Souvenirs from Quebec
Quebec is unlike anywhere else in Canada and, for that matter, the world. It is a French-speaking province in a predominantly English-speaking country, with its own culture, values, and attitude. Quebecers are known for their sociable, laid-back lifestyle and their appreciation for life's pleasures, including food, wine, music, and fashion. Their cosmopolitanism makes Quebec an exciting place for souvenir shopping. Local delicacies including smoked salmon, cured meats, and maple candies can be purchased specially packed for the long trip home. Whether you are interested in trying the local craft beers, blackcurrant liqueur, or apple wine, you'll also find unique beverages to bring home for your friends to sample. And with so many world-famous architectural and natural landmarks to visit, you'll find souvenirs like plates, magnets, and miniature sculptures a fantastic and easy way to remember your journey through Quebec.
French-Speaking Quebec: A Unique Culture
The French-speaking population of Quebec, which includes most residents of the province, considers itself a close-knit community despite the province's large size. Many Quebecers display the fleur-de-lys design of the provincial flag or even Quebec license plates, which bear the motto "je me souviens," which means "I remember." You can take home a little bit of French culture with a T-shirt, trivet, or sports bag that bears one of these popular icons. Speaking of remembering, their history is very important to the people of Quebec. The province was one of the first places in Canada to be settled by Europeans in the seventeenth century. It has been the site of battles between the English and the French, the English and the Americans, and the settlers and the native people of the province. Many of these battles are commemorated at historical sites including Fort Chambly, Fort Lennox, and Fort Saint-Jean. Remember your visits to these portals to the past with beautifully made history books, photographs, and replicas of historical artillery and military tools. Quebec also has a history as a place of community and social prosperity. Celebrate the struggles and triumphs of early settlers with a visit to the historical village of Ile d'Orleans Seigneury, where you can learn about early settlers' way of life and bring home replicas of household trinkets and farming tools.
Quebec City: Canada's City on a Hill
Quebec City, known to locals simply as "Quebec," is the provincial capital and one of the oldest cities in North America. Its city walls, a UNESCO world heritage site, provide an interesting picture of the past, and are commemorated on many souvenir items, including snow globes, paperweights, and key rings. The city is known for its beauty and old-world charm, and is often referred to as "the most 'European' city in North America." For this reason, many visiting tourists leave with art prints or framed photograph of urban scenes. Although Quebec City offers tourist activities year-round, it is most lively in the winter, when residents and visitors beat the cold by visiting its many museums, restaurants, cafes, and art venues. Many of these famous institutions sell themed apparel, mugs, and dinnerware, which can add an international flare to your table at home. You may also be lucky enough to visit during the Winter Carnival, a yearly snow festival that features skiing, snow rafting, ice sculptures, snow sled slides and outdoor shows. Some of the Carnival's most famous sights are the Ice Palace, a palace constructed completely from ice blocks, and the Bonhomme de Neige, the Carnival's snowman mascot. Miniatures of the Ice Palace made of plastic, glass, and even fine crystal are wonderful keepsakes, and children love toy replicas of the Bonhomme de Neige.
Montreal, a City of Festivals
Montreal is a stylish city that is crackling with energy. It combines the old and the new with seeming effortlessness, blending ambitious modernity with a long and distinguished history. You'll want to take advantage of Montreal fashion with a shopping trip, perhaps on the fashionable rue St. Laurent. Clothing, shoes, leather purses, and jewelry are treasures from the city's chic designers. Outdoor cafes, sidewalk artists, and a multitude of public parks lend Montreal a vivacious street culture, which is celebrated in framed photographs and posters, local music recordings, and handmade crafts available for purchase right on the sidewalk. Architectural landmarks, including the grand cathedral of Notre-Dame, are open to visitors and offer high-quality models for purchase so you can appreciate their beauty always. Perhaps most energizing, however, are Montreal's many festivals. The Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, and the Grand Prix Car Race are just a few celebrations that pack the city streets. After enjoying these events, why not purchase a video recording, hand printed poster, or music CD to remember the spectacle you took in? Montreal also has a world-class casino. After you win big, consider purchasing "Casino de Montreal"-imprinted serving dishes, fridge magnets, or even themed poker chips. Every time you start a game, you'll imagine you're back in glamorous Montreal!
Quebec, a Year-Round Adventure
From the Saint Lawrence Mountains to the Plains of Abraham, from the Arctic wilderness to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Quebec has an incredible array of natural treasures. Mont Tremblant offers some of the best skiing in eastern North America, and you might purchase souvenir mittens, a hat, or even a jacket bearing the fleur-de-lys as a memento of your journey there. Parc du Bic, on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River, boasts capes, rivers, cliffs, islands, and mountains. You can explore the area by kayak and on foot in the summer or on snowshoes and cross-country skis in the winter. Keep an eye out for the large seal populations that live in the park! On your way home, be sure to pick up a miniature canoe, a stuffed toy seal, or a snowshoe wall hanging to remember the Parc du Bic. Even in the cities, large parks like Mont Royal in Montreal offer great opportunities for hiking and sightseeing. Framed photographs and postcards are the best way to remember the view from the top of the mountain.
There's More to Quebec! Here a Few Fun Facts:
- In Quebec, the Upper Town on the hill is linked to the Lower Town by steps called the "Escalier casse-cou," which means "break-your-neck" steps! If you visit, be sure to hold the handrail, and buy a souvenir magnet to show your friends that you made it up and down the treacherous staircase.
- The French spoken in Quebec sounds quite different than the French spoken in Paris. It is derived from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French, and even has its own swear words! A handbook to Quebec French makes a great souvenir, especially to French speakers who can spot the differences.
- The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City is the most photographed hotel in the world. Be sure to bring home your own image of the famous building, perhaps emblazoned on a T-shirt or coffee mug.
- Montreal's Olympic Stadium boasts the world's highest inclined tower. A model of the unusual building is a great conversation starter.
- Quebec means "where the river narrows." The St. Lawrence River is an important aspect of the Quebec landscape, culture, and economy, and carries all the water from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. You can remember this amazing natural feature with model sailing ships and photographs.