Historical background

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Historical background

The Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) was founded in 1968 by the government of Québec. Growing from its original focus on the culinary arts and food service, the ITHQ later specialized and expanded its scope, becoming a leading hotel school whose reputation reaches well beyond the province of Québec. After having undertaken the internationalization of its programs in 2005, the ITHQ now ranks among the top hotel management schools in the world.


Famous French three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire and physical chemist Hervé This visit the ITHQ to receive an honoris causa degree and give a conference attended by over 700 guests.


The exclusive ITHQ Signature program International Restaurant Service and Sommelier Training (Formation internationale en service et sommellerie de restaurant), which combines training in the two complementary disciplines of dining room service and somelier training, is launched.

The ITHQ wins the Prix d’excellence de l’administration publique (Award of Excellence in Public Administration) in the Rayonnement international (International Achievement) category for its performance during the visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 2, 2011.

Sofitel Worldwide selects the ITHQ as the only Canadian establishment to take part in its Accor School of Excellence program.


The ITHQ launches its first advanced event management program, created in partnership with the Institut de l’événement (IDÉ).

Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, take part in a culinary workshop and a meal at the ITHQ, providing the school with unprecedented international visibility.

Famous Catalan chef Ferran Adrià visits the ITHQ to receive an honoris causa degree and give a conference attended by over 700 guests.


The ITHQ becomes the first Québec establishment to be accredited by London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) to offer WSET®’s exclusive intermediate training program and its associated diploma. 

The ITHQ is accepted as a member of The Leading Hotel Schools of the World (now  Hotel Schools of Distinction : a global network), an international recognition in hotel management training.

The 42 rooms of the Hôtel de l’Institut are retrofitted, at the cost of $1.4 million.


The ITHQ launches its Advanced Studies in International Hotel Management, designed to train elite managers for the hotel industry worldwide.

The institute launches a university-level program created specifically for directors at the 47 locations of Allegro Residences, one of the largest networks of seniors’ residences in Canada.

In partnership with Éduc’alcool, the ITHQ creates an on-line program intended for servers working at licensed establishments in Québec.

A cooperative agreement is signed between the ITHQ’s Centre d’expertise et de recherche (Centre for Expertise and Research) and Lausanne Hospitality Research, in Switzerland.


The ITHQ signs an agreement with the Relais & Châteaux association, with an aim to supporting the training of a highly skilled, elite new generation of professionals in Québec and around the world.

The ITHQ and UQAM expand their agreement regarding the bachelor’s degree program in tourism and hospitality management. The partners now jointly participate in its promotion, administration and evaluation.

The ITHQ launches its international Italian cuisine program, Cucina Italiana, which involves a 13?week stay in Italy, including 11 weeks of co-op work at renowned Italian establishments.


The institute creates an online version of MAPAQ’s Hygiene and Food Safety training program, designed for individuals working in the food and foodservice industry.

The ITHQ’s Centre d’expertise et de recherche (Centre for Expertise and Research) is founded, in collaboration with industry partners.


In its TedQual: The World’s Leading Tourism Programmes publication, the World Tourism Organization selects the École des sciences de la gestion de l’Université du Québec à Montréal and its partner, the ITHQ, among the world’s top 13 teaching establishments specializing in tourism.

The ITHQ receives the Governor General's Medal in Architecture for the quality of its new building’s architectural concept.


Inauguration of the refurbished ITHQ building, renovated from 2003 to 2005 at the cost of $39 million, reopening of the Hôtel de l’Institut, and inauguration of the Restaurant de l’Institut.

An academic partnership agreement is signed with the Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana in Alma, Italy, with an aim to creating an advanced training program in Italian cuisine.

A new dress code of conservative attire is adopted, in addition to the professional uniforms worn by cooks, servers and sommeliers, for all students at the college level.

Two new ITHQ Signature programs are created: Gestion en hôtellerie internationale (International Hotel Management) (DCS) and Analyse sensorielle des vins du monde (Sensory Analysis of Wines from Around the World).


The ITHQ launches an innovative new line of ITHQ Signature programs with enriched course content and a work-study format.

Inauguration of the Sœur-Angèle-Rizzardo room, a culinary arts workshop located on the 3rd floor, serving as a reminder of Sister Angèle’s exceptional contribution to the ITHQ’s outreach in Québec.


The Fondation de l’ITHQ is established.

The ITHQ is awarded the “Ordre du Mérite hôtelier” medal by the Association des hôteliers du Québec.


The government of Québec invests $36 million in renovating the ITHQ’s premises and in modernizing its pedagogical equipment.

The Montréal chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) joins the Institute in creating the new ITHQ Signature-MPI program entitled Coordination d'événements et de congrès (Event and Conference Coordination).


The Société des alcools du Québec finances the creation of a somelier training laboratory aimed at training students and professionals from the foodservice industry.


The ITHQ inaugurates the new Hydro-Québec showroom, which is equipped with state-of-the-art cooking equipment.


The ITHQ signs an agreement with Hydro-Québec, with an aim to improving the energy efficiency of its electrical systems and testing new-generation cooking equipment.


The Centre multifonctionnel de recherche en alimentation (food research center) is founded.


The ITHQ partners with the Université du Québec à Montréal to offer a new bachelor’s degree program in tourism and hospitality management.


The Québec government passes an act making the ITHQ a state corporation administered by representatives from the tourism, hotel, and foodservice industries.


Construction is complete and the ITHQ moves into its present premises on Saint Denis Street, in the heart of Montréal’s tourist district.


Following a proposal by Gabriel Loubier, then-minister of Tourism, Fish and Game, the government of Québec founds the ITHQ in order to develop the province's tourism and hotel industry. The ITHQ replaces the École des métiers commerciaux and settles into the latter’s offices at the corner of Saint-Denis and Sainte-Catherine in Montréal. Paul-Émile Lévesque is appointed as its first Director General.