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Author Topic: My Quebec City trip  (Read 1498 times)

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My Quebec City trip
« on: July 16, 2019, 08:30:39 AM »

I was on vacation from July 11 to July 15. The purpose was not roadgeeking (it was someone else's birthday), but I traveled a lot of new roads.

New routes traveled:
From my home to Quebec City: I-93 north of Franconia Notch (the farthest I have been before), I-91 in Vermont north of I-93, A-55, A-10, A-20, A-40, and A-73, and A-440 on the east side of Quebec City, plus small parts of QC 162, 165, and 263. In addition, US 5 between I-91 exit 20 and Exit 22 (I got I-91 itself on the way back).
Quebec City and surrounding areas: QC 360 (Montmorency Falls), QC 368 (clinched, Île d'Orleans), QC 369 to visit the First Nations museum (plus QC 358 overlap), a bit more of A-73 (to QC 369), QC 138 (near hotel), QC 175 (small part near the Old City). I traveled the entire eastern segment of Quebec City's A-440, but I don't consider it a clinch, as it is a route with a gap, not two separate routes.
On the way back: A-740 from Exit 9 to Exit 3 (to avoid traffic, and the driver missed Exit 4), VT 105 between I-91 exit 28 and Hayward Rd. in Derby (trying to find food combined with thinking that I was on US 5 south for some reason), I-89 between I-93 and I-89, US 4 between I-89 and the covered bridge just past Quechee Gorge.

Road-related observations:
* No autoroute standards. A-440 has a traffic light near Exit 27.
* Horizontal traffic lights seen for the first time. These had two red lights, one on each side.
* Flashing greens in this area are used to mean a green left arrow. They flash faster than flashing yellows and flashing reds (although the only flashing yellow I saw was on A-55, and I saw no flashing reds at all).
* Billboards on A-20 almost always included an exit number in a yellow trapezoid somewhere in the advertisement.
* Where is QC 136's eastern end? I traveled the tunnel with the reversible lane that some sources (Google Maps, Quebec 511) say are part of QC 136, not not others (Apple Maps, OpenStreetMap, Travel Mapping).
* One VMS had something "BARRéE" or some other word ending in those two letters. No capital accented letters?
* Vermont signs things really well.
* Speed limits were in multiples of 10 km/h, but curve advisories were often numbers ending in 5.
* Crossing the border took 4 minutes northbound and 3 minutes southbound.

Other observations:
* Paying for meals with a credit card is much better in Canada than it is in the US. Why can't we use their automatic credit card machines?
* For some reason, two restaurants in the Old City (downtown) had "US$ 25% fee" and 30%. Near our hotel, there was one with only an 8% fee. This is a huge difference. (We brought Canadian money with us, so we didn't have to pay the huge fees.)
* Most people knew some English, but French was the main language. Almost everyone was friendly, even if they knew that we were American.
* 24-hour time (mostly business opening and closing hours) is used in French, but not in English.
* Nobody can agree on how to write a decimal point. I even had a menu receipt with both periods and commas in different places.
* Some people were busking. Two of them had received US $1 bills as tips in addition to typical Canadian coins.
* Before the trip, the weather was showing that it would rain the entire trip. During the actual trip, it didn't rain much at all. There were three bursts of rain lasting 10–30 minutes each: one on the way there in New Hampshire, and two while we were inside buildings.
* Everyone in my group, including I, was calling the First Nations "Native Americans" by accident.
* Sales tax is 15%, although some places have the tax already included in the price. At least it pays for better wages and healthcare.
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2019, 09:10:13 AM »

* One VMS had something "BARRéE" or some other word ending in those two letters. No capital accented letters?

Barrée = Closed, a term that every non-French speaker learns very quickly when driving around Montréal.  If they left space for accented capitals at the same size, they'd need to have one or two extra rows of bulbs for each row of text on the VMSes

* Paying for meals with a credit card is much better in Canada than it is in the US. Why can't we use their automatic credit card machines?

Because the US was late to the game, and Canada (and most of the rest of the world) adopted chip and pin credit card systems, rather than the chip and signature system we got when they finally rolled out chip cards.

* Sales tax is 15%, although some places have the tax already included in the price. At least it pays for better wages and healthcare.

Canadian GST is 5%, and the Québec national sales tax (QST) is 9.975%, actually.  When shopping, to do a quick CDN»USD conversion, I take the pretax price in CDN and knock off 10% to get an approximation of the post-tax price in USD.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2019, 10:01:21 AM »

Quote
* No autoroute standards. A-440 has a traffic light near Exit 27.

Not entirely true.  Though Autoroute standards are less stringent than U.S. Interstates, they do have standards...namely being limited-access.

By your logic, one could look at I-78 in Jersey City or I-180 in Cheyenne (or I-690 during New York State Fair) and claim that Interstates don't have standards.

Quote
* Vermont signs things really well.

Living here, I would tend to disagree, especially off the state routes.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2019, 01:57:11 PM »


* One VMS had something "BARRéE" or some other word ending in those two letters. No capital accented letters?

Barrée = Closed, a term that every non-French speaker learns very quickly when driving around Montréal.  If they left space for accented capitals at the same size, they'd need to have one or two extra rows of bulbs for each row of text on the VMSes

Why couldn't they simply leave off the accent mark and still use all caps?  In Spanish, the convention is that accent marks aren't really necessary on capital letters; is it different in French?
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 07:31:49 PM »

Because the US was late to the game, and Canada (and most of the rest of the world) adopted chip and pin credit card systems, rather than the chip and signature system we got when they finally rolled out chip cards.
I've read that the reason we got chip and sign was because restaurants didn't want to bring readers to tables for some reason.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2019, 11:09:55 PM »


* One VMS had something "BARRéE" or some other word ending in those two letters. No capital accented letters?

Barrée = Closed, a term that every non-French speaker learns very quickly when driving around Montréal.  If they left space for accented capitals at the same size, they'd need to have one or two extra rows of bulbs for each row of text on the VMSes
Why couldn't they simply leave off the accent mark and still use all caps?  In Spanish, the convention is that accent marks aren't really necessary on capital letters; is it different in French?

Quebec is very extreme about some of that type of stuff. They want to be the ultra-France; more French than France itself, and take any and every opportunity they can get to prove it.

Another example: their stop signs all read 'arret'. Even though in France stop signs actually read 'stop'.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2019, 08:17:43 AM »

I still want to know if I traveled on QC 136, given that the sources disagree on where it ends.

Some other things I forgot to mention:

* Km-based exit numbers were very useful; this is the first time that I have been on distance-based exits where there were gaps of several exit numbers. (While I have been on mile-based exits before, I-85 and I-285 in metro Atlanta are near-sequential by coincidence.) I support mile-based exit numbers in the US where exits are significantly more than 1 mile apart.
* There were a whole bunch of Québec (province) flags flying; Québec flags and Canadian flags were about equal in number.
* Crullers at Tim Hortons are C$1 (C$1.15 with tax, US$0.87 with tax after the exchange rate). This is much cheaper than crullers in the US.
* Champlain was mentioned pretty much everywhere.
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NH 27,38,111A(E); CA133; NY366; GA 42,140; FL A1A; CT32; VT 5A; QC 16⒉16⒌263

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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2019, 02:30:14 PM »

As far as I know, the eastern end of R-136 is at Côte Gilmour. The rest of Boul. Champlain is managed by the City.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2019, 07:44:36 PM »

The Québec Atlas des transports shows QC 136 as ending at the same place as shown in TravelMapping.  The rest is reference route 42330.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2019, 08:24:16 PM »


* One VMS had something "BARRéE" or some other word ending in those two letters. No capital accented letters?

Barrée = Closed, a term that every non-French speaker learns very quickly when driving around Montréal.  If they left space for accented capitals at the same size, they'd need to have one or two extra rows of bulbs for each row of text on the VMSes
Why couldn't they simply leave off the accent mark and still use all caps?  In Spanish, the convention is that accent marks aren't really necessary on capital letters; is it different in French?

Quebec is very extreme about some of that type of stuff. They want to be the ultra-France; more French than France itself, and take any and every opportunity they can get to prove it.

Another example: their stop signs all read 'arret'. Even though in France stop signs actually read 'stop'.

Actually, the Québec stop signs read "ARRÊT"  :)
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2019, 09:48:32 PM »

Quebec is very extreme about some of that type of stuff. They want to be the ultra-France; more French than France itself, and take any and every opportunity they can get to prove it.

Another example: their stop signs all read 'arret'. Even though in France stop signs actually read 'stop'.

Which came first, though?  That is, when Québec began using ARRÊT on their stop signs, was France also using the same thing?  If that's the case, then France changing to STOP would be what caused the difference.

Similarly, Spain uses STOP but Mexico uses ALTO.  And that certainly doesn't have anything to do with Mexico wanting to be ultra-Spain.  Some other nations in Latin America use PARE.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2019, 10:06:02 AM »

Quebec is very extreme about some of that type of stuff. They want to be the ultra-France; more French than France itself, and take any and every opportunity they can get to prove it.
Another example: their stop signs all read 'arret'. Even though in France stop signs actually read 'stop'.
Which came first, though?  That is, when Québec began using ARRÊT on their stop signs, was France also using the same thing?  If that's the case, then France changing to STOP would be what caused the difference.
Similarly, Spain uses STOP but Mexico uses ALTO.  And that certainly doesn't have anything to do with Mexico wanting to be ultra-Spain.  Some other nations in Latin America use PARE.

I'm actually not sure if France switched or what, but either way, Quebec is now using French in situations where France isn't.
Unlike Mexico, Quebec is not its own country. It's part of a much larger country that is primarily English speaking, on a continent containing the largest economy in the world, also primarily English speaking.

I have nothing against Quebec, but there's plenty of evidence of their stubbornness about maintaining the French language, influence, culture, etc. They are way more independent than any individual state in the US, as anyone from elsewhere in Canada would confirm.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 03:09:29 PM »

Quebec is extremely fascist with its language police, forcing all businesses to post in French only (and minimizing other languages). Italian restaurants run afoul of this often, and even international chains have to follow such as KFC being called PFK (Poulet Frit Kentucky) in Quebec.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2019, 05:14:04 PM »

Other observations:
* Paying for meals with a credit card is much better in Canada than it is in the US. Why can't we use their automatic credit card machines?
* For some reason, two restaurants in the Old City (downtown) had "US$ 25% fee" and 30%. Near our hotel, there was one with only an 8% fee. This is a huge difference. (We brought Canadian money with us, so we didn't have to pay the huge fees.)
* 24-hour time (mostly business opening and closing hours) is used in French, but not in English.

To address these:

* Automatic credit card machine? You mean the ones they bring to the table, or the tap-to-pay function? I know when I'm in BC, I pay for 100% of things with my phone. Chip is unreliable, and my card doesn't have tap-to-pay built-in. My phone's tap-to-pay has yet to fail me, and I don't have to type in an extra pin or other BS, like I sometimes have to in the US (depending on the establishment).

* I can't recall ever seeing a "US" fee or per cent charge in BC. Was this something you saw a lot, or just at those few places?

* I believe 24-hour time, especially on road signage, is also fairly common in the Prairies. I've never see it in BC. Everything, including things like parking signage, is AM/PM.



I have nothing against Quebec, but there's plenty of evidence of their stubbornness about maintaining the French language, influence, culture, etc. They are way more independent than any individual state in the US, as anyone from elsewhere in Canada would confirm.

It's not helped by the fact that Francophones have increased their show in politics substantially over the last 50 years. I don't know if this is due to political pressures in Ontario and Quebec to be bilingual; since you can "get by" with English all over the world, but not French, most politicians in Quebec (minus a few like Pauline Marois--sort of) speak both languages. As a result, they end up holding perhaps more than their fair-share of positions.

Over here in BC, French basically doesn't exist at all. Most people are from either Asia or Britain, so you mostly see English and Mandarin (and Cantonese); French radio exists, yes, but there's not many stations, and I don't know how well they're listened to. French writing is in places it's required (government buildings, ports of entry, products at stores), but that's about it. I'm sure most British Columbians would vote in favor of eliminating all French references, in favor of Chinese text (as that gets far more use over here); in places in Quebec where you'd see English text (not required but supplied "just in case"), you would instead see Chinese text in BC (below English text).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 05:17:40 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2019, 05:19:50 PM »

Other observations:
* Paying for meals with a credit card is much better in Canada than it is in the US. Why can't we use their automatic credit card machines?
* For some reason, two restaurants in the Old City (downtown) had "US$ 25% fee" and 30%. Near our hotel, there was one with only an 8% fee. This is a huge difference. (We brought Canadian money with us, so we didn't have to pay the huge fees.)
* 24-hour time (mostly business opening and closing hours) is used in French, but not in English.

To address these:

* Automatic credit card machine? You mean the ones they bring to the table, or the tap-to-pay function? I know when I'm in BC, I pay for 100% of things with my phone. Chip is unreliable, and my card doesn't have tap-to-pay built-in. My phone's tap-to-pay has yet to fail me, and I don't have to type in an extra pin or other BS, like I sometimes have to in the US (depending on the establishment).

* I can't recall ever seeing a "US" fee or per cent charge in BC. Was this something you saw a lot, or just at those few places?


* Tap to pay happened one time; the rest were using the chip.

* Most places didn't accept US currency at all. It was just at those few places.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2019, 06:54:20 PM »

* Tap to pay happened one time; the rest were using the chip.

* Most places didn't accept US currency at all. It was just at those few places.

* I see. But they brought it to your table, right? In BC, I've only ever seen the portable payment machines. The hardwired rectangular kind that are common in the US (that sit elevated on a small metal stand), I've never seen before.

* So at those places, you paid in US currency? I didn't know that was possible anywhere in Canada.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2019, 07:10:41 PM »

* So at those places, you paid in US currency? I didn't know that was possible anywhere in Canada?

At the Montreal airport, when I paid in Canadian currency, the coins I got back in change were often U.S. coins. (Which I kept to take back home, since at prevailing exchange rates they were worth more than their Canadian counterparts.) I've not experienced that elsewhere in Canada.

I've never tried to spend U.S. cash in Canada, so I don't know how well that would work outside airports and other places with lots of travelers from the U.S.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2019, 07:16:57 PM »

* Tap to pay happened one time; the rest were using the chip.

* Most places didn't accept US currency at all. It was just at those few places.

* I see. But they brought it to your table, right? In BC, I've only ever seen the portable payment machines. The hardwired rectangular kind that are common in the US (that sit elevated on a small metal stand), I've never seen before.

* So at those places, you paid in US currency? I didn't know that was possible anywhere in Canada.

* They were brought to the table.

* We paid in Canadian currency so that we wouldn't be hit with the fee. I'm just saying that it's allowed at those few places.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2019, 07:50:05 PM »

* So at those places, you paid in US currency? I didn't know that was possible anywhere in Canada.

Absolutely - to my knowledge there's not many places in Ontario where US currency isn't accepted! Just two weeks ago, I used US cash at a Tim Hortons in Wiarton, ON (which is in the middle of nowhere and almost 200 miles from the US border). My friends from Ontario seemed fairly confident they'd take the US currency, and sure enough they did, without hesitation. Tourism is certainly a factor, but I'm sure Canada's population being only about 1/10th of the US, and mostly clustered near the US border, plays into it as well.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 07:52:11 PM by webny99 »
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2019, 10:33:32 AM »

I'm actually not sure if France switched or what, but either way, Quebec is now using French in situations where France isn't.
Unlike Mexico, Quebec is not its own country. It's part of a much larger country that is primarily English speaking, on a continent containing the largest economy in the world, also primarily English speaking.

Thing is: Québec (not necessarily individuals living in Québec, but Québec-in-general) views itself as a separate nation within the confederation.  Terms like "national" refer to Québec, while the term "federal" refers to the government in Ottawa.  Québec City is the national capital; legislators are referred to as MNP's (Member of National Parliament), and you see far more Québec flags flying than Canadian.

Quebec is extremely fascist with its language police, forcing all businesses to post in French only (and minimizing other languages). Italian restaurants run afoul of this often, and even international chains have to follow such as KFC being called PFK (Poulet Frit Kentucky) in Quebec.

Technically, it's not "French-only"; it's "French-primary".  They view it as an element of cultural preservation - the use of the French language is a key element of what makes Québecois culture distinct.

It's not helped by the fact that Francophones have increased their show in politics substantially over the last 50 years. I don't know if this is due to political pressures in Ontario and Quebec to be bilingual.

I've tried to learn a bit of local history since I'm spending so much time in Montréal for work, but I'm by no means an expert.

I had thought that some of this was set in motion by backlash from the social order that existed prior to the 1960's.  Before then, there was a strong-link between social class and language, at least in the Montréal area, with white-collar professionals being almost exclusively anglophones, and blue-collar laborers being almost francophones.

Then, I understood that some of the social turmoil of the 1960's manifested in Québec with a rise of Québec nationalism and the FLQ promoting an extreme version thereof, with violence escalating to the October Crisis of 1970.

I understood that that violence and instability derailed Montréal from its position as the financial capital of Canada and its trajectory of becoming a potential rival to New York City's preeminence among North American cities...and once sanity returned Québec was left as a jurisdiction that is proactive in defending its distinctness.
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Re: My Quebec City trip
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2019, 04:28:54 PM »

* So at those places, you paid in US currency? I didn't know that was possible anywhere in Canada.

Absolutely - to my knowledge there's not many places in Ontario where US currency isn't accepted! Just two weeks ago, I used US cash at a Tim Hortons in Wiarton, ON (which is in the middle of nowhere and almost 200 miles from the US border). My friends from Ontario seemed fairly confident they'd take the US currency, and sure enough they did, without hesitation. Tourism is certainly a factor, but I'm sure Canada's population being only about 1/10th of the US, and mostly clustered near the US border, plays into it as well.

I accepted CAD as tips when I worked as a valet. You can take cash however you want, I suppose, but don't expect a fair exchange rate. I shall imagine that the smaller, independent places are more likely to accept USD than, say, A&W, as a matter of policy.

I've never attempted to pay for anything in BC with USD (cash); maybe some places accept it, but I rarely have USD on me anyways, so it makes no difference.
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