Québec City at its Best

15 Historic Places that Bring Québec City's Key Moments to Life

Credit: Francis Gagnon

When the French landed on the shores of what is now Québec City, the land they would go on to explore and colonize was already home to several First Nations. After the French came the British, who took control of the area with the Conquest of 1763. Today, many sites and buildings give visitors a peek into Québec City’s rich past. Relive the city’s captivating history by visiting—or revisiting—these 15 attractions.

1 Île d’Orléans (1535)

Ile orleans Credit: Francis Gagnon Zoom

During his second voyage, Jacques Cartier spotted a vast island overgrown with vines. Cartier named it “Île de Bacchus” and later, “Île d’Orléans.” It became one of the cradles of French civilization in North America.

2 Place Royale (1608)

Place Royale Credit: Francis Gagnon Zoom

This is where Samuel de Champlain established the "Habitation de Québec" as a trading post for the fur trade.

3 Musée des Ursulines de Québec (1639)

Monastère des Ursulines Credit: Monastère des Ursulines Zoom

Ursuline nuns founded the colony’s first school and educated generations of young women there. The building has maintained its original vocation right up to the present day.

4 Monastère des Augustines (1644)

Monastere des Augustines Credit: Monastère des Augustines Zoom

Augustinian nuns founded the first permanent hospital north of Mexico upon their arrival in 1639, then settled permanently in Québec City’s upper town.

5 Musée de l’Amérique francophone (1663)

Musée Amérique francophone Credit: Musée Amérique francophone Zoom

François de Laval founded the Séminaire de Québec, a community of priests that went on to establish a number of educational institutions, including Université Laval. That same year, Québec City officially became the capital of New France.

6 Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral Basilica (1664)

Basilica-Cathedral Notre-Dame Credit: OTQ Zoom

Built in 1647, Notre-Dame-de-Québec became the first Roman Catholic parish north of Mexico.

7 Wendake (1697)

Wendake danseur Credit: Francis Gagnon Zoom

Almost half a century after arriving in the St. Lawrence Valley, the Huron-Wendat settled permanently in La Jeune-Lorette (Loretteville).

8 The Plains of Abraham (1759)

Plains of Abraham Credit: OTQ Zoom

This gorgeous park is the site of a historic battle that opposed British and French troops, led by Generals Wolfe and Montcalm (respectively). With Montcalm’s rapid defeat, Québec City fell under British rule.

9 Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (1800)

Holy Trinity Credit: Jean-François Bergeron, Enviro Foto Zoom

This was the first church built as an Anglican cathedral outside the British Isles.

10 The Citadelle of Québec (1820)

Citadelle Credit: Jeff Frenette Photography Zoom

The Citadelle is a holdover of the British defence system, a jewel of the city’s military heritage that has never been tested in wartime.

11 The Morrin Centre (1868)

Morrin Centre Credit: Jeff Frenette Photography Zoom

This former prison became an important cultural centre for the English-speaking community of Québec City when it became home to Morrin College and the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec.

12 Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site (1874)

Ice Skating Quebec City Credit: Ville de Québec Zoom

Lord Dufferin, the Governor General of Canada, developed a plan to safeguard the city’s fortifications that would make Québec City the only fortified city north of Mexico.

13 Parliament Building (1877)

Parliament Building Credit: Guy Lessard Zoom

With its opulent architecture and European charm, this building is the foremost parliamentary edifice in a long line of seats of power established in Québec City. It is Québec’s oldest national historic site.

14 Château Frontenac (1893)

Chateau Frontenac Credit: Guy Lessard Zoom

Built on the site of Fort Saint-Louis and Château Haldimand, this prestigious hotel has become the symbol of Québec City. It opened its doors in 1893.

15 UNESCO Monument (1985)

UNESCO Monument Credit: Jeff Frenette Photography Zoom

The UN named Old Québec a World Heritage Site because of its exceptional status as a fortified colonial city and the pivotal role it played in the settling of North America.

Discover more than 400 years of history with these 10 must-see historic attractions.

Next post Connecting Past and Present 401 Years Later


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