Québec’s Gonna Party Like it’s…1608

Celebrating Québec City’s 400th anniversary with 10 months of festivals, art exhibits and street performances—this is one party you won’t want to miss.

In 2008, Québec City glows with an extra shot of the city’s legendary bonhommerie in anticipation of its 400th anniversary celebration. The city’s 10-month bash kicked off this past February with the annual Winter Carnival, whose giant snowman mascot, Bonhomme, embodies Québec’s genial spirit. Québec’s been pulling out all the stops by revamping its historical landmarks and undertaking several beautification projects, including a new 1.5 mile riverside promenade, to mark the 1608 landing site of French explorer, Samuel de Champlain. 

The series of festivals emphasizes family fun and features historical exhibits, street performance, music, art and great food, as visitors and locals time-travel back through the city’s four centuries. These are some of the highlights:

Espace 400e (June 3 to October 19): Espace 400e at Bassin Louise Marina is the celebration headquarters, and will feature hundreds of exhibits including street musicians, community art, children’s workshops and more. One highlight is the interactive Passengers exhibit, where you and your children can follow in the footsteps of an immigrant through music, images and stories from the past. It’s a great way for kids to step into the life of a child from long ago, and get a sense of history on a personal level. The 11 Ephemeral Gardens—all by different designers—will show you gardening like you’ve never seen it before. Another highlight at Espace 400e is The Image Mill, a 40-minute multimedia production about Québec’s history, projected onto the huge wall of grain elevators across the river, nightly from June 20 to July 29.

The Louvre in Québec (June 5 to October 26): More than 270 works from the Louvre Museum will visit Québec’s Musée National des Beaux-Arts, an unprecedented collaborative event sponsored by the Parisian museum. The collections will come from eight departments of the Louvre including Oriental Antiquity, Egyptian Antiquity, Islamic Art, Greek Antiquity, Sculptures and more.

Birthday Bash (July 3): The Basilique du Québec will conduct High Mass on the anniversary of the city’s founding in 1608. The rest of the day includes a military parade, and a spectacular opening show will feature singers, musicians, acrobats and actors who will reenact memorable events in Québec’s history. The Great Gathering on the Plains of Abraham (July 6) will be the climax event to the multi-day party, where thousands of people will converge to celebrate the city’s birthday with more than 1,000 entertainers.

The Walking Road (August 15): A grand, outdoor music festival and dance party, The Walking Road is all-night show on the St. Lawrence River that will feature acrobats, dancers and a giant screen projection. The event honors the river, which was instrumental to the founding of Québec City, its development and longevity. 

Destinations: Québec, Canada

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Museums

User Comments

Beautiful Yes, this a beautiful photograph!!! Btw, what kind of music is played at The Walking Road?

Cool photo Awesome purple sky in that pic! This year-long party sounds like a blast.