8 Tips for Traveling to Old Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City
Avenue St-Denis, with Chateau Frontenac in the distance.

Guest post by Janelle Vadnais

Also known as Ville de Quebec, Quebec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is the second largest city (by population) after Montreal. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is a popular tourist destination as it is rich in history as well as extremely scenic.

Depending on where you are coming from as well as how long you are planning on staying, you may want to consider hiring an car transport company to ship your vehicle to Old Quebec City. Of course, there is nothing wrong with driving there yourself either. Regardless of how you decide to get there, the following are some points of advice if you do find yourself traveling to this historic area.

  1. Bring a passport. As a non-native, make sure that you have a valid passport as well as a form of photo identification ready to show once you approach the border by car or at customs by airplane.
  2. Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Old Quebec City is a walking city with quaint shoppes and cobblestone streets. There is a lot of history within a short distance, so make sure that you bring some comfortable shoes to wear.
  3. Bring a light jacket.Depending on what time of year you travel to Quebec City, you’ll want to make sure that you dress accordingly. For instance, summers in Quebec City aren’t nearly as hot as they are in other parts of the world, with temperatures typically reaching no more than 78 degrees. Nights tend to be cool, so make sure you bring a light jacket if traveling there during the summer months.
  4. Know the foreign currency conversion before you leave. The foreign exchange rate changes all of the time. Make sure that you check it with your current currency before you leave. Depending on the current rates, you may want to exchange your monies prior to leaving.
  5. Notify your bank/credit card company of your travel itinerary. With some credit card companies, such as American Express, you do not need to notify them when you travel outside of your native country. However, for most other creditors, placing a simple phone call could save you a ton of frustration or financial problems when you find your accounts frozen due to suspicious activity. Letting them know when you are planning to travel as well as where will help to prevent any trouble.
  6. Plan to be stopped at the border. If you are traveling by car, make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork for your vehicle with you as well as your passport and photo identification. Though your vehicle is not customarily searched, the border control officers will ask you a series of questions as to your business in that country as well as questions as to how you know the other passengers in your vehicle, etc.
  7. Bring a French/English dictionary, just in case. If you don’t know French, it may be a good idea to bring a French/English dictionary just in case as the official language of Quebec City is none other than French. And though most places will provide an English equivalent, street signs/names will be listed in French. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the population in Quebec City speaks French with the remaining population speaking English.
  8. Take advantage of free activities. Just because you are traveling to a foreign country doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money. When you arrive, grab a walking tour map and spend the first day exploring the city on your own. Once you get a feel for it, you can venture out more and choose certain activities to do.

About the Author: Janelle is an avid travel enthusiast and blog manager for one of the leading auto movers in the United States, National Transport, LLC. For more information about car shipping rates, you can contact National Transport, LLC at 1.800.665.5022.

5 Amazing Destinations in Toronto You Didn’t Know About

TorontoYou’ll find hundreds of Tourist Guides for the wonderful city of Toronto suggesting that you visit those obvious destinations like the unmissable CN Tower and the Eaton Centre, where you can shop all day long and encounter crowds of other tourists. But why not try a few destinations in Toronto that aren’t as mainstream but are, nonetheless, very unique? You should definitely visit these amazing locations if you want to experience a real taste of Toronto.

1. The Distillery District
The Distilery District is a National Historic Site tied with the Gooderham & Worts Distillery opened in 1832. It is just east of downtown and covers a large area of almost 13 acres. It was once the largest distillery in the British Empire and produced millions of gallons of whisky and spirits in the 1800’s. After closing in 1990, it became a popular filming location. Nowadays, it’s a pedestrian-only village dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment with its historical heritage still intact. It boasts a great mixture of restaurants and cafes and a unique shopping district — not to mention the many galleries, artists’ studios and performing arts venues. Forget about Starbucks and McDonald’s! The Distillery District offers the most interesting and original stores, featuring one-of-a-kind goods ranging from designer jewellery, award-wining purses, fabulous footwear, and world-class cosmetics to state-of-the-art home accessories and the world’s best mattress for $60,000!

2. The St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is the name of a whole neighbourhood in old-town downtown Toronto, known for its colourful architecture and its famous market, which has come to describe the area. If you stay in Toronto on a weekend, try to stroll through the market, viewing and sampling the local produce in the unique atmosphere of the thriving historical market that was developed in the early 1800’s. It is even ranked as one of the 25 best markets in the world, and is a popular destination for shoppers from all over the city. People delight in the market’s character. You’ll hear music and 120 specialty vendors calling out to the crowds inside one of the three buildings: St. Lawrence Hall, the South Market and the North Market. The South Market is also famous for its Market Gallery on the third floor, which was the original council chamber of Toronto’s City Hall until 1899.

3. “Time and a Clock” Installation in Riverside
If you happen to be near the Riverside neighbourhood in Toronto, be sure to check out the Queen & Broadview area, with the Queen Street East bridge over the Don River and the three-piece public art installation located in this area. Created by Eldon Garnet, a famous Toronto-based public sculptor, in 1996, the installation examines the essence of time, its substance and ambiguity. “Time and a Clock” is a sculpture located at three different places. The first part is the decoration of the historic Queen Street East bridge with a clock and an inscription above that reads: “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.” The second part is located at the intersection of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, where the author embedded a time-related phrase into the sidewalk. The third part consists of four slim poles with stainless-steel pennants on Queen Street beside the Jimmy Simpson Park. There are four descriptors of time on each of the pennants, creating a lyrical poem: “COURSING, DISAPPEARING, TREMBLING, RETURNING.”

4. High Park
The largest and most popular park in Toronto, High Park also lent its name to the neighbourhood surrounding it. The area that is now High Park was given to the city in 1873 by John Howard, a great benefactor who even donated his home, Colborne Lodge, to the city. This estate is a historical museum now. If you want to escape the city for a while, the largest green space in Toronto offers manicured ornamental gardens, picnic grounds, playgrounds, flower gardens, animal paddocks, quiet spots with native vegetation, a whimsical zoo, sport facilities and much more. It also naturally hosts a black oak savanna — a rare and endangered forest ecosystem.

5. Gerrard India Bazaar
The commercial centre of Toronto’s East-Indian community and the largest ethnic market of Indian goods in North America is located along Gerrard Street East between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue. The India Bazaar, or “Little India,” as it is unofficially referred to, is a popular destination for all sorts of shoppers, especially those who want to add some unique pieces to their jewellery box. Earrings, necklaces, rings and bangles fashioned from 22-carat gold imported from all over the world or custom-made jewellery from talented goldsmiths and gemologists are among the many goods available at the bazaar. Shopping in the bazaar for wonderful silks, embroideries and ornately sequined pieces of cloth is a really amazing experience. The bazaar also gives you a chance to taste a wide variety of Subcontinental cuisines, which differ from chef to chef — so don’t miss this lovely Toronto spot!

Prepared by Toronto real estate professional Heather Hadden. For more information about areas in Toronto, check the Toronto neighbourhoods section!