15 Historic Places That Bring Québec City's Key Moments to Life
- Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church, Francis Gagnon
- Place royale, Pierre-Nic Lessard
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.
- Île d'Orléans, Camirand Photo
Île d’Orléans (1535)
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.
- Place Royale, Jeff Frenette Photography
Place Royale (1608)
This is where Samuel de Champlain established the "Habitation de Québec" as a trading post for the fur trade.
- Daniel Abel
Musée des Ursulines de Québec (1639)
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.
- Monastère des Augustines
Monastère des Augustines (1644)
Augustinian nuns founded the first permanent hospital north of Mexico upon their arrival in 1639, then settled permanently in Québec City’s upper town.
Musée de l’Amérique francophone (1663)
* The museum is currently closed for renovation *
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.
Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral Basilica (1664)
Built in 1647, Notre-Dame-de-Québec became the first Roman Catholic parish north of Mexico.
- Longhouse in Wendake, Francis Gagnon
- Site Traditionnel Huron Onhoüa Chetek8e, Francis Gagnon
Almost half a century after arriving in the St. Lawrence Valley, the Huron-Wendat settled permanently in La Jeune-Lorette (Loretteville).
- Plains of Abraham, Audet Photo
The Plains of Abraham (1759)
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.
- Cathédrale Holy Trinity
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (1800)
This was the first church built as an Anglican cathedral outside the British Isles.
- Jeff Frenette Photography
The Citadelle of Québec (1820)
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.
- Morrin Centre, Jeff Frenette Photography
The Morrin Centre (1868)
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.
- Francis Gagnon
- Parcs Canada
Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site (1874)
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.
- Hôtel du Parlement, Guy Lessard
Parliament Building (1877)
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.
- Pamela MacNaughtan
Château Frontenac (1893)
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.
- UNESCO Monument, Québec City Tourism
UNESCO Monument (1985)
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.