14 Historic Places That Bring Québec City's Key Moments to Life
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 the 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 attractions.
- Jeff Frenette Photography
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)
Place Royale 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 (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.
- Longhouse in Wendake, Jeff Frenette Photography
Almost half a century after arriving in the St. Lawrence Valley, the Huron-Wendat settled permanently near Québec City.
- Étienne Dionne
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (1800)
This was the first church built as an Anglican cathedral outside the British Isles.
- Citadelle de Québec
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.
- 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.
- Étienne Dionne
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.
- Guy Lessard
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.