One of the objectives of Québec City’s cultural policy is to leverage culture as a driver of economic development. This is clearly set forth in its 2025 Cultural Development Vision. It’s a clear statement of the City’s artistic and cultural development aims both a frame of reference and a basis for collective endeavour, and a vision strongly committed to culture as an aspect of quality of life. It also responds to the professional arts and culture community’s desire to make fuller use of its creative potential.
Québec was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985, recognizing its status as part of the birthright and legacy of all humanity. There were good reasons to put Québec’s Old City on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The first is right there in the stones of the city walls: it’s a remarkable and well-preserved example of a fortified colonial town. Québec is the only city in North America whose fortifications are virtually all intact. Another is its language: Québec is where French civilization began in North America, and it’s remained home to a francophone culture continuously since the 17th century. Québec City has put an accent on Amérique that truly sets it apart.
Québec City is a hotbed of creativity and source of inspiration for a multitude of artists thrilled to be putting their talents to work in this fertile and exciting milieu. Culture is expressed in a kaleidoscope of forms—visual arts, media arts, theatre, dance, music, and literature are all thriving. This manna for the soul of the city is built on a rich array of organizations and places to learn, study, produce, perform, and exhibit that have made Québec City a creative powerhouse.
So runs the Québec City Public Library’s proclamation of faith. The municipal library system—Bibliothèque de Québec—is a custodian and repository of language and culture with 26 branches scattered throughout the city. It’s a place of discovery for everyone, with activities and events that help make Québec City a bright centre of literature. The Library is the frontline gateway to knowledge, information, and local and worldwide cultural life. As such, it must find a way to work its way physically and virtually into the life of every generation. It’s much more than a collection of books. Every visit is an adventure.
French language and culture is alive and well in North America. The 33 million North Americans who speak French are the proof. The Francophone and Francophile Cities Network gathers together the geographical, historic, and tourist attractions of the continent’s leading cities of French heritage on a single platform. Plans are in the works for member cities to create circuits and tour itineraries for travellers from all over the world.