The history and culture of the area surrounding Quebec is as varied and dramatic as the landscape. Nestled on the banks of the St. Lawrence River which leads directly into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1608 it is one of the oldest cities in North America. Quebec City, completely encircled by protective ramparts, is the only remaining walled city in North America. This area was the site of several battles during the French Indian war and the American Revolution.
Due to its location on the St. Lawrence River at the point where the wide seaway narrows to become the major river leading inland, Quebec naturally developed into a major sea port. Its maritime heritage is proudly displayed on the banks of the St. Lawrence River at the Quebec Maritime Museum. This museum traces the Quebec maritime history from its earliest settlers to its role in modern international commerce. Visitors are treated to numerous artifacts and tablet kiosks that enable the guest to not only see but to hear the stories through verbal histories and even eyewitness accounts.
The people of Quebec are known as rugged individualists who pride themselves on hard work and commitment. A popular exhibit at the museum is that of Captain J.E. Bernier who became a ship’s captain at the age of 17. Born in 1852 Capt. Bernier is the stuff legends are made of, one of the first arctic explorers he led several expeditions through the arctic passages north of Quebec as well as hundreds of transatlantic crossings. He helped establish Royal Mounted Police Posts across the east and even in his late sixties patrolled the Canadian waters guarding against the threat from Germany during WWI. The
maritime museum chronicles the life and exploits of Capt. Bernier through artifact, photos and stories.
The museum has hands on exhibits of real ships ranging from small boats used by early settlers to icebreakers used during the last century. The interactive tablet kiosks provide the sights and sounds of many displays, like the eyewitness accounts of shipwreck survivors. This interactive feature brings the museum to life in a way that goes beyond looking at mere artifacts.
Any trip to the Quebec area must include a visit to the Quebec Maritime Museum in order to experience the river and learn of its role as the leading factor in the development of the area and its people.