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What to know about the 2014 New France Festival

The Chateau Fronrtnac, Quebec City
The Chateau Fronrtnac, Quebec City
Roger Fasteson

From August 6th to 10th, 2014, Quebec’s founders will be honored with the theme Saluting our Builders, a tribute to the first founders who settled on North American soil. There will be more than 400 activities — parades, shows, animations, re-enactments and conferences — from the Upper Town to the St. Lawrence River and through Place Royale.

“Québec… stems from its first settlers who came to a foreign land and used their talent to transform it into a beautiful port city, which eventually became a UNESCO World Heritage site” stated Gisèle Bourdeau, President of the SAQ New France Festival.

Opening Night, Wednesday August 6th, begins at 4 p.m. everyone is welcome to gather at Pier 19 of the Port de Québec to witness the docking of La Goélette Grosse-Île, a symbol of the courage and resilience of the first builders who developed New France against all odds. Fourteen Filles du Roy will be arriving in Québec, accompanied by a delegation from Val-de-Loire who will perform the Guérande salt unloading ceremony.

At 7 p.m., the revamped Opening Parade will feature numerous animations and the New France float. Five wooden sailboats (25, 30, 35 feet) will be pushed throughout the streets along the parade route. Hundreds of characters will enliven the streets throughout the parade: giants, percussionists, dancers, First Nations, military convoy and many costumed Festival participants.

Epicureans can let the aromas guide them to which local products they would like to taste. The market is the perfect place to become familiarized with a variety of local products.

In addition to the New France-themed fireworks from the Grands Feux Loto-Québec onAugust 6th, people can gather at Place de Paris SAQ for a thematic music show.

There will be performances by Les Mâles de mer (August 6th), Alain-François (August 7th), Envoyons de l’avant en Ontario with namely Damien Robitaille (August 8th) and Belzébuth (August 9th).

Families will have the opportunity to express their artistic skills by participating in the great New France mural (TD Mural).

  • A thematic dinner show at Des Pionniers Pier will be a first at the SAQ New France Festival
  • On August 6th at 9 p.m. enjoy tasting specially selected ciders while enjoying the fireworks.
  • On August 7th at 6 p.m. the Nobility Ball will feature the history of New France and gastronomy. Renowned caterer Le George V will be serving a first class five-course meal paired with specially selected wines. Ticket and reservation required.
  • On August 8th and 9th, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. there will be Thematic Dinner Shows designed by the foreign delegations taking part in the celebrations, the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario and Val-de-Loire. Ticket and reservation required.

And be sure to visit these sites:

  • St.-Louis Forts and Castles: a well-kept secret: Visits hosted by Parks Canada and a quiz on the Champlain Chapel are offered.
  • The Ursuline Gardens: On this rare occasion, the Ursuline nuns will open the gates to their garden. Medallion holders will receive a 50% discount at the Musée des Ursulines.
  • A unique ship in North America: La Goélette Grosse-Île: Enjoy rides on the St. Lawrence River onboard historic sailboat La Goélette Grosse-Île. Click here for more details and to reserve your ticket.
  • Place Royale will be filled with costumed characters including a stone carver, representatives from pioneer families of Quebec, merchants revealing local treasures and special activities marking the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame de Québec There will also be a show by storyteller Éric Michaud.
  • At the Molson Export Terrace meet many of the crazy characters who will host the Parcours des petits secrets.
  • At UNESCO Park, Huron-Wendat representatives will offer demonstrations of traditional arts, dances and the new large tipi.
  • At the garden of Maison Chevalier immerse yourself in the daily activities of Fort Saint-Joseph around 1763. New France survived there for a long time after its official collapse, thanks to the knowhow of the Illinois people.
  • De la Cetière Park will become the perfect family spot with numerous activities and animations for both young and old: music, tales, improvisations and legends, make-up artists and much more!

The 2014 Medallion used to access the sites represents the pioneer builders who built forts, churches, mills and shipyards, and who introduced new lifestyles adapted to the climate of New France. The Medallion is available until July 31st for $10 in all participating SAQ and TD branches in the greater Québec area and at It will then be sold for $12 in the same locations and directly on the sites during the event.

Enjoy free Coaticook ice cream with the purchase of a Medallion. Discounts are also offered by certain partners.

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