J.M. Le Moine.

Picturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present online

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town outside of the walls, like that of New Edinburgh, in beauty and
design will very soon cast the historical old town within the walls in the
shade. The next object which attracts the eye is the spacious structure of
the Skating Rink, the only charge we can make against it, is that it is
too close to St. Louis Gate. 'Tis the right thing in the wrong place.
Adjoining stood the old home of the Prentices, in 1791, - Bandon Lodge,
[146] once the abode of Sandy Simpson, [147] whose cat-o'nine-tails must
have left lively memories in Wolfe's army. Did the beauteous damsel about
whom Horatio, Lord Nelson, raved in 1782, when, as Commander of H. M.'s
frigate _Albemarle_, he was philandering in Quebec, ever live here? [148]
This is more than I can say. On the north side of the _Grande Allée_, the
lofty structure - the new Parliament Buildings - occupies a whole square.


When completed, the Parliament and Public Buildings of the Province of
Quebec, erected on the _Grande Allée_, outside of St. Louis Gate,
will form a square, each side of which externally will measure 300
feet and will enclose a court l98 x l95 feet. Three facades are now
completed; they are tenanted by the various Public Departments of the
Civil Service - the Halls of the Legislative Assembly alone remain to
be built and the foundations are now in process of construction in
consequence of the vote of Parliament in 1881. The main facade, now in
process of construction, will look towards the city walls and face on
St. Eustache street, or rather on the splendid new area to constitute
Dufferin Avenue, should St. Eustache street be closed; this street
being altogether too narrow and in too close proximity to the
buildings. The Lieut.-Governor will occupy a handsome suite of rooms
on the second story in the portion of the edifice which lies parallel
with and faces towards St. Louis Road. The northern facade faces on
St. Augustin street and the fourth or western facade looks towards St.
Julia street.

The style of architecture is that which was used in French edifices of
the XVII. century. Pointe Levi greenish sandstone was used for the

The second and third story are divided by a continuous band, supported
by an Ionic entablature of Deschambault cut stone.

Embossed pilasters in _rustic work_, rising from the basement up
to the cornice, close the salient angles of each projection. Hard
Murray Bay sandstone has been used in constructing the interior
revetment wall of the court, but Deschambault limestone forms the
masonry of the basement, the bands, cornices, mantle-pieces, and

The roof of the building, a handsome one, is of galvanized sheeting,
the ornaments of zinc; some cast, some wrought and hammered. The
height of the body of the edifice from the ground to the great cornice
is 60 feet English measure, and 72 feet to the top of the cornice
above the attics.

Each angle of the square has a pavilion and contains a stone
sculptured dormer window provided with a costly clock constructed by

Access is had to the inner court by two passages in the centre
pavilion, which faces St. Julia street.

A heraldic _Lion passant_, between two fleur de lys and three maple
leaves, display the arms of the Province of Quebec. On the piers of
the first story are cut in relief the escutcheons of the two first
Lieut.-Governors of the Province of Quebec, sculptured on the central
window of the second story, is visible from afar, the "year" when the
structure was commenced, "1878," and on the side windows are inscribed
the monograms of the Governor-General and Lieutenant-Governor, under
whose administration the edifice was built.

The frieze of the main entablature shows the cypher of the reigning
Sovereign V. R. wreathed in oak leaves.

There are at present three main central entrances, the pavilions of
the angle also contain one each with Ionic pillars.

The main facade, only just commenced, differs from the others; instead
of a pavilion in the centre, it will have a tower or campanile 160
feet high, flanked by two projections. The ground floor of this tower
will show a stately entrance to the halls of Assembly of both branches
of the Legislature, accessible through two semicircular inclined

The inequalities in the level of the soil at that spot will be
concealed by terraces on three sides of the stately pile. At the foot
of the tower the design shows a basin 115x42 feet embraced within the
walls of the inclined plane, to receive the water of a fountain in a
portico of Tuscan order of architecture. Four Ionic columns with
entablatures will deck the main entrance.

Niches on different points of the edifice will exhibit statues of
Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of Canada; of Champlain, the founder
of Quebec; of deMaisonneuve, the founder of Montreal.

On the lantern of the tower will stand forth prominently the Royal
arms of England, supported by winged genii and wreathed in oak leaves.
The tower on four sides will contain four huge clocks lit up by
electric light.

Lofty, roomy halls with ceilings arched and decorated with stucco
panelling; devices and symbols of the quarterings of the Provincial
arms, lead to the interior of the buildings, which though simple,
seems well adapted for public offices. Broad, well lighted corridors,
divide in two each wing and afford ready access to the various
departments located on both sides.

Each flat communicates with the adjoining one by broad, splendid black
walnut staircases decked with arabesques in gilt carving.

The design, elevation and general plan of the edifices, were prepared
and drafted by Mr. Eugène Taché, the Assistant-Commissioner of Crown
Lands. The internal divisions and specifications were laid out under
the direction of Mr. P. Gauvreau, the Engineer of Public Works; the
contractor was F. X. Cimon, M.P.

Messrs. Beaucage & Chaliauvert, undertook the cut stone work, which
was carried out by their foreman, Mr. Bourgeaud.

Messrs. Cerat & Vincent, of Montreal, are contractors for the
sculpture in stone, and the galvanized iron roof and ornamentation in
the same material and in zinc was executed by Messrs. De Blois &
Bernier, of Montreal, whilst Mitchell & Co. contracted for the heating

The whole building when completed is expected to cost about $800,000.

Opposite looms out the long tea-caddy-looking building, built by the
Sandfield Macdonald Government in 1862, - the Volunteer Drill Shed. Its
length, if not its beauty, attracts notice. "Ferguson's house," next it,
noted by Professor Silliman in his "_Tour between Hartford and Quebec in
1819_," is now difficult to recognize; its present owner, A. Joseph,
Esq., has added so much to its size. This antiquated dwelling certainly
does not belong to a new dispensation. Another land-mark of the past
deserves notice - the ex-Commander of the Forces' lofty quarters; from its
angular eaves and forlorn aspect it generally went by the name of "Bleak
House." I cannot say whether the place was ever haunted, but it ought to
have been. [149] On the summit of the plateau, formerly known as _Buttes-
à-Nepveu_, and facing Mr. John Roche's stately mansion, Hon. P. Garneau
and M. Bilodeau have constructed handsome terraces of cut-stone dwellings.
We are now in the _Grande Allée_ - the forest avenue, which two hundred
years ago led to Sillery Wood. On turning and looking back as you approach
Bleak House, you have an excellent view of the Citadel, and of the old
French works which extend beyond it, to the extremity of the Cape,
overlooking _l'Anse de Mères_. A little beyond Bleak-House, at the top of
what is generally known as Perrault's Hill, stands the Perrault [150]
homestead, dating back to 1820, _l'Asyle Champêtre_ - now tastefully
renovated and owned by Henry Dinning, Esq. The roof and facade of a
_Chalet Suisse_ would much enhance its appearance. The adjoining range of
heights, occupied by the Martello Towers, the Garneau and Bilodeau
Terraces, &c., were called the _Buttes-à-Nepveu_, after one of their first
French owners. "It was here that Murray took his stand on the morning of
April 28th, 1760, to resist the advance of Levis, and here commenced the
hardest-fought, the bloodiest action of the war, which terminated in the
defeat of Murray, and his retreat within the city". The Martello Towers
are bomb-proof, they were four [151] in number, and formed a chain of
forts extending along the ridge from the St. Lawrence to the River St.
Charles. The fact that this ridge commanded the city, unfortunately
induced Murray to leave it and attempt to fortify the heights, in which he
was only partially successful, owing to the frost being still in the

The British Government were made aware of the fact, and seeing that from
the improved artillery the city was now fully commanded from the heights,
which are about seven hundred yards distant, decided to build the Towers.
Arrangements were accordingly made by Col. Brock, then commanding the
troops in Canada. In 1806 the necessary materials were collected, and in
the following year their construction commenced. They were not, however,
completed till 1812. The original estimate for the four was £8,000, but
before completion the Imperial Government had expended nearly £12,000.
They are not all of the same size, but, like all Martello Towers, they are
circular and bomb-proof. The exposed sides are _thirteen_ feet thick
and gradually diminish like the horns of the crescent moon, to seven feet
in the centre of the side next the city walls. The first or lower story
contains tanks, store-rooms and magazine; the second has cells for the
garrison, with port-holes for two guns. On the top there used to be one
68-pounder carronade, two 24 and two 9-pounders.

A party of Arnold's soldiers ascended these heights in November, 1775, and
advanced quite close to the city walls, shouting defiance at the little
garrison. A few shots soon dispersed the invaders, who retraced their
steps to Wolfe's Cove. At the _Buttes-à-Nepveu_ great criminals were
formerly executed. Here, La Corriveau, the St. Vallier Lafarge, met her
deserved fate, in 1763, after being tried by one of Governor Murray's
Courts-martial for murdering her husband. After death she was hung in
chains, or rather in a solid iron cage, at the fork of four roads, at
Levi, close to the spot where the Temperance Monument has since been
built. The loathsome form of the murderess caused more than one shudder
amongst the peaceable peasantry of Levi, until some brave young men one
dark night, cut down the horrid cage, and hid it deep under ground, next
to the cemetery at Levi, where, close to a century afterwards, it was dug
up and sold to Barnum's agent for his museum.

Sergeant Jas. Thompson describes in his diary, under date 18th Nov., 1782,
another memorable execution:

"This day two fellows were executed for the murder and robbery of Capt.
Stead, Commander of one of the Treasury Brigs, on the evening of the 31st
Dec., 1779, between the Upper and Lower Town. The criminals went through
Port St. Louis, about 11 o'clock, at a slow and doleful pace, to the place
where justice had allotted them to suffer the most ignominious death. It
is astonishing to see what a crowd of people followed the tragic scene.
Even our people on the works (Cape Diamond) prayed Capt. Twiss for leave
to follow the hard-hearted crowd." It was this Capt. Twiss who
subsequently furnished the plan and built a temporary citadel in 1793.

In 1793, we have also, recorded in history, another doleful procession of
red-coats, the Quebec Garrison accompanying to the same place of execution
as a mess-mate (Draper), a soldier of the Fusileers, then commanded by the
young Duke of Kent, who, after pronouncing the sentence of death, as
commander, over the trembling culprit kneeling on his coffin, as son and
representative of the Sovereign, exercised the Royal prerogative of mercy
and pardoned poor Draper.

Look down Perrault's hill towards the south. There stands, with a few
shrubs and trees in the foreground, the Military Home - where infirm
soldiers, their widows and children, could find a refuge. It has recently
been purchased and converted into the "Female Orphan Asylum." It forms the
eastern boundary of a large expanse of verdure and trees, reaching the
summit of the lot originally intended by the Seminary of Quebec for a
Botanical Garden; subsequently it was contemplated to build their new
seminary there to afford the boys abundance of fresh air. Alas! Other
counsels prevailed.

Its western boundary is a road leading to the new District Jail - a stone
structure of great strength, surmounted with a diminutive tower, admirably
adapted, one would imagine, for astronomical pursuits. From its glistening
cupola, Commander Ashe's Provincial Observatory is. visible to the east.

I was forgetting to notice the substantial building, dating from 1855 - the
Ladies' Home. The Protestant Ladies of Quebec have here, at no small
expense and trouble, raised a useful asylum, where the aged and infirm may
find shelter. This, and the building opposite, St. Bridget's Asylum, with
its growing fringe of trees and green plots, are decided ornaments to the
_Grande Allée_.

The old burying ground of 1832, with all its ghastly memories of the
Asiatic scourge, has assumed quite an ornate, nay a respectable aspect.
Close to the toll-bar on the _Grande Allée_, may yet be seen one of
the meridian stones which serve to mark the western boundary of the city,
beyond the Messrs. Lampson's mansion. On the adjoining domain, well named
"Battlefield Cottage," formerly the property of Col. Charles Campbell, now
owned by Michael Connolly, Esq., was the historic well out of which a cup
of water was obtained to moisten the parched lips of the dying hero, James
Wolfe, on the 13th September, 1759. The well was filled in a few years
ago, but not before it was nigh proving fatal to Col. Campbell's then
young son, - (Arch. Campbell, Esq., of Thornhill.) Its site is close to the
western boundary fence, in the garden, behind "Battlefield Cottage." Here
we are at those immortal plains - the Hastings of the two races once
arrayed in battle against one another at Quebec. The western boundary of
the Plains is a high fence enclosing Marchmont, for years the cherished
family seat of John Gilmour, Esq., now occupied by Col. Fred Turnbull, of
the Canadian Hussars.

On the north-east corner of the Belvedere Road, may be seen a range of
glass houses, put up by J. Doig, formerly gardener at Benmore.

A few minutes more brings the tourist to the Hon. D. Price's villa, Wolfe-
field, where may be seen the precipitous path up the St. Denis burn, by
which the Highlanders and British soldiers gained a footing above, on the
13th September, 1759, and met in battle array to win a victory destined to
revolutionize the New World. The British were piloted in their ascent of
the river by a French prisoner brought with them from England - Denis de
Vitré, formerly a Quebecer of distinction. Their landing place at Sillery
was selected by Major Robert Stobo, who had, in May, 1759, escaped from a
French prison in Quebec, and joined his countrymen, the English, at
Louisbourg, from whence he took ship again to meet Admiral Saunders' fleet
at Quebec. The tourist next drives past Thornhill, for years owned by
Arch. Campbell, Esq., P.S.C., Sir Francis Hincks' old home when Premier to
Lord Elgin. Opposite appear the leafy glades of Spencer Wood, so grateful
a summer retreat, that Lord Elgin used to say, "There he not only loved to
live, but would like to rest his bones." Next comes Spencer Grange, the
seat of J. M. LeMoine, Esq.; then Woodfield, the homestead, of the Hon.
Wm. Sheppard [152] in 1847, later on of Messrs. John Lawson and Jas Gibb.
[153] Facing the Woodfield property, on the Gomin Road, are visible the
extensive vineries and peach houses of Hon. Geo. Okill Stuart, Judge of
the Vice-Admiralty Court. The eye next dwells on the rustic church of St.
Michael, embowered in evergreens. This handsome little temple of worship
where the Governors of Canada usually attended, when living at Spencer
Wood, contain several memorial window. Southwards looms out, at _Sous-
les-Bois_, the stately convent of _Jésus-Marie_; on the edge of the bank,
to the south-east, at _Pointe-à-Pizeau_, stands the R. C. Church of St.
Colomb de Sillery, in a most commanding position; on the Sillery heights,
north-west of the Church of St. Michael, the late Bishop George J.
Mountain owned a delightful summer retreat, recently sold to Albert H.
Furniss, Esq.; then you meet with villas innumerable - one of the most
conspicuous is Benmore House, Col. Rhodes' country seat. Benmore is well
worthy of a call, were it only to procure a _bouquet_. This is not merely
the Eden of roses; Col. Rhodes has combined the farm with the garden. His
underground rhubarb and mushroom cellars, his boundless asparagus beds and
strawberry plantations, are a credit to Quebec.

Next come Clermont, [154] Beauvoir, [155] Kilmarnock, [156] Cataraqui,
[157] Kilgraston, [158] Kirk-Ella, [159] Meadow Bank, [160] Ravenswood,
[161] Dornald, [162] until, after a nine miles' drive, Redclyffe closes
the rural landscape - Redclyffe, [163] on the top of _Cap Rouge_
Promontory. There, many indications yet mark the spot where Roberval's
ephemeral colony wintered as far back as 1542. You can now, if you like,
return to the city by the same route, or select the Ste. Foye Road,
skirting the classic heights where General Murray, six months after the
first battle of the Plains, lost the second, on the 28th April, 1760; the
St. Foye Church was then occupied by the British soldiers. Beauséjour is a
beautiful demesne, where M. Ls. Bilodeau has several reservoirs, for the
propagation of trout. Your gaze next rests on Holland House, Montgomery's
headquarters in 1775, behind which is Holland tree, overshadowing, as of
yore, the grave of the Hollands. [164]

The view, from the St. Foye Road, of the gracefully meandering St. Charles
below, especially during the high tides, is something to be remembered.
The tourist shortly after detects the iron pillar, surmounted by a bronze
statue of Bellona, presented in 1855 by Prince Napoleon Bonaparte -
intended to commemorate the fierce struggle at this spot on the 28th
April, 1760. In close vicinity, appear the bright _parterres_ or
umbrageous groves of Bellevue, [165] Hamwood, [166] Bijou, [167]
Westfield, [168] Sans-Bruit, and the narrow gothic arches of Finlay
Asylum; soon you re-enter by St. John's Suburbs, with the broad basin of
the St. Charles and the pretty Island of Orleans staring you in the face.

The principal objects to be noted in this street are: on the north side,
St. John's Church, built in 1848 - a large but not very elegant temple of
R. C. worship, capable of seating 2,000 persons; on the south side, St.
Mathew's Church, (Church of England,) a handsome structure, whose
beginnings, in 1828; were associated with the late Bishop G. J. Mountain's
ministrations and munificence. The exertions of the Rev. Chs. Hamilton and
the generous donations of his brother, Robert Hamilton, and other members
of the family, have been mainly instrumental in enlarging and decorating
this building. Close by, is the new French Protestant Church. We shall
close this short sketch with a mention of the "Quebec Protestant Burying
Ground," originally bought by the Government of the Province of Quebec,
from the heirs of St. Simon, partly on the 9th December, 1771, and partly
on the 22nd August, 1778. In the year 1823, Lord Dalhousie made a grant of
this ground to the "Trustees of the Protestant Burying Ground," in whose
hands it has remained until the 19th May,, 1860, when the cemetery was
declared closed by the 23rd Vict., chap. 70. Major Thomas Scott, Pay-
master of the 70th Regiment, a brother to Sir Walter, was buried here in
1823. Major Thomas Scott was at one time charged with having written
"_Rob Roy_." And next to St. John Gate, looms out the handsome new
building of the Y. M. C. A Association facing the new Montcalm Market.


"The first Young Men's Christian Association in this city was
organized about twenty years ago, but it soon collapsed, having run
into debt. A second attempt resulted in the formation of another
Association in 1867, which was also a failure. The present Association
was established in January, 1870. It had a very small beginning - five
young men met in a merchant's office in the Lower Town for prayer and
conference and they formed the nucleus of the present Association.
John C. Thomson, Esq., now President of the Association, a gentleman
well known for his active interest in all good works, was one of the
five. Soon after this prayer meeting, a canvass was made among young
men, and 150 names obtained. Henry Fry Esq., merchant, was elected
first President, and Mr. W. Ahern, Secretary. For three years the
Association occupied rooms over the hardware store of Messrs. Bélanger
& Gariépy, Fabrique street, and, in 1873, removed to the rooms above
Mr. McLeod's drug store, which it vacated to enter upon an enlarged
sphere of labour in its elegant new building. It is admirably
situated, facing the Montcalm market."

"In October 1875, a delegation of Y. M. C. A. workers visited this
city, including Messrs. Crombie, Budge, Cole, &c. The revival services
which followed their visit will still be fresh in the memory of our
readers. Two results, both fraught with very great importance to the
Association, followed their visit. One was the engagement of Mr. T. S.
Cole as permanent Secretary, the other was the development of a scheme
for the construction of a building to be specially adapted, and
regularly set apart for the use of the Association. On a memorable
Monday evening in October, 1877, in the Methodist Church in this city,
the scheme was first publicly discussed. At this meeting some $5,000
was subscribed, and the canvass next day resulted in large additions
to the above. Up to the present, $19,000 have been subscribed towards
the structure, and over $15,000 paid in, including the proceeds of the
ladies' bazaar last year (1879).

"The site of the building, one of the most valuable, and certainly one
of the most eligible for the purpose in the city was obtained by
purchase from the Dominion Government by auction in the month of
January, 1878. The plans for the building were secured by competition,
the successful architect being Mr. J. F. Peachy. The cost of the whole
building, when completed, will be $40,000, but at present only the
front portion has been erected. The back wing will be commenced when a
few thousand dollars more have been subscribed towards it. It is to
contain the gymnasium below, and above a large hall 100 feet by 56,
with seating accommodation for 700 people on the floor and 300 in the
galleries. This hall will be furnished with an independent entrance
from Glacis street, twelve feet wide. The lot upon which the present
building is erected contains 21,000 square feet, being 186 feet in
depth, and having a frontage on St. John street of 106 feet. The front
building covers the whole extent of frontage and has a depth of 50
feet. It is built of stone and brick, the whole front being stone and
cut glass. It contains three flats including the mansard. Over the
main entrance is an open Bible, upon which is engraved Matt. XXIII.,
8. Above the centre Window in raised letters in stone, are the words
"Quebec Young Men's Christian Association, 1879." Immediately behind
the front structure is a small building which forms a room for the
daily prayer meeting. It may be reached from Glacis street, and also
by a staircase leading down to it from the entrance hall of the main

"The lower part of the edifice has been fitted up as stores. The main
entrance to Association Hall, in the middle of the front, is by a
spacious staircase twelve feet wide, at the foot of which are elegant

Online LibraryJ.M. Le MoinePicturesque Quebec : a sequel to Quebec past and present → online text (page 25 of 59)