the English seizing of the lands was illegal as the war had already ended; he worked to have the lands returned to France. As part of the ongoing negotiations of their exit from the Anglo-French War, in 1632 the English king Charles agreed to return the lands in exchange for Louis XIII paying his wife's dowry. These terms were signed into law with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The lands in Quebec and Acadia were returned to the French Company of One Hundred Associates.

New France became a Royal Province in 1663 under King Louis XIV of France with a Sovereign Council that included intendant Jean Talon.[75] The population grew slowly under French rule,[76] thus remained relatively low as growth was largely achieved through natural births, rather than by immigration.[77] To encourage population growth and to redress the severe imbalance between single men and women, King Louis XIV sponsored the passage of approximately 800 young French women (known as les filles du roi) to the colony. Most of the French were farmers ("Canadiens" or "Habitants"), and the rate of population growth among the settlers themselves was very high.[78]

The Conquest of New France (1754-1760)

Authorities in New France became more aggressive in their efforts to expel British traders and colonists from the Ohio Valley. They began construction of a series of fortifications to protect the area.[79] In 1754, George Washington launched a surprise attack on a group of Canadian soldiers sleeping in the early morning hours. It came at a time when no declaration of war had been issued by either country. This frontier aggression known as the Jumonville affair set the stage for the French and Indian War (a US designation; in Canada it is usually referred to as the Seven Years' War, although French Canadians often call it La guerre de la Conquête ["The War of Conquest"][80][81]) in North America. By 1756, France and Britain were battling the Seven Years' War worldwide. In 1758, the British mounted an attack on New France by sea and took the French fort at Louisbourg. On September 13, 1759, the British forces of General James Wolfe defeated those of French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City.

British military regime (1760-1763)

While awaiting the results of the Seven Years' War that was still being fought in Europe, New France was put under a British military regime and under the British governor James Murray.

In 1763, the Seven Years' War concluded with the Treaty of Paris (1763). With the exception of the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, located off the coast of Newfoundland, France ceded its North American possessions to Great Britain through in favour of gaining the island of Guadeloupe for its then-lucrative sugar cane industry.[82] The British Royal Proclamation of 1763 renamed Canada (part of New France) as the Province of Quebec.

British North America (1763-1867)

Province of Quebec (1763-1791)

The Province of Quebec in 1774

With unrest growing in the colonies to the south, which would one day grow into the American Revolution, the British were worried that the French-speaking Canadians might also support the growing rebellion. At that time, French-speaking Canadians formed the vast majority of the population of the province of Quebec (more than 99%) and British immigration was not going well. To secure the allegiance of the approximately 90,000 French-speaking Canadians to the British crown, first Governor James Murray and later Governor Guy Carleton promoted the need for change. There was also a need to compromise between the conflicting demands of the French-speaking Canadian subjects and those of newly arrived British subjects. These efforts by the colonial governors eventually resulted in enactment of the Quebec Act[83] of 1774.

The Quebec Act provided the people of Quebec their first Charter of Rights and paved the way to later official recognition of the French language and French culture. The act also allowed the French speakers, known as Canadiens, to maintain French civil law and sanctioned freedom of religion, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain, one of the first cases in history of state-sanctioned freedom of religious practice.[84]

Effects of the American Revolution

Although the Quebec Act was unrelated to the events in Boston of 1773, and was not regarded as one of the Coercive Acts, the timing of its passage led British colonists to the south to believe that it was part of the program to punish them. The Quebec Act offended a variety of interest groups in the British colonies. Land speculators and settlers objected to the transfer of western lands previously claimed by the colonies to a non-representative government. Many feared the establishment of Catholicism in Quebec, and that the French Canadians were being courted to help oppress British Americans.[85]

British troops defending Quebec from an American attack during the Battle of Quebec in December 1775

On June 27, 1775, General George Washington and his Continental Army invaded Canada in an attempt to conquer Quebec. British reinforcements came up the St. Lawrence in May 1776, and the Battle of Trois-Rivières turned into a disaster for the Americans. The army withdrew to Ticonderoga.[86] Although some help was given to the Americans by the locals, Governor Carleton punished American sympathizers, and public support of the American cause came to an end. In 1778, Frederick Haldimand took over for Guy Carleton as governor of Quebec.

The arrival of 10,000 Loyalists at Quebec in 1784 destroyed the political balance that Haldimand (and Carleton before him) had worked so hard to achieve. The swelling numbers of English encouraged them to make greater demands for recognition with the colonial government.[87] To restore stability to his largest remaining North American colony, King George III sent Carleton back to Quebec to remedy the situation.[88]

In ten years, Quebec had undergone a dramatic change. What worked for Carleton in 1774 was not likely to succeed in 1784. Specifically, there was no possibility of restoring the previous political balance – there were simply too many English people unwilling to reach a compromise with the 145,000 Canadiens or their colonial governor. The situation called for a more creative approach to problem solving.[88]

Lower Canada (1791-1840)

A Plan of the Inhabited Part of the Province of Quebec, c. 1785 by James Peachey. Peter Winkworth Collection. Library and Archives Canada, e000756679

Loyalists soon petitioned the government to be allowed to use the British legal system they were used to in the American colonies. The creation of Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 allowed most Loyalists to live under British laws and institutions, while the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain their familiar French civil law and the Catholic religion.[89] Therefore, Governor Haldimand (at the suggestion of Carleton) drew Loyalists away from Quebec City and Montreal by offering free land on the northern shore of Lake Ontario to anyone willing to swear allegiance to George III. The Loyalists were thus given land grants of 200 acres (81 ha) per person. Basically, this approach was designed with the intent of keeping French and English as far apart as possible. Therefore, after the separation of the Province of Quebec, Lower Canada and Upper Canada were formed, each with its own government.[88]

The Lower Canada Rebellion (1837-1838)
The burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal occurred on the night of April 25, 1849.

In 1837, residents of Lower Canada – led by Louis-Joseph Papineau and Robert Nelson – formed an armed resistance group to seek an end to the unilateral control of the British governors.[90] They made a Declaration of Rights with equality for all citizens without discrimination and a Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada in 1838.[91] Their actions resulted in rebellions in both Lower and Upper Canada. An unprepared British Army had to raise militia force; the rebel forces scored a victory in Saint-Denis but were soon defeated.

Province of Canada (1840-1867)

After the rebellions, Lord Durham was asked to undertake a study and prepare a report on the matter and to offer a solution for the British Parliament to assess.[92] Following Durham's report,[92] the British government merged the two colonial provinces into one Province of Canada in 1840 with the Act of Union.[93] The two colonies remained distinct in administration, election, and law.

In 1848, Baldwin and LaFontaine, allies and leaders of the Reformist party, were asked by Lord Elgin to form an administration together under the new policy of responsible government. The French language subsequently regained legal status in the Legislature.[93]

Canadian province (1867-today)

Confederation of Canada (1867)

In the 1860s, the delegates from the colonies of British North America (Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland) met in a series of conferences to discuss self-governing status for a new confederation. The first Charlottetown Conference took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, followed by the Quebec Conference in Quebec City which led to a delegation going to London, England, to put forth a proposal for a national union.[94]

As a result of those deliberations, in 1867 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the British North America Acts, providing for the Confederation of most of these provinces. The former Province of Canada was divided into its two previous parts as the provinces of Ontario (Upper Canada) and Quebec (Lower Canada). New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined Ontario and Quebec in the new Dominion of Canada. The other provinces then joined Confederation, one after the other: Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Yukon in 1898, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, Newfoundland in 1949 and finally Nunavut in 1999.[95]

World War I (1914-1918)

When Great Britain declared war on August 4, 1914, Canada was automatically involved as a dominion. About 6,000 volunteers from Quebec participated on the European front. Although reaction to conscription was favourable in English Canada the idea was deeply unpopular in Quebec. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 did much to highlight the divisions between French and English-speaking Canadians in Canada.

World War II (1939-1945)

Winston Churchill in Québec City in 1943

During World War II, the participation of Quebec was more important but led to the Conscription Crisis of 1944 and opposition. Many Quebecers fought against the axis powers between 1939 to 1945 with the involvement of many francophone regiments such as Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, le Régiment de la Chaudière and many more.[citation needed]

Grande Noirceur (1944-1959)

The conservative government of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale dominated Quebec politics from 1944 to 1959 with the support of the Catholic Church.[96] Pierre Trudeau and other liberals formed an intellectual opposition to Duplessis's regime, setting the groundwork for the Quiet Revolution under Jean Lesage's Liberals.[citation needed]

Modern Quebec (1960-today)

Quiet Revolution (1960-1980)

Adélard Godbout implemented a program of progressive legislation that laid the groundwork for the Quiet Revolution.

The Quiet Revolution was a period of dramatic social and political change[97] that saw the decline of Anglo supremacy in the Quebec economy, the decline of the Roman Catholic Church's influence,[98] the formation of hydroelectric companies under Hydro-Québec[97] and the emergence of a pro-sovereignty movement under former Liberal minister René Lévesque.

Debate over sovereignty and first referendum

Beginning in 1963, a paramilitary group that became known as the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) launched a decade-long programme of propaganda and terrorism that included bombings, robberies and attacks[99] directed primarily at English institutions, resulting in at least five deaths. In 1970, their activities culminated in events referred to as the October Crisis when James Cross, the British trade commissioner to Canada, was kidnapped along with Pierre Laporte, a provincial minister and Vice-Premier.[100] Laporte was strangled with his own rosary beads a few days later. In their published Manifesto, the militants stated: "In the coming year Bourassa will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized." At the request of Premier Robert Bourassa, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act.

In 1977, the newly elected Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque introduced the Charter of the French Language. Often known as Bill 101, it defined French as the only official language of Quebec in areas of provincial jurisdiction.[101]

René Lévesque

Lévesque and his party had run in the 1970 and 1973 Quebec elections under a platform of separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. The party failed to win control of Quebec's National Assembly both times – though its share of the vote increased from 23 percent to 30 percent – and Lévesque was defeated both times in the riding he contested.[102] In the 1976 election campaign, he softened his message by promising a referendum (plebiscite) on sovereignty-association rather than outright separation, by which Quebec would have independence in most government functions but share some other ones, such as a common currency, with Canada. On November 15, 1976, Lévesque and the Parti Québécois won control of the provincial government for the first time. The question of sovereignty-association was placed before the voters in the 1980 Quebec referendum. During the campaign, Pierre Trudeau promised that a vote for the "no" side was a vote for reforming Canada. Trudeau advocated the patriation of Canada's Constitution from the United Kingdom. The existing constitutional document, the British North America Act, could only be amended by the United Kingdom Parliament upon a request by the Canadian parliament.

Sixty percent of the Quebec electorate voted against the proposition for sovereignty-association.[103] Polls showed that the overwhelming majority of English and immigrant Quebecers voted against, and that French Quebecers were almost equally divided, with older voters less in favour and younger voters more in favour. After his loss in the referendum, Lévesque went back to Ottawa to start negotiating a new constitution with Trudeau, his minister of Justice Jean Chrétien and the nine other provincial premiers. Lévesque insisted Quebec be able to veto any future constitutional amendments. The negotiations quickly reached a stand-still. Quebec is the only province not to have assented to the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982.[104]

Constitutional debate (1980-1990)

In subsequent years, two attempts were made to gain Quebec's approval of the constitution. The first was the Meech Lake Accord of 1987, which was finally abandoned in 1990 when the province of Manitoba did not pass it within the established deadline. (Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells had expressed his opposition to the accord, but, with the failure in Manitoba, the vote for or against Meech never took place in his province.) This led to the formation of the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois party in Ottawa under the leadership of Lucien Bouchard,[105] who had resigned from the federal cabinet. The second attempt, the Charlottetown Accord of 1992, also failed to gain traction. This result caused a split in the Quebec Liberal Party that led to the formation of the new Action démocratique (Democratic Action) party led by Mario Dumont and Jean Allaire.

Second referendum and afterwards (1995-today)

The results of the 1995 Quebec referendum per circonscription. Dark red means high no %, dark blue means high yes %.

On October 30, 1995, with the Parti Québécois back in power since 1994, a second referendum on sovereignty took place. This time, it was rejected by a slim majority (50.6 percent NO to 49.4 percent YES).[106]

Given the province's heritage and the preponderance of French (unique among the Canadian provinces), there has been debate in Canada regarding the unique status (statut particulier) of Quebec and its people, wholly or partially. Prior attempts to amend the Canadian constitution to acknowledge Quebec as a "distinct society" – referring to the province's uniqueness within Canada regarding law, language, and culture – have been unsuccessful; however, the federal government under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien would later endorse recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.[107]

On October 30, 2003, the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously to affirm "that the people of Québec form a nation".[108] On November 27, 2006, the House of Commons passed a symbolic motion moved by Prime Minister Stephen Harper declaring "that this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada."[109][110][111] However, there is considerable debate and uncertainty over what this means. The debate over the status of Quebec is a highly animated one to this day.[112][113]

Government and politics

The head of government is the premier (called premier ministre in French) leads the largest party in the unicameral National Assembly, or Assemblée Nationale, from which the Executive Council of Quebec is appointed. The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen of Canada and acts as the province's head of state.[114][115] Until 1968, the Quebec legislature was bicameral,[116] consisting of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. In that year, the Legislative Council was abolished and the Legislative Assembly was renamed the National Assembly. Quebec was the last province to abolish its legislative council. The government of Quebec awards an order of merit called the National Order of Quebec. Inspired in part by the French Legion of Honour, it is conferred upon men and women born or living in Quebec (but non-Quebecers can be inducted as well) for outstanding achievements.[117]

Governmental organisation

Canadian Monarchy

The Parliament Building in Quebec City

Quebec is founded on the Westminster system, and is both a liberal democracy and a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary regime.[118] Quebec is a member state of the Canadian federation, as such, its leader is Elizabeth II, who is the incarnation of the Crown of Canada and holder of the government and executive power in the province of Quebec.

Provincial Parliament

The Parliament of Quebec is the legislative body of Quebec. It is made up of the lieutenant-governor (representative of the Crown) and an elective chamber bearing the name of the National Assembly (representative of the people). Each legislature has a maximum duration of five years, however, barring exceptions, Quebec now conducts fixed-date elections in October every four years.[119]

The Premier of Quebec and the Executive Council

The Executive Council (or Council of Ministers) is the primary body for executive power in Quebec. It is chaired by the Premier of Quebec.[120] Its members are the principal advisers to the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of executive power.

The flag of the lieutenant-gouverneur du Québec, a symbol of executive power in the province.

Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor of Quebec is the Queen's representative within the State of Quebec. He or she has specific and/or symbolic powers.

Federal representation

Quebec is represented in Canada by 78 deputies and 24 senators.

Quebec has no less than 78 deputies in the federal parliament (Parliament of Canada).[121] Deputies are elected in federal elections. At the level of the Senate of Canada, Quebec is represented by 24 senators. Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada.[122]

Public administration

The Quebec State is the depositary of administrative and police authority in the areas of exclusive jurisdiction it holds concerning laws and constitutional convention. The Conseil du trésor supports the Ministère du Conseil exécutif in its function of stewardship of the State. The Quebec political spectrum includes - among other dimensions - the theme of the political and constitutional status of Quebec.[123][124] The Parliament of the 40th legislature is made up of the following parties: Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ), Québec solidaire (QS) and Parti Québécois (PQ), as well as an independent member.

Civic Values

The Governmnent of Quebec cites 5 statements which represent the key values of Québécois society:[125][126]

  • Quebec is a francophone society
  • Quebec is a democratic society
  • Women and men are equal
  • Québécois have rights and responsibilities
  • Quebec is a laïque society

Political parties

There are 22 official political parties in Quebec:[127]

  1. Alliance Provinciale
  2. Bloc Pot
  3. Changement intégrité pour notre Québec
  4. Citoyens au pouvoir du Québec
  5. Coalition Avenir Québec
  6. Droit des sans droits
  7. Équipe autonomiste
  8. Nouveau Parti démocratique du Québec
  9. Parti 51
  10. Conservative Party of Quebec
  11. Parti culinaire
  12. Parti équitable
  13. Parti libéral du Québec[128]
  14. Parti libre
  15. Parti marxiste-léniniste du Québec
  16. Parti nul
  17. Parti québécois
  18. Parti vert du Québec
  19. Québec cosmopolitain
  20. Québec en marche
  21. Québec solidaire
  22. Voie du Peuple

Among these, four have seats in the National Assembly in 2020: the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), the Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ), the Parti québécois (PQ) and Québec solidaire (QS).


The government of Quebec takes the majority of its revenue through a progressive income tax, a 9.975% sales tax[129] and various other taxes (such as carbon, corporate and capital gains taxes), equalization payments from the federal government, transfer payments from other provinces and direct payments.[130] By some measures Quebec is the highest taxed province;[131] a 2012 study indicated that "Quebec companies pay 26 per cent more in taxes than the Canadian average".[132] A 2014 report by the Fraser Institute indicated that "Relative to its size, Quebec is the most indebted province in Canada by a wide margin".[133]

Administrative subdivisions

The seventeen administrative regions of Quebec.

Quebec has subdivisions at the regional, supralocal and local levels. Excluding administrative units reserved for Aboriginal lands, the primary types of subdivision are:

At the regional level:

  • 17 administrative regions.

At the supralocal level:

  • 86 regional county municipalities or RCMs (municipalités régionales de comté, MRC);
  • 2 metropolitan communities (communautés métropolitaines).

At the local level:

  • 1,117 local municipalities of various types;
  • 11 agglomerations (agglomérations) grouping 42 of these local municipalities;
  • within 8 local municipalities, 45 boroughs (arrondissements).


The Édifice Ernest-Cormier is the current Quebec Court of Appeal, the highest-level court in Quebec.

Quebec law is the set of laws which are applied on the Québécois territory. Quebec law is under the shared responsibility of the federal government and the provincial government. According to the Constitution of Canada, each of these two government are responsible for enacting law when it falls under their sphere of competence. As such, the federal government is responsible for criminal law, foreign affairs and laws relating to the regulation of canadian commerce and telecomunications.[134] The provincial government is responsible for private law, the administration of justice and several social domains (healthcare, education, etc.).[134]

Quebec law is influenced by two judicial traditions: the civil law and common law. Generally, private law is exercised under civil law, and public law is exercised under common law. However, since the two have always been very influencial in Quebec law, with much crossover, the Québécois judicial system is considered to be mixed. The presence of the civil law tradition goes all the way back to the days of New France, when the French king Louis XIV imposed the Custom of Paris in Canada.[135] When the Canada colony was ceded by France to the United Kingdom, following the Conquest of New France in the Seven Years' War, the United Kingdom first tried to impose English law. However, the British changed their minds and enacted the Quebec Act in 1774 which permitted the use of civil law for private relations between individuals in the entirety of the Province of Quebec.[136]

Quebec law comes from the four classic sources of law: legislation, case law, doctrine and customary law.[137] Legislation is the primary source in Quebec law. However, because private law is mostly exercised under a civilist tradition, case law is also a strong source.[138][139] Quebec law is made up of the Constitution of Canada, the laws of the Quebec Legislature and the rules related to legislating.

Positive law

The 1865 commission with the mandate to codify the civil laws of Lower Canada.

Quebec law can be divided into 2 spheres: private law and public law. Private law concerns the relations between individuals, while public law deals with the rules that govern the Québécois government.[140]

Private law in Quebec affects all relationships between individuals (natural or juridicial persons) and is largely under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Quebec. The Parliament of Canada also influences Quebec private law, in particular through its power over banks, bankruptcy, marriage, divorce and maritime law.[141] The Droit civil du Québec is the primary component of Quebec's private law and is codified in the Civil Code of Quebec.[142] The Civil Code of Quebec is the primary text delimiting Jus commune in Quebec and includes the principles and rules of law governing legal persons, property law, family law, obligations, civil liability, conflict of laws, etc. For historical reasons, the Droit civil du Québec has been strongly influenced by the civil law of France.[143]

Public law in Quebec is largely derived from the common law tradition.[144] Quebec constitutional law is the area of law that governs the rules surrounding the Quebec government, the Parliament of Quebec and Quebec's various courts. Quebec constitutional law is governed in large part by the Constitution of Canada, in particular by the Constitution Act of 1867, but also by various acts of the Parliament of Quebec.[145] Quebec administrative law is the area of law that governs relations between individuals and the Quebec public administration. Quebec also has some jurisdiction over criminal law, but in a limited fashion, since the Parliament of Canada is responsible for criminal law. Quebec criminal law nevertheless includes a wide range of offenses (Code de la sécurité routière, Code du travail, etc.). Finally, Quebec, like the federal government, has tax law power.[146]

Certain portions of Quebec law are considered mixed. This is the case, for example, with human rights and freedoms which are governed by the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, a Charter which applies to both government and citizens.[147][148]


  Functioning and appointment of judges under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
  Functioning under Quebec jurisdiction, but appointment of judges by the federal government.
  Functioning and appointment of judges under the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec.

In Canada, there is no division of the judicial system as in many other countries. With few exceptions, all courts of the Québécois judicial system can hear appeals based on provincial law as well as federal law. They can also all hear civil, criminal or constitutional law appeals.[149] The courts that have power over Quebec law are organized in a pyramid. At the bottom, there are the municipal courts, tribunal des professions, tribunal des droits de la personne, tribunaux administratifs, Court of Quebec, etc. Then, in the middle, there is the Superior Court of Quebec, the general court of Quebec. An appeal of a decision there could, depending on the case, transfer to the Quebec Court of Appeal. Finally, if the case is of great importance, it could make its way to the top, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Parliament of Canada has authority over the courts it has created itself (ex. Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court, etc.), and, although Quebec manages them, it is the federal government which appoints and remunerates judges to the Superior Court of Quebec and the Court of Appeals of Quebec.[150]

The Parliament of Quebec is responsible for the administration of Quebec courts. The main Québécois courts are the: Quebec Court of Appeal, Superior Court of Quebec and Court of Quebec.

The Court of Appeal serves two purposes. First, It is the general court of appeal for première instance judgments in Quebec Law.[151] This means that it hears appeals coming from the Superior Court, the Court of Quebec and several tribunaux administratifs. Second, the Court of Appeal possesses the power to respond to reference questions made by the Government of Quebec. The Court of Appeal renders more than 1,500 judgments per year.[152]

The Superior Court of Quebec has the inherent power to rule on all cases other than those whose jurisdiction is assigned to another instance.[153] This means that the Superior Court has the power to settle any dispute over $85,000, pronounce divorces, monitor the legitimacy of decisions of administrative tribunals, pronounce injunctions, hear class actions, etc.[154]

The Court of Quebec, the municipal courts, the Human Rights Tribunal and the Professions Tribunal are all courts of first instance, or lower courts. Their powers are limited to the powers that are given to them by the authority which created them. In addition, the Court of Quebec is made up of three chambers: the Youth Division, the Criminal and Penal Division and the Civil Division. The Civil division also includes the Division des petites créances de la Cour du Québec, a small claims division.

Finally, Quebec has a large number of administrative tribunals responsible for seeing to the application of one or more laws. In total, the Quebec judicial system has more than 500 judges. Nearly 300 of them work in the provincial courts, 25 at the Court of Appeal and nearly 200 at the Superior Court.[155]

Law enforcement

The badge of the Sûreté du Québec

The Sûreté du Québec is the main police force of Quebec, and it is responsible for the application of the law on the entire Québécois territory. The Sûreté du Québec can also serve a support and coordination role with other police forces, such as with municipal police forces or with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).[156][157]

Municipal police, such as the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal and the Service de police de la Ville de Québec, are responsible for law enforcement in their municipalities. The Sûreté du Québec fulfills the role of municipal police in the 1038 municipalities that don't have a municipal police force.[158] The indigenous communities of Quebec have their own police forces.[159]

The RCMP has the power to enforce certain federal laws in Quebec. However, given the existence of the Sûreté du Québec, its role is more limited than in the other provinces.[160]

For offenses against provincial or federal laws in Quebec (including the Criminal Code), the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales is responsible for prosecuting offenders in court through Crown attorneys. The Department of Justice of Canada also has the power to prosecute offenders, but only for offenses against specific federal laws (ex. selling narcotics).

When it comes to the penal system, Quebec is responsible for operating prisons for sentences of less than two years, and the federal government operates penitentiaries for sentences of two years or more.[161]


In 2013, Statistics Canada had estimated the province's population to be 8,155,334.[164] In the 2016 census, Quebec's population had slightly grown from that estimate to 8,164,361 living in 3,531,663 of its 3,858,943 total dwellings, a 3.3% change from its 2011 population of 7,903,001. With a land area of 1,356,625.27 km2 (523,795.95 sq mi), it had a population density of 6.0/km2 (15.6/sq mi) in 2016.[1]

At 1.69 children per woman, Quebec's 2011 fertility rate is above the Canada-wide rate of 1.61,[165] and is higher than it was at the turn of the 21st century. It is below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1, which contrasts with its fertility rates before 1960, which were among the highest of any industrialized society. The number of international adoptions in Quebec is the highest of all provinces of Canada. In 2001, 42% of international adoptions in Canada were carried out in Quebec. Life expectancy in Quebec reached a new high in 2011, with an expectancy of 78.6 years for men and 83.2 years for women; this ranked as the third-longest life expectancy among Canadian provinces, behind those of British Columbia and Ontario.[165]

Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905) and may total more than 100 percent due to dual responses.
Only groups with 1.5 percent or more of respondents are shown. Origins in this table are self-reported and respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.

The 2006 census counted a total aboriginal population of 108,425 (1.5 percent) including 65,085 North American Indians (0.9 percent), 27,985 Métis (0.4 percent), and 10,950 Inuit (0.15 percent). There is a significant undercount, as many of the largest Indian bands regularly refuse to participate in Canadian censuses for political reasons regarding the question of aboriginal sovereignty. In particular, the largest Mohawk Iroquois reserves (Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Kanesatake) were not counted.

Almost 9% of the population of Quebec belongs to a visible minority group. This is a lower percentage than that of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba but higher than that of the remaining five provinces. Most visible minorities in Quebec live in or near Montreal.

Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905). Only groups with more than 0.5 percent of respondents are shown.[167]

Population centres


Quebec is unique among the provinces in its overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population, though recently with a low church attendance. This is a legacy of colonial times when only Roman Catholics were permitted to settle in New France. The 2001 census showed the population to be 90.3 percent Christian (in contrast to 77 percent for the whole country) with 83.4 percent Catholic (including 83.2 percent Roman Catholic); 4.7 percent Protestant Christian (including 1.2 percent Anglican, 0.7 percent United Church; and 0.5 percent Baptist); 1.4 percent Orthodox Christian (including 0.7 percent Greek Orthodox); and 0.8 percent other Christian; as well as 1.5 percent Muslim; 1.3 percent Jewish; 0.6 percent Buddhist; 0.3 percent Hindu; and 0.1 percent Sikh. An additional 5.8 percent of the population said they had no religious affiliation (including 5.6 percent who stated that they had no religion at all).
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,125,580)[169]


The evolution of the proportion of francophones, anglophones and allophones between 1844 and 2006.

The official language of Quebec is French. Quebec is the only Canadian province whose population is mainly Francophone; 6,102,210 people (78.1% of the population) recorded it as their sole native language in the 2011 Census, and 6,249,085 (80.0%) recorded that they spoke it most often at home.[170] Knowledge of French is widespread even among those who do not speak it natively; in 2011, about 94.4% of the total population reported being able to speak French, alone or in combination with other languages.[170]

Canada is home to between 32 and 36 regional French accents[171] and Quebec houses 14 of these.[172] All of them descend from the same French of New France[173] but have appeared due to prolonged isolation from other francophones. There are 10 accents on the mainland; they are the regional accents of Gaspé, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean, Québec-Charlevoix, Beauce, the Eastern Townships, Mauricie-Haute-Mauricie, Greater Montréal, Eastern Montréal-Laval and Rouyn-Noranda. There are 4 accents off the mainland, 1 on the Isle-aux-Coudres, and 3 on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine: the accents of Villages Medelinots, Havre-aux-Maisons and Havre-Aubert.[174]

A considerable number of Quebec residents consider themselves to be bilingual in French and English. In Quebec, about 42.6% of the population (3,328,725 people) report knowing both languages; this is the highest proportion of bilinguals in any Canadian province.[170] The federal electoral district of Lac-Saint-Louis, located in the Bilingual Belt, is the most bilingual area in the province with 72.8% of its residents claiming to know English and French, according to the 2011 census.[175] In contrast, in the rest of Canada, in 2006, only about 10.2 percent (2,430,990) of the population had a knowledge of both of the country's official languages.[170]

In 2011, 599,230 people (7.7% of the population) declared English to be their native language and 767,415 people (9.8%) used it most often as their home language.[170] English-speaking Quebecers are entitled to services in English in the areas of justice, health, and education;[176] services in English are offered in municipalities in which more than half the residents have English as their mother tongue. In 2011, allophones made up 12.3% of the population, and 7.1% used their native languages most often at home.[170]

In 2011, the most common mother tongue languages in the province were as follows: (Figures shown are for single-language responses only.)

Following these languages were Creoles (0.8%), Chinese (0.6%), Greek (0.5%), Portuguese (0.5%), Romanian (0.4%), Vietnamese (0.3%), and Russian (0.3%). In addition, 152,820 (2.0%) reported having more than one native language.[170]

English is not an official language in Quebec law.[176] However, both English and French are required by the Constitution Act, 1867 for the enactment of laws and regulations, and any person may use English or French in the National Assembly and the courts. The books and records of the National Assembly must also be kept in both languages.[177][178]


Map of indigenous communities in Quebec, this includes reserves, settlements and northern villages.

The Aboriginals of Quebec have inhabited Quebec for several millennia. Each community possesses its own social structure, culture and territorial entity. In 2003, the Aboriginal population of Quebec numbered 159,905 people.[179] However, because federal law only recognized children of Aboriginal fathers until the 1980s, the actual number may be higher. Adding in Métis would also increase the count further.

All the ethnicities living primarily south of the 55th parallel are collectively referred to by Québécois as “Amerindians”, “Indians”, “First Nations” or, obsolete, “Redskins”. The ten Amerindian ethnic groups in Quebec are linked to two linguistic groups. The Algonquian family is made up of eight ethnic groups: the Abenaki, the Algonquins, the Attikameks, the Crees, the Wolastoqiyik, the Micmacs, the Innu and the Naskapis. These last two formed, until 1978, a single ethnic group: the Innu. The Iroquoian family is made up of the Huron-Wendat and the Mohawks. Only the Mohawks were part of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee), along with five other Indigenous groups from New York State and Ontario. The eleventh indigenous ethnic group in Quebec, the Inuit (or, obsolete, the Eskimos), belong to the Inuit-Aleut family. The Inuit live mainly in Nouveau Québec (Nunavik) and make up the majority of the population living north of the 55th parallel.

Of these indigenous peoples, so-called “nomadic” tribes exist, specifically the tribes of Algonquian cultures (eg: the Algonquins, the Cree and the Innu), as well as more “sedentary” ones, specifically the tribes of Iroquoian traditions (eg: the Iroquois and the Hurons-Wendat). The more sedentary groups are the ones who developed more complex forms of social organization. Traditionally, nomadic tribes follow the migration of herds of animals that serve as prey, such as bison, moose or seals.[180] The way of life of the Algonquian and Inuit tribes is dictated by the obligations of hunting and fishing. The traditions of the Iroquoian tribes, producers of the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash), are instead developed around a matriarchal structure derived from the “long cabin” called a longhouse which houses within it several families under the authority of one dean.

Relations with Québécois

An inuit inuksuk at the Place de l'Assemblée-Nationale in front of the Parliament of Quebec.

Although they represent today approximately 3% of the Quebec population, the indigenous peoples of Quebec have contributed a lot to Québécois society thanks to their ideals of respect for flora, fauna, nature and the environment as well as thanks to their values of hospitality, generosity and sharing. Economically, through the fur trade and the development of relationships with settlers, including coureurs des bois, merchants, cartographers and Jesuit fathers. In addition to contributing to Quebec toponymy, indigenous peoples also contributed through their more advanced knowledge than settlers in the following areas: holistic medicine, the functioning of human biology, remedies for several diseases, curing scurvy at settlers' arrival (its thought this was done with a cure made from fir, white cedar or anneda), winter clothing (tanning), architecture that insulates against the cold, means of faster transport on snow (snowshoes and dogsled) and on water (canoes, kayaks and rabaskas), l'acériculture (the process of making maple syrup), sports (lacrosse and ice fishing), moose and caribou hunting, trapping, the territory and its components, watersheds and their watercourses and natural resources.[181]

When Europeans arrived in America in the sixteenth century, the Algonquian-speaking peoples and the Iroquoians of the St. Lawrence made allies with the French colonists for the purpose of trade. The first connection was made with the arrival of Jacques Cartier when he set foot in Gaspé and met Donnacona, chief of the village of Stadaconé (today, the city of Québec), in 1534. Moreover, the legend of the Kingdom of Saguenay prompted King Francis I to finance new trips to the New World.

"Rather than by conquest and by force, it is by promoting commercial and military alliances, and by concluding numerous peace and friendship treaties that relations between the two peoples solidified".[182]

Rights of indigenous peoples

Nemiscau: the village in Nord-du-Québec home to the Grand Council of the Crees.

In the Royal Proclamation of 1763, issued by King George III, the aboriginals were stated to have an indisputable right to their lands. However, quickly following the proclamation and after the peace treaties with New France and France concluded, the British Crown decided to institute territorial treaties which allowed British authorities to proceed with the total extinction of the land titles of the aboriginal groups.[183]

Entirely under federal tutelage and direction, aboriginal rights were enunciated in the Indian Act and adopted at the end of the 19th century. This act confines the aboriginals within the Indian reserves created for them. The Indian Act is still in effect today.[184]

In 1975, the Cree, Inuits and the Quebec government agreed to an agreement called the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement that would extended aboriginal rights beyond Indian reserves, and to over two-thirds of the Québécois territory. Because this extension was enacted without the participation of the federal government, the extended aboriginal rights only exist in Quebec. In 1978, the Naskapis joined the agreement when the Northeastern Quebec Agreement was signed. As a result, these three ethnic groups were able to break away from their subjugation to the Indian Act.

In recent times, discussions have been underway for several years with the Montagnais of the Côte-Nord and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean for the potential creation of a similar autonomy in two new distinct territories that would be called Innu Assi and Nitassinan.[185] Moreover, in January 2010, an agreement between Quebec City and Montagnais granted the Mashteuiatsh Band Council the ability to plan out development in the entire Ashuapmushuan Wildlife Reserve, which is located on the Nitassinan of the community of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh.[186][187]

Political institutions

  • The Assemblée des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador[188]
  • The Grand Council of the Crees[189]
  • The Makivik Corporation[190]


Boats docked in the Magdalen Islands are sometimes decorated with Acadian flags.

The subject of Acadians in Quebec is an important one as more than a million Québécois are of Acadian ascent, with roughly 4.8 million Québécois possessing one or multiple Acadian ancestors in their geneology tree. Furthermore, more than a million Québécois wear a patronym of Acadian origin. All of this is because a large number of Acadians had fled Acadia to take refuge in Quebec during the Great Upheaval.[191][192][193][194]

Quebec houses an Acadian community spread out across several regions. Nowadays, Acadians mainly live on the Magdalen Islands and in Gaspesia, but about thirty other communities are present elsewhere in Quebec, mostly in the Côte-Nord and Centre-du-Québec regions. An Acadian community in Quebec can be called a "Cadie" or "Petite Cadie", and some cities and villages use the demonym "Cadien".[195]

The Festival Acadien des Îles-de-la-Madeleine is a festival which occurs every year in memory of the founders of the first villages on the Magdalen Islands. The festival is held in Havre-Aubert for about two weeks. There, Québécois and Acadians from all corners of Quebec and other neighboring lands mingle to celebrate Acadian culture.[196] The town of Bonaventure, in Gaspesia, also houses the Musé Acadien du Québec which features permanent exhibitions on Acadians in Quebec, like Une Acadie québécoise and Secrets d'Acadiens, les coulisses de la rue Grand-Pré.[197] In 2002, on National Acadian Day, the Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec unveiled a monument to Acadians entitled "Towards the Light". The monument symbolizes and explains the predominant role that the Acadians and their descendants played in the history of Quebec. The Premier of Quebec, Bernard Landry, declared at this unveiling that: "Between the Québécois people and the Acadian people, there is more than friendship, there is kinship".[198]


Quebec has an advanced, market-based, and open economy. In 2009, its gross domestic product (GDP) of US$32,408 per capita at purchasing power parity puts the province at par with Japan, Italy and Spain, but remains lower than the Canadian average of US$37,830 per capita.[199][verification needed] The economy of Quebec is ranked the 37th largest economy in the world just behind Greece and 28th for the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.[200][201]

View of Montreal from the Mont-Royal belvedere

The economy of Quebec represents 20.36% of the total GDP of Canada. Like most industrialized countries, the economy of Quebec is based mainly on the services sector. Quebec's economy has traditionally been fuelled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and average productivity. The provincial GDP in 2010 was C$319,348 billion,[202] which makes Quebec the second largest economy in Canada.

The provincial debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 50.7% in fiscal year 2012–2013, and is projected to decline to 33.8% in 2023–2024.[203] The credit rating of Quebec is currently Aa2 according to the Moody's agency.[204] In June 2017 S&P rated Quebec as an AA- credit risk, surpassing Ontario for the first time.[205]

The Institut national de la recherche scientifique helps to advance scientific knowledge and to train a new generation of students in various scientific and technological sectors. More than one million Quebecers work in the field of science and technology which represents more than 30% of Quebec's GDP.

Quebec's economy has undergone tremendous changes over the last decade.[206] Firmly grounded in the knowledge economy, Quebec has one of the highest growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada. The knowledge sector represents about 30.9% of Quebec's GDP.[207] Quebec is experiencing faster growth of its R&D spending than other Canadian provinces.[208] Quebec's spending in R&D in 2011 was equal to 2.63% of GDP, above the European Union average of 1.84% and will have to reaches the target of devoting 3% of GDP to research and development activities in 2013 according to the Lisbon Strategy.[209] The percentage spent on research and technology (R&D) is the highest in Canada and higher than the averages for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the G7 countries.[210] Approximately 1.1 million Quebecers work in the field of science and technology.[211]

A mockup of a Bombardier CSeries being developed by Bombardier Aerospace. Since 1856, Quebec has established itself as a pioneer of modern aerospace industry.[212] Quebec has over 260 companies which employ about 43,000 people. Approximately 62% of the Canadian aerospace industry is based in Quebec.[213][214]

Quebec is also a major player in several leading-edge industries including aerospace, information technologies and software and multimedia. Approximately 60% of the production of the Canadian aerospace industry are from Quebec, where sales totalled C$12.4 billion in 2009.[215] Quebec is one of North America's leading high-tech player. This vast sector encompassing approximately 7,300 businesses and employ more than 145,000 people.[216] Pauline Marois has recently unveiled a two billion dollar budget for the period between 2013 to 2017 to create about 115,000 new jobs in knowledge and innovation sectors. The government promises to provide about 3% of Quebec's GDP in research and development (R&D).[217]

About 180 000 Quebeckers work in different field of information technology.[218] Approximately 52% of Canadian companies in these sectors are based in Quebec, mainly in Montreal and Quebec City. There are currently approximately 115 telecommunications companies established in the province, such as Motorola and Ericsson. About 60 000 people currently working in computer software development. Approximately 12 900 people working in over 110 companies such as IBM, CMC, and Matrox. The multimedia sector is also dominated by the province of Quebec. Several companies, such as Ubisoft settled in Quebec since the late 1990s.[219]

The mining industry accounted for 6.3% of Quebec's GDP.[220] It employs about 50,000 people[221] in 158 companies.[221]

The pulp and paper industries generate annual shipments valued at more than $14 billion.[222] The forest products industry ranks second in exports, with shipments valued at almost $11 billion. It is also the main, and in some circumstances only, source of manufacturing activity in more than 250 municipalities in the province. The forest industry has slowed in recent years because of the softwood lumber dispute.[223] This industry employs 68,000 people in several regions of Quebec.[224] This industry accounted for 3.1% of Quebec's GDP.[225]

Agri-food industry plays an important role in the economy of Quebec, with meat and Dairy products being the two main sectors. It accounts for 8% of the Quebec's GDP and generate $19.2 billion. This industry generated 487,000 jobs in agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing of food, beverages and tobacco and food distribution.[226]

Exports and imports

Thanks to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Quebec is experiencing an increase in its ability to compete on the international market. As a result of these two agreements, Quebec's trade relations with other countries have become more dynamic and the province has seen its exports increase significantly. NAFTA is especially advantageous as it gives Quebec, among other things, access to a market of 130 million consumers within a radius of 1,000 kilometers. These international exchanges contribute to the strength of the Quebec economy, most particularly in terms of employment. About 60% of exports are made to outside of Canada.[227]

Quebec's exports to the international market. The United States is the country which buys the most Québécois exports by far.

In 2008, Québécois exports to other provinces in Canada and abroad totaled 157.3 billion CND$, or 51.8% of Quebec's gross domestic product (GDP). Of this total, 60.4% were international exports, and 39.6% were interprovincial exports. The breakdown by destination of international merchandise exports is as follows: United States (72.2%), Europe (14.4%), Asia (5.1%), Middle East (2.7%), Central America (2.3%), South America (1.9%), Africa (0.8%) and Oceania (0.7%). Though Quebec exports much internationally, Quebec's main economic partner remains the rest of Canada.[228]

In 2008, Quebec imported 178 billion dollars worth of goods and services, or 58.6% of its GDP. Of this total, 62.9% of goods were imported from international markets, while 37.1% of goods were interprovincial imports. The breakdown by origin of international merchandise imports is as follows: United States (31.1%), Europe (28.7%), Asia (17.1%), Africa (11.7%), South America (4.5%), Central America (3.7%), Middle East (1.3%) and Oceania (0.7%).[229]

Several renowned Quebec companies operate on the international market, including: pulp and paper producers Cascades and AbitibiBowater, milk producer Agropur, transportation builder Bombardier, information technology company CGI, Cirque du Soleil, convenience store chain Couche-Tard, the GardaWorld Security Corporation, the energy distributor Gaz Métro, the marketing firm Groupe Cossette Communication, the media and telecommunications company Quebecor, the accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, the Saputo fromagerie, the Vachon bakery, the engineering and construction group SNC-Lavalin, etc.

National Companies

Bombardier, Desjardins, the National Bank of Canada, the Jean Coutu Group, Transcontinental média, Quebecor, the Métro food retailers, Hydro-Québec, the Société des alcools du Québec, the Bank of Montreal, Saputo, the Cirque du Soleil, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Normandin restaurants and the Vidéotron group represent briefly some of the most important national Québécois companies.[230]

Natural resources

The mining town of Fermont, North Shore, the beginning of the road of iron

The abundance of natural resources gives Quebec an advantageous position on the world market. Quebec stands out particularly in the mining sector, ranking among the top ten areas to do business in mining.[231] It also stands for the exploitation of its forest resources.

Quebec is remarkable for the natural resources of its vast territory. It has about 30 mines, 158 exploration companies and fifteen primary processing industries. Many metallic minerals are exploited, the principals are gold, iron, copper and zinc. Many other substances are extracted including titanium, asbestos, silver, magnesium, nickel and many other metals and industrial minerals.[232] However, only 40% of the mineral potential of Quebec is currently known. In 2003, the value of mineral exploitation reached Quebec 3.7 billion Canadian dollars.[233] Moreover, as a major centre of exploration for diamonds,[234] Quebec has seen, since 2002, an increase in its mineral explorations, particularly in the Northwest as well as in the Otish Mountains and the Torngat Mountains.

The vast majority (90.5%) of Quebec's forests are publicly owned. Forests cover more than half of Quebec's territory, for a total area of nearly 761,100 square kilometres (293,900 sq mi).[235] The Quebec forest area covers seven degrees of latitude.

More than a million lakes and rivers cover Quebec, occupying 21% of the total area of its territory. The aquatic environment is composed of 12.1% of fresh water and 9.2% of saltwater (percentage of total QC area).[236]


The Château Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the world
Before June 1845, Percé Rock had two holes

The tourism industry is a major economic pillar in Quebec, being the 5th largest export class. The Ministry of Tourism ensures the development of this industry under the commercial name "Bonjour Québec".[237] The Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec also educates and trains professionals for this field.[238]

The tourism industry provides employement to over 400,000 people.[239] These employees work in the more than 29,000 tourism-related businesses in Quebec, most of which are restaurants or hotels. 70% of tourism-related businesses are located in or close to Montreal or Québec. It is estimated that, in 2010, Quebec welcomed 25.8 million tourists. Of this number, 76.1% came from Quebec, 12.2% from the rest of Canada, 7.7% from the United States and 4.1% from other countries. Those from other countries mostly came from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico or Japan. In 2010, it was tourists from France who sojourned the longest (14.9 days on average) and it was tourists from Mexico who spent the most per day (176$ on average).[240] Annually, tourists spend more than 6.7 billion dollars in the different spheres of Quebec's tourism industry.[241] Quebec possesses 21 tourism regions and their development is taken care of by an autonomous network of regional tourism associations.[242]

Finally, Quebec is the theatre where many international events take place. These events often include sports competitions (ex. Canadian Grand Prix, Rogers Cup, etc.) and festivals (ex. Quebec Winter Carnival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, Festival d'été de Québec, etc.).

As a land of contrasts and grandiosity, a panoply of attractions, activities and landscapes welcomes those who visit Quebec. Whether it is the metropolitan life of Montreal, to the historied quarters of Vieux-Québec, the charming coasts of Bas-Saint-Laurent, the picturesque Mont-Tremblant settlement, or the ephemeral discovery of Percé Rock, among many others, any who visit Quebec will find something to spark their innate sense of wonder and soothe their soul.

Annual Budget

For the 2017-2018 period, Quebec's budget was 103,7 billion dollars. This budget planned to provide 3 billion dollars more to the healthcare sector over 2 years.[243][244]

Quebec's ranking in the Canadian economy

  • Quebec is the 3rd most attractive province for investment from the mining industry[245]
  • Quebec is in 2nd place for child care services[246]
  • Quebec is in 1rst place for the highest amount of milk produced and biggest amount of farms engaged in the dairy industry[247]
  • Quebec produces most of Canada's hydroelectricity (it is also the 2nd biggest hydroelectricity producer in the world)[248]
  • Quebec is the province with the most syndicates[249]
  • Quebec is in 8th place for the general performance of its healthcare system[250]
  • For tourism in Canada, Quebec is the 2nd most important province, receiving 21,5% of tourists' spending[251]
  • Quebec has the most registered electric vehicles of any Canadian province[252]

Science and technology

In 1969, Héroux-Devtek designed and manufactured the undercarriage of the Apollo Lunar Module.

The government of Quebec has launched the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation (SQRI) in 2007 which aims to promote development through research, science and technology. The government hopes to create a strong culture of innovation in Quebec for the next decades and to create a sustainable economy.[253] The spending on research and development reached some 7.824 billion dollars in 2007, roughly the equivalent of 2.63% of Quebec's GDP.[253] Quebec is ranked, as of March 2011, 13th in the world in terms of investment in research and development.[254] The research and development expenditures will be more than 3% of the province's GDP in 2013. The R&D expenditure in Quebec is higher than the average G7 and OECD countries.[211] Science and technology are key factors in the economic position of Quebec. More than one million people in Quebec are employed in the science and technology sector.[211]

Rudolph A. Marcus, chemist and Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate[255]

Quebec is considered as one of world leaders in fundamental scientific research, having produced ten Nobel laureates in either physics, chemistry, or medicine.[256] It is also considered as one of the world leaders in sectors such as aerospace, information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and therefore plays a significant role in the world's scientific and technological communities.[257] Quebec is also active in the development of its energy industries, including renewable energy such as hydropower and wind power. Quebec has had over 9,469 scientific publications in the sector of medicine, biomedical research and engineering since the year 2000.[258] Overall, the province of Quebec count about 125 scientific publications per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009.[259] The contribution of Quebec in science and technology represent approximately 1% of the researches worldwide since the 1980s to 2009.[260] Between 1991 to 2000, Quebec produced more scientific papers per 100,000 inhabitants than the United States and Germany.[261]

The Canadian Space Agency was established in Quebec due to its major role in this research field. A total of four Quebecers have been in space since the creation of the CSA: Marc Garneau, Julie Payette, and David Saint-Jacques as CSA astronauts, plus Guy Laliberté as a private citizen who paid for his trip. Quebec has also contributed to the creation of some Canadian artificial satellites including SCISAT-1, ISIS, Radarsat-1 and Radarsat-2.[262][263][264]

The province is one of the world leaders in the field of space science and contributed to important discoveries in this field.[265] One of the most recent is the discovery of the complex extrasolar planets system HR 8799. HR 8799 is the first direct observation of an exoplanet in history.[266][267] Olivier Daigle and Claude Carignan, astrophysicists from Université de Montréal have invented an astronomical camera approximately 500 times more powerful than those currently on the market.[268] It is therefore considered as the most sensitive camera in the world.[269][270][271] The Mont Mégantic Observatory was recently equipped with this camera.[272]

Quebec ranks among the world leaders in the field of life science.[273] William Osler, Wilder Penfield, Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and others made significant discoveries in medicine, neuroscience and psychology while working at McGill University in Montreal. Quebec has more than 450 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies which together employ more than 25,000 people and 10,000 highly qualified researchers.[273] Montreal is ranked 4th in North America for the number of jobs in the pharmaceutical sector.[273][274]


The education system of Quebec differs from those of other Canadian provinces. From the establishement of Canada in the 16th century up to the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, the Catholic Church was in charge of the education system of Quebec. Today, this education system is administered by the Ministère de l'Éducation and the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur of the government of Quebec. It has five levels: first preschool, then primary school, then secondary school, then CEGEP and finally university. Attached to these levels are the options to also attend professional development opportunities, classes for adults and continuing education. For every level of teaching, there exists a public network and private network. The public network is financed by taxes while the private options must be payed for by the student. In 2020, school boards were replaced by school service centres.[275]

All universities in Quebec exist by virtue of laws adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec in 1967 during the Quiet Revolution. Their financing mostly comes from public taxes, but the laws under which they operate grants them more autonomy than other levels of education.[276]

Teachers are represented by province-wide unions that negotiate province-wide working conditions with local school service centres and the government of Quebec.[277][278]

School work and tests are normally graded using one of two methods (or both simultaneously): a percentage-based 0 to 100% correct system (60% correct is usually the minimum passing grade), or, a letter grade system going from A (best) down to B, C, D and finally, F (failure).[279]



The ferry N.M. Camille-Marcoux, of the Société des traversiers du Québec, ensuring liaison Baie-Comeau—Matane and Godbout—Matane

Development and security of land transportation in Canada are provided by the ministère des Transports du Québec.[280] Other organizations, such as the Canadian Coast Guard and Nav Canada, provide the same service for the sea and air transportation. The Commission des transports du Québec works with the freight carriers and the public transport.

The réseau routier québécois (Quebec road network) is managed by the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) (Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation) and consists of about 185,000 kilometres (115,000 mi) of highways and national, regional, local, collector and forest roads. In addition, Quebec has almost 12,000 bridges, tunnels, retaining walls, culverts and other structures[281] such as the Quebec Bridge, the Laviolette Bridge and the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge–Tunnel.

In the waters of the St. Lawrence there are eight deep-water ports for the transhipment of goods. In 2003, 3886 cargo and 9.7 million tonnes of goods transited the Quebec portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway.[282]

Concerning rail transport, Quebec has 6,678 kilometres (4,150 mi) of railways[283] integrated in the large North American network. Although primarily intended for the transport of goods through companies such as the Canadian National (CN) and the Canadian Pacific (CP), the Quebec railway network is also used by inter-city passengers via Via Rail Canada and Amtrak. In April 2012, plans were unveiled for the construction of an 800 km (497 mi) railway running north from Sept-Îles, to support mining and other resource extraction in the Labrador Trough.[284]

The upper air network includes 43 airports that offer scheduled services on a daily basis.[282] In addition, the Government of Quebec owns airports and heliports to increase the accessibility of local services to communities in the Basse-Côte-Nord and northern regions.[285]

Various other transport networks crisscross the province of Quebec, including hiking trails, snowmobile trails and bike paths; the Green Road being the largest with nearly 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) in length.[286]


Quebec has been described as a potential clean energy superpower.[287][288] The energy balance of Quebec has undergone a large shift over the past 30 years. In 2008, electricity ranked as the main form of energy used in Quebec (41.6%), followed by oil (38.2%) and natural gas (10.7%).[289]

Quebec is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Brazil and the United States and relies almost exclusively (96% in 2008) on this source of renewable energy for its electricity needs.[290]


Public health in Quebec brings together all the measures, knowledge and techniques implemented collectively in Québécois society to prevent disease, preserve health, and improve the vitality and longevity of individuals. Québécois public health pursues a health policy which emphasizes prevention (especially with hygiene and diet), is based on the analysis of health-related data and on the evolution of the health needs of the population. The fundamental principles of Québécois healthcare are: universality, equity, and public administration. Like in other nations, the public health policies implemented in Québécois society have enabled Québécois to considerably extend their life expectancy since the mid-20th century.[291]

Health and social services in Quebec are integrated within the same administration. The Quebec health system is public, which means that the state acts as the main insurer and administrator, and that funding is provided by general taxation. This ensures accessibility to care regardless of the patient's income level.

There are 34 health establishments in Quebec, 22 of which are a Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS). They ensure the distribution of different services on the territories they are assigned to. Quebec possess approximately 140 hospitals for general or specialised care (CHSGS). Quebec also possess other types of establishements in its healthcare system, such as some Centre local de services communautaires (CLSC), Centre d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), Centre de réadaptation and Centre de protection de l’enfance et de la jeunesse. Finally, there are private healthcare establishments (payed for directly by the patient) like Groupes de médecine de famille, pharmacies, private clinics, dentists, community organisations and retirement homes.[292]


Quebec has developed its own unique culture from its historic New France roots. Its culture also symbolizes a distinct perspective: being a French-speaking nation surrounded by a bigger English-speaking culture. Quebecois nationalism has been one expression of this perspective. The culture has also been influenced First Nations, the British, Americans, other French-speaking North Americans like the Acadians and Franco-Ontarians, English-speaking Canadians and some immigrants. Quebec is the centre of French America.

Montreal's cabarets rose to the forefront of the city's cultural life during the Prohibition era of Canada and the United States in the 1920s. The cabarets radically transformed the artistic scene, greatly influencing the live entertainment industry of Quebec.[293] The Quartier Latin (English: Latin Quarter) of Montreal, and Vieux-Québec (English: Old Quebec) in Quebec City, are two hubs of activity for today's artists. Life in the cafés and "terrasses" (outdoor restaurant terraces) reveals a Latin influence in Quebec's culture, with the théâtre Saint-Denis in Montréal and the Capitole de Québec theatre in Quebec City being among the principal attractions.

A number of governmental and non-government organizations support cultural activity in Quebec. The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) is an initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Communications (Quebec). It supports creation, innovation, production, and international exhibits for all cultural fields of Quebec. The Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) works to promote and fund individuals working in the cultural industry. The Prix du Québec is an award given by the government to confer the highest distinction and honour to individuals demonstrating exceptional achievement in their respective cultural field. Other Québécois awards include the Athanase David Awards (Literature), Félix Awards (Music), Gémeaux Awards (Television and film), Jutra Awards (Cinema), Masques Awards (Theatre), Olivier Guimond Awards (Humour) and the Opus Awards (Concert music).

Social order

Quebec is a free and democratic society that abides by the rule of law.[294] Québécois society bases its cohesion and specificity on a set of statements, a few notable examples of which include:

  • The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms[295]
  • The Charter of the French Language[296]
  • The Civil Code of Quebec[297]

In 2007, the Premier of Quebec reasserted three fundamental values of Quebec's society:[298]

Equality between men and women, primacy of the French language, and separation of church and state constitute the fundamental values. They are not subject to any arrangement. They cannot be subordinated by any other principle.[298]

Music and dance

Traditional music is imbued with many dances, such as the jig, the quadrille, the reel and line dancing, which developed in the festivities since the early days of colonization. Various instruments are more popular in Quebec's culture: harmonica (music-of-mouth or lip-destruction), fiddle, spoons, jaw harp and accordion. The podorythmie is a characteristic of traditional Quebec music and means giving the rhythm with the feet.[299] Quebec traditional music is currently provided by various contemporary groups seen mostly during Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations, Quebec National Holiday and many local festivals.

Being a modern cosmopolitan society, today, all types of music can be found in Quebec. From folk music to hip-hop, music has always played an important role in Quebercers culture. From La Bolduc in the 1920s–1930s to the contemporary artists, the music in Quebec has announced multiple songwriters and performers, pop singers and crooners, music groups and many more. Quebec's most popular artists of the last century include the singers Félix Leclerc (1950s), Gilles Vigneault (1960s–present), Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1970s–present) and Céline Dion (1980s–present).[300] The First Nations and the Inuit of Quebec also have their own traditional music.

From Quebec's musical repertoire, the song A La Claire Fontaine[301] was the anthem of the New France, Patriots and French Canadian, then replaced by O Canada. Currently, the song Gens du pays is by far preferred by many Quebecers to be the national anthem of Quebec. The Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) was created in 1978 to promote the music industry in Quebec.[302] The Orchestre symphonique de Québec and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal are respectively associated with the Opéra de Québec and the Opéra de Montreal whose performances are presented at the Grand Théâtre de Québec and at Place des Arts. The Ballets Jazz de Montreal, the Grands Ballets and La La La Human Steps are three important professional troupes of contemporary dance.

Film, television, and radio

The Cinémathèque québécoise has a mandate to promote the film and television heritage of Quebec. Similarly, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), a federal Crown corporation, provides for the same mission in Canada. In a similar way, the Association of Film and Television in Quebec (APFTQ) promotes independent production in film and television.[303] While the Association of Producers and Directors of Quebec (APDQ) represents the business of filmmaking and television, the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters of Quebec (ARCQ) (French acronym) represents the independent radio stations.[304] Several movie theatres across Quebec ensure the dissemination of Quebec cinema. With its cinematic installations, such as the Cité du cinéma and Mel's studios, the city of Montreal is home to the filming of various productions.[305] The State corporation Télé-Québec, the federal Crown corporation CBC, general and specialized private channels, networks, independent and community radio stations broadcast the various Quebec téléromans, the national and regional news, interactive and spoken programmations, etc.[306][307]Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois is a festival surrounding the ceremony of the Jutra Awards Night that rewards work and personalities of Quebec cinema.[308] The Artis and the Gemini Awards gala recognize the personalities of television and radio industry in Quebec and French Canada. The Film Festival of the 3 Americas, Quebec City, the Festival of International Short Film, Saguenay, the World Film Festival and the Festival of New Cinema, Montreal, are other annual events surrounding the film industry in Quebec.

Literature and theatre

Émile Nelligan, a Quebec poet famous for his poem Winter evening

From New France, Quebec literature was first developed in the travel accounts of explorers such as Jacques Cartier, Jean de Brébeuf, the Baron de La Hontan and Nicolas Perrot, describing their relations with indigenous peoples. The Moulin à paroles traces the great texts that have shaped the history of Quebec since its foundation in 1534 until the era of modernity. The first to write the history of Quebec, since its discovery, was the historian François-Xavier Garneau. This author will be part of the current of patriotic literature (also known as the "poets of the country" and literary identity) that will arise after the Patriots Rebellion of 1837–1838.[309]

Many Quebec poets and prominent authors marked their era and today remain anchored in the collective imagination, like, among others, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Octave Crémazie, Honoré Beaugrand, Émile Nelligan, Lionel Groulx, Gabrielle Roy, Hubert Aquin, Michel Tremblay, Marie Laberge, Fred Pellerin and Gaston Miron. The regional novel from Quebec is called Terroir novel and is a literary tradition[310] specific to the province. It includes such works as The Old Canadians, Maria Chapdelaine, Un homme et son péché, Le Survenant, etc. There are also many successful plays from this literary category, such as Les Belles-sœurs and Broue (Brew).

Among the theatre troupes are the Compagnie Jean-Duceppe, the Théâtre La Rubrique at the Pierrette-Gaudreault venue of the Institut of arts in Saguenay, the Théâtre Le Grenier, etc. In addition to the network of cultural centres in Quebec,[311] the venues include the Monument-National and the Rideau Vert (green curtain) Theatre in Montreal, the Trident Theatre in Quebec City, etc. The National Theatre School of Canada and the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec form the future players.

Popular French-language contemporary writers include Louis Caron, Suzanne Jacob, Yves Beauchemin, and Gilles Archambault. Mavis Gallant, born in Quebec, lived in Paris from the 1950s onward. Well-known English-language writers from Quebec include Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, and Neil Bissoondath.

Fine arts

La Cavalière by Charles Daudelin, 1963, installed in front of the pavilion Gérard Morisset of the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec City

First influenced since the days of New France by Catholicism, with works from Frère Luc (Brother Luke) and more recently from Ozias Leduc and Guido Nincheri, art of Quebec has developed around the specific characteristics of its landscapes and cultural, historical, social and political representations.[312]

Thus, the development of Quebec masterpieces in painting, printmaking and sculpture is marked by the contribution of artists such as Louis-Philippe Hébert, Cornelius Krieghoff, Alfred Laliberté, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Jean Paul Lemieux, Clarence Gagnon, Adrien Dufresne, Alfred Pellan, Jean-Philippe Dallaire, Charles Daudelin, Arthur Villeneuve, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Émile Borduas and Marcelle Ferron.

The Fine arts of Quebec are displayed at the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Quebec Salon des métiers d'art and in many art galleries. While many works decorate the public areas of Quebec, others are displayed in foreign countries such as the sculpture Embâcle (Jam) by Charles Daudelin on Québec Place in Paris and the statue Québec Libre! (free Quebec!) by Armand Vaillancourt in San Francisco. The Montreal School of Fine Arts forms the painters, printmakers and sculptors of Quebec.

Various buildings reflect the architectural heritage that characterizes Quebec, such as religious buildings, city halls, houses of large estates, and other locations throughout the province.

Circus and street art

The show Dralion, Cirque du Soleil, introduced in 2004

Several circus troupes were created in recent decades, the most important being without any doubt the Cirque du Soleil.[313] Among these troops are contemporary, travelling and on-horseback circuses, such as Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Cirque Éloize, Cavalia, Kosmogonia, Saka and Cirque Akya.[314] Presented outdoors under a tent or in venues similar to the Montreal Casino, the circuses attract large crowds both in Quebec and abroad. In the manner of touring companies of the Renaissance, the clowns, street performers, minstrels, or troubadours travel from city to city to play their comedies. Although they may appear randomly from time to time during the year, they are always visible in the cultural events such as the Winterlude in Gatineau, the Quebec Winter Carnival, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Quebec City Summer Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and the Festival of New France in Quebec.

The National Circus School and the École de cirque de Québec were created to train future Contemporary circus artists. For its part, Tohu, la Cité des Arts du Cirque was founded in 2004 to disseminate the circus arts.[315]


The school and the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Good Council, the ghost town of Val-Jalbert, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

The Cultural Heritage Fund is a program of the Quebec government[316] for the conservation and development of Quebec's heritage, together with various laws.[317] Several organizations ensure that same mission, both in the social and cultural traditions in the countryside and heritage buildings, including the Commission des biens culturels du Québec, the Quebec Heritage Fondation, the Conservation Centre of Quebec, the Centre for development of living heritage, the Quebec Council of living heri tage, the Quebec Association of heritage interpretation, etc.

Several sites, houses and historical works reflect the cultural heritage of Quebec, such as the Village Québécois d'Antan, the historical village of Val-Jalbert, the Fort Chambly, the national home of the Patriots, the Chicoutimi pulp mill (Pulperie de Chicoutimi), the Lachine Canal and the Victoria Bridge. Strongly influenced by the presence of the Catholic Church, the development of the religious history of Quebec is provided by organizations like the Council of the religious heritage of Quebec. Since 2007, the government promotes, with the various players in the field, the conclusion of agreements on the use of property belonging to episcopal factories and corporations to establish "partnerships in financing the restoration and renovation of religious buildings".[318]

As of December 2011, there are 190 National Historic Sites of Canada in Quebec.[319] These sites were designated as being of national historic significance.[320]

Various museums tell the cultural history of Quebec, like the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of French America, the McCord Museum or the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History in Pointe-à-Callière, displaying artifacts, paintings and other remains from the past of Quebec. Many literary works reproduce the daily lives of the past, following the social and cultural traditions of Quebec television series reproducing the old days[321] such as the trilogy of Pierre Gauvreau (Le Temps d'une paix, Cormoran and Le Volcan tranquille), La Famille Plouffe, Les Belles Histoires des Pays-d'en-Haut, La Petite Patrie, Entre chien et loup, Les Filles de Caleb, Blanche, Au nom du père et du fils, Marguerite Volant, Nos Étés or Musée Éden, among others.


A classic poutine from La Banquise in Montreal
Montreal-style smoked meat from Schwartz's in Montreal

The traditional Quebecois cuisine descends from 16th century French cuisine, the fur trade and a history of hunting. French settlers populating North America were interested in a new cuisine to confront the climate and the needs arising from the work of colonization. It has many similarities with Acadian cuisine. Quebec's cuisine has also been influenced by learning from First Nation, by English cuisine and by American cuisine. Quebec is most famous for its Tourtière, Pâté Chinois, Poutine, St. Catherine's taffy among others. "Le temps des sucres" is a period during springtime when many Quebecers go to the cabane à sucre for a traditional meal. Traditional dishes are also the star of "Le temps des fêtes", a period which covers the winter holidays.

Quebec is the biggest maple syrup producer on the planet.[322] 72% of the maple syrup sold on the international market (and 90% of the maple syrup sold in Canada) originates from Quebec. Quebec has a long history of developing and perfecting the craft of l'acériculture, and creating new maple-derived products.

Quebec has produced beer since the beginning of colonization especially with the emergence of spruce beer. Quebec also produces a great number of high-quality wines including ice wine and ice cider. Because of the climate and available resources, it is only since the 1980s that these drinks can be produced in industrial quantities. Today there are nearly a hundred breweries and companies, including Unibroue, Molson Coors, Labatt and many others.

Quebec has produced cheese for centuries. Most of the first cheeses were soft cheeses, but after the Conquest of New France, hard cheese began to be created as well. The first cheese-making school in North America was established in Saint-Denis-de-Kamouraska in 1893. It was at this moment that the monks of La Trappe of Oka began to produce the famous Oka cheese. Today there are over 700 different cheeses in Quebec.


The Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre

Sports in Quebec constitutes an essential dimension of Quebec culture. The practice of sports and outdoor activities in Quebec was influenced largely by its geography and climate. Ice hockey remains the national sport. This sport, which was played for the first time on March 3, 1875, at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal and promoted over the years by numerous achievements, including the centenary of the Montreal Canadiens, still raises passions.[323] Other major sports include Canadian football with the Montreal Alouettes, soccer with Club de Foot Montréal, the Grand Prix du Canada Formula 1 racing with drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Villeneuve, and professional baseball with the former Montreal Expos. During its history, Quebec has hosted several major sporting events; including the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Fencing World Championships in 1967, track cycling in 1974, and the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo race created for the first time in 1984.

Québec athletes have performed well at the Winter Olympics over recent years. They won 12 of Canada's 29 medals at the most recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (2018); they won 12 of the 27 Canadian medals in Sochi (2014); and 9 of the 26 Canadian medals in Vancouver (2010).[324]

Folklore and legends

La chasse-galerie (1906) by Henri Julien, showing a scene from a popular Quebec folk legend.

When the early settlers arrived from France in the 17th century, they brought with them popular tales from their homeland. Adapted to fit the traditions of rural Quebec by transforming the European hero into Ti-Jean, a generic rural habitant, they eventually spawned many other tales. Many were passed on through generations by what French speaking Québécois refer to as Les Raconteurs, or storytellers.[325] Almost all of the stories native to Quebec were influenced by Christian dogma and superstitions. The Devil, for instance, appears often as either a person, an animal or monster, or indirectly through Demonic acts.[326] Other forms of folklore include superstitions associated with objects, events and dreams.

Various tales and stories are told through oral tradition, such as, among many more, the legends of the Bogeyman, the Chasse-galerie, the Black Horse of Trois-Pistoles, the Complainte de Cadieux, the Corriveau, the dancing devil of Saint-Ambroise, the Giant Beaupré, the monsters of the lakes Pohénégamook and Memphremagog, of Quebec Bridge (called the Devil's Bridge), the Rocher Percé and of Rose Latulipe, for example.[327]

Quebec's French-speaking populace has the second largest body of folktales in Canada (the first being First Nations).[328] The Association Quebecoise des Loisirs Folkloriques is an organization committed to preserving and disseminating Quebec's folklore heritage. It produces a number of publications and recordings, as well as sponsoring other activities.[329]


The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

Quebec's rich heritage of culture and history can be explored through a network of museums, which include the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée de la civilisation and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Many of Quebec's artists have been educated in universities' arts faculties and specialized art schools. Notable schools include the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec, the École nationale de théâtre du Canada and the École nationale de cirque. Finally, many public institutions have been created following the Quiet Revolution to catalogue and further develop Québécois culture. Notable public agencies include the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and Télé-Québec.


Maison Routhier in Sainte-Foy. This kind of Canadien-style house remains a symbol of Canadien nationalism.

Québécois architecture is characterized by its unique Canadien-style buildings as well as the juxtaposition of a variety of styles reflective of Quebec's history. When walking in any city or town, one can come across buildings with styles congruent to Classical, Neo-Gothic, Roman, Neo-Renaissance, Greek Revival, Neo-Classical, Québécois Neo-Classical, Victorian, Second Empire, Modern, Post-modern or Skyscrapers.

Canadien-style houses and barns were developed by the first settlers of New France who settled along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. These buildings are rectangular one-storey structures with an extremely tall and steep roof, sometimes almost twice as tall as the house below. It is thought that this roof design may have been developed to prevent the accumulation of snow. They were usually built out of wood, but the surviving ones are almost all built out of stone.

Canadien-style churches also developed. Each new village would build its own church, often being inspired by the churches of Québec and Montreal in the process. These churches long served as landmarks while traversing rural Quebec and were built in the center of the town. Quebec is often said to possess the most beautiful churches in North America.[330]


Louis-José Houde, a Québécois comedian and actor, performing during Quebec's Fête Nationale.

Comedy is a vast cultural sector in Quebec. Quebec has created and is home to several different comedy festivals, including the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, as well as the Grand Rire festivals of Quebec, Gatineau and Sherbrooke.[331] The Association des professionnels de l'industrie de l'humour (APIH) is the main organization for the promotion and development of the cultural sector of humor in Quebec and the École nationale de l'humour, created in 1988, trains future humorists in Quebec. The Ligue nationale d'improvisation (LNI), created in 1977, promotes a number of comedians by combining humor with improvisation theater.[332] The Gala les Olivier, in honor of the former humorist Olivier Guimond, rewards the personalities of Quebec comedy.[333]

Many famous comedians and comedy groups are Québécois, such as Rose Ouellette (known as La Poune), Juliette Petrie, Stéphane Rousseau, Roméo Pérusse, Gilles Latulippe, Yvon Deschamps, Anthony Kavanagh, Marc Favreau (famous for his character, Sol, a clown), Michel Noël (and his character, Capitaine Bonhomme), Jacques Desrosiers (performer of the famous clown Patof), Ding et Dong, Les Grandes Gueules, Lise Dion, François Pérusse with Les 2 Minutes du peuple, Jean-Michel Anctil, Martin Matte, Louis-José Houde, Rock et Belles Oreilles, Cathy Gauthier, etc.

Many popular Québécois comedy shows exist, such as Cré Basile, Le zoo du Capitaine Bonhomme, Lundi des Ha! Ha !, Démons du midi, La petite vie, Les Bougon, Le sketch show, etc. There are also many comedy and cartoon shows for children, such as La boîte à surprise, Bobino, Le pirate Maboule, Fanfreluche, La Ribouldingue, Les 100 Tours de Centour, Patofville, Passe-Partout, Robin et Stella, Iniminimagimo, Vazimolo, Télé-Pirate, Bibi et Geneviève, Watatatow, Caillou, Cornemuse, Macaroni tout garni, Toc toc toc, Ramdam, Tactik, etc.[334]


A Voyageur wearing a fur hat and a capote coat.

During the 17th century, the nobles and the bourgeois followed the fashions of France. They were always one year late to the fashion of Paris because it took one year for the King's ship to arrive.[335] The inhabitants (lords and censitoes) adapted their clothes to the customs of Native Americans: women wore shorter skirts and shawls, and men wore mitasses, moccasins and woolen toques. The common inhabitants, the Canadiens, had greater freedom. Many poorer women often arranged their hair on Sunday in a more sophisticated fashion, despite administrators of the colony stating that this style was reserved for the bourgeois and nobles. Some women wore clothes deemed indecent, with boobs almost visible.[336]

The Coureur des bois and Voyageurs wore similar clothing. During the colder months, they would wear a large coat made of deer, moose, or caribou skin with a large belt around the middle, called a Ceinture fléchée, made of leather or colorful wool. Voyageurs had the option of wearing clothes supplied by their employer, so a Voyageur who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company might have chosen to wear a capote coat with the traditional HBC stripes on them. Though, those who decided to make their own capot could style it to their whims. On their heads, they either wore a fur hat or a toque (a close-fitting knitted cap). Red toques appear frequently in artwork, but other colours like grey and blue were worn too.

Today, Québécois clothes follow the styles of mass-produced fashion. Québécois haute fashion is pioneered today with stylists, such as Marie Saint-Pierre, Marie-Claude Guay, Philippe Dubuc, Leo Chevalier, etc. Works are sold in boutiques and shops like La Maison Simons, Ogilvy's, Holt Renfrew, Les Ailes de la Mode, etc. The internationally renowned designers who do business in Quebec are mainly concentrated in Les Cours Mont-Royal. La Grande Braderie exhibits the works of Québécois fashion designers. The gala de la Griffe d'or rewards the best of those creators.

National symbols

Quebec's fleur-de-lis are most often blue or white.

In 1939, the government of Quebec unilaterally ratified its coat of arms to reflect Quebec's political history: French rule (gold lily on blue background), followed by British rule (lion on red background), followed by Canadian rule (maple leaves), and with Quebec's motto below "Je me souviens".[337] Je me souviens ("I remember") was first carved under the coat of arms of Quebec's Parliament Building in 1883. Je me souviens is an official part of the coat of arms and has been the official licence plate motto since 1978, replacing the previous one: La belle province ("the beautiful province"). The expression La belle province is still used as a nickname for the province. The fleur-de-lis, one of Quebec's most common symbols, is an ancient symbol of the French monarchy and was first shown in Quebec on the shores of Gaspésie in 1534 when Jacques Cartier arrived in Quebec for the first time. Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the patron saint of Canadiens, is honoured every 24 June during Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Finally, the Great Seal of Quebec is used to authenticate documents issued by the governmnent of Quebec.

The Fleurdelisé flying at Place d'Armes in Montreal

When Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608, his ship hoisted the French merchant flag, which consisted of a white cross on a blue background. Later on, at the Battle of Carillon, in 1758, the Flag of Carillon was flown. This flag inspired the first members of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society to create the Carillon Sacré-Coeur flag, which consisted of a white cross on an azur background with white fleur-de-lis in each corner and a Sacred Heart surrounded by maple leaves in the centre. The Carillon Sacré-Coeur and French merchant flag went on to be the major inspirations for Québécois when creating Quebec's current flag in 1903, called the Fleurdelisé. The Fleurdelisé replaced the Union Jack on Quebec's Parliament Building on January 21, 1948, and it has flown there ever since.

Three new official symbols were adopted in the late 1900s:

  • Iris versicolor, the floral emblem of Quebec since 1999. It was chosen because it blooms around the time of Quebec's Fête nationale.[8][338]
  • The snowy owl, the avian emblem of Quebec since 1987. It was selected by the Québécois government to symbolize Quebec's winters and northern climate.[8][339]
  • The yellow birch, the tree emblem of Quebec since 1993. It was picked to emphasize the importance Québécois give to the forests. The tree is admired for its diverse uses, its commercial value and its autumn colours.[8]
The snowy owl is the avian emblem of Quebec.

Fête nationale ("National Holiday")

In 1977, the Quebec Parliament declared June 24, the day of La Saint-Jean-Baptiste, to be Quebec's National Holiday. La Saint-Jean-Baptiste, or La St-Jean, honours French Canada's patron saint, John the Baptist. On this day, the song "Gens du pays", by Gilles Vigneault, is often heard. This song is commonly regarded as Quebec's unofficial anthem. Festivities occur on June 23 and 24 all over Quebec. In big cities like Quebec City or Montreal, shows are organized in main public spaces (such as on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, or in Maisonneuve Park in Montreal) where several of the most popular Québécois artists sing until late at night.

National Patriots' Day

National Patriots' Day, a statutory holiday in Quebec, celebrates the patriots that fought in the Lower Canada Rebellion against British forces. Le Vieux de '37 ("The Old Man of '37") is an illustration by Henri Julien that depicts a patriot of this rebellion.[340] Le Vieux de '37 is one of the best known symbols of the rebellion and is sometimes added at the centre of Patriote flags.

Unrecognized symbols

In 1998, the Montreal Insectarium sponsored a poll to choose an official insect for Quebec. The white admiral butterfly (Limenitis arthemis)[341] won with 32% of the 230 660 votes. However, the white admiral was never accepted by the governmnent of Quebec as an official symbol.[342]

External relationships

Quebec and New Brunswick are the only Canadian provinces that are members of the Francophonie.[343] Quebec is also sometimes perceived as being a partner to Ontario.

Foreign country-wise, Quebec's closest partner is the United States of America. Quebec and the United States have a long history of economic relations (ex. the Québécois government borrowing from Wall Street to create Hydro-Québec, the Grande Hémorragie, etc.) and military-related interactions (ex. American assistance in the Lower Canada Rebellion, American invasion in the War of 1812, etc.).[344] Today, 87% of Quebec's international exports head to the United States, and Quebec has several economic and military pacts with the U.S. like NAFTA, NATO, NORAD, etc.[345] Products of American culture like songs, movies, fashion and food strongly affect Québécois culture. Finally, Quebec also has a long and historied relationship with both the United Kingdom and France, having been a part of both the British Empire and French Empire.

Quebec Government Offices

Quebec possesses a network of 32 offices in 18 countries. These offices serve the purpose of representing Quebec in the country in which it is situated and they are overseen by Quebec's Ministry of International Relations. Quebec, like other Canadian provinces, also maintains representatives in some Canadian embassies and consulates general.

As of 2019, the Government of Quebec has delegates-general (agents-general) in Brussels, London, Mexico City, Munich, New York City, Paris and Tokyo; delegates to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Rome; and offices headed by directors offering more limited services in Barcelona, Beijing, Dakar, Hong Kong, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, Stockholm, and Washington. In addition, there are the equivalent of honorary consuls, titled antennes, in Berlin, Philadelphia, Qingdao, Seoul, and California's Silicon Valley. Québec also has a delegate for the Francophonie, a representative to UNESCO and a particular participation in the Organization of American States.[346]


Quebec maintains relations with the Francophonie and the francophone regions of Canada outside of Quebec.[347][348] In 1987 and 2011, the Sommet de la francophonie, the annual meeting of heads of states from member states of the Francophonie, took place in Quebec. The Jeux de la francophonie canadienne, a francophone canadian sports event which takes place every 3 years, has taken place in Quebec twice since its inception in 1999.

Quebec's representation in Canada

Quebec has at its disposal a network of representation in Canada. Its composed of two bureaux, one is in Moncton and the other is in Ontario. The bureau in Ontario covers Ontario and Western Canada, while the bureau in Moncton covers Atlantic Canada. One station chief leads each respective bureau. The purpose of these bureaux is to ensure an institutional presence of the government of Quebec near the other governments of Canada.[349]

See also

 Canada portal
  • Index of Quebec-related articles
  • Outline of Quebec



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Further reading


  • Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of Wars: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-375-40642-3.
  • Bergeron, Léandre (1975). The History of Québec: a Patriote's [sic] Handbook, trans. from the 5th French ed. by Baila Markus and rev. by the author. Updated ed. New Canada Publications. ISBN 0-9196-0035-2
  • Bergeron, Léandre (1974). Why There Must Be a Revolution in Québec. Toronto: New Canada Publications. 0-919600-16-6
  • Cave, Alfred A. (2004). The French and Indian War. Westport, Connecticut – London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-32168-9.
  • Courville, Serge; Howard, Richard (2009). Quebec: A Historical Geography. Univ of British Columbia Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-1426-3.
  • Dickinson, John Alexander; Brian J. Young (2003). A short history of Quebec. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2393-7.
  • Gairdner, William D. Constitutional Crack-up: Canada and the Coming Showdown with Québec. London: Stoddart Publishing Co., 1994. N.B.: On verso of t.p.: "A brief version ... appeared in the revised edition of the author's The Trouble with Canada." ISBN 0-7737-5658-2
  • Gauvreau, Michael (2005). The Catholic origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, 1931–1970. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2874-1.
  • Grenon, Jean-Yves (2000). Pierre Dugua De Mons: Founder of Acadie (1604–5), Co-Founder of Quebec (1608). Annapolis Royal, NS: Peninsular Press. ISBN 978-0-9682016-2-6Translated by Phil RobertsCS1 maint: postscript (link)
  • Hunter, William A. (1999). Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753–1758. Wennawoods. ISBN 978-1-889037-20-2.
  • Kokker, Steve (2002). Québec. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74059-024-2.
  • Lefkowitz, Arthur S. (2008). Benedict Arnold's Army: The 1775 American Invasion of Canada during the Revolutionary War. El Dorado Hills, California: Savas Beatie. ISBN 978-1-932714-03-6.
  • Maclure, Jocelyn (2003). Quebec identity: the challenge of pluralism. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2553-5.
  • McRoberts, Kenneth, and Dale Posgate (1984). Québec: Social Change and Political Crisis. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland and Stewart. Rev. and updated, including a post-Referendum epilogue, 1984, cop. 1980. x, 325 p. N.B.: The revision statement is from the front cover of the book. ISBN 0-7710-7185-X
  • Merriam; Webster (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. New York: Merriam-Webster, Inc. ISBN 978-0-87779-809-511th ed.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  • Riendeau, Roger E. (2007). A brief history of Canada. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-6335-2. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  • Roussopoulos, Dimitrios I, compiler (1974). Québec and Radical Social Change. First ed. Montréal, Qué.: Black Rose Books. ISBN 0-919618-51-0 pbk.
  • Scott, Colin (2001). Aboriginal autonomy and development in northern Quebec and Labrador. UBC Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-0844-6.
  • Taucar, Christopher Edward (2002). Canadian Federalism and Quebec Sovereignty. Peter Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-6242-4.
  • Webb Hodge, Frederick (1912). American Indians North of Mexico, Volume 4, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Handbook. Scituate, MA: Digital Scanning Inc. ISBN 978-1-58218-751-8Scanned in 2003CS1 maint: postscript (link)


  • Armony, Victor (2007). Le Québec expliqué aux immigrants. Montréal: VLB Éditeur. ISBN 978-2-89005-985-6.
  • Babin, Andrée (1986). L'interatlas: Ressources du Québec et du Canada. Montréal: Centre éducatif et culturel. ISBN 978-2-7617-0317-8.
  • Bergeron, Léandre (1970). Petit manuel d'histoire du Québec. [Montréal]: Éditions Québécoises. Without ISBN
  • Bergeron, Léandre and Pierre Landry (2008). Petit manuel d'histoire du Québec, 1534–2008. Trois-Pistoles, Qué.: Éditions Trois-Pistoles. N.B.: This ed. is a major revision, very considerably enlarged, rewritten this time in collaboration, and updated, of the 1970 text of the work, thus constituting essentially almost a different work than the original. ISBN 978-2-89583-183-9
  • Binot, Guy (2004). Pierre Dugua de Mons: gentilhomme royannais, premier colonisateur du Canada, lieutenant général de la Nouvelle-France de 1603 à 1612. Vaux-sur-Mer: Bonne anse. ISBN 978-2-914463-13-3.
  • Brûlotte, Suzanne (2009). Les oiseaux du Québec. Boucherville: Éditions Broquet. ISBN 978-2-89654-075-4.
  • Comeau, Robert, ed. (1969). Économie québécoise, in series, Les Cahiers de l'Université du Québec. Sillery, Qué.: Presses de l'Université du Québec. 495 p.
  • Commission politique et constitutionnelle (1967). États généraux du Canada français: exposés de base et documents de travail. Montréal: Éditions de l'Action nationale.
  • Desautels, Guy, et al. (1978). Pour l'autodétermination du Québec: plaidoyer marxiste. Éditions Nouvelles frontières. Sans ISBN
  • Duguay, Raoul (1971). Musiciens du Québec. Montréal: Éditions du Jour. 331 p. N.B.: The emphasis is on "classical" then- contemporary composers and on those of "musique actuelle".
  • Dupont, Jean-Claude (2008). Légendes du Québec – Un héritage culturel. Sainte-Foy: Les éditions GID. ISBN 978-2-89634-023-1.
  • Les Écossais du Québec. Montréal: Conseil québécois du Chardon, [1999]. N.B.: This is primarily a descriptive cultural and commercial directory of the Scottish community of Québec.
  • Gagnon, Henri (1979). Fermatures d'usines, ou bien liberation nationale. Saint-Lambert, Qué.: [s.n.]: Presses de Payette et Simms, imprim[eur]; distribution, Éditions Héritage. Without ISBN
  • Institut de la statistique du Québec (2010). Le Québec chiffres en main (PDF). Government of Quebec. ISBN 978-2-550-49444-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 27, 2010.
  • Lacoursière, Jacques; Provencher, Jean; Vaugeois, Denis (2000). Canada-Québec 1534–2000. Sillery: Septentrion. ISBN 978-2-89448-156-1.
  • Lacoursière, Jacques (2005). Histoire du Québec, Des origines à nos jours. Paris: Édition Nouveau Monde. ISBN 978-2-84736-113-1.
  • La Rochelle, Louis (1982). En flagrant délit de pouvoir: chroniques des événements poliltiques, de Maurice Duplessis à René Lévesque. Montréal, Qué: Boreal Express. ISBN 2-89052-058-7
  • Liebel, Jean (1999). Pierre Dugua, sieur de Mons, fondateur de Québec. Paris: Le Croît vif. ISBN 978-2-907967-48-8.
  • Linteau, Paul-André (1989). Histoire du Québec contemporain; Volume 1; De la Confédération à la crise (1867–1929). Montréal: Les Éditions du Boréal. ISBN 978-2-89052-297-8.
  • Linteau, Paul-André (1989). Histoire du Québec contemporain; Volume 2; Le Québec depuis 1930. Montréal: Les Éditions du Boréal. ISBN 978-2-89052-298-5.
  • Ministry of Environment of Quebec (2002). Water. Life. Future. National Policy on water (PDF). Government of Quebec. ISBN 978-2-550-40074-5.
  • Morf, Gustave (1970). Le Terrorisme québécois. Montréal, Éditions de l'Homme. 219, [3] p.
  • Parizeau, Jacques (1997). Pour un Québec souverain. [Montréal]: V.L.B. éditeur. ISBN 2-89005-655-4
  • Pelletier, Réal, ed. Une Certaine Révolution tranquille: 22 juin [19]60-[19]75. Montréal: La Presse, 1975. 337 p., ill. chiefly with b&w port. photos. Without ISBN
  • Pilon, Robert, Isabelle Lamoureux, and Gilles Turcotte (1991). Le Marché de la radio au Québec: document de reference. [Montréal]: Association québécoise de l'industrie du dique, du spectacle et de la video. unpaged. N.B.: Comprises: Robert Pilon's and Isabelle Lamoureux' Profil du marché de radio au Québec: un analyse de Média-culture. – Gilles Turcotte's Analyse comparative de l'écoute des principals stations de Montréal: prepare par Info Cible.
  • Rivière, Sylvain (2007). Léandre Bergeron, né en exil. Trois-Pistoles, Qué.: Éditions Trois-Pistoles. N.B.: Collection of essays on various Québec subjects, including a biography of L. Bergeron. ISBN 978-2-89583-165-5
  • Trudel, Jean (1969). Profil de la sculpture québécoise, XVIIe-XIXe siècle[s]. Québec, QC.: Ministère des affaires culturelles, Musée du Québec. 140 p., ill. with photos, mostly b&w. Without ISBN or SBN
  • Venne, Michel (2006). L'annuaire du Québec 2007. Montréal: Fides. ISBN 978-2-7621-2746-1.

External links

  • Government of Quebec
  • Bonjour Québec, Quebec government official tourist site
  • Quebec at Curlie