Fontaine de Tourny (Fountain)
Point of interest
This majestic fountain, adorned with numerous figures and boasting 43 water jets, stands in front of the Parliament Building.
Inaugurated on July 3, 2007, the fountain was a gift to the City of Québec by La Maison Simons, a local family retail business, to mark the city's 400th anniversary. The nearly 7 m (21') tall fountain has been a source of pride for Québec City residents ever since it was first installed. It is illuminated at night, to the delight of passers-by.
Like with the city's other fountains, the water jets are shut off, from approximately November to April, when the weather gets cold.
What to do at the Tourny Fountain?
Admire the fountain, of course, but also the surrounding urban scenery. On the other side of the street, you can see the fortifications and St. Louis Gate, and behind the fountain is the Parliament Building. As you are right next to the Parliament, why not visit the seat of provincial government and take one of the free guided tours?
History of the Tourny Fountain
Although only recently installed in Québec City, the Tourny Fountain has a fascinating history. Six copies of this work, designed by French sculptor Mathurin Moreau in 1853, were made, and it was exhibited at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris.
Delighted by the beauty of this work, the mayor of Bordeaux (a twin city of Québec City) acquired two of the six and had them installed in the streets of Tourny in the centre of the city. In 1960, the two were dismantled during the construction of an underground parking lot. One of them later wound up at a Parisian antique dealer.
In the early 2000s, Québec City businessman Peter Simons was mesmerized by the esthetics of the fountain, despite its dilapidated state. Confident in its potential, Simons purchased the fountain and hired a Parisian specialist to restore it. He know that it would complement the architectural style of the Parliament Building perfectly.
The fountain was then shipped to Québec City, restored and presented to the city to celebrate its 400th anniversary. This gesture by the Simons family was an expression of thanks to local residents for contributing to the success of the Simons fashion retail store, located in Old Québec since 1840. The five other copies of the fountain are in Porto, Angers, Soulac, Saint-Quintin and Geneva.
Description of the Tourny Fountain
With expertise in basins, landscaping, and water and light displays, the Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec provides the following description of the fountain. It comprises a base with four statues (a man and three women symbolizing rivers), which are grouped around an octagonal pedestal decorated with sculpted faces and marine images. Above the base stands a large, octagonal tazza adorned with allegorical fish on each of the eight sides. A second tazza is above the first, over which are grouped four figures symbolizing navigation and fishing. The top tier is yet a third tazza, in the middle of which stands a vase decorated with marine masks. The base is at the centre of a circular basin with 16 water jets spraying from the mouths of frogs.
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