Hidden secrets in Old Québec
Updated: Mar 23
Québec city is filled with lots of hidden secrets. Only thoroughly curious people can really see everything. Here is a list of a few of these secrets that astute eyes can see. I won't spoil the tour but it'll give you an idea of what you could have missed! Je vous souhaite de bonne découvertes !
Samuel De Champlain Monument
Samuel de Champlain is one of the most important characters in Quebec city history. He was the founder of the city in 1608. Take a look at the bottom of the sculpture at the crown of the woman. You might find out that the crown is not a crown but a kind of fortification. That'll eerily remind you of Quebec city. The only fortified city north of Mexico. The stone used for that monument (Limestone of Château Landon) is the same as the Arc of Triumph in Paris and Montmartre Basilica!
Fun fact: The Parisian sculptor Paul Chevré made this great monument in 1898 and here is one more interesting thing about his life: later on in his life he survived the Titanic sinking! He is one of the survivors of this tragic iceberg collision.
Don't feel surprised to see a lot of cannons during you stay in Quebec. After all it was an important military place. If you take a closer look to the different ones on the Dufferin Terasse you will see that two of them have the Russian Symbol of the Romanov Armory. These Cannons were taken by the french in 1855 at the Malakof tower and given to the british over the Crimean War (1853-1856 ). Both nations fought along together during that war so having those cannon here gives a symbol to it !
Russian One British one
Fossils in Saint-Roch church
The church of Saint-Roch is probably one of the most beautiful churches in the city and most definitely the biggest one. Located in the “hipster” area of the city. The church was built circa 1914 . The architect at the time got alot of inspiration from gothic churches and cathedrals in Europe. The inside of the church is simply marvelous! If you are curious enough you can see over the wall some fossils in the stone. The stone used to built this church came from Saskatchewan. Quite surprising to see real fossils in a church?!!
Hidden street Sous le cap
Corner of rue de la barricade (lowertown)
This is a quite unusual street in the city. Located near the old port . This street used to be call la “ruelle des chiens” which roughly translates to “dog alley”. In the period around 1930-1960 it was one of the poorest streets of the city, and that part of lower town was practically a slum. It was not unusual to see a lot of children begging in the street for pennies. It's one of the narrowest streets in Canada and one of my favorite hidden streets in the city.
One of the narrowest House in North America
6, Donnacona street
If you think that the entrance of your house is quite small well wait to see one of the narrowest house in North America! It is located on Donnacona Street, and the façade of the house is only 3.7 meters wide! It is really near from Ursuline school, the oldest school for girls in North America (now private school for boys and girls). Go visit the Ursuline Museum if you want to learn more about it.
Interesting stone on Château Frontenac
Dont be shy if you want have a look on the inside of the Iconic Chateau Frontenac. Over the carriage entrance you can see Maltese Cross stone. In 1647, the first governor of New France Charles Hunault de Montmagny, a knight of the order of Malta, had this stone put into the Château Saint-Louis. When in 1892, upon starting the building of Chateau Frontenac, the stone was added over a pedestrian gate. I strongly suggest you to also to take a tour with Park Canada over the Fort and Château Saint-Louis located under the Dufferin Terrasse. It was once the main power location of New France and the residence of the governor. It is a fun, and quite unexpensive tour.
Cannonball under a tree (GONE in 2021)
Nature can be surprising. Seeing grass grown over stone and even an elm trap a cannonball
Since I was a kid I've been told about a cannonball trapped under tall old elm tree on Rue Saint-Louis by the corner of Rue du Corps-de-Garde, and my child's mind didn't believe it. Many stories been told about it that it came from the siege of Quebec in 1759 and killed many people etc... In fact the cannonball is a bomb because a cannonball is smaller than this one.Dont worry it is harmless. According to Park Canada historian Jean-francois Caron, the ball acted as a wheel guard to protect the corner of the house of any damage by wagons when they turn the corner. Not as romantic as the stories, but I'd much prefer telling you the factual truth! Unfortunately, the tree is gone for good