Welcome to Quebec, the first stop of “Glittering Muffins”‘ brand new series “The World from A-Z”! This is a fun way to explore provinces, states and cities, giving adults and children alike interesting and fun information. And if you see the title of an entry in red, there is a link you can follow to learn more about it!
If you would like to be able to enjoy our list “offline” as well, we have our “A-Z” also available as a free printable download, which you can find here: The World from A-Z!
Apple picking – A big tradition every late summer/early autumn all over Quebec, where people go out to the orchards and pick their own apples. Many families make it an event, where they meet up with friends and family. Most orchards will also sell apple-related products, have a mini farm or other entertainment.
Arrowhead sash - Not only is it one of the main features of the Bonhomme de Carnaval, but also was a traditional piece of French-Canadian clothing, which is a traditional Metis sash that is part of their national costume.
Biodome – Very popular destination for families, in which you can experience replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americas, the Tropical Forest, the Laurentian Forest, the Saint Lawrence Marine Eco-System and the Arctic/Antarctic.
Bonhomme Carnaval – World famous guest of honour of the “Carnaval de Quebec” in Quebec City.
Caillou – A very popular series of childrens’ books, TV series and more, about a boy named Caillou, originating in Quebec and now available in more than 50 countries around the globe.
Carnaval de Quebec – A yearly winter festival taking place in Quebec City, including the world famous ice palace, queen and princesses, a whole winter amusement park and live shows and more.
Champlain, Samuel de – French navigator that founded New France and Quebec City and also made the first accurate map of the now Quebecois coast.
Chansonnier - Singers/songwriters of popular indigenous songs of Quebec, closely linked to the spirit of the troubadours and trouvères of the time of the Crusades.
Chicken pot pie – While not unique to Quebec, the chicken pot pie is a staple in the province, with chicken chunks, peas, carrots and a creamy inside that is full of flavour.
Cirque du Soleil – This world renowned mix of musical, acrobatics and circus was founded in Montreal in 1984 as a group of street performers and has by now grown into a worldwide enterprise with more than 5000 employees and shows all over the world.
Construction – One of the four seasons of Quebec. Since the winters are often harsh and snowy, the summer is plagued by especially road construction virtually everywhere, since it is the only time it is possible to do bigger projects unencumbered by weather.
Construction Holiday – Since 1971, there is a legislated annual holiday for the construction industry, beginning the 2nd last Sunday of July every year for a period of 2 weeks and is mandatory.
Dandelion - In certain cities it is illegal to have dandelions growing in your yard. Property owners have to ensure that they are removed in a timely manner to avoid them spreading.
Deviled eggs – Originating in ancient Rome, deviled eggs are very much a tradition in Quebec in entertaining. Eggs are hardboiled, halved lengthwise, then the yolk is removed, mashed and mixed with other ingredients, such as mustard, mayonnaise or other things, and then spooned back into the egg “cup”.
Dion, Celine – The world famous singer, born in Charlemagne, Quebec, is the best-selling female artist of all times, best known for “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie “Titanic”, which worldwide received 14 platinum awards.
Egg/ham/chicken salad sandwiches – Another food-related tradition of Quebec are little sandwiches (either between untoasted pieces of white bread or little rolls) filled with egg salad, ham salad and/or chicken salad. They are often used for quick dinners, entertaining or picnics.
Epluchette de ble d’Inde – Translating to “corn roast” (even though usually no corn is roasted here) or “corn husking party”, it is a big family event in Quebec, where corn is husked and then cooked in big
Expo 67 – In 1967 Montreal was the location of the “1967 International and Universal Exposition” (better known as World Fair). Set up in less than five years after Moscow cancelled, it was the most successful and most attended expo to that date.
Festivals – Quebec and even more so Montreal is known for virtually hundreds of festivals of any kind, musical, theatrical, culinary, taking place, many of them for free. Best known is probably the Montreal Jazz Festival that draws thousands of fans every year.
Fleur-de-Lys – Originally a sign for French royalty, the lily sign is something that nowadays is Quebecois to the core, being featured on the flag (four times), on insignia and merchandise.
Fleuve St-Laurent – The Fleuve St-Laurent (or St.Lawrence River) is a large river connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
French fries – While French fries are still fried, as the name implies, they are not made from frozen state, but actually cut potatoes are at first blanched and then fried.
Fruit ketchup – Fruit ketchup in its different variations are one of the oldest traditions of Quebec. Like regular ketchup, the base is made out of tomatoes, herbs and spices, but different kinds of fruit are added, such as peaches, apples or pears, and then jarred for storage.
Gigue (dance) – Originating in England and Ireland, the gigue (or jig) is an old tradition of Quebec, a fast to very fast dance, often accompanied by the violin.
Habs (Montreal Canadiens) – The English nickname of the local NHL (hockey) team is “habs”, short for “Les Habitants”, who were the French settlers that had originally farmed the land along the St.Lawrence River.
Hot dog - Hot dogs are not fried or barbecued, but both sausages and buns are steamed. They usually are served with mustard, relish and shredded cabbage (ketchup usually is on the tables to add yourself.
Hudson’s Bay Company – Founded in 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company is North America’s oldest commercial corporation and one of the oldest of the world. Starting out as fur traders (controlling much of the British-controlled North American fur market for centuries) it eventually grew into a chain of several department stores, such as The Bay, Zellers, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters.
Hydro electricity – Quebec uses almost exclusively on this source of renewable energy for its electricity need (in 2008 it was 98%) and is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Brazil and the United States.
Ice fishing – A very popular winter pastime on the Quebecois lakes and also the St.Lawrence River, where huts are put on top of the ice
Igloo – While traditionally found in the polar regions of Canada, the annual Fete de Neige (Snow Festival) also features igloos made out of snow.
Islands - Something most people do not know is that the city of Montreal actually is an island and so is the third largest city of the province, Laval, just to the north of it.
Joual – This usually refers to the Quebecois way of speaking (or “slang”, mostly in and around the city of Montreal.
Just For Laughs – Founded in 1983, the “Just For Laughs” (or “Juste pour rire”) Festival is the largest comedy festival in the world. It has been the launchpad for many Canadian and US TV and sitcom careers.
Kebec – An Algonquin word for “Where the river narrows” was chosen by Samuel de Champlain in 1608 for the colonial outpost for the French colony of New France.
Language laws – Quebec is home to some of the most complicated language laws in the world. For example signs in businesses usually have the French version bigger and to the left (since most cultures read from left to right).
Laurentides – Quebec’s favourite holiday region are the Laurentides (which cover part of the Laurentian mountains), with lots of cottages and lakes and ski mountains.
Maple syrup – Maple syrup is made by boiling down the sap of the maple tree until it turns into syrup. It takes 20-50 litres of sap to make one litre of maple syrup! Canada produces more than 80% of the world’s supply of maple syrup and out of that Quebec is responsible for appr. 90%.
Metis - The Metis are the descendants from Native American mothers and European fathers.
Microbreweries – Quebec is home to several microbreweries, which specialize in so-called “craft beer” that focuses on the market besides the big mass-producing companies. The best known is Unibroue, which is known for its variety of beers and extravagant names and labels.
Montreal - It is the only Francophone metropolis in North America and also the second largest Francophone city after Paris in terms of population.
North – Only a relatively small part of Quebec is actually inhabited, the north is still largely undeveloped with lots of resources and wide forests. Out of the 50 US states In land area, only Alaska is bigger than Quebec, which is appr. 2.2 times as big as the second largest state, Texas.
Oka crisis – The Oka Crisis was an armed standoff on the Mohawk reserve of Kanesatake over a proposed golf course project on an old burial ground. It lasted 78 days and claimed the life of one soldier.
Old Port – Montreal’s old port (“vieux port”) is the historic port of the city, dating back to the year 1611. It now is a big tourist attraction, including the Montreal Science Centre (including an IMAX Theatre), the Clock Tower, several piers and more, attracting more than 6 million visitors per year.
Olympic Stadium – The Montreal Olympic Stadium was built for the 1976 Olympic summer games. It is the biggest Canadian stadium by seating capacity and also has the highest inclined tower in the world (175 metres/574 feet).
Oratoire St-Joseph - The Oratoire St-Joseph is a 1000 seat minor basilica in Montreal, with its dome being the third largest of its kind in the world. It was originally built by Saint Andre Bessette, who is credited with many miracles (mostly of the healing kind).
Parc Safari – About 40 minutes south of Montreal is Parc Safari, a safari park with a drive through safari, a zoo portion, a water park, rides and concession stands and with that a big family attraction.
Passe-Partout – “Passe-Partout” was an immensely popular TV show for children, produced from 1977 to 1987. After the success of “Sesame Street” the possibility to translate it into Quebec French was considered, but due to the show being American people thought children could not identify with it and the Ministry of Education investigated the possibility of a Quebec made children’s show.
Pizza - No, Pizza is not a Quebecois invention, but still has its unique twist – the toppings are underneath the cheese, therefore not drying them out!
Pot hole – Another of Quebec’s national symbols – after winter there are big pot holes all over the place, some could swallow a small car…
Poutine – Quebec’s national dish, french fries with cheese curds and hot brown gravy!
Quebec (the city) – Quebec is the only fortified city in all of North America.
Ragout des boulettes – A traditional Quebecois stew consisting of meatballs (mix of beef and pork), carrots, turnip and celery.
Referendum – Twice in the history of Quebec there have been referendums for the secession from Canada (1980 and 1995), which failed by very narrow margin.
Richard, Maurice – One of the NHL’s most famous players, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard played with the Montreal Canadiens from 1942 to 1960, appearing in all all-star games from 1947 to 1959 and retired as the NHL’s all-time top scorer.
Rocher percé - The Rocher Percé (“pierced rock”) is a big sheer rock formation at the tip of the Gaspé peninsula, with a 20 meter arch forming a hole.
Ski-doo – Known throughout the world, the personal snowmobile brand Ski-doo is of Canadian origin and is manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products.
Smoked Meat – To many Montreal-style Smoked Meat is THE iconic food item of the Montreal cuisine. It is made by curing a beef brisket with salt, peppercorns, spices and some sugar, letting it marinate in this mix for week before being hot-smoked to cook through and then steam to finish. It is usually served about 7-8 cm (app. 3 inches high) on two slices of rye bread with mustard and a quarter wedge of a dill pickle.
St-Jean-Baptiste – St-Jean-Baptiste (or Saint John the Baptist) is the patron saint of French Canadians. In his honour the Quebec national holiday (or La Fete nationale du Quebec) takes place on June 24 of each year (exactly one week before Canada Day).
Strawberry picking – Just like apples, Quebecers like to pick their own fruit, so every summer strawberries are high on the list to be picked straight from the field and it also is a great family outing.
Sugar shack – Better known as “Cabane à Sucre”, the sugar shack is one of Quebec’s biggest traditions, usually taking place in April, with big festivities with live music, traditional dishes such as ham, sausages, scrambled eggs, bacon, baked beans, pork rinds and pancakes, many of which cooked in or with maple syrup, wagon rides and “tire d’erable” (see below).
Tarte au sucre – The traditional Quebec sugar pie contains only four ingredients: a pie crust, brown sugar, flour and cream. All creamy, sweet goodness!
Tire d’erable – A staple at the Cabane a sucre, where boiling maple syrup is poured onto snow and then turned around a popsicle stick as it cools off and congeals.
Tourtiere - A traditional Quebecois meat pie, it is a staple in Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving meals.
University – Quebec is home to some of Canada’s top universities, such as the Universite de Montreal, the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Concordia and McGill University (two francophone, two anglophone).
Villeneuve, Gilles – Gilles Villeneuve was one of the best-known Formula One race car drivers, who died in a crash in Belgian Zolder in 1982. Today Montreal’s racetrack is named in his memory: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Winter – Quebec is known for its often cold and snow-rich winters, which greatly restricts construction of any kind, causing a lot of construction being bunched up during the warmer months of the year.
Wood - The wood, paper and pulp industry is very big in Quebec, thanks to the vast forests, especially in the north of the province. In this area the Cascades Group has earned an outstanding reputation in having been forerunners in sustainable development and the use of recycled fibres.
X-mas market – Quebec has a rich tradition in Christmas markets, from the old town of Quebec City over the Marché de Noël et des traditions de Longueuil to the Marche de la Gare de Sherbrooke with Canada’s largest Christmas tree.
Youppi – It’s the only mascot to ever switch from one major league sports team to another and even from sport to sport (Montreal Expos (baseball) to Montreal Canadiens (hockey)).
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