As we were driving through the Province of Ontario, we noticed that the road signs were in English and in French. However, as soon as we crossed the border into the Province of Quebec all of the road signs were in French; there was no English version.
This intensified the deeper into Quebec we drove and soon we discovered that there was no English written or spoken anywhere until we got to the tourist area of Quebec City.
Then we noticed that the flag we saw flying all over Quebic was a blue flag, the Québec Provincial flag, not the red and white maple leaf Canadian national flag.
And on our bus tour, the guide commented that they only have one design for their license plates here in Quebec:
“Je me souviens” means “Remember” or, more accurately, “Never Forget.”
So, since our guide on the walking tour was so knowledgeable about the history of the area, we asked him what was up with all this. His response was that although the British conquered the French back in 1757, the French refused to become British and insisted on keeping their French language and heritage. He pointed out that Quebec natives consider Quebec Province to be a nation, even though the referendum to secede failed in the 1990s.
And to us it’s very apparent that he is right. Here in Quebec you know you are in a foreign country. Quebec City, especially, is much more european than it is American, or Canadian for that matter. The language, the food, the buildings, the layout of the city as a walled city, the age, history and culture, the people and their attitudes – they are all French.
In fact, this place would be as much of a Parisian vacation destination as Paris would be.
“Je me souviens” is kind of like, “Remember the Alamo!”