Stephen Marchessault Talks “Walking Tour”

Stephen Marchessault Talks “Walking Tour”

Stephen Marchessault,
writer of the Quebec City Walking Tour

It only takes a few moments with Stephen Marchessault to immediately recognise a man who is passionate and devoted about his work, his region, and his city.  His latest project is the Life in Québec Magazine Quebec City Walking Tour souvenir edition, a magazine meant to accompany tourists as they walk through the Vieux Québec historical district, and is the latest achievement of a man who doesn’t need to keep count anymore.

It was around 2003 that city officials contacted him asking him to put together an English-language course for future tour guides.  The city requires all tour guides to pass a course before they can be accredited and allowed to give professional tours to groups.  Before then, the only courses available and recognised by the city were in French, which often excluded many people from fulfilling important roles within the city’s tourism industry.  Stephen has since trained hundreds of tour guides.  He’s never given up giving tours and working with the public himself though.  The summer months still keep him busy as he guides tourists and gives lectures on the history of the region.

When presented with the idea of a printed walking tour, Stephen was unsure at first.  “I could do it with my eyes closed in person,” he explains, “but I was initially hesitant to put it down on paper.”  There were many challenges to a tour in a written format.  For instance, he was worried about losing the immediate connection with the crowd, as he wouldn’t be there to answer any questions, or directly point to the things he’s describing.

However, he points out there are several advantages to a written guided tour.  “When it’s on paper, and they carry it with them, tourists can go at their own speed.  They have time to take pictures, stop when they want to, and enter buildings when they want to.”  Stephen is also firm to point out he does not think the Quebec City Walking Tour magazine replaces a full, professionally guided tour conducted by accredited guides.  “This is meant to be a souvenir.  Visitors will be able to refer to the magazine if they forget what their pictures are.”

A lover of his city, Stephen also hopes the magazine will end up on coffee tables around the world, and spark conversations between friends when tourists return home – and encourage others to visit Québec as well.

When asked if there’s one thing he hopes visitors will get from the walking tour magazine, Stephen is quick to answer.  “I would like people to go home and remember the story of Quebec.  It’s not about memorising the details, it’s about understanding the story.”

Stephen hopes many locals will pick up the magazine and follow along, too.  When you live in the most beautiful city on earth, it’s a shame not to know its history.



Life in Québec Magazine’s special souvenir edition Quebec City Walking Tour is available now in shops and online for $4.99.  Click the magazine for more information on where to buy.

Special rates for groups, tour guides, and tour companies available.  Contact us for more information.

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