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The Conception of Quebec's Provincial Bird and Flower

The Conception of Quebec's Provincial Bird and Flower

Quebec is the largest province in Canada and carries the nickname “La Belle Province” or “The Beautiful Province” because of its remarkable natural beauty. It is the only predominantly French speaking province in Canada and was originally discovered and colonized by the French. Quebec’s provincial bird and flower are emblems of the area’s rich history and natural splendor.

The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) is Quebec’s provincial bird and was chosen by the Canadian National Assembly in 1987. This avian emblem symbolizes the pristine winters and pure beauty of Quebec and the importance of protecting the environment. The Snowy Owl is native to Quebec and is typically found within the Northern Circumpolar regions of Canada, Alaska, and Eurasia. The downy white feathers of this bird make it an excellent arctic hunter and it is able to thrive in areas where other animals perish. The diet of the Snowy Owl is predominantly made up of lemmings but these raptors are also fond of a wide variety of small mammals, fish, or other birds. Their diet may include mice, rats, racoons, squirrels, rabbits, songbirds, ducks, gulls, voles, and other small prey. The Snowy Owl is an extraordinary bird that is a fitting emblem for a magnificently beautiful part of Canada.

The Blue Flag iris (Iris versicolor Linne’) is the provincial flower of Quebec and replaced the non-native Madonna lily (Lilium candidum) in 1999. The Madonna lily was originally chosen as Quebec’s provincial flower because of its similarity to the fleur-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis, a common symbol of French heraldry, is shown on Quebec’s flag and reflects the province’s French heritage. The Madonna lily does not naturally grow in Quebec and remained a symbol of Quebec for only 36 years until it was replaced. The debate over replacing the Madonna lily was so intense that it was referred to as “the war of the lilies.” The Blue Flag iris was chosen as the new provincial flower as it is indigenous to Quebec and closely resembles the fleur-de-lis. The color of this iris ranges from a medium blue color to deep purple with bold yellow strips down the center of each long and broad petal. The Blue Flag iris grows abundantly in the spring across most of Quebec. It is most commonly found near water along the banks of streams, in marshes or damp meadows, or near seashores.