Yes, there are so many historical sites and museums in Québec City that I needed to separate it from my FUN posts – the whole of Vieux-Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for goodness’ sake!
PLAINS OF ABRAHAM
The first historical site that I got to visit was the Plains of Abraham. The last time I came here was during my Grade 8 graduation trip; we were split into French and English and were supposed to battle it out but really all we did was run at each other. Once inside the museum, we were treated to a super cool SmartBoard presentation detailing the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which was a very crucial battle in the Seven Years’ War, since it led to the taking over of Québec by the British. Plus, both Wolfe and Montcalm died as a result of this battle so it’s very dramatic. Our guide was dressed up in a soldier’s uniform, and since the presentation was in French, she pretended to be Montcalm. The presentation was really cool because there was a map of the Québec area on the SmartBoard, and the guide moved little stickers of cannons and houses and ships all around the map to show us what happened.
We also had a competition to see who could load up and fire a cannon the fastest! My team lost by about 3 seconds (SO SAD). Then our guide talked to us about the surgical procedures during 1700s wartime. In the picture above, the man in the red had volunteered to pretend to be injured, and our guide showed us how the surgical tools (which, these days, could also probably double as torture equipment) were used. Also, people were terrified of water back then, so you can imagine how disgusting and unhygienic the tools were, and also how smelly people were.
We then moved on to the second part of our tour, which took place at the Martello Tower No. 1. These Martello Towers can actually be found in random places all over the world, thanks to British colonialism. Here, we learned a bit about the British army, which built the tower after taking over Québec. We had another competition, this time to prepare a rifle for shooting! We also learned how British soldiers were punished – a poor guy on our tour had to straddle a thin wooden horse! He said it hurt after about 30 seconds; British soldiers had to do it for an hour or so and it was very likely that their tailbone could break as a result.
Wendake is a Huron-Wendat reserve about a half hour away from Vieux-Québec. On the reserve is a traditional Huron site where tourists can visit and learn more about the Nation’s traditions, customs, and history. The site is not where actual Huron-Wendat people lived; all the buildings have been reconstructed simply for tourist/educational purposes.
First, we were greeted by a dance. Then, a guide took us on a tour of the grounds; we visited a longhouse, a tent for preparing food (complete with fake little fishies!), and a teepee. We also got to sit in a canoe (on land) and learn about family systems and gender roles (the men hunted and the women basically did everything else).
Inside the longhouse.
The teepee. Since the Huron-Wendat people were nomadic, teepees had to be quickly put together and taken down. The teepee pictured here is too big for that; it’s just an example.
After the tour, we spent some time in the boutique. I was eyeing a nice wooden bookmark until I picked it up and saw a sticker on it that said “Made in the Philippines,” and then I didn’t trust anything in the store after that. I’m pretty sure the fancy souvenirs like the moccasins and bracelets were made on the reserve, though.
That’s all for now – this is just the start of my historical adventures in Québec City! I have already visited three museums in the last two weeks and it’s all very exciting.