Québec City at its Best

4 National Historic Sites to Take You Back in Time

Credit: Commission canadienne du Tourisme

Content Partner: Parks Canada

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Québec charms millions of visitors every year with its unique architecture—the legacy of successive French and English regimes. Explore over 400 years of history at these 4 sites.

1 Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site

An essential stop when in Québec City, the fortifications bear witness to the city’s rich military past and take you back to the time of its French and English colonial regimes. Back then, the city played a key role in defending the colony. For an enhanced experience and to learn all about the site’s secrets, join one of the many fun and affordable guided tours offered by Parks Canada. Discover places not open to the general public, such as a soldier’s casemate and a powder magazine. You can also take part in a musket-firing demonstration and volunteer as a soldier! Your children will love the free Legend of the talking walls activity, where they get to slip on a cape and head off into the fortifications to play games and solve puzzles that will lead them to the enchanted bracelet or magic sword.

2 Saint Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site

Did you know that well before the construction of the most photographed hotel in the world―Fairmont Le Château Frontenac―there was a real château that served as the official residence and seat of power of the colony’s governors from 1620 to 1834? Learn about the history of Château Saint-Louis, where decisions that shaped North America were made. Stroll through the château’s remains and discover some 120 artefacts uncovered in the archaeological crypt hidden under Dufferin Terrace. For those who want to learn more, the guided tour will give you an inside look at over two centuries of  château life. Are your children with you? Take part in a mini archeological dig to find traces of the past―an interactive and educational activity the whole family will love!

3 Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

As the main point of entry for immigrants coming to Canada, Grosse Île was a quarantine station from 1832 to 1937. Relive the journey of tens of thousands of immigrants who set sail for Canada and transited the island in hopes of a better future. Hear the moving stories of immigrants and those who cared for them when they arrived. You’ll be swept away by the history and beauty of the place, the stunning landscapes and varied wildlife. Choose from six thematic tours and discover the island according to your interests. The site is located 35 minutes from Québec City in the Isle-aux-Grues archipelago, so plan to make a day of it. You can reach the island by boat on a 45-minute crossing on the magnificent St. Lawrence River, or by plane on a 10‑minute flight.

4 Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site

This urban site in the Limoilou neighbourhood, just minutes from Québec’s city centre, commemorates the winter spent there by Jacques Cartier and his crew on their second exploration voyage, from 1535 to 1536, as well as the settlement of Jesuit missionaries in Canada in 1625–1626. The fascinating stories of celebrated explorer Cartier and Father Jean de Brébeuf are yours to discover at the interpretation centre and nearby memorials. The site is also the perfect place to have a family picnic, enjoy playgrounds and rest areas, or cycle along the Saint-Charles River on a beautiful bike path. Note that there will be several free family events during the summer.

An offer you won’t want to miss!

Admission to Parks Canada sites is free in 2018 for youth age 17 years and under. Come and make memories for a lifetime with the whole family. For history buffs, we suggest the Grand Tour, which gives you two guided tours of the Fortifications of Québec and one guided tour of Saint‑Louis Forts and Châteaux for only $15/adult and $10/youth (age 17 and under).

What exactly is a content partner?
A content partner acts as a sponsor by paying for a post. Québec City Tourism retains editorial control over the content of such posts. Content partners can have a say in the approach or the subject of a post but are not involved in its creation.

Next post 5 Activities not to be Missed During the Canada Day Weekend


Subscribe to our electronic newsletter to find out more about our activities, package deals, contests, and promotions!