ON JULY 3, 1608, SAMUEL de Champlain anchored his ship beneath the rocky ridge that loomed up above the banks of the choppy St. Lawrence and lead his tired band of settlers, soldiers and merchants to shore. The intrepid explorer decided that the clifftop site was going to be France’s foothold in the New World and named the settlement Quebec after the Algonquin word for `place where the river narrows’. Standing on the highground, the Father of New France looked up and down the St. Lawrence, hoping that one day a bustling city would grow and the adjoining river banks would be filled with prosperous farms and towns. But even the optimistic Champlain would shake his head in disbe- lief if he could see how far his dream has developed.
Now more than 400 years old, Quebec City is considered one of top leisure and meeting destinations in North America.
Its mix of old world charm, (the United Nations has declared the walled part of the city as a World Heritage Site) internation- ally regarded restaurant scene and wide range of meeting space make it a natural stop for conferences.
The city is no stranger to big league meetings. In 1944 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt met in Quebec City to plan the final stages of WW II. And in 2001, another generation of world leaders gath- ered here for the Summit of the Americas.
However, even if world peace isn’t on your meeting agenda, the city’s conference bureau will find a venue that suits your needs. Larger groups will be drawn to the Quebec City Conference Centre which is located just around the corner from Old Quebec and linked to two major hotels by an underground passageway. The Centre is scheduled to open a major expansion in floor space in 2014.
The city also boasts a long lineup of first class accommodation and altogether is home to more than 12,600 rooms. The area’s landmark hotel is the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac whose green copper roof and red brick turrets have risen above the city for more than a century.