The St. Lawrence River Chronicle
Travel and tourism
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Quebec City Planning for 400th Anniversary Celebrations
If you have been thinking of visiting Quebec City, then 2008 might be the year to do it. To mark its 400th anniversary, the city will be hosting a year of celebrations, including performances, multimedia presentations, and giant picnics.
The festivities will start the evening of December 31, 2007, continue through the annual Quebec Winter Carnival, and peak around July 3. That was the day French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded a tiny fur trading post on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in 1608.
The anniversary celebrations will officially close in October, coinciding with nature’s annual display of autumn leaves. The finale will also coincide with the Twelfth Summit of Francophone Countries, when representatives of the world’s French-speaking nations will meet in Quebec City.
In preparation for its big year, Quebec City -- already one of North America’s most popular cruise ports -- is sprucing up. The main anniversary events will take place in the Old Port area, which is being redesigned with a new public square and a renovated interpretation centre. In addition, several stretches along the St. Lawrence River are getting makeovers to improve access to the water. There will be news green spaces, biking and walking paths, recreational facilities and historical interpretation centers.
From the perspective of European or Asian histories, 400 years is not a long time, but from the standpoint of European settlement in North America, Quebec is a very old city. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quebec City is at the heart of French culture in North America. The old stone buildings and cobbled streets of the Lower Town, near the waterfront, are charming, while the Quebec provincial legislature buildings are located in the Upper Town. Quebec City is also the only walled city north of the Rio Grande River.
For more information, go to www.quebec400.qc.ca or www.bonjourquebec.com/qc-en/accueil0.html