Looking for things to do in Quebec City’s Upper Town? A walk on the Plains of Abraham, passing by the Citadel, the Parliament, the Opera, as well as the Capital Observatory are opportunities to learn about the city’s history. Actually, you will need to solve challenges at each stop to discover your next destination.
- Parliament Hill
- Quebec City Citadelle
- Plains of Abraham
- Quebec City Opera
- Quebec Armoury
- Lieutenant-Governor’s office
- Capital Observatory
- Grand Theatre of Quebec City
- Several parks, gardens, and monuments
We regularly visit Quebec City.
- Starting point: Fontaine de Tourny, 1086 Boulevard Honoré-Mercier, Quebec City, Quebec G1A 1A3
- Distance: 3.4 km/2.1 mi
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Method: on foot
- Fully charged smartphone with data plan (that is, WiFi is not available throughout)
- Bottle of water
- Local map
Quebec City, on the St. Lawrence River, was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. In fact, the old city is fortified by ramparts and many doors to protect its citizens. Moreover, it is one of the oldest cities in North America.
Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec, the only French-speaking province in Canada. It has a population of over 800,000 in its metropolitan community. Previously, it has been the capital of New France, Lower Canada, and, for a short time, United-Canada.
Its name came from the Algonquin word, Kebec, meaning “where the river narrows”. Jacques Cartier met up with an Iroquois settlement here when he discovered it officially for François I, King of France, in 1535. In fact, their village was called Stadacone.
During his third trip in 1541, his men discovered small white stones believed to be diamond, on the current Cap-aux-Diamants. Indeed, this is where Parliament Hill and Old Quebec stand. However, it was only quartz.
It is only 60 years later that Samuel de Champlain launched the colonization of Quebec and Quebec City itself.
The French occupied New France until 1759 when the siege of Quebec, then the Battle of the Plains of Abraham handed the capital over to the British troops.
Quebec City was later attacked by Americans in 1775, just before the American Revolution, in which some “loyalist” Canadians took part in support of the British.
Quebec shared with Toronto the title of capital of United Canada from 1859 to 1865 before transferring definitively to Ottawa. Then, in 1864, the “Quebec Conference” was held here where the Canadian confederation was discussed and prepared. It was finalized in 1867.
The current condition of the fortifications is largely due to Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada. By 1872 he wanted Quebec to attract tourists from Europe. He, therefore, ordered the preservation and reconstruction of the city’s fortifications, not for its defense, but for its embellishment.
Because of its position, Quebec hosted an average of 30,000 immigrants annually from 1830 onward.
The Quebec Bridge finally linked Quebec City to Levis on the south shore in 1917, making it easier to cross, and to travel by train to other destinations.