Celebrating the foundation of the city of Quebec, 1608
In 2008 Quebec City celebrated the 400th anniversary of its foundation.
This web feature marks the occasion. Dr Dorian Hayes, curator of
Canadian and Caribbean Collections at the British Library, has put
together a selection of treasures illustrating the city's eventful
history, drawn from the British Library's collections of maps, manuscripts
and printed books.
Chateau Frontenac (foreground), and the
Image Mill, Quebec City, 2008, by Robert Lepage / Ex Machina (photograph
reproduced by kind permission of Christie / Francis Vachon)
The 2008 celebrations saw the ultimate hi-tech
re-staging of the very human-scale pageants that took place in the
city on the occasion of the Tercentenary
of spectacular events commemorated the 400th anniversary throughout
2008. They ranged from exhibitions, street theatre, tableaux, public
lectures and conferences, to performances by world-famous artists
such as Cirque du Soleil, Paul McCartney and Celine Dion.
Perhaps the most innovative event saw theatre director and Quebec
resident Robert Lepage project a grand 'animated mosaic' depicting
the city's evolution over 400 years on the largest outdoor screen
ever devised (above image, bottom right).
Lepage's production company Ex Machina operates out of the iconic
Caserne Dalhousie building, on the site of the city's first stock
exchange in Lower Town. It operated there from 1828, but was moved
to Montreal in the early 20th century (reflecting that city's new
provincial dominance). Thereafter, the building became home to the
Lower Town's "Firehouse #5".
It is in this guise that the building appears on the Goad
Fire Insurance Plan made in 1910. It can be identified as 'Fire
Station No. 5', located near Custom House Square, on the right-hand
side of St André Street, off Dalhousie Street. More
on the building
The six sections in this feature include 30 rare images illustrating
Quebec's history. You can view every one in a high-resolution zoomable
feature was created with the kind assistance of the Government of