Spotlight City: Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and the province’s second most populous city, after Montreal. As one of the oldest cities in North America, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city has been described as an intersection of European and North American culture, and is unique for being one of the only cities in North America with a distinctly European vibe. Quebec is the only province in Canada where French is the sole official language, and the only region in North America with a French-speaking majority. Many Québécois are proud of their French roots, and separation from Canada has been a frequent topic of debate in local politics. Quebec City ranks among North America’s safest cities in terms of crime rates.
Quebec City is very safe by international standards. The level of violent crime and homicide in the city is far lower than that of nearly all other large cities in North America. While violent crime is rare, petty crime may present occasional issues for visitors to the city. Pickpocketing poses the highest risk. Be aware of locations and situations that could make you vulnerable to crime, such as lane ways, isolated parks and buildings, back streets and poorly lit parking lots.
Pickpockets, though uncommon, typically prey on unsuspecting tourists. They are most common on public transit and at tourist destinations. Be mindful of anyone roughly bumping into you or otherwise finding excuses to enter your personal space.
Violent crime does not present a major risk in urban Quebec City. The city’s streets are generally safe to traverse at night, as long as you exercise common sense and avoid isolated roads or alleys.
Best Practices for Personal Security in Quebec
Assume normal precautions in Quebec. Be aware of your surroundings in Quebec City and always be conscious of your belongings in public. Keep valuables and bags within view. Keep wallets in your front pocket and purses tucked underneath your arm. Don’t leave your belongings unattended in public.
What to Do in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, dial 911 to access emergency fire, medical and police services. Local police are fluent in French, and are required to have working proficiency in English. Contact the embassy of your country in Canada as they may be able to provide further assistance.
Quebec City is unique amongst cities in Canada, and perhaps the rest of North America, in that it has preserved a strong sense of European and Francophone culture. This is reflected in the day-to-day life of its residents, local mannerisms, language, and even architecture of the city. This cultural intersection gives the city a distinctively unique feeling within both Canada and the rest of North America. It is definitely worth a visit for any traveler to experience something special that can’t be found anywhere else on this continent.