Québec: An insight

December saw the launch of our 2017 Festival Highlights event, where Director Toby Smith addressed friends, colleagues, stakeholders and press with details of performances and the revealing of this year’s theme.

This year is the last of Toby’s four-year directorship and the last year of the Festival theme’s four-year cycle following the journey of the sun. 2017 will see us travel west to the French-Canadian province of Québec.

In all honesty, I didn’t know much about Québec or its cultural scene other than that the fact that they spoke French and it’s the home of Cirque du Soleil. So, to help me as much as to interest you, I’ve done a bit of digging to find some weird and wonderful Québecois facts…

  • After Paris, the world’s largest French speaking city is Montreal. Over 95% of the population are solely French speaking and only about 1.5% of the population speaking just English. But more than a third of the population can speak both English and French.


  • Québec City – not Montreal – is the capital of the province of Québec. The capital city’s main event is the Québec Winter Carnival which takes place every year, and is taking place right now!2
  • The motto of Québec is “Je me souviens” (French for “I remember”). Ironically, the meaning of what Québec is remembering has been debated and analysed for decades.

Lost and Confused Signpost

  • The Chateau Frontenac in Québec City is commonly thought of as the most photographed hotel in the world, largely down to it’s prominent position in the city’s skyline.


  • The average July temperature is 25°C and the average January temperature is -7.8°C. In comparison, Salisbury seems pretty mild with an average of 16.7°C in July and 4°C in January.


  • Québec almost voted for independence in 1995 – when a referendum failed with less than one percent margin. Quexit?



There are many interesting and slightly unexpected facts about Québec and I’m so excited to see the elements of the programme that have taken influence or originate from the region. The first of the Québecois artists has now been released with the Highlight events; progressive folk band Le Vent du Nord will fill Salisbury Playhouse with their catchy songs and energetic flair.

For details and tickets for the foot-tapping, fiddle-playing four-piece click here.

To find out about the rest of our Highlight events click here.

I’ll be keeping you up to date with more insights and explorations as we begin the countdown to the Festival!



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