In the 1870’s the British governor general of Canada began a program to restore the city to it’s 17th century grandeur. The old city wall was reconstructed along with many of the buildings in what’s now known as the old city.
Part of the plan included reconstructing the Chateau St-Louis the residence where the French Governors used to live; it was located on the cape where the hotel now stands.
The City Council liked the idea but wanted to instead to build an upper class hotel to bring in the tourism money. However, they had problems with bringing together the finances. Businessmen from Toronto and Montreal with connections to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) solved that problem by bringing in the railway.
The new hotel – under the direction of the CPR – became one of the first chateau hotels that the CPR would build across the Country in places like Toronto, Winnipeg, Lake Louise and Victoria. Many still stand under the CPR Hotels division’s current name: Fairmont.
During World War II the Allies – Britain, America and Canada – discussed their strategies for winning the war at the hotel during the First and Second Quebec Conferences in 1943 and 1944.
In 1953 the final scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s I, Confess were filmed here.
In 1993 the third and last expansion was completed on the hotel.
In 2011 the hotel was sold to Ivanhoe Cambridge who immediately began a $9 million restoration of the exterior including the roof and $66 million for general renovations inside the hotel.
There are 2 famous ghosts in the hotel
Louis de Baude de Frontenac
Frontenac was the Governor of New France from 1672 to 1682. He, obviously, gave the hotel it’s name but also – as mentioned above – the home of the New France Governor sat on the exact same sport as the hotel does now.
Frontenac died in the house and as per his instructions his heart was removed and sent to his fiancé in an ornate box. In her grief she refused his heart and it was returned to New France.
Frontenac is usually seen on the second floor at a window sill; he, generally, disappears fairly quickly after he is seen. He is also often seen is in the hotel’s ballroom.
He is easily identified by his 17th century clothing.
The Woman In White
A mysterious “woman in white” is a common ghost and seen in many different locations. Usually her identity is unknown; as is the case in this hotel’s lady.
The woman is not fixed to any room so cannot be easily found; its up to her if she wants to visit you. She is dressed in a white night dress and will generally show up just as you falling asleep just for a quick look. Those that have encountered her say a nod or a wave is the best way to acknowledge her before she fades from view.
However, she has also climbed into bed with guests as well. What you do then is up to you.
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Bubu060481&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Bubu060481 (page does not exist)">Bubu060481</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Many eons ago the cliffs surrounding the falls and branching through Quebec City itself was the continental shelf on the edge of a great ocean. When the ocean receded away from what would become the Montmorency River it began to pour as the falls over the cliff’s edge.
The falls are 83 metres (272 feet) tall which is 30 metres (98.5 feet) higher than Niagara Falls.
The Indigenous peoples in the area of course knew all about the falls and always had but it was Samuel de Champlain who – in typical European colonialism – gave them the name we call them today.
When the British Army attacked the French in Quebec City they set up fortifications near the falls as it provided the perfect place to keep an eye on the enemy. The ruins of these fortifications can be found in the east section of the park.
There are actually 3 falls at the site but only the main and significantly larger falls appear in most of the photos. One of the small falls – both are on eastern side of the main falls – occurred naturally but the other was created by the hydro-electric plant that used to be on the site.
There are still some remains of that hydro-electric plant that can be found.
The falls are the home to Canada’s most famous “white lady” east of the Banff Springs Hotel Bride.
Her origins date back to 1759 when the British were fighting the French for control of the St Lawrence valley. Her name is Mathilde, and she was set to marry her fiancé Louis in July when he was called to battle. Unfortunately, Louis was killed in the ensuing battle.
Broken hearted Mathilde threw herself over the falls in her wedding dress to her death. Her body was never found.
Ever since then the apparition of Mathilde is seen plunging over the falls, which has caused more than a few terrifying moments for visitors.
Her face is also occasionally seen in the main falls.
Her apparition is also seen floating – usually face down – in the small lake below the falls.
Rarely, people have seen a dark haired woman in a wedding dress who is dripping wet wandering the park and paths above the falls.
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Morrin_Centre&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Morrin Centre (page does not exist)">Morrin Centre</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The first building on this site was built in the early 18th century and was known as the Redoute Royale (Royal Redoubt). As part of the city’s defensive network, it was attached to the city’s original walls and mainly used as military barracks.
It was also used by the French military for prisoners of war and the prisoners brought back from raids into the British Territories in New England. These included British soldiers but also townspeople. Many of them died in the dirty and disease filled conditions while others were eventually traded for French prisoners
When British defeated the French in 1759, they changed the building over to use as the city’s main jail until 1787 when it was converted to storage. In 1808 the building was demolished in order to build the one that stands here now.
The new building was specifically designed as a prison – what was called a common goal at the time – and designed to imprison at night and be used for hard labour during the day. People were imprisoned for a variety of crimes from debt to murder to treason; even American POW’s were held here during the War of 1812.
The prison was closed in 1867 when a new one was opened on the Plains of Abraham.
In 1868 Morrin College moved into the building as Quebec City’s first English language post-secondary institution. Students could achieve a General Arts Degree or study to become a Presbyterian Pastor. Women were admitted as students in 1885.
Lack of money and students led to the college closing around the turn of the century.
From 1868 on the Literary and Historical Society moved into the north wing of the building. When the school closed they moved into the entire building. They collected and republished important historical Canadian documents in English. They were also instrumental in making sure the Plains of Abraham were turned into a heritage property and not just another subdivision.
Many of Canada’s and British North America’s historical documents are only available to us now because of the efforts of this institution.
In the 21st century the building was fully renovated into the Morin Centre: the city’s only English language cultural centre and historic interpretation site.
There are numerous reports of an unfriendly ghost who has been known to put pressure on the living leaving them feeling as if it’s hard and/or painful to breathe. He also exudes a powerful energy indicating to leave and that they are not welcome there and need to leave immediately if not sooner.
Most people think this ghost is not a former prisoner but rather someone who was formerly in a very authoritative position and is used to the jail running a certain way. A video was captured in the library of an entity believed to be a former surgeon – James Douglas – who may be the presence so commonly felt.
Many of the former cells are described as being unearthly cold and extremely uncomfortable. Although, rather than darkness, evil or even anger is felt.
The most commonly felt emotional energy throughout the building’s energy is fear and hopelessness.
There are reports of seeing apparitions walking through walls and of hands reaching out of walls. While this would be a bit disturbing, we must remember this building has been renovated more than once and where a wall exists now there may have been a doorway or other open space when the ghost or residual energy existed.
Other Reported Activity: apparitions of soldiers in 18th century uniforms; shadow figures; electrical disturbances; objects moving on their own; light anomalies; disembodied voices and other unexplained noises and feelings of claustrophobia, being watched and not being wanted.
The Battle of The Plains of Abraham took place on September 13, 1759 when the British climbed the steep cliff beneath the city and surprised and defeated the French allowing them to occupy the city and eventually take control of all of Canada later that same year.
There were just over 1,200 casualties taken on that day.
In 1908 the land was given to the City of Quebec and Battlefield Park was established.
Numerous ghosts have been seen on the site due to the number of soldiers killed during the battle. A spectral soldier most often seen is at the entrance to Tunnel 1 on warm evenings. His sightings are often combined with the smell and sound of cannon fire.
Other sights and sounds of the battle are felt throughout the site. The smell of sulfur has also been reported. This location is said to be most active on cold nights in September.
The energy is very heavy over this entire field even with over 200 years since the battle.