Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Quebec is one of the original four provinces that formed Canada in 1867. It is also the country’s largest province, and home to its second most populous city, Montreal. The name “Quebec” derives ultimately from an Algonquian word meaning “where the river narrows.” The French claimed areas of land here in the 16th century and subsequently settled in increasing numbers until the British assumed control in the 18th century. Secessionist sentiment among the Francophone Quebecois has been active since the 19th century, although two referendums held in the late 20th century produced majorities in favour of remaining part of Canada. There are around 200 National Heritage Sites, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and three national parks in the province.

Archaeology & History Sites in Quebec

Fort Chambly

French settlers built Fort Saint Louis, now known as Fort Chambly, in 1665 to defend their colony of New France from Iroquois attacks. After the Iroquois burned the fort down in 1702, a stone replacement was erected. The increasingly dilapidated fort underwent repairs in the 1880s, at which point it was recognised as being of historic importance. Canada’s government have classified the fort as a National Historic Site since 1920. Various events each year bring costumed re-enactors to the site, helping visitors better appreciate the lives of the early French settlers.

Fortifications of Quebec

The Old City of Quebec contains North America’s only surviving fortified city walls north of Mexico. The walls were originally built by French colonists during the 17th century, but after the British captured the city in 1759 these structures underwent additional expansion. As well as being a National Historic Site since 1948, Old Quebec – including its city walls – have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. While visitors can freely walk around the walls at any time, entrances fee and other restrictions apply to entering the structures themselves.

Museums & Art Galleries in Quebec

Canadian Museum of History

Formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau devotes its attentions to the broad and varied heritage of Canada. Exhibits cover 20,00 years of human habitation in the northern parts of North America, all encompassed in a purpose-built structure designed by the architect Douglas Cardinal during the 1980s. Displays feature not only the heritage of Canada’s indigenous peoples but also its European and other settlers. The museum is also home to the Canadian Children’s Museum and features a range of temporary exhibitions.


Situated at the very birthplace of Montréal, Pointe-à-Callière is the city’s museum of archaeology and history. Although the museum was only opened in 1992, the site on which it stands bears testimony to over a thousand years of human activity, beginning when indigenous peoples made camp here, on land between the Little Saint-Pierre River and the St. Lawrence River. Some of the archaeology that was exposed during construction work for the building has been left in situ, and this now forms part of the museum’s permanent display.