If you’re taking a vacation to Quebec, there are a few things you should know. While it’s technically part of Canada, there are a lot of customs that are very different from the rest of the country. Even the language is different. Here’s how to get around and fit in.
This area can be divided into the Eastern Townships, the Quebec City area and the Laurentian Mountains. The mountains that are part of the Eastern Townships are just north of the Vermont border and so are an extension of the Appalachian mountain range, but don’t tell that to Quebecers. There’s a lot of skiing here, as you might guess.
The Laurentian Mountains rise up in the northwest part of Montreal.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that you’re on French soil. OK, maybe that’s not technically true, but this area feels almost like a different country. The signs are predominantly French, and almost everyone speaks the language. There are even laws that dictate the official language here.
While Quebec does recognize Canada Day on July 1st, there is another holiday that isn’t shared with the rest of the country, and that’s St. Jean Baptiste Day. It’s a day you’ll have to celebrate if you’re here. Get yourself set up in one of the Tremblant hotels and spend your time wisely. There’s a strong nationalistic component to this holiday, especially among those who think Quebec should be its own country. Red and white isn’t welcome on this day.
Small town hockey is big here – real big. The province has its own junior league and, while Quebecers don’t play hockey as much as they used to, it’s still very popular, especially as a spectator sport.
While the official language is French, it’s a different kind of French than what you’ll find in France. The language has evolved to the point that it’s got its own linguistic style and quirks.
Even French natives are a little surprised by how they speak here, if that tells you anything. For example, most people just say “weekend” instead of fin de semaine.” Sentences often end with “tsé”, which translates as “you know?”
Joual is considered a “working class” dialect and sometimes seen as being somewhat unrefined by some French. However, it’s something that most of the people here speak, so keep that in mind. If you know French, you’ll probably have to learn this as another language.
You can blame the government or the poor choice of materials used, but the roads in Quebec aren’t great. There are monstrous potholes on a lot of the roads, and even when new roads are put down the marketings don’t seem to stay on there for long. Roads are especially bad during the spring. So, if you plan on driving around, be careful. Be very careful.
Stefani Rollins is a world traveler and avid blogger. Whenever she gets the time, she likes to share her adventures by posting online. Look for her entertaining articles mainly on travel and vacation websites and blogs.