Geography of Canada-Lecture 7
March 5, 2014
• Quebec ranks second among the six regions in terms of economic output and
• It is the largest province in area.
• The St. Lawrence river figures prominently in Quebec's history and economy.
• Quebec=where the city narrows
• Quebec’s culture derives from the historical experience of francophones living in the
area for over 400 years.
• 83% of residents declare French their mother tongue; these citizens have historically
been known as Quebecois. This term has now evolved to include all residents.
• Non-francophone residents tend to cluster in specific parts of the province.
• These laws oblige businesses to use French.
• The laws have helped maintain French as the primary language in the region. 75% of
newcomers today who speak neither French nor English choose to learn French.
• The law is to keep the French living in Quebec. French is the only official language in
Non Francophones in Quebec
Generally concentrated in Montreal, the Eastern townships, and the Ottawa River
Concentrated in Montreal
Speak neither English or French. Mostly from Asia
• Aboriginal Peoples Cree (live near James Bay) and Inuit (live North) form the majority of the
population in northern Quebec
The St. Lawrence River
• The river is an essential part of North America’s transportation system because it
connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
• Dredging (make river deeper and wider) was required to prevent large freighters from
• Canals were constructed to allow ships to pass around rapids or waterfalls.
• These were part of the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway (opened in 1959).
When talking about shipping, this is just referred to as the “Seaway”
• Quebec is growing at a slower rate than the rest of Canada (national average)
• The birth rate is low in all areas and the immigration rate is low in all areas except
• In 1871, Quebec represented 32% of Canada’s population; however it has since shrunk
Decline in Canada's Population Share
• What has caused Quebec’s decline in Canadian population share?
1. Expansion of the Canadian West
2. Relocation of businesses and corporate headquarters to Ontario
• As Quebec separatism movements gained momentum during the 1970s, anglophone
businesses and corporations left the province. In 1971, Toronto passed Montreal as the
largest city in Canada.
• They feared that an independent Quebec would lead to an unattractive business climate.
Physical Geography of Quebec
• The Canadian Shield extends over 90% of Quebec.
• The best agricultural land is along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and
• The Gaspe region of Quebec is very rugged and confines settlements to the coastline
(not good for agriculture, mostly fishing industry).
• Precipitation in the province is relatively high due to the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. • Highest building in the region is the Catholic Church
• Mining wastes are evident within the Canadian Shield.
• Parts of the St. Lawrence River still contain high levels of toxic chemicals, lead, and
mercury from older industrial processes.
• The introduction of the Zebra mussel has negatively impacted aquatic ecosystems.
• Small mollusk that lives in freshwater.
• It was introduced to the St. Lawrence River by attaching to ships that originated in
Implications: Blocked hundreds of pipelines and water intakes.
Improving the Environment
• Unlike the coal and nuclear power plants in Ontario, most of the energy in Quebec is
generated from hydroelectric stations.
• Quebec is the lowest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases of any province. Most of
their energy comes from clean sources that do not emit carbon dioxide.
Greenhouse Gas: A gas that allows solar radiation to pass through but absorbs
infrared radiation from Earth. Two common greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide
and methane. These are leading contributors to climate change. Contribute to
climate change (allows all the heat in but doesn’t allow all the heat out – can
draw diagram on an exam)
• Motorists are charged an extra 0.8 cents/litre on gas. The revenue from this is used to
fund renewable energy methods.
Historic Geography of Quebec: Timeline
• License plate = I remember • The area was originally known as New France (settled by French)
• 1534: Cartier sailed into Chaleur Bay and claimed the land for France. He discovered
the mouth of the St. Lawrence River the following year.
• 1608 (KNOW DATE): Champlain founded a fur trading post at the current site of Quebec
City. He became known as "The Father of New France".
• 1642: Maisonneuve established Ville-Marie, located at the confluence of the Ottawa and
St. Lawrence Rivers. Ville Marie was later renamed Montreal.
• 1759: The British defeated the French army on the Plains of Abraham. The final battle
ends with the British capturing Montreal. After this defeat, the British ruled Quebec for
over 100 years. (essentially where Canada becomes an English country)
• 1763: The Treaty of Paris formally awarded New France to Britain.
• 1774: Britain passed the Quebec Act recognizing that citizens have special rights: Use of
French language, the Catholic religion, and French civil law.
• 1791: Britain approved the Constitutional Act creating two colonies: Upper Canada and
• 1841: The Durham report suggested Britain unite the two colonies into the province of
Canada. Durham believed that French assimilation was possible. He recommended
English be the sole language ad to launch massive immigration of British settlers.
Quebec After the Act of Union
• How was French culture able to survive after the Act of Union?
a strong will to remain French speaking
support from the Catholic church
critical mass needed for survival was evident
high birth rate
rural nature of the population isolated them from English speaking residents.
• Benefits of Confederation for Quebec:
union with the three other colonies would strengthen the overall economy
Catholicism and the French language were guaranteed protection by Ottawa provinces were given control over education and language laws
working with Ontario, Quebec could influence federal politics and shape the
future of Canada
Geographic Expansion of Quebec
• 1898: Ottawa extends Quebec’s northern boundary well beyond the St. Lawrence region
into the Canadian Shield.
• 1912: Quebec nearly doubles in size when the boundary is expanded to include the
Inuit lands of Nunavik
• 1927: Britain declared the boundary between Quebec and Labrador should follow the
drainage divide. Quebec does not recognize this decision to this day.
The Quebec Economy
• The spatial aspects of the economy are similar to those in Ontario since the region can
be divided into two economic areas:
manufacturing and agricultural core (s