History

A scale model

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Québec City was the military heart of British North America, and tensions with the United States necessitated continued vigilance to keep the defenses of the city in top condition. As on-site authorities sought funding for these efforts, one of the challenges that surfaced was to accurately convey the …

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François-Xavier Garneau

In the summer of 2011, when I left the University of Kansas history department for Quebec, my dearest friends there gave me a leather bound, two-volume edition of François-Xavier Garneau’s Histoire du Canada. It had the inspiring, incomparable smell of dusty bookshelf. I was brought to tears, bowled over by their thoughtfulness. And I had …

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Aldo

Aldo is my best customer. Aldo is a donkey. Any walking tour of Old Québec includes a stop at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity, 31 rue des Jardins. It was the first Anglican cathedral built outside of the British Isles, and it graces the Old City with its Palladian architecture, its sonorous bells, and its …

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Côte de la Montagne

Québec City was founded on a sand bar, at the base of Cap-aux-Diamants. Later on, in the 1620s, Samuel de Champlain decided to move his headquarters to the top of the cape, building a fort – le Fort St. Louis – that overlooked the St. Lawrence River Valley. To get there from the lower town, …

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Louise Basin

The St. Lawrence River at Québec City is subject to a very significant tide. With the highest of tides, the river can rise up to 21 feet. For ocean-going vessels that dock at the wharves of Québec, this variation is no trouble; they rise and fall with the tide, large enough to be equally accessible …

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The Tourny Fountain

Forged in the 1850s, the Tourny Fountain spent a hundred years gracing an elegant promenade in Bordeaux, France. In 1960, however, it was considered no longer appropriate for the site it occupied. And so the fountain was decommissioned and subsequently dismantled. Forty-some years later, Québec patron Peter Simons found the collection of cast iron pieces …

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The Citadelle of Québec

In the 1820s, British-held Québec City feared an attack from the Americans to the south. And it had every reason to. The Americans had attacked the city back in 1775, and the War of 1812 was still fresh in their minds. In response to this threat, British military engineer Elias Walker Durnford oversaw construction of the Citadelle of …

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Samuel de Champlain

Like no other city on earth, Québec City celebrates its founding father. In schools, on street signs, and on the monuments of town, Samuel de Champlain is fêted for putting a city here on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, at the base of Diamond Cape. He was not the first to set foot …

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