The expanse of water in the foreground represents the width of the north-eastern segment of Saint Lawrence River between Quebec City and the Atlantic. The Saint Lawrence River narrows as shown in the mid-left section of the photo. The narrowing or “kebec” in the language of Native American inhabitants of the area became Quebec in the language of the French settlers. To the right of the narrowing rises the modern Quebec City. The city of Levis stands to the left. This narrow point in the Saint Lawrence Valley with its steep, high walls, gave Quebec a strategic advantage, one worth fighting for.
The following photos scan Quebec City from the decks of the Holland-America Cruise Ship Veendam when it docked on the north side of the Saint Lawrence River in early May, 2013. The point of view moves from right (north-east) to left (south-west) beginning with the massive, sprawling seminary building, bedecked with spires and a white flag marked with three red crosses. Its construction began in 1663 under the guidance of Bishop de Laval. It served as a residence and training facility for Roman Catholic priests. Later, the seminary gave rise to Laval University.
Between the seminary and the parking lot you see the Museum of Civilization located on Rue Dalhousie. It’s modern, angular architecture both blends and contrasts with the seminary on the heights above it.
The yellow, three story building (Panache) resembles similar waterfront structures in New Bedford, Massachusetts, once used for storage. The shops along this section of Rue Dalhousie offer a variety of architectural styles.
A replica of a portion of the French colonial shore defenses stands further to the south-west along Rue Dalhousie. Behind it, you see a diverse array of buildings, a band of trees and then, higher up, a portion of the city wall. On top of that barrier stood the main defensive batteries. The massive Chateau Frontenac currently sits on the site of the original French fort. The Chateau will appear in later views.
The modern stairs like these were not available when the British army attacked Quebec. The sheer cliffs blocked the infantry until they found a way around the seemingly impregnable defenses.
The extreme, upper right side of this picture shows the edge of the Chateau Frontenac, once the site of the main French fort. A flag pole and a park mark the upper left edge of the picture. That site was known as the Plains of Abraham, the battlefield where British General Wolfe defeated French General Montcalm. Both men died in that battle. As a consequence, Quebec became part of British Canada.
The opportunity to snap the following series of land-based photos came with a bus tour of Quebec City in May of 2013. Here is a small portion of the Plains of Abraham, now called The Battlefields Park. It serves as an extensive, year-round recreational area and war memorial.
A similar statue of Saint Joan of Arc, here located on the Plains of Abraham may be found in Central Park, New York. Pierre, the excellent tour guide commissioned by Holland-America explained that the same anonymous donor had installed these statues here and elsewhere.
Not far from the statue of Saint Joan of Arc, this plaque commemorates the exact spot of another historic event in Canadian history.
The next series, a mixture of ship and land based photos follows from left (south-west) to right (north-east) along the top of the ridge over the Saint Laurence River. The Plains of Abraham rests just to the left, outside the scope of the photo. Observe the huge hotel, the Chateau Frontenac (center), the Ministry of Finance building (to the right) and the Postal Building (on the right edge of the picture). Look for each building in later views.
The Chateau Frontenac as seen from the deck of the Veendam, appears with a popular means of reaching it, the Funicularie du vieux-Quebec, a glass-enclosed, elevator-railroad-lift that climbs the slope to the Chateau. The Funicularie runs behind the church steeple in the lower right portion of the photo.
The Chateau’s courtyard contains archeological excavations that show tourist portions of the original French fortifications.
Just down the street, to the north-east of the Chateau you’ll find the Ministry of Finance building.
The next two photos show details of the Ministry of Finance building.
Further to the north-east the Canadian flag waves above the domed Postal Building.
Slightly north of the Chateau’s courtyard stands this tourist information-center-war-museum building flying the blue and white, Quebec Provincial flag. Note the tour bus that brought us.
Perhaps the building just left of the tourist information center is the inspiration for the “Red Roof Inn?” The Auberge Du Tresor, seen behind the monument, bears the inscription “1640 Restaurant.”
As we sailed out of Quebec, into the wider portion of the Saint Lawrence River, we enjoyed the stretch of mountains to north-east.
Only a few miles out of Quebec City, along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence, look for the Montmorency waterfall. Taller than Niagara Falls, it marks the spot where General Montcalm defeated General Wolfe in an early encounter.
Additional information for this blog came from the Google satellite photos of Quebec City. Google names streets and allows the observer to get close enough to buildings to read plaques and titles. Google shares millions of Quebec City’s wonderful details. It’s worth a look.