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Quebec City in the early 1900s

As with many cities in North America, the growth of Quebec's downtown quarter inevitably rendered it vulnerable to fire.

To help insurers determine the risks, the firm of English civil engineer Charles Goad drew up plans and diagrams of towns and cities in Canada (and across Europe and North America) showing the disposition and usage of buildings to an astonishing degree of detail. Depicted for insurance purposes on the 59 sheets of the Quebec plan are many of the capital buildings and fortifications which appear in earlier pages of this feature.

Other plans and views of Quebec City drafted during the early 20th century – many also submitted in accordance with Colonial Copyright legislation – show the gradual expansion of the metropolitan area of the city beyond the confines of the Cape Diamond promontory.

However, it is clear from these images that, while the city's eight suburban boroughs or 'arrondissements' have expanded inland, the essential features and characteristic European colonial architecture of the Upper and Lower Towns of La Cité have remained intact.

As peace prevailed in Canada, and national identity solidified (especially after the British North America Act, which formalised national Confederation in 1867), the strategic importance of Quebec City began to diminish. The city's fortunes declined in comparison with the growth of Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

However, the early 20th century saw renewed investment in the built heritage of Quebec City as both a national tourist attraction and an architectural expression of the nation's colourful past. The hotel Château Frontenac (named after the celebrated 17th-century governor of New France and opened in 1893) is clearly discernible on several of these maps and views, and is perhaps the crowning addition to the city's skyline after the great Citadel itself.

The hotel was built to express the power and success of the Canadian Pacific Railway company, and represented the eastern end of a new transport route between Quebec and the Rocky Mountains which, by this period, had replaced the old fur-trade routes established by the voyageurs.

Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 1. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910.
Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 1. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 2. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910.
Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 2. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 3. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910.
Maps 147.b.24.(1.). Insurance Plan of the City of Quebec. Sheet 3. Montreal, Toronto, London: C.E. Goad, 1910. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 70775.29. Pictorial Plan of Quebec City. Quebec: F.S. Stocking, 1911.
Maps 70775.29. Pictorial Plan of Quebec City. Quebec: FS Stocking, 1911. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 70775.31. Carte immobiliere de Québec [Sketch of Quebec Realty]. Quebec, 1915.
Maps 70775.31. Carte immobiliere de Québec [Sketch of Quebec Realty]. Quebec, 1915. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 70775.33. View of the Church of St. Roch, Quebec. Quebec: Livernois, 1918.
Maps 70775.33. View of the Church of St. Roch, Quebec. Quebec: Livernois, 1918. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Maps 70775.34. New Map of Quebec. Quebec: International Publishing Co., 1922.
Maps 70775.34. New Map of Quebec. Quebec: International Publishing Co., 1922. © Copyright The British Library Board
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Introduction: Quebec 2008
Discovery of Canada and Quebec
La Nouvelle France 1608–1763
Siege of Quebec and Seven Years War 1756–63
Lower Canada
Tercentenary 1908
Early 1900s

 
 
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