Great places to live: Quebec

Midway between Montrèal and Quèbec City is the city of Trois-Rivières, population about 49,000. The city gets its name from the three outlets at the mouth of the Saint-Maurice River, formed by the presence of two islands, where the river empties into the St. Lawrence.

Watching the weather
Average Jan. temp (daily mean): -12.5 C
Average July temp (daily mean): 19.8 C
Annual rainfall: 858.5 mm
Annual snowfall: 241.3 cm

Setting up house
Bungalow: $80,000
Standard two-storey: $122,000
Condominium: $70,000
Monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment: $436
(Source: The Royal LePage Survey of Canadian House Prices 2003; CHMC Rental Market Report 2003)

Getting around
There is a local bus system in Trois-Rivières, and Orleans Express provides daily departures and transits to all destinations in the province, the country and the United States. There are nine departures to Montréal and Quèbec City daily, which gives business people the opportunity to tvel easily to their destinations without having to drive. A regional airport serves the city for charter flights and private airplanes year round. During the summer, Les Dauphins du Saint-Laurent operates a shuttle service on the St. Lawrence River between Montrèal and Quèbec City with a stop in Trois-Rivières.

Enjoying your life
Boasting a history going back to the early days of New France, this former fur trade centre located on the St. Lawrence River proudly calls itself a City of History and Culture. Cultural centres include the award-winning J.-Antonio Thompson Hall, with a season of song, dance, humour, music and theatre presentations, and numerous museums and art galleries including the Maison de la Culture (under renovations until the fall of 2004), the Quèbec Museum of Popular Culture and the Ursulines Museum. A network of five libraries headed by Bibliothèque Gatien Lapointe serves the city’s main districts.
A city of three rivers and a thousand and one things to do, Trois-Rivières is a friendly town par excellence and a hub of year-round activity. It offers a car race, a poetry festival, a symphony orchestra, a convention hall and a lot of recreation facilities for all ages. The list of these municipal facilities includes a 10-mile bicycle path, an Olympic-size swimming pool, an historic ballpark and ice rinks galore. There is even an annual show for senior artists called Place aux aînés!

Calling the doctor
• Le Centre hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières is made up of four hospitals with 473 beds offering a full range of health care services including orthopedics, geriatric, rheumatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, radiation and diagnostic services.
• 12 medical clinics.
• 94 family physicians (160 specialists) and 37 dentists.
• Long-term care: three nursing homes.

What they’re saying
“Speaking of Trois-Rivières, car racer Ron Fellows once said, ‘I was born and lived all my life in Toronto but I’ve never, ever been treated as well as I am here.’ You can trust Mr. Fellows. He is a popular competitor and a regular visitor to this friendly town, which has so much to offer.”  François Roy

Next page: Buckingham

The pretty community of Buckingham combines natural charm and history. Situated about a half-hour drive east of Gatineau, the downtown area features many older buildings. Historically, many of the residents of Buckingham worked in the mines in the area. Founded in 1795, the town probably took its name from Buckinghamshire, northwest of London, from which many of the original settlers came. Today, the population of 12,000 enjoys the tranquility of small-town living with the amenities of the city of Gatineau.

Watching the weather
Average Jan. temp (daily mean):  -12.1 C
Average July temp (daily mean): 17.1 C
Annual rainfall: 802.7 mm
Annual snowfall: 218.7 cm

Setting up house
Bungalow: $115,000 to $120,000
Standard two-storey: $125,000
Condominium: None
Monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment: $450 to $500
(Source: Royal LePage, Buckingham)

Getting around
The City of Gatineau which comprises Hull, Chelsea, Aylmer, Buckingham and Masson, has a unified transit system, STO, which services the entire region with buses for local transportation. Via Rail and bus service connects the Gatineau region with the rest of the country.

Enjoying your life
Located on the Lièvre River east of Gatineau (formerly Hull), Buckingham owes its existence to the lumber industry that was practised extensively in the area from the early 19th century. Some of the main local attractions are Landing Park (the location from where men were ferried to the area mines), Water Castle (an 1893 power dam) and Maclaren Park, home of the Buckingham en Fête Summer Festival and the Country Festival in mid-August. An annual winter event is the Canadian Ski Marathon in mid-February.

Calling the doctor
• CH-CHSLD de Papineau offers hospital services (surgery, orthopedic, neurology, rheumatology, psychiatric, diagnostic) and long-term care at two facilities.
• Two medical clinics.
• 290 family physicians and 170 specialists in the entire health region. 24 dentists serve Buckingham and surrounding areas.
• 80 long-term care beds.

Provincial fact
Québec had the biggest decline in Criminal Code offences, dropping 2.4 per cent from 2001 to 2002, followed closely by Ontario, where the rate fell by 2.3 per cent. Québec also reported the lowest violent crime rate (for the eighth straight year), followed by Ontario.