Province of eastern Canada; the largest province, second only in area among the nation's administrative subdivisions to the Northwest Territories. Quebec is bordered on the northeast by Labrador, on the east by Newfoundland, on the southeast by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and on the west and southwest by Ontario.
On its southern border lie (west–east) the US states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; area 1,540,700 sq km/594,900 sq mi; population (1991) 6,811,800. The capital is Quebec. Industries include mining (iron, copper, gold, zinc), fishing, and the production of paper, textiles, and maple syrup (70% of world output). Cereals and potatoes are grown. Quebec's Old Town (Le Vieux-Québec), the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The city, following the 2002 merger with several former surrounding municipalities, has a population of 528,595, while the metropolitan area has a population of 682,757 (2004). Although some districts have been painstakingly restored to give tourists as seductive an introduction to Quebec as possible, this is an authentically and profoundly French city: 95 percent of its 600,000 population are French-speaking, and it is often difficult to remember which continent you are in as you tuck into a croissant and a steaming bowl of coffee in a Parisian-style café. Moreover, despite the fact that the city's symbol is a hotel, the Château Frontenac , the government remains the main employee, not tourism, and some of the more impressive buildings are government-run and off-limits.