Keith Bellows, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Travel
When I was growing up, Quebec City was something of an also-ran compared to Montreal, its brasher, more idiosyncratic sibling and my hometown. My family would often drive the 150 miles up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City, and as a kid I recall coming away a little underwhelmed. I
t seemed so dutiful and reserved next to the “sin city,” as Montreal was known. Sure, Quebec City could lay claim to a marginally more storied history—symbolized by the star-shaped Citadelle and the once bloody Plains of Abraham, where the British and French clashed over control of what would become Canada. But next to Montreal it lacked panache.
Notre-Dame de Quebec – Photograph by Susan Seubert
No more. These days the cities have reached a comfortable détente over which has the most to offer. They are simply different. Quebec City’s warren of cobblestone streets, hulking Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and Upper and Lower Towns are backdrop to its francophone fashion shops, chansons echoing off centuries-old cut-stone buildings, and air heavy with thick Québécois accents—a combination that’s unique in all North America. The food has gone from pedestrian to a superbly traditional force of gustatory nature (many dishes draw on local ingredients).
Raclette – Photograph by Susan Seubert
When it turned 400 years old in 2008, Quebec City also seemed to turn a corner. Now it is a truly modern city with old bones. My advice: Learn a little French, try it out on the residents, and you’ll enter a world where the locals will help you unlock the keys to street-level Old France.
Fiona Tang is an artist currently living in Vancouver, Canada and attending the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
In a series of amazing large-scale murals, Tang draws animals that seem to leap off the wall. On the artist’s tumblr page, he explains:
“I started doing art a couple of years ago, and despite my parents disapproval, I have stuck to and fought for my art. I love sketching, to the point where I will catch myself looking at my surroundings as sketches.
Art is not only my passion, but also my outlet and therapy; it always manages to cheer me up.”
To see more, check out Tang’s work on tumblr and Facebook.
“Working alone and out in remote locations is always time-consuming, and it involves a lot of back and forth to get the shot,” says Paul Zizka of this self-portrait he took in a kayak on Goat Lake in the Canadian Rockies.
“I had been planning on visiting this location for some time, and on this night the conditions were perfect.
The stars danced across the surface of the lake, and it felt like I was gliding through the night sky.
”Shooting a self-portrait at night isn’t without its challenges, Zizka says. Keeping yourself still enough in a kayak so the camera can catch a sharp exposure is particularly daunting.
“I propped the kayak on top of a rock to help stabilize it once I was in the frame. It took a few tries, but eventually I got a frame with sharp focus that I could be happy with.”