I-17502.1 | Champlain Street below the Citadel, Quebec City, QC, 1865

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Champlain Street below the Citadel, Quebec City, QC, 1865
William Notman (1826-1891)
1865, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
10 x 8 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Carriage (288) , Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , rural (407) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

Champlain Street, seen here, is located in Quebec City's lower town, below the promontory called Cap Diamant. Many dockworkers lived in this area in the 1800s, and there were also a number of inns. Keeping this street clean was no easy task, for rains and the thawing snow in springtime turned the lower town into a sea of mud. Fortunately for the residents, municipal authorities fitted out the city with plank sidewalks between 1855 and 1860.

Still, squeezed between the cliff and the river, this neighbourhood remained a dangerous place under constant threat of rockslides. No less than 85 people died in tragic circumstances there in the 19th century.

  • What

    Champlain Street runs along a narrow terrace bordered on one side by the steep cliff face of the Quebec City promontory and, on the other, by the St. Lawrence River, which is very deep there and usually roiled by strong currents.

  • Where

    Quebec City's escarpments have always presented a challenge to city planners attempting to prevent rockslides in the lower town or seeking ways to connect this area to the upper town.

  • When

    Champlain Street was known as early as 1716. It was the prolongation of De Meulles Street, now called Rue du Petit Champlain.

  • Who

    The street is named in honour of Samuel de Champlain, who founded Quebec City in 1608.