History

In Flanders Fields

Born in Guelph, Canada, in 1872, John McCrae found himself on a faraway battlefield in the spring of 1915. As an army doctor surrounded by the dead and dying, he could see like no one else the price paid by his fellow soldiers. Indeed, a close friend of his, fellow Ontarian Alexis Helmer, had recently …

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Les remparts

Québec City is the only city north of Mexico to have retained its city walls. Many cities in North America had walls. Montreal had a city wall, but that wall is long gone. New York City had a wall, but it is long gone as well; Wall Street is the sole vestige. Here in the …

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Gorham’s Post

On September 10, 1759, General James Wolfe summoned a group of his subalterns to a small camp on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River called Gorham’s Post. Just below the mouth of the Etchemin River, Gorham’s Post offered good reconnaissance of the promontory of Québec. General Wolfe had spent all summer trying to …

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Limoilou

For Québec City residents, the funny looking word “Limoilou” refers to the vibrant, unpretentious neighborhood just to the north and west of the old city.  Lying along the north shore of the St. Charles River, Limoilou overflows with boulangeries and bicycle shops. Any tourist who wanders across the river will be well rewarded with a …

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Maison McGreevy

Peeking over the western walls of Old Quebec is McGreevy House, a stately, Italian-renaissance masterpiece that is as old as the Canadian confederation itself. Fittingly, the story of its construction is closely linked to the construction of the Parliament buildings in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. Thomas McGreevy was born in 1823 to Irish parents. …

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What’s in a name?

For most of the 17th and 18th century, Québec City was the capital of a vast, new French empire. At its largest – around the year 1700 – New France extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.  It was a virtual empire, however, as there …

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L’ancien bureau de poste

Situated at the top of Mountain Hill, l’ancien bureau de poste is an impressive building. My customers frequently ask: “Is it the Supreme Court building? The state house?” “No,” I say, disappointing them, “nothing of the sort, it is the old post office.” In November of 1871, the last British troops left the city they …

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