Bonjour! A Prairie boy’s take on life in Quebec City.
Written byTaylor Ireland
People often ask me how I found myself living in Quebec City, and more particularly, as a successful entrepreneur in an overwhelmingly French-speaking city. My story may be somewhat unusual, but it’s by no means exceptional. After all, there are literally hundreds of people from Canada, the United States, Europe and around the world who have discovered that Quebec City is a fabulous place to do business, with a huge untapped potential. And yes, you can survive and thrive, in English.
I grew up on a family farm in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a place starkly different from Quebec City in terms of language, culture and even climate. My journey to the historic Quebec capital was rather roundabout, via Switzerland, Taiwan and various places in between. Along the way, I taught English and nurtured a desire to learn another language myself. French being the other official language of Canada, it made sense to tackle that, and in what more beautiful and historic a place than “the old city”? At that point, though, my French was essentially non-existent beyond oui, non and pamplemousse.
I arrived in 2005 and taught English to help pay for my French studies at Laval University, a top-notch institution. Being an entrepreneur at heart, and armed with a finance degree, I saw opportunity and potential when the language training company, Ateliers de Conversation Anglaise (ACA), I was working for came up for sale. (The same week I closed the deal I met the wonderful francophone woman who would become my wife.)
Since then the company, Ateliers de Conversation Anglaise (ACA), whose main clientele is businesspeople, has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2013, the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Quebec recognized the success of the company by honouring me with the award as “young personality of the year” in the management and administration category.
Clearly, I believe if you are willing to accept the reasonable challenges of doing business here – no more insurmountable than elsewhere in the world – Quebec City is an idyllic spot, with incomparable lifestyle attractions.
I invite you to follow the coming installments of my blog as we explore the amazing attractions of the Quebec City region as an exciting and rewarding place to do business and a unique and enriching place to live and grow.