Sep 12, 2010

Thoughts on Quebec City and Canadian Identity

I just wrapped up a very short day trip to Quebec City (QC), I would have never thought that a 2 hour bus-tour would significantly change my perception of the Canadian heritage and identity. First of all Quebec city is just as unique as every other Canadian city I have been too, the old city reminds of Bruges in Belgium, even though I am sure the influence of QC through history was significantly more important.

QC stands out from other Canadian cities via its very rich architecture and history. Witnessing both of those first hand has definitely helped me get a better understanding of the ongoing identity split of many Quebecois and the revival of their separatist dream every decade or so. Speaking of which, isn’t it about time we have another referendum? Its been 15+ years!!

First of all the city is one of the oldest in the nation, it has a rich heritage of colonialists both French and English battling out in the late 17th and early 18th century, the city has gone through a huge effort of marking these events. As we toured the city, we would see the English only churches and clubs, I was mesmerized how the Catholic Quebecois managed to build a church right in front of the English only one.

On the other hand, one can notice on the quote of arms of the province how there are clear markings of the provinces rich history. The coat of arms references the British thrown, fleur-de-lis, and the Canadian maple leaf. The official slogan of the province is “Je ne souviens”, which roughly translated to “I remember”, the tour guide had explained how one probably would never find two Quebecois today who remember the same thing!! Historically though the slogan refers to the three alliances of the province, their French heritage, the Queen and Canada…

Of course a short two-hour trip will never help me fully understand the complexities of the Quebec culture, not to mention the panic of us missing the tour bus. I would love to visit again, to spend sometime in this gorgeous city learning about its complex and rich history.

For now I sign off to continue learning more about this great country and changing my perspectives of a country I called home for the best part of the last decade! 

Montreal, here I come and soon enough I will be back in my bed in Toronto!!

Update: fix of "the french tulip" to the actual fleur-de-lis