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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Letters from the Americas 2005 (part 14) - Canada Quebec

Wall mural in Quebec - mind blowing

VIVE LA DIFFERENCE

Bonjour mes amis, while it's in my head I must convey the amusing fact that Canadians call one dollar coins 'loonies', (well, it amuses me). Speaking of loonies, there were crazy people all over the shop in Vancouver and Toronto but I have to say I didn't encounter any in Quebec, however, they are French.


Quebec - tres francais

Canada luuurves Philo
Quebec has an absolutely fascinating history and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and lob Quebec City into the category of My Fav Canadian City. It's like they airlifted a bonafide walled medieval French town, along with handpicked authentic Frenchies, cobbled streets, and plopped it into the middle of North America. I adored it, it's so unlike anything, not what I had expected to find, a total gem of a place. To me their French sounded perfect and I felt as if I was vacationing on the continent. According to Canadians the French are arrogant so and so's who look down on them and accuse them of speaking French with rough rural accents, according to a Parisian on the trip...that's about right! The only bizarre thing about Quebec city was that a theatre, which had been showing an Elvis tribute show, "This is Elvis", for 15 years (respect) closed (boohiss) only to reopen (hurrah) with "In the Air Tonight" a tribute to Phil Collins!!! (this unhealthy obsession that north americans have with Philo has to stop, it's just not funny anymore).

The Quebecois people are very proud of their heritage and there is a strong separatist movement alive and well in the hearts of many of them. The province used to be under the power of a very conservative crowd and then in the 1960s a more liberal party took over. They were keen to separate Quebec from Canada and declare it an independent country, they decided to firstly separate church and state. This may not have been handled in the best way by either side as people began to walk out of churches, over only one generation, the province moved from the status of most religious with practically 100% church attendance to worst church attendance in north America! The policies invoked by the liberal separatists over this period became known as the Quiet Revolution. In 1994 Quebec had a vote to decide would they separate from Canada, 49.5% of people voted to make the break.... watch this space.

A bizarrely random fact about Quebec is that there was (is) a massive Hells Angels culture. In the 1990s the number of Quebec Hells Angels was bigger than the rest of the worlds Hells Angels communities added together! They controlled the drugs in Montreal and killed loads of people including passersby when they started bombing. Are you as shocked as me?! I'm a bit late with my subscription to Bikers from Hell monthly, but how did I not know they had gotten into the business of bombs.

Here's another fact I didn't know, 50% of the Canadian population live in the belt between Toronto and Quebec City, 25% live scattered along the west coast and the rest live (in a shock move) everywhere else. Hey, I didn't say it was an interesting fact. The entire Canadian population is the same size as the population of California. Once again, facts don't have to be interesting to be true.
Christmas 365, why not

Also, one thing, Quebec had a startling number of shops dedicated to Christmas all year round. I ADORE Christmas so another reason to love this city. Kinda nuts though...<pondering>....<conclusion>...the French!








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1 comment:

  1. Brilliant, witty insight into Quebec & Canada.....Loving the memories....

    ReplyDelete