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Author Topic: Quebec's Highways  (Read 117586 times)

Stojko

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Quebec's Highways
« on: February 04, 2010, 06:56:42 PM »

Any Quebecois on the forum? I'm planning on driving through Quebec and Ontario next year and it would be interesting to learn more about the highways/autoroutes, specifically in the Montreal area. Are the driving generalizations true? Is signage along A-20 and A-40 (Metropolitan) as bad/non-existent as people say? What's the best route through Montreal?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010, 04:19:30 PM by un1 »
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 10:16:10 PM »

I'm one Quebecois, hard to said which one is the best route trough Montreal A-20 still have traffic lights on Dorion and Perrot Island but there plans to remove them. A-40 (Metropolitain), the elevated part is very substandard and the structures are aged, especially the Turcot interchange )A-20/Decarie A-15/A-720). As for signage, yes it's as bad/non-existant or even very old.
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SP Cook

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 07:08:03 AM »

I am definitely not a Quebecois, but I have driven across Quebec several times.

The following are broad generalizations:

- This is not a bilingual place.  New Brunswick and the part of Ontario that is near Quebec is, but in Quebec the only bilingualism is in thing run by the federal government (post office, airports, etc).  Things run by the provence are French only.  You will need enough French to dope out road signs.  Cardinal directions and such.  Not hard, but it takes paying attention.  And it is all in metric, which is more irritating to me than the French.  Learning ones numbers, for value meal purposes, is good if you are going north of Quebec City.

- This is not France.  A lot of Americans are kind of the "ugly American" type assume that.  Actually this is still North America, and a lot less different from the USA and English Canada, but for the language, than you might think.  Great steaks and Italian food in Montreal.

- The people are very friendly, but, IMHO, are more friendly if they know you are an American (and thus not expected to know French) than an Ontarian.  They expect Ontarians to speak a little French.  The language really is not a barrier until you get north of Quebec City, or away from the A routes.

- Roads are as described in Montreal and Quebec City.  Kinda poor by US standards.    In the more rural areas, it is similar to a US Interstate, but slightly different standards.  Metric signage.  No mention of other destinations outside Quebec, other than those in the USA (political thing).  More of those euro-style pictograph signs for things like gasoline, hotel, etc.  "Hotel de ville" on exit signs, which you see a lot, means "City Hall", not a hotel.  I think they note that because its like saying "police station" in the USA.

- I try to avoid those "all *ians drive like whatever" generalizations.  I did not perceive much difference in Montreal or Quebec than any other place.  In the rural areas, the locals seemed to (rightly, IMHO) view the underposted SLs as jokes.



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Stojko

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 12:44:31 PM »

I'm from Newfoundland, and I know enough french to get around and have a basic conversation at least. Thanks for the info.
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Alps

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 01:08:42 PM »

I'll be heading to Newfoundland this summer... stay tuned and it'd be neat to meet up.

Chris

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2010, 05:39:22 AM »

Freewaybrent made a nice video of A-73 in Quebec.

Watch it in HD:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiPQgoTt84s

J N Winkler

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 11:36:48 AM »

This is not a bilingual place.  New Brunswick and the part of Ontario that is near Quebec is, but in Quebec the only bilingualism is in thing run by the federal government (post office, airports, etc).  Things run by the province are French only.

Things may have changed significantly since I visited in 1998, but at that time there was a fair amount of bilingual signing in Montréal.

Quote
You will need enough French to dope out road signs.  Cardinal directions and such.  Not hard, but it takes paying attention.  And it is all in metric, which is more irritating to me than the French.  Learning ones numbers, for value meal purposes, is good if you are going north of Quebec City.

There is also an insistence on translating business names into French which results in, e.g., KFC becoming PFK (KFC trades as KFC in France, if memory serves).  Québec does try to use symbol signs whenever possible, and on MTQ infrastructure you shouldn't run across any yellow diamond warning signs which have text messages in French only.  However, local authorities in Québec often place text-message warning signs in French only without MTQ approval ("LENTEMENT" = slow is a common legend) on local roads.  Moreover, MTQ construction signs still use French-only text messages, so you need to know "TRAVAUX," "ROUTE BARRÉE," and some other legends.

Design details for traffic signs in Québec can be downloaded from the MTQ Signalisation site:

http://www.mtqsignalisation.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/

The signs themselves can be downloaded in EPS, DXF or AI formats (all vector), while the sign designs (labelled "devis") can be downloaded in PDF format with the sign illustrations rendered as rasters within the PDF files.

Quote
The people are very friendly, but, IMHO, are more friendly if they know you are an American (and thus not expected to know French) than an Ontarian.  They expect Ontarians to speak a little French.  The language really is not a barrier until you get north of Quebec City, or away from the A routes.

My perspective may be colored somewhat by being deaf and having to communicate in writing, but personally I never felt comfortable about using English anywhere in Québec outside Montréal.

Quote
Roads are as described in Montreal and Quebec City.  Kinda poor by US standards.    In the more rural areas, it is similar to a US Interstate, but slightly different standards.  Metric signage.  No mention of other destinations outside Quebec, other than those in the USA (political thing).  More of those euro-style pictograph signs for things like gasoline, hotel, etc.  "Hotel de ville" on exit signs, which you see a lot, means "City Hall", not a hotel.  I think they note that because its like saying "police station" in the USA.

Not really--it is more like "Civic center" on US freeway guide signs.  Hôtel in French is a fairly tricky word since in some contexts it can mean "House" in the occasional British sense of an office building, while in others it can refer to a lodging establishment.  There are separate pictograms for the Sûreté du Québec (the provincial police force, equivalent in most respects to a state police agency in the US) and for local police.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 12:41:20 PM »

I was just in Quebec and I did not see a single English sign.  Everything was in French.  There were a couple that were text-only in the yellow diamond (mainly on old alignments and town roads) but for the most part it was pictorial and therefore easy to understand.

I did note a US-201 trailblazer on Autoroute 73 heading south of Quebec City, about 120 miles away, which has to be the most distant indicator for a US route in existence!
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2010, 12:44:04 PM »

Ah yes, and for a second I thought it also contained an I-73 shield.

Picture here
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J N Winkler

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2010, 01:21:38 PM »

I was just in Quebec and I did not see a single English sign.  Everything was in French.

Not even "St James St/Rue St-Jacques" on an autoroute guide sign?
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agentsteel53

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2010, 01:37:29 PM »

Not even "St James St/Rue St-Jacques" on an autoroute guide sign?

I do not recall that one.  Now that I think about it, there were a few autoroute guide signs that were bilingual.  I will have to look through my photos.
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Alps

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2010, 07:11:46 PM »

The Autoroute bilingual signs are mostly around Montreal because that's as far north as US tourists tend to venture.

SP Cook

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2010, 07:33:26 AM »

There is also an insistence on translating business names into French which results in, e.g., KFC becoming PFK (KFC trades as KFC in France, if memory serves). 

This is, indeed, unique in the world.  KFC is KFC everywhere in the world, regardless of what "Kentucky Fried Chicken" might letter out to in the local language, even in places that do not use Latin letters (it will translate or transliterate Kentucky Fried Chicken into the local language).  It is KFC in France and in Canada's only bilingual provence (New Brunswick). 

Except in Quebec.  As I understand it, Quebec has this law called "Bill 101" which provides, among other things, that all commercial signage must have French "markedly prominent" compared to any other language.  A name, however, does not have to be translated, even if it could be (if your name is James you do not become Jacques when you cross the border), so "McDonald's" is "McDonald's", "Wal-Mart" is "Wal-Mart" and "Tim Horton" is "Tim Horton".  But in the case of KFC, it was ruled that "Kentucky" was the brand name and "Fried Chicken" was the product so they had to translate, and they chose to keep the French initials when they went to this strategy of using the initials.

BTW, in Canada, and in every other country of the world except the USA, KFC has regular French Fries, rather than the (awful, IMHO) potato logs served here.



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oscar

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2010, 09:01:22 AM »

There is also an insistence on translating business names into French which results in, e.g., KFC becoming PFK (KFC trades as KFC in France, if memory serves). 

This is, indeed, unique in the world.  KFC is KFC everywhere in the world, regardless of what "Kentucky Fried Chicken" might letter out to in the local language, even in places that do not use Latin letters (it will translate or transliterate Kentucky Fried Chicken into the local language).  It is KFC in France and in Canada's only bilingual provence (New Brunswick). 

Except in Quebec.  As I understand it, Quebec has this law called "Bill 101" which provides, among other things, that all commercial signage must have French "markedly prominent" compared to any other language.  A name, however, does not have to be translated, even if it could be (if your name is James you do not become Jacques when you cross the border), so "McDonald's" is "McDonald's", "Wal-Mart" is "Wal-Mart" and "Tim Horton" is "Tim Horton".  But in the case of KFC, it was ruled that "Kentucky" was the brand name and "Fried Chicken" was the product so they had to translate, and they chose to keep the French initials when they went to this strategy of using the initials.
When I drove through southern Ontario a few weekends ago, I recall seeing at least one PFK.  That part of the province is pretty far from Quebec, and not particularly strong on bilingual signage.
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 03:29:58 PM »

What is the timetable for the western portion of A-50 between Grenville and Route 317?
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2010, 06:07:53 PM »

What is the timetable for the western portion of A-50 between Grenville and Route 317?

from what I read on this French blog with interesting construction pics, a gap of A-50 between Greenville and a local road named Kilmar road, is scheduled to open for this year
http://richard3.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/a-50-en-roulant-vers-la-montee-boucher/
http://richard3.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/a-50-pendant-quon-est-a-pointe-au-chene/
http://richard3.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/a-50-au-chemin-avoca/
http://richard3.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/a-50-quoi-de-nouveau-au-chemin-kilmar/
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Franks

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2010, 08:26:54 PM »

Moi aussi je suis ce blogue trés intéressant... merci Stéphane ^^ ... en plus l'A50 me concerne , c'est dans ma région , les laurentides!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 08:38:14 PM by Franks »
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2010, 08:44:33 PM »

Moi aussi je suis ce blogue trés intéressant... merci Stéphane ^^ ... en plus l'A50 me concerne , c'est dans ma région , les laurentides!

please translate for the rest of us  :sombrero: or else I will have to attempt to.

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Franks

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2010, 09:04:40 PM »

Sorry I forgot  :) ... but I was talking to Stéphane... I said : I'm following this blog too, he's really interresting. And the A50 concerns myself cause it's in my region : the laurantians.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 09:06:28 PM by Franks »
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2010, 12:20:59 AM »

It might never happen, but what if Quebec extends A-70 past A-40, over the St Laurence River (Big Bridge!), and connects to A-20/A-85?
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2010, 12:27:06 AM »

Moi aussi je suis ce blogue trés intéressant... merci Stéphane ^^ ... en plus l'A50 me concerne , c'est dans ma région , les laurentides!

please translate for the rest of us  :sombrero: or else I will have to attempt to.

my hovercraft is full of eels
No no, it's 'weevils', not 'eels'. Of course, you could learn French...

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Scott5114

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2010, 02:32:38 PM »

See, and I got "My Aussie gets suits and sees blokes that are three times as interesting. Mercy, Stephen, A-50 is concerning, because Dan Garnell is in my region!"
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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2010, 03:57:08 PM »

Here's another idea, finish A-30 west of A-55...
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Franks

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2010, 10:31:32 PM »

Here's another idea, finish A-30 west of A-55...

Absolutely, this was planned since 30 years ! ... but I think that for now they're choosing what are their priorities... So one day yes, but not now !
For true, the A30 was supposed to be constructed as far as Bécancour ( east of A55 )
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un1

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Re: Quebec's Highways
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2010, 03:47:05 PM »

Absolutely, this was planned since 30 years ! ... but I think that for now they're choosing what are their priorities... So one day yes, but not now !
For true, the A30 was supposed to be constructed as far as Bécancour ( east of A55 )

Can I see the plans for this? I don't see how there is enough demand for two freeways to run between Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

Also, what is the progress of A-85's extension to NB?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 03:49:07 PM by un1 »
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