The 4.4-magnitude quake hit at 12:46 p.m. near La Malbaie, Que., about two hours northeast of the provincial capital.
"People would have felt something like a big bang followed by some vibrations," said seismologist Maurice Lamontagne from Natural Resources Canada.
The quake lasted only a few seconds and no damage was reported.
It was felt as far north as Saguenay, QC, 200 km from the epicentre.
Up to 250 earthquakes are recorded every year in the region, said Lamontagne.
Only a few can be felt by humans but the area is recognized as seismic zone and building codes have been revised as a result.