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Anyone from Quebec City here?

Anyone from Quebec City here?

Old Jun 8th 2019, 11:59 am
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Default Anyone from Quebec City here?

Hello everyone,

I find myself in a rather unique position and I seek advice/guidance.

I have been given the opportunity to come and work in Quebec for 6 months as part of a training program for my company. I will be invited by our Canadian sister company and arriving on a business visa. I am ensured that we have a team of immigration lawyers to ensure everything goes smoothly.

I will be arriving in Quebec mid-July this year. So I have a month to prepare myself. I have done a little research but obviously any advice from people who live there is more vital and more reliable than websites. I have broken down my main concerns below and I would appreciate any advice from anyone.

Cost of food
We have had a few colleagues travel to Montreal and heard how expensive a meal can be. I am currently in negotiation with the project manager regarding a Per Diem rate. I am not used to the whole tipping culture that exists in Canada so I will have to factor in that. But the initial figure that was proposed was $75 CAD a day. This rate is purely for food only.

Does that seem reasonable to cover the cost of breakfast/lunch/dinner? We will be in apartments to keep costs down and to give us the ability to cook ourselves rather than being dependant on restaurants/takeaways.

Obviously, I fully understand and appreciate these kind of questions fall into the “how long is a piece of string?” category as it all depends on your lifestyle and appetite but I am trying to gauge if I am being screwed over or not. As the HRMC allow up to $164.50 for Per Diems for Quebec City.

Clothing
I have negotiated with the project manager that I will require a winter coat when I am in Canada and he has agreed. Therefore I will buy a winter coat in Canada to save on weight in the suitcase. Does anyone have any advice where to buy a decent winter coat from? And what brands to look for?

For snow boots I was looking at these:

Link: (Can not add url due to posting rules therefore: Karrimor Snow Fur Mens Snow Boots from Sportsdirect) Do they look practical? As I have no idea what I am looking for at the minute.

Also, is there any other clothing items I should be looking for?

Driving
I understand I can use my U.K driving license for up to 6 months upon my arrival but just to be safe I have already popped to the Post Office and paid for an international driving license to cover me for 12 months.

We will have a hire car. I understand that by law I will have to have winter tires during December 15th through to March 15th. Would it be feasible to buy a car cover (if we don’t have a garage or access to underground parking) to save time cleaning/de-icing the car in the morning? Or would I be fighting a losing battle against the snow/ice?

When researching driving rules I saw a law that allows you to turn right at a red light. This is optional in Quebec correct? As in you are not forced to turn right if you don’t want too? It seems unnatural to me to turn on a red light coming from the UK.

Nightlife
We are looking for apartments in the Saint Jean Baptiste / Saint Roch area. Close to the Old Town. Can anyone tell me what the nightlife is like?

Things to do
Any recommendations? Since I am going to be in Quebec for a while I plan to explore on my days off and I still have annual leave to take so any advice is more than welcome.

Like I say, I’m open to any advice anyone can give me. I am trying to prepare myself the best I can as I know come winter time, I am going to be in for a treat. Thank you for your time. And I hope you have a great day.

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Old Jun 8th 2019, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Welcome to BE! What an exciting first post! Quebec in summer...with not a bit of of snow to be seen until towards the end of you stay

I am not in Quebec but my husband is,frequently for six week periods, and enjoys it. He gets $70 per diem and is mostly in Airbnb’s so prepares his own breakfast and lunch and then goes out in the evenings or cooks and that seems to work out pretty well...in Quebec...not in Vancouver or Toronto.

Very best of luck - enjoy every minute
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by .Storm View Post

Driving
I understand I can use my U.K driving license for up to 6 months upon my arrival but just to be safe I have already popped to the Post Office and paid for an international driving license to cover me for 12 months.

We will have a hire car. I understand that by law I will have to have winter tires during December 15th through to March 15th. Would it be feasible to buy a car cover (if we don’t have a garage or access to underground parking) to save time cleaning/de-icing the car in the morning? Or would I be fighting a losing battle against the snow/ice?

When researching driving rules I saw a law that allows you to turn right at a red light. This is optional in Quebec correct? As in you are not forced to turn right if you don’t want too? It seems unnatural to me to turn on a red light coming from the UK.
The international driving license is just a translation of your original license, it doesn't allow you to drive for more than six months.

There's a culture of car shelter rentals in Qc; the renter will come and install a tent thing for you (for a price)

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Old Jun 8th 2019, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

You are allowed to turn right on red in Quebec, but not Montreal:

https://saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road-safe...ht/the-basics/

Don't psyche yourself out about the winter clothing; the winter coat I use in Russia, in winter, I bought in Australia . . .

As dbd33 said the "international licence" is just a translation of your existing licence, it is not a licence on its own.

The summer fruits around Quebec are fabulous, make sure you take your hire car out of town early and often.

Lots to see around Quebec; La Chute Montmorency, Ile d'Orleans, Charlevoix in Autumn, and taking long way to Montreal through Estrie when time permits.

Not sure what you mean by "nightlife" but I am sure Quebec will be to your liking.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

There will probably be a number of things about driving in Quebec that will be different to in the UK. Turning right on a red light is not that hard to do (just imagine it's a Stop sign) and if you don't you will have a lot of seriously P****ed off drivers behind you.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by MillieF View Post
I am not in Quebec but my husband is,frequently for six week periods, and enjoys it. He gets $70 per diem and is mostly in Airbnb’s so prepares his own breakfast and lunch and then goes out in the evenings or cooks and that seems to work out pretty well...in Quebec...not in Vancouver or Toronto.
Thank you MillieF. I tried the website “Numbeo” out of curiosity and I saw quite a difference in food prices. But it’s reassuring to hear that your husband gets $70 and can survive comfortably on that.

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
The international driving license is just a translation of your original license, it doesn't allow you to drive for more than six months.

There's a culture of car shelter rentals in Qc; the renter will come and install a tent thing for you (for a price)
Thank you for the heads up dbd33. I wasn’t sure what a car shelter was until I Googled it and now I understand. I will add this into my negotiation with the project manager if we don’t have a garage or access to underground car parking. As I can see it will make my life a whole lot easier in the morning.

Regarding the international driving license, I went to the Quebec government website and it says:

“Holders of a foreign licence are allowed to drive on Québec roads for 6 consecutive months. After that time, they must hold an international driver's permit, or, if they take up residence in Québec, they must obtain a Québec licence.

Source: saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/drivers-licences/foreign-drivers-licence/

If you stay in Québec for longer than 6 months

"You must hold a valid international driver's permit to be allowed to continue to drive on Québec roads.You must always drive with both licences – your foreign driver's licence and your international driver's permit. You are allowed to drive in Québec for as long as your international driver's permit remains valid."

Source: saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/drivers-licences/international-drivers-permit/

Does that not imply that I would be able to continue driving if I was still here after 6 months? (Not that I will be, but you never know)

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post

The summer fruits around Quebec are fabulous, make sure you take your hire car out of town early and often.

Lots to see around Quebec; La Chute Montmorency, Ile d'Orleans, Charlevoix in Autumn, and taking long way to Montreal through Estrie when time permits.
Thank you for the suggestions carcajou. I plan to explore and go on as many road trips as I can and see as much as I can.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Do you speak french at all?
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by .Storm View Post

Source: saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/drivers-licences/international-drivers-permit/

Does that not imply that I would be able to continue driving if I was still here after 6 months? (Not that I will be, but you never know)

It does imply that but, still, I don't believe it to be true. What does the French version say?

Note that driving after the license is technically valid isn't unusual. My ex drove for an extra ten years or so and no one picked up on the illegality despite getting tickets, having accidents, the usual run of things. It's not something I'd stress over.

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Old Jun 8th 2019, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by HGerchikov View Post
There will probably be a number of things about driving in Quebec that will be different to in the UK. Turning right on a red light is not that hard to do (just imagine it's a Stop sign) and if you don't you will have a lot of seriously P****ed off drivers behind you.
Duly noted. After a while, I guess I will get used it to. Same goes for driving an automatic when you're used to a manual. That should be a fun experience.

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
Do you speak french at all?
Unfortunately no, I do not speak French. But I appreciate that French is the official language of Quebec therefore I am going to make an effort and try to learn a bit. I’ve already ordered a pocket size French phrasebook in preparation to help me along the way. As I feel like if I want to make friends, this will be a good start.

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
It does imply that but, still, I don't believe it to be true. What does the French version say?

Note that driving after the license is technically valid isn't unusual. My ex drove for an extra ten years or so and no one picked up on the illegality despite getting tickets, having accidents, the usual run of things. It's not something I'd stress over.
I am not sure what the French version says. In Google translate it translates to the same but it doesn’t matter. I should only be there for 6 months so I am not worried. I just got the driver permit as extra and for peace of mind in case an officer isn’t bilingual.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

In the province of Quebec you have 6 months from the time of your arrival to apply for a drivers licence as a resident.- are you perhaps confusing this with being a visitor driving? If you are working in Quebec and living in Quebec and paying taxes you will be a resident, not a visitor.

Why not just exchange your license and be done with it - it's simple to do and you can exchange it back when you return to the UK. There's also insurance to consider... it may well be cheaper if you have a Quebec license (plus you can then use it as ID)! Have you considered whether you actually need a rental vehicle full time though - parking in Quebec (as in most other places) is expensive and sometimes hard to come by. There is public transit there - and taxis.. why not just rent a vehicle if you wish to go out of town for the weekend. Do bear in mind that all these 'extras' that you are getting have a tax liability attached to them.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by .Storm View Post
Clothing
I have negotiated with the project manager that I will require a winter coat when I am in Canada and he has agreed. Therefore I will buy a winter coat in Canada to save on weight in the suitcase. Does anyone have any advice where to buy a decent winter coat from? And what brands to look for?

For snow boots I was looking at these:
Sounds like you'll only be here for part of winter. Most people are only out in it for very short periods - home to car to office/shop etc.
Those boots are more than good enough. The ones I use are generally called hiking boots and around $40. 3-in-1 winter jackets are very good. Two that zip together, with the outer one being waterproof and the inner one being for a cold autumn. Both together keep you warm and dry. But you'll probably do fine with something from Walmart.

A hat with ear flaps is good. Ski masks/Balaclavas are good but awkward if you wear glasses. Cheeks and ears can get very cold.

If I was coming for one winter only, I'd go to a Salvation Army store and buy something good quality for much less than new and then donate it back.

Last edited by BristolUK; Jun 8th 2019 at 5:15 pm.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
In the province of Quebec you have 6 months from the time of your arrival to apply for a drivers licence as a resident.- are you perhaps confusing this with being a visitor driving? If you are working in Quebec and living in Quebec and paying taxes you will be a resident, not a visitor.
Sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “work” but instead training. I will still be employed by the UK Company and they will continue to pay me so I will not be entering the Canadian labour market. I will be over in Quebec to learn/train how a system works by our sister company.

Therefore, I believe I won’t be paying any Canadian taxes? (Although I may be wrong here) And also will not be a resident. I’m not entirely sure if that is how it works, maybe I need to ask the finance/payroll people at work on Monday.

Unless you was referring to the 6 months figure? In that case it says on the Quebec Foreign driving licence page:

“If you are travelling in Québec, you may drive with your foreign driver's licence for 6 consecutive months if your licence:
- is valid
- authorizes you to drive the type of vehicle that you are using”

Source: saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/drivers-licences/foreign-drivers-licence/non-resident-visitor-tourist-or-other/mobile/page/

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Sounds like you'll only be here for part of winter. Most people are only out in it for very short periods - home to car to office/shop etc.
Those boots are more than good enough. The ones I use are generally called hiking boots and around $40. 3-in-1 winter jackets are very good. Two that zip together, with the outer one being waterproof and the inner one being for a cold autumn. Both together keep you warm and dry. But you'll probably do fine with something from Walmart.

A hat with ear flaps is good. Ski masks/Balaclavas are good but awkward if you wear glasses. Cheeks and ears can get very cold.

If I was coming for one winter only, I'd go to a Salvation Army store and buy something good quality for much less than new and then donate it back.
Thank you for the good solid advice BristolUK. I currently have/use hiking boots as walking boots just because of how comfy they are for long walks. I just wondered with the temperature drop if it was worth investing in a pair of snow boots.

That is quite a good idea actually. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old Jun 8th 2019, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by .Storm View Post
Thank you for the good solid advice BristolUK. I currently have/use hiking boots as walking boots just because of how comfy they are for long walks. I just wondered with the temperature drop if it was worth investing in a pair of snow boots.

That is quite a good idea actually. Thank you for the suggestion.

We live in balmy BC, but do have reason to go to areas where the temperature gets down to -35C or below, ranging from northern BC to Montreal. The coldest we have been in is -42C

OH wears hiking boots, with 2 pairs of socks, one pair being wool. He finds those perfectly warm, and his footing is steady, especially as you may be walking on ice as much as snow.

I have worn leather lined boots, but you do have to make sure that the soles are suitable ............ no tippy 6" heels and leather soles PLEASE!

As far as keeping warm ............ we both have winter jackets rated down to -30C, and layer under those if necessary. For example, a thin undervest, turtleneck sweater, down vest (gilet) combined with a scarf wrapped twice around the neck (and able to be pulled up over the mouth and nose) and the jacket's hood pulled up has had us toasty at -30 to -42C.

You can buy silk or jersey underwear, undervest and long johns, gloves and socks, and wear those under your outer gear, and they would later be useful in skiing or other winter activity in the UK and Europe.

A good pair of sunglasses is as essential in winter as in summer, as is sun cream!


As far as English vs French is concerned, we visited Quebec City about 18 months ago, loved it ......... but being able to speak more French would have been helpful in some areas. Our basic French remembered from O level exams taken almost 60 years was useful ........ people really appreciated the politeness of us using Please, Thank you, Excuse me, Good morning, etc. Most everyone in restaurants etc seemed to speak English to a reasonable degree. Outside the tourist areas in the city and out in the country may well be very different.

We met a man from Montreal on The Canadian train a couple of years ago, age around 75 or so, who had not spoken English since he finished high school, he lived and worked in a totally Francophone area of that city. It started to come back for him on the train as he was forced to speak English if he wanted to talk to anyone other than the train crew who were mostly functionally bilingual. We joined the train in Winnipeg, and it seemed that he had had a difficult time from Toronto to there (almost 3 days) because many of the passengers were not willing to spend time with him ................ mainly Americans, I do have to say.

I do not think that he was at all unusual for Quebecers in not speaking English after high school, or maybe never ........... just as many (?most) English Canadians or from the UK do not speak anything other than English.

We were there from late October to early November, and discovered that QC has the most incredible Hallowe'en decorations. They don't seem to be big on Trick or Treating, like the rest of Canada, but businesses, restaurants, City Hall, and Parks were decorated like you wouldn't believe!

Even the hotel dog at the Chateau Frontenac was dressed in a sickly green Tutu and hat (which refused to stay on her!).

Then they all come down on November 1, and decorations for Christmas start to go up.
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Old Jun 9th 2019, 12:06 am
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

We did experience one thing in QC that we had not anticipated (though we should have) .............. the day we arrived and the next day had the tail end of a Tropical Storm.

That is what happens as a hurricane lessens in strength as it travels north from the southern US. Quebec east to the Maritimes can get 1 or more, or none, a year, depending on the track taken by a hurricane.

The wind and rain were incredible ....... OH went up to the Citadel and said he made sure to keep away from the cliff side path as it was so dangerous.

I had taken with me a fleecy jacket and a waterproof lightweight hooded rain jacket ................ the two combined were just fine. Umbrellas were useless, unless you wanted to be Mary Poppins

Another similar, very heavy rain storm came through about 5 days later, just before we left, but I never found out whether that was rated as another Tropical Storm.
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Old Jun 9th 2019, 10:29 am
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Default Re: Anyone from Quebec City here?

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
Snip
Wow! Thank you for such an informative post scilly. There is things I never even considered such as sunglasses and sun cream for winter.

Due to my job role I’m starting to travel more often and at the very least out of courtesy, I like to try and learn Please, Thank you, Good morning where ever I travel. From my personal experience locals are friendlier and more appreciative for you trying to speak their language…even if I am making a complete dogs dinner out of it! But thank you for the advice/tip.

The Tropical Storms is something I would like to see. I am fascinated by meteorological phenomena’s so hoping I will get to see some in Canada whilst I’m there.

Once again, thank you scilly for taking the time and effort to write your message, I really appreciate it.
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