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Welcome to the meeting and event planning guide to Québec City, written with meeting planners in mind. Québec City's fairytale setting and modern conveniences combine to create one of the most convention-friendly destinations on the continent. Known as the cradle of French civilization in North America, Québec City boasts a remarkable heritage that's exemplified in everything from its soaring churches to its treasured museums to the ancient fortified walls that still surround the city's oldest neighborhood. With all it has to offer, Québec City receives both a steady stream of accolades - and about five million visitors every year.
Enjoying Québec City's romantic charm and European style does not require a lengthy or expensive journey. Just 16 kilometers from downtown, the Jean Lesage International Airport is the second-busiest passenger airport in the province of Québec and offers more than 325 weekly flights. Expansion plans are in the works to offer even more options to air travelers. The city is also easily accessible via an extensive highway network, a convenient option for guests traveling from destinations such as Montreal and Ottawa, which are fewer than five hours away.
What awaits guests upon arrival in Québec City is one of the world's most sophisticated and enviable hotel and service networks. In fact, Québec City is on the cutting edge of technology, being home to a number of new, innovative businesses and research centers. It's no surprise that the city's more than 17,000 hotel rooms and various convention facilities are more than equipped to handle business events of all fields and sizes, from large medical conferences to small engineering forums.
Recognized as the world's best convention center by the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), the Québec City Convention Centre hosts an average of 150 events every year within its 21,500 square meters of space. Meanwhile, the 371,000-square-meter ExpoCité is equally suited to tradeshows and congresses as it is to major sporting events and cultural shows. In fact, the multi-purpose venue hosts Expo Québec, the largest fair in Eastern Canada, every year.
Brimming with colorful arts venues and historic buildings, Québec City offers plenty of options for getting together in a somewhat less traditional setting. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Musée de la civilization, the most popular museum in the city, both offer several spaces for events. Host meetings or receptions at the Manoir Montmorency, a spectacular banquet venue that overlooks the enchanting 83-meter Montmorency Falls. Or take advantage of Québec City's pleasant summer weather with a group dinner cruise on the water offered by Croisières AML.
As the capital of the province, Québec City's largest employer is the government, while CHUQ, the local hospital network, also has a significant number of employees. Insurances companies such as Industrial Alliance and La Capitale are headquartered in Québec City. It is also home to Université Laval and the central campus of the Université du Québec.
Spanning over 9,000 square kilometers in the St. Lawrence Valley, the picturesque Québec City is cradled by the majestic Laurentian Mountains and 1,200-kilometer long St. Lawrence River. Québec City's unique geography includes two distinct sections: the area on top of the 100-meter-high Cap-Diamant promontory known as Upper Town, and the low-lying section along the river shore known as Lower Town. Together, these sections alone form the 2nd most populous city in the Québec province with over 500,000 residents.
Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Québec City is known as the cradle of French civilization in North America and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps the best place to explore the city's extraordinary heritage is in Vieux-Québec, or Old Québec. Dating back to the early 17th century, Old Québec is still surrounded by over four kilometers of fortified city walls that speak to its strong military history. Visitors to the Fortifications of Québec not only experience three centuries of history but also enjoy spectacular views of the skyline.
In addition to exploring the city walls themselves, guests find a wealth of historic and cultural attractions within Old Québec. Tour the Basilique-Cathédrale-Notre-Dame de Québec, a stunning piece of Neoclassic architecture and the final resting place of four governors of New France and Québec's first bishop. Also in the neighborhood is the famous Château Frontenac. One of many grand hotels build for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the property, now owned by Fairmont, is one of the most photographed hotels in the world.
Outside of Old Québec, visitors find plenty to discover. Watch history in the making as the National Assembly debates in the grand Parliament Building, one of the most important buildings in the city. Take a memorable gondola lift ride to the top of the Montmorency Falls, which, at 83 meters high, measure in at 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls. Even if guests don't have time to visit all of the city's attractions, they can still see them all atop the Observatoire de la Capital, a 221-meter-tall tower that affords panoramic views of Québec City.
Though it's easy to get lost in the magic of Québec City's many sights, visitors should be sure not to overlook one of its most popular pastimes: food. Referred to as North America's fine dining capital, the city certainly does not lack in establishments that will delight the taste buds of even the most experienced foodie. From gourmet French cuisine to casual bistro fare, restaurants in Québec are numerous and varied. Enjoy fine wine and authentic French dishes at Le Saint-Amour, refined Québec cuisine at Laurie Raphaël, or Nordic cuisine at Chez Boulay - Bistro Boreal.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Québec City's humid continental climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are pleasantly warm with average highs of around 22℃ to 25℃. Winters are cold and snowy, but sunny, with highs of -5℃ to -8℃ and lows of -13℃ to -18℃.
The city can see over 300 centimeters of snow on average, making it one of the snowiest cities in Canada. Winter is the most magical time of the year, as fluffy white snow covers the cobblestone streets. All year round, Québec City sees nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine. The short, mild spring and fall seasons are prime times to visit Québec City, though its mild summers also make for great opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
Centre de foires d'ExpoCite
This 371,000-square-meter sports and entertainment complex caters to a diverse number of interests, from office parties of 10 people to large conventions of 10,000 attendees. Attracting about 2.5 million people every year, ExpoCité encompasses several large facilities, including a harness-racing track, go-kart track, gaming halls, and several restaurants.
For presentations on a large scale, planners can use the Colisee Pepsi, which has 1,580 square meters of space for as many as 16,500 people. Perfect for cultural shows, the 1,580-square-meter Pavillon de la Jeunesse has room for up to 6,000 guests. Meanwhile, the 502-square-meter Pavillon des Arts and 2,230-square-meter Espace K are well suited to cocktail receptions, banquets, tradeshows, conferences, and more. The Centre Vidéotron, an arena that opened in 2015, can seat more than 18,000 spectators for concerts, cultural events, hockey games, and other types of events. In addition, projections on a giant outdoor screen offer a view of the show to visitors outside the building.
By far the largest space in ExpoCité is the Centre de foires, whose 17,196 square meters can accommodate up to 7,600 in its five conference rooms or 17,400 guests at a reception. The versatile space hosts the largest tradeshows in Québec, along with a range of galas, meetings, banquets, and more.
In addition to its wide range of flexible spaces, ExpoCité offers a host of amenities, including catering and parking for up to 3,500 vehicles.
Quebec City Convention Centre
Thanks to versatile facilities, eco-friendly policies, and step-by-step event planning assistance, the Québec City Convention Centre is a well-deserving recipient of the AIPC Quality Standards Gold. Welcoming 150 events and 200,000 visitors each year, the facility has won accolades such as the International Association of Congress Centre's Best Convention Centre in 2006.
The Québec City Convention Centre can welcome up to 9,000 delegates in its 294,290-square-foot facility (27,000 square meters), of which 6,782 square meters are brand-new meeting spaces and 12,495 square meters suit trade shows and exhibitions. It features additional spaces that include a main hall, a VIP lounge, a boardroom, a solarium, and a 24,972-square-meter foot multipurpose room.
Complementing the Québec City Convention Centre's flexible spaces is a selection of award-winning services such as bilingual staff to greet guests, a well-trained security staff, and onsite medical assistance available should an emergency arise. Capital HRS offers catering for up to 6,000 guests, and onsite audio-visual service teams bring events to light.
Committed to eco-friendly events, the Québec City Convention Centre makes sustainability easy thanks to its efficient waste and energy management. Certified LEED-EB, the Centre has implemented initiatives such as energy-efficient lighting, biodegradable matter collection in the kitchens, and independent ventilation controls for each room.
The Québec City Convention Centre has 4,175 parking spaces located in four nearby parking garages. A total of 16 hotels are within walking distance of the venue, two of which are linked directly by underground passageways.
Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
Approximate taxi fare: $32 CAD
Located about 16 kilometers southwest of Québec City, Jean Lesage International is the second-busiest passenger airport in Québec. Various airlines offer more than 325 weekly flights from the airport, including major North American, South American, and European destinations.
Over the past 10 years, the airport has gone through $500 million worth of expansion and development. These projects have doubled the terminal area, adding new gates, a larger baggage area, a redesigned customs area, a multilevel parking facility, and more food court and restaurant options. Other enhancements include self-serve check-in kiosks, automated baggage drop-off facilities, charging stations, and more.
Airline carriers serving Jean Lesage International Airport
Québec City's main train station, the Gare du Palais, boasts a stunning stained glass mural and castle-like architecture. Located by the port in Lower Town, the historic building serves the daily VIA Rail Canada trains to and from Montreal.
VIA Rail trains also pick up and drop off passengers at a small suburban station, Gare de Sainte-Foy, located about 11 kilometers outside of downtown.
The RTC provides public transportation to the Québec City area via several bus lines, including regular and express service.
General bus tickets are CA$3.50. One-day passes are CA$6.70.
Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National are represented at the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport. Rental car counters are located on the main floor of the administrative building. You may also find an additional Enterprise location right next to the Convention Centre inside the Delta Québec by Marriott Hotel.
Taxis are necessary for travel to and from the airport and downtown, as there is no airport shuttle service available. Taxi Coop Québec, Taxi Laurier, and Taxi Québec are available at the airport. Passengers should expect a flat rate of CA$32 to downtown Québec City.
Photo Credit : Quebec City Tourism / Yves Tessier Tessima
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