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Moving to Quebec? Here’s What You Need to Know

Moving to Quebec is like stepping into a completely different country, right in the midst of Canada. If you plan on moving there from English Canada, it can be a shock due to how vastly different life is there from the rest of the nation. Culture, language, food, belief systems, and more sets it apart. La Belle Province truly has its own style. While some of the differences can be seen as advantages and others as disadvantages, there are a few important things that you need to know if you are considering a move to Quebec.

  • You must know French. Even if you live in Montreal or Sherbrook which have large pockets of English speakers, you will need French in order to get by. If you live outside these areas you will struggle to get by without at least conversational French skills. Even Anglophones in Quebec pepper their English with French words.
  • Living in Quebec means filing 2 tax returns each and every year. The province is heavy in taxation, paperwork, and bureaucracy. There is even a government department that oversees the use of French.
  • Winter is a beast in Quebec. Expect it to start as early as October and end in April and sometimes even May. Temperatures get brutally cold for a significant portion of the winter. Winter protection even extends to the need for plugging in your car to keep it from freezing up during sub-zero nights.
  • Maple everything is to be expected in Quebec, especially during the spring – maple syrup season. According to any Quebecois, maple syrup is not just for breakfast, it belongs in main dishes, desserts, salad dressings and more.
  • Food has a distinctly European flavor. French dishes combined with homestyle cooking has created the unique Quebecois cuisine. Poutine – French fries, cheese curds and gravy - is a rite of passage for those in Quebec.
  • Unless you live in Montreal with its amazing subway system, or Quebec City with a decent bus system, living in the province of Quebec requires a car to get around. Because it is spread out, the walkability tends to be low.
  • The culture of Quebec is unique and diverse. Music, TV, live theater, performance art, museums, festivals, fairs and more are abundantly present throughout the province.
  • The cost of living varies depending on whether you are looking to live in the city or a small town. Bigger cities such as Montreal and Quebec City are expensive to live in, while small towns can be incredibly affordable. Of course, you are trading culture, convenience, and access to advantages like fast Internet when you choose small towns over big cities. You can scope out the options available in Internet speeds, TV service and other utilities before you move using an online search tool that identifies such services by postal code.

With an abundance of year-round outdoor activities, enchanting natural beauty, and a unique presence that feels European, Quebec is an exciting part of Canada in which to live. These tips can help you be better prepared for the differences you are sure to face.