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Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part A (#307)

The last couple of posts looked at who web-users voted as their favourite ANGLOPHONE Québécois.

The next few posts will look at who web-users voted as their favourite FRANCOPHONE Québécois.

Although these rankings may not be scientific (anyone can cast their votes anytime on Rankopedia), the rankings are probably not far from reality.

One thing I have noticed is that many of the personalities “span the ages”.  This means that people of all ages must have voted, because some people may be well known to people over 40 or 50, but not necessarily as well known to someone in their 20s or 30s.

Let’s take a look…


1.  Celine Dion

  • Pop Singer (Born and raised in the greater Montréal region)
  • I don’t think I need to say anything more about Celine (is there anyone who doesn’t know her?).
  • I will however say that recently she has unfortunately been (inadvertently & unwillingly) dragged into politics for the first time in 25 years by her politically overzealous friend, Julie Snyder.  It’s actually quite sad (like others, I feel bad for Celine).  I wrote a post about it which you can read it by CLICKING HERE.

2.  Gilles Villeneuve


  • Race Driver (From St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec.  An interesting sidenote:  St-Jean is the city where the French-language Royal Military College of Canada is located.  It is one of two military colleges, with the English language college located in Kingston, Ontario [for American readers, this would be the Canadian equivalent of Westpoint].
  • Canada’s first Formula One superstar from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.   Winner of six Grands Prix.
  • Accredited with making large segments of both Québec and Canada society hooked on Formula One.
  • Tragically killed in a track accident in 1982.
  • Owing to his God-like status among fans at the time of his death, he has become a permanent emotional fixture in Québec’s collective psyche, and is still regularly talked about today.

3.  Jacques Villeneuve


  • Race Driver (Born St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec, Raised in both Québec and Switzerland).
  • Son of Gilles Villeneuve (above).
  • The hopes of a Formula One-hooked society were transplanted from Gilles Villeneuve to his son Jacques when he began to walk in his father’s shoes.
  • Those hopes were realized as Jacques Villeneuve began to win racing championships which placed him among the best in the world.
  • The peak of his glory peaked in the 1990s when he was the 1995 Indi 500 champion, the 1995 PPG Indi World Series champion, and the 1997 Formula One champion.
  • In Québec, Villeneuve has pretty much walked on water for much of his life.

Here is an interview with Jacques in ENGLISH for you.

4.  Julie Payette


  • Astronaut (Montréal, born & raised).
  • She has captured the imagination of kids and die-hard space fans across the country (Payette has lived and worked all across Canada, including as a captain at the Air Base, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – a city I have always thought of as my second or third hometown owing to all the family I have there).
  • Was the chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) based in Longueuil, Québec (the Canadian equivalent of NASA).
  • Was flight crew aboard the shuttle Discovery and mission specialist aboard the shuttle Endeavour.
  • She is a director of the Bank of Canada, and also a host of Découverte (the French-language equivalent of something like Quirks and Quarks meets The Nature of Things).

Here is a speech she gave in ENGLISH

Here is a short clip of her hosting the very popular FRENCH-language television program Découverte.

5.  Georges St-Pierre


  • Mixed Martial Arts fighter (From St-Jean-sur-Richelieu).
  • His role as a world champion fighter brought the sport to the forefront in Québec and to sold-out shows in his sport across Canada (even to this day).
  • I already wrote a post on St-Pierre.  You can read it by clicking HERE (Québec’s Rough’n Toughs)
  • The last few years, he has been treated as a pop-culture celebrity in Québec, brining guaranteed viewer ratings to any television program he appears on.

We’ll look at more web-users’ “Favorite” Québec personalities in the next few posts.



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts


Web-user’s favorite Anglophone Québécois – Part B (#306)

The last post introduced you to web-users’ favorite ANGLOPHONE Québécois.

I introduced that post with a little bit of information on how Anglophones form an important part of Québec’s overall cultural fabric and spirit.

I’ll open this post by saying that Montréal’s unique city scene and cosmopolitan culture plays a major role in influencing the type of success Anglophones from Québec tend to achieve.

This is especially felt in artistic spheres.

Most Anglophone Québécois reside in Montréal.  It should therefore be no surprise that Anglophone artists from Montréal find as much “wide” success as their Francophone compatriots.  Montréal’s cultural backdrop is no small player in this equation.

Below are the remaining 15 “favorite” Anglophone Québécois ranked on Rankopedia (out of 25).  I’ve added a bit of my own insight and thoughts regarding each figure.


11.  Sam Roberts

  • Rock Musician (Born & raised in Montréal
  • One of Canada’s and Québec’s best selling and highest chart-topping singers of the past decade (with numerous #1 albums and singles).   Turn on the radio anywhere in Canada, and you won’t have to wait for long before hearing Sam Roberts.
  • Sings in English and French (the French version of Shapeshifters achieved the #1 hit spot in Québec).

12. Doug Harvey

  • Hockey Player (Montréal, born & raised)
  • One of the best NHL defencemen ever.
  • Passed away in 1989.
  • Played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Baltimore Clippers, Buffalo Bisons, Pittsburgh Hornets, Quebec Aces

13. Wilder Penfield

  • Neurologist (lived and worked most of his life in Montréal, where he died in 1976).
  • If you have a brain (and I hope you do), then thank Mr. Penfield for figuring out how it works, and in no small way.   Penfield was once dubbed one of the smartest men alive.

14. Jeff Martin

  • Rock Musician (Born in Ontario, but claims Montréal as home).
  • As just a normal everyday dude, he was… you know…  only just the lead singer of… “Tea Party!”
  • In the video below, you can catch bits and pieces of him speaking French (in a Québec City concert)

15. Rufus Wainwright

  • Pop Musician (Montréal inside and out).
  • One of Canada’s best known “alternative” pop singers (Baroque pop, operatic pop, indie pop).
  • He’s known to Anglophones and Francophones alike by pushing music over the edge with his unique style.   He was huge in Canada a number of years ago, and still attracts a lot of attention to this day.

16. Sass Jordan

  • Pop Singer, TV celebrity (Montréal be her hometown).
  • Wow… Hopefully I don’t need to tell you who she is.  But if you perhaps haven’t turned on the TV at some point this century, I can tell you she has rocked the country like few others have (not to mention that she’s one of the judges for Canadian Idol, and even an honorary colonel of Canada’s 417 Combat Support Squadron – bang, bang, boom!!).

17. Jessica Paré

  • Actress (Montréal, born & raised).
  • Although Anglophone, she started out acting in Québec’s Francophone film industry (with a break in one of Denys Arcand’s films), and then made the shift to Canada’s English film & television industry.
  • Eventually she made it big in the overall North American scene with her roles in The Baby-sitters Club, and as Megan in Mad Men.

18. Oscar Peterson

  • Jazz Musician (Montréal, born & raised).
  • Canadian jazz doesn’t get much bigger than Oscar Peterson.
  • He passed away in 2007 in Mississauga, Ontario.   His music left a large imprint across the country.


19. Clara Hughes

  • Olympian (Born in Winnipeg, calls Québec home).
  • Canadian multi-medallion Olympian – cycling & speed skating (both summer and winter Olympics).
  • Known for her humanitarian activism.

20. Jack Layton

  • Politician (Born in Montréal, grew up in Hudson, Québec).
  • Although he politically made a name for himself in Toronto, he maintained a special place in his heart for Québec, where he grew up.
  • His connection with Québec remained so strong that he swept the province away from the Bloc Québécois in the 2011 Federal elections, and may have started the beginning of the end for Québec’s sovereignty movement (many people believe Jack Layton was the man who may have pounded the final nail in the coffin of sovereignty… the story is still in the process of being written – only time will tell what mark he has left).
  • Regardless of what political stripes you wear, or whether you are Anglophone or Francophone, few in Canada would say he was not one of Canada’s greatest modern political figures, if for no other reason than his ability to connect with every day common people.
  • Passed away August 2011.

21. Norma Shearer

  • Actress (Montréal, born and raised)
  • Passed away in L.A. in 1983.
  • One of Hollywood’s finest hayday (1930s), multi-Academy award winning actresses.

22. Arturo Gatti

  • Boxer (raised in Montréal, where he also lived much of his adult life & post-boxing retirement – although born in Italy)
  • Died 2009 of suicide at age of 37.
  • Two-weight class, two-time world champion boxer.

23. Jonas Tomalty

  • Rock Singer (Born & raised in Montréal)
  • Lead singer of the chart-topping rock group “Jonas and the Massive Attraction”
  • Currently topping the charts in both English and French in Canada.
  • Although most of his songs are in English, many are also in French.

FRENCH version of one of his #1 hits (was one of the top singles of 2014 in Québec).

ENGLISH version of the same hit (was one of the top charting songs in English Canada in 2014).

24. Gregory Chamitoff

  • NASA Astronaut

25. Melissa Auf Der Maur

  • Rock Musician (Montréal through-and-through).
  • Alternative Rock





You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts

Web-user’s favorite Anglophone Québécois – Part A (#305)

I have focused very heavily on Québec’s Francophone nature in this blog.

But it is undeniable that Anglophones have always been major contributors to Québec’s overall fabric, and are as equally Québécois.  Québec would not be Québec without its Anglophone flare and evolution (as Québec’s society evolves).

You may recall I talked a little bit about Anglophone historical contributions to building Québec in the post “200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo: How it shaped Québec and Canada (#289)”  

In this post and the next, we will look at people who internet-users have voted as their favorite Anglophone Québécois (via Rankopedia).

You will notice that some people on this list are less contemporary than others.  I assume that many of the voters come from all age-brackets, and thus voted for personalities who used to be quite famous, but perhaps are not so well-known to younger people.  Regardless, this is still a great list!! (After all, every society is the sum of its past, as much as its present).

I’ll also provide you with some videos links of well-known Anglophone Québécois who also sing in French (near the bottom).

One thing you may have noticed is that I have used the word “Québécois” to describe Anglophones in Québec (rather than the term “Quebeckers”).  More and more Anglophones in Québec are choosing to use the word “Québécois to describe themselves.  They use it as an “all-inclusive” term for anyone from Québec and who has Québec’s society as a whole at heart.

(You may recall that I wrote a blog post in FRENCH, in which I explained some of the nuances between various  Anglophone “residents” of Québec:  Une pub forte intéressante “pro-français” à la télé en Saskatchewan, qui passe à l’écran aux heures de grande écoute (#207)).  I described how many Anglophone Québécois feel quite integrated into Québec’s Francophone fabric, and I also accounted for the nuances ahd circumstances of others who may not fit such a mould (a touchy subject, but one which I tried to tactfully take on nonetheless).

This change in semantics is a major shift from the 1980s and 1990s, when it seemed that the word “Québecker” was used for Anglophones and “Québécois” for Francophones.  It is a wall which appears to be falling.

I think it’s a good sign of progress when the semantics of demarcation start to fall.   It’s evidence that the Two Solitudes are being bridged.

Here is the first list in a two-part post of voter’s favorite ANGLOPHONE Québécois:

1.  William Shatner
  • Actor (from Montréal)
  • “Capitain Kirk” on Star Trek, with many other acting, activism, and musical roles
2.  Leonard Cohen
  • Singer Songwriter (from Montréal)
  • One of Canada’s more successful singers.
3.  Glenn Ford
  • Actor (Raised in Sainte-Christine-d’Auvergne, half way between Quebec City & Trois-Rivières).
  • Born in Québec City (when there used to be a much larger Anglophone population in the region).
  • Named after his father’s hometown, Glenford, in Alberta (wink, wink – Go Oilers!!!).
  • 50 year career in Hollywood’s golden era (first half of 1900s), as well as post-war era through to the 1970s.
  • One of Canada’s first major international movie actors.
4.  Elisha Cuthbert
  • Actress (Grew up in Montréal, although she was born in Calgary, Alberta – Go Flames Oilers!!!).
  • Perhaps not so well known to Francophones as she is to Anglophones (I’m guessing people who voted for her were mostly Anglophones).
  • Known to people under 25 and other younger adults for her performances in kids shows, Hollywood films and US TV programs geared towards young adults.
5.  Emmanuelle Chriqui
  • Actress (Born in Montréal.  Raised in Toronto area).
  • Main actress in numerous Hollywood box office films.
6.  Christopher Plummer
  • Actor (Born Toronto, raised in Montréal).
  • If you’re an Anglophone Canadian or an American, I don’t think I need to describe Christopher Plummer.  But I asked a couple of Francophones, and they were not sure who he was (that ‘ole 2-way door of the Two Solitudes… works in both directions).   It is kind of strange because Plummer is bilingual, and I believe he has done stage performances in French.
  • One of Hollywood’s most successful film actors, stage actors and Broadway actors of the past 50 years.  Think of a major acting award (in Canada, the UK, or the US), and he has won it.
7.  Scotty Bowman
  • NHL Hockey Coach (from Montréal)
  • Has coached numerous NHL teams to five Stanley Cup wins.
  • He has been coach of the Montréal Canadiens, Baffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, as well as Team Canada (Go Oilers!!… ok, ok… no affiliation – I just wanted to get in another Go Oilers!!).
8.  Mike Bossy
  • Hockey Player (Born & raised in Montréal)
  • Was a major factor for the NY Islander’s 4-year Stanley Cup winning streak in the early 1980s (for two of which he scored the winning goals as forward).
  • The NHL’s 3rd highest goal average, and the NHL’s only 50 goals / 50 games record.
9.  David Usher
  • Rock Musician (Actually, a number of places can claim him, but he calls Montréal as his home town.)
  • Was top-of-the-charts a few years ago.
  • Although he’s Anglophone, he sings in both French and English.  In fact one of his better known French songs was his hit duet with the Franco-Ontarien singing star, Marie-Mai (Marie-Mai’s status is sort of Canada’s and Québec French equivalent of Justin Bieber… but without the “issues”).
  • If you only know him for his ENGLISH songs but haven’t heard him sing in FRENCH, here’s your chance:

10.  Corey Hart
  • Pop Musician (Born in Montréal and still lives there).
  • One of Anglophone Canada’s most popular pop singers of the 1980s.
  • Married to the very famous and popular Québécoise singer, Julie Masse
  • Sings in both French and English, and thus is known to both Francophones and Anglophones.
  • If you only know him in English, here is one of his French hits from a few years ago in which he sings a duet with his wife:

  • Here is an excerpt on his family life in Montréal (he has a very French/English balanced lifestyle)

That sums up the top 10 most popular ANGLOPHONE Québécois, as voted by web-users.

The next post will introduce you to the next 10 ANGLOPHONE Québécois, as voted by internet users.



You are going to know a hell of a lot more about Québec after this series of posts

Québec’s top 25 favorite hockey players of all time (#304)

In keeping with the theme of the last post on Hockey, let us look at how Québec internautes (net surfers) ranked their favorite hockey players of all time on Rankopedia.

I will admit, I had an idea who would rank in the top three or four, but I am a little surprised with their ordering.

I would have thought that Maurice Richard would have been first and Guy Lafleur would have been 2nd.

I would have said that Patrick Roy and Mario Lemieux would have been a crap-shoot in my book for third and fourth.  And the rest are just anybody’s guess.

That is part of the reason why I find this list fascinating (as I am sure would many people in Québec).  Enjoy!!

01 Lafleur

02 Richard03 Roy04 Lemieux

5.  Ray Bourque

6.  Luc Robitaille

7.  Martin Brodeur

8.  Jacques Plante

9.  Georges Vézina

10.  Doug Harvey

11.  Michel Goulet

12.  José Théodore

13.  Mike Bossy

14.  Marcel Pronovost

15.  Dave Keon

16.  Jean Béliveau

17.  Dickie Moore

18.  Claude Lemieux

19.  Guy Lapointe

20.  Richard Brodeur

21.  Pierre Pilote

22.  Denis Savard

23.  Bernie Parent

24.  Marcel Dionne

25. Gilbert Perreault



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts

Québec’s favorite Major Junior hockey teams (#303)

I have finally found a format in which to write a post about hockey.

A couple of posts back I wrote an introduction to this short series of posts.  In the introduction I stated that writing a blog about Québec without mentioning hockey simply would not be a blog about Québec.  So let’s get right into it!

One level below the National Hockey League (NHL), Canada has the Canadian Hockey League (the Major Junior Hockey Leagues).  The league is divided into three sub-leagues:

  • The “Québec Major Junior Hockey League”,
  • The “Western Hockey League”, and
  • The “Ontario Hockey League”.

The “Québec Major Junior Hockey League” actually includes teams from not only Québec, but also the Atlantic provinces.

It’s tough to come by statistics which can show which of the above three leagues have the most die-hard fans.   But I have attended games in all three hockey regions of Canada, and I can anecdotally say that I have seen more sold-out games in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League, than the other two Canadian leagues.

People in Québec take their Major Junior Hockey very seriously.

As an aside:  Just to prove how seriously Québec takes its junior hockey teams, I took the following photo yesterday just outside of Montréal.  It is the bus for the AA Midget hockey league team of the Comètes d’Amos.  The AA Midget League is even lower than the Québec Major Junior Hockey League.  Yet, the team has its own bus with their logo on it (I don’t think many other regions outside of Québec has that sort of dedication for a league as low as the Midgets).  Amos is a city seven hour drive straight North of Montréal.

amos comètes

You have to realize that Québec is spread across a very large territory, with well demarcated regions.  There is a natural competition between Québec’s various regions (politically, economically, and with sports).

As in any society, people in rural or smaller regions tend to feel they’re in competition with their larger cities.  Québec’s sole NHL team is in Montréal, and thus it might be a natural reflex for smaller centres to rally hard around their local Major Junior Hockey teams.

The website Rankopedia conducted an unscientific poll, and the following teams ranked as Québec’s most preferred.

I tend to believe the poll is quite true for at least the four or five top teams.  I’ll give some of my own insight as to why.

#1 The Québec Remparts

1 Remparts

Québec City takes their Remparts very seriously.  So seriously in fact that Québecor recently purchased the team with the goal of trying to bolster ticket sales in order to woo an NHL franchise back to Québec City.

Both of Québec City’s two major radio stations (Radio X CHOI FM and FM93) have daily talk shows which constantly talk up the Remparts.  The bleachers are constantly packed.

The fact that Québec City lost it’s NHL Franchise (the Nordiques) likely played a major role in bolstering the popularity of the Remparts.  The city’s NHL loss was a huge dent to the city’s pride.  Therefore it should be no surprise that the City’s energies and “target of redemption” have been focused squarely on the Remparts.

#2 The Gatineau Olympiques

2 Olympiques

This used to be the team I most often watched (I used to live in Gatineau, and I would sometimes attend sold-out games with friends or colleagues).

There a couple reasons why I believe the Olympiques are Québec’s second most beloved team:

  1. They’re good… very good.  They have the most titles in the entire league (and remember, the Québec League also includes PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and used to include Maine USA).
  2. The Olympiques add a layer of “identity” to Gatineau.   For all intensive purposes, Gatineau and Ottawa are often looked upon as “one city” (even though they are two different cities).  Gatineau is to Ottawa what Arlington (VA) is to Washington (DC).   The Olympiques add a little bit of extra uniqueness to Gatineau, as well as positive attention (Gatineau is often drowned out by all the hubbub Ottawa gets).

The team has become part of the cultural fabric of Gatineau, and people take their local hockey very seriously!  

#3 L’Océanic de Rimouski

3 Océanique

Eastern Québec has hockey running thick through their veins (perhaps much more so than Western Québec).   The further East you go, the more you feel you are in competition with the rest of the province on all levels.

Rimouski is one of the furthest teams in the East of the province.

Not only are the Océanic situated in die-hard hockey territory, but they are also a good team… very very good — the current League champions.

It’s no surprise the Océanic are in third place.

#4 Les Cataractes de Shawinigan

4 Cataractes

This team is the pride of Central Québec (the region between Montréal and Québec City).   Even though the region’s de facto capital is Trois-RivièresT-R ended up losing its team almost 25 years ago.

Shawinigan has always been considered to be in the shadow of Trois-Rivières.  Thus, when T-R  lost its own team, Shawinigan’s hockey fans have taken their role very seriously in becoming the vanguards of the entire region’s pride and glory through their hockey team.

Hockey is as much a game of the psychology of public pride as much as it is a sport. The Cataractes embody this notion quite well.   Hence, they are Québec’s 4th most beloved Major Junior Hockey team.

The remaining teams

It’s much more difficult for me to pin-down how and why the remaining Major Junior Hockey teams ranked in popularity.  Therefore, I will simply list them in remaining order.

5 Phoenix

6 Foreurs

I’m not surprised to see Val-d’Or in 5th or 6th position.  I have attended Val-d’Or matches, and the fans go crazy for their team.  Not to mention that people all across huge swaths of Northern Québec consider this to be their team and their voice in the province.

7 tigres

8 Chicoutimi Sag

I would have thought the Chicoutimi Sagenéens would have ranked much higher (simply because the region has such a strong identity independant from other regions of Québec… not to mention the number of hockey players which come from the region).

9 Voltigeurs

10 Huskies

11 Drakkar

12 Armada



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts