Hallelujah!! After sixteen long months of little to no traffic between here and the United States, Canada has announced that its border with our neighbors to the south will open to fully vaccinated travelers on August 9. This is extraordinarily good news for Old Québec, a neighborhood that depends on foreign visitors for its livelihood. As I have mentioned before, the pandemic has been catastrophic for the economy of Old City, so the imminent arrival of American tourists is welcome news indeed.
If you visit the Old City this fall, you will find a hospitality sector that is more hospitable than ever. Taking advantage of the recent downtime, hotels such as the Clarendon and the Hilton have completed extensive remodeling projects. They, and the other hotels in town, are ready to host you in style. Restaurants, forced by the pandemic to privilege outdoor dining, have found creative ways to expand their sidewalk seating. Imagine a balmy late summer evening in September, sipping wine and reveling in the produits du terroir.
Tourists will also find some brand-new elements to this very old city. For example, a small bar has been installed on top of the Théâtre Le Diamant. Open to all, even to those who are not there to see a play, this rooftop cocktail space with a spectacular view promises to become a Québec classic. How will you get there? Maybe you will use one of the self-service electric bikes recently put into service by the Réseau de transport de la Capitale. If you know how hilly Québec City is, you know why electric assistance is appreciated.
Finally, there are also elements of the Old City that can be seen only in 2021. Passages Insolites, the annual ephemeral art festival, has installed this year’s array of pleasantly distracting pop-up art. Throughout the city, pedestrians are tilting their heads, furrowing their brows, and smiling in delight at the whimsical art. If art with a longer history is your thing, catch the Picasso exhibit at the Musée National des Beaux Arts. It is open only until September 12!
Long story short, Old Québec is ready and looking better than ever. We cannot wait to see you!