City Walls of Québec

Beyond la Citadelle, Québec also enjoys a defensive wall that nearly surrounds Vieux-Québec, or Old Québec. These graphics come from the Barracks Sector, which used to house the Royal Artillery during the British period.

The Barracks Sector

The Barracks Sector

The walls in this section of the city date to 1745, but the redoubt in this area goes back to 1712, you can see that as the orange rectangle.

City walls over time

City walls over time

Credit for the pieces go to the graphics department of Parks Canada.

How to Build a Citadel

La Citadelle de Québec consists of several layers of fortifications that are not discernible to an eye outside the fortification. This has to do with the well-planned angle of the tops of the fortifications. Thankfully, designers said about explaining this through some graphics. While I do not have a great shot from outside the fortress of the angle, you can see some of the even slope in this photo from the top of the wall looking out towards Ville de Québec outside the city walls.

La Citadelle today, looking towards modern Québec

La Citadelle today, looking towards modern Québec

The fortification is composed of several different layers. This graphic colour codes them. For reference to the photo above, I am not standing “vous étes ici.” Rather, I am at the tip of bastion in the upper left of the diagram, just behind the pink—not red—line.

Colour-coded map of the fortification

Colour-coded map of the fortification

This graphic shows how la Citadelle would have been defended back in the 19th century. Note the lack of armoured vehicles as seen in the above photograph.

Cutaway of the fortification walls

Cutaway of the fortification walls

Credit for the piece goes to the design team behind the graphics.

Cap aux Diamant Redoubt

Part of my trip to la Citadelle de Québec involved a visit to the Bastion du Roi, which features one of the oldest parts of the fortress: Cap aux Diamant Redoubt. A redoubt is a hardened fortification completely enclosed and separate from larger fortifications. Often it serves as a place of last retreat. In Québec, the redoubt is one of the surviving original French-era fortifications, albeit heavily modified by the British in the 19th century. These graphics illustrate some of those changes.

By 1783, the original French fortification existed outside the growing defensive works of the British. In this map, you can see the notably square shape of the redoubt as the pink square on the right side of the map near the cliff.

La Citadelle, about 1793

La Citadelle, about 1793

In 1823, the British decided to modify the square-shaped redoubt and undertook extensive modifications. The graphic below shows the original redoubt, the square, with the new plan, the hatched work.

Changes to the original redoubt

Changes to the original redoubt

The new plan simplified the structure.

Redoubt as of 1823

Redoubt as of 1823

But eventually, the redoubt was entirely enclosed by the growing fortifications. This shows its location in Bastion du Roi along with the construction of a block house to further fortify the bastion.

Redoubt in Bastion du Roi

Redoubt in Bastion du Roi

Credit for the piece goes to the designers of the various graphics.

Why Québec Was Important and How it Became English

When I was in Québec I had the good fortune to take photographs of multiple signs and graphics aiming to educate readers about various things. I have spent a bit of my weekend combing through my photographs to see what I can present.

The first in today’s post is simply why Québec was so important. It sat at the narrowest part of the St. Lawrence River upstream from the Atlantic and, most importantly, was defendable from a high, rocky terrain that fell into the river via a sheer cliff face. But why was all of that? Geology explains all (in this graphic). Cap Diamant, where la Citadelle de Québec resides, sits atop an outcropping of the Appalachian Mountains while a sedimentary valley separates it from the Laurentian Mountains. The St. Lawrence just happens to cut through it and voila, natural defensible territory. Or as Charles Dickens put it, the Gibraltar of North America.

The geology of Québec

The geology of Québec

The second is a quick series of graphics that basically explain why, despite the heavy French influence, Québec is a province of the majority English-speaking country of Canada, a former British colony. In short, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (and to a lesser extent the Battle of Sainte-Foy.

In 15 minutes on the Plains of Abraham, a British infantry force under General Wolfe defeated a French infantry force under General Montcalm. Both generals died in the battle and just a few days later, the city of Québec surrendered to the British. This gave control of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence to the British. And with the British then entrenched behind the city walls, they were capable of withstanding any French siege.

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The second graphic explores the Battle of Sainte-Foy, which was a French victory over General Murray. The British then retreated to the defences of Québec, but the French forces failed to capitalise on their victory—and were in general too under-resourced. So the city remained in British hands while the Royal Navy destroyed the French Navy off the coast of France. And without supplies sent via the French Navy, the French were forced to surrender not just Québec, but Montreal and the whole of Canada to the United Kingdom. Fearing rebellion, London allowed Canada to retain its religion, language, and culture. Hence, a Francophone population in an otherwise English-speaking North America.

The Battle of Sainte-Foy

The Battle of Sainte-Foy

Credit for the pieces goes to unknown persons who designed the signage for various parks in Québec.

Understanding Museum Pieces in French

Yesterday’s piece was from the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec and looked at a bilingual exhibit on Greek and Roman mythology. The museum, of course, had many other exhibits. Today I want to show an interesting bit that explained why the museum, a modern construction dating to the late 1980s, incorporated an 18th century house called Maison Estèbe.

Maison Estèbe today

Maison Estèbe today

Well, the museum had a series of graphics with text explaining why. But they were only in French. But by some smart use of graphics and some thought as to how show the progression of time, the reader can piece together a good bit of the story.

Maison Estèbe

Maison Estèbe

Waterfront near Maison Estèbe

Waterfront near Maison Estèbe

Quay at Maison Estèbe

Quay at Maison Estèbe

And of course to make it abundantly clear, the excavation of Québec’s foundations also revealed longboats along the old shoreline, which when placed in front of a quay like below, just make perfect sense.

long ship

long ship

Credit for the pieces goes to the graphics department of the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec.

Genealogy of the Gods

Apologies for the lack of posting yesterday, but I had some travel difficulties returning from Canada. But today, we have a few photos of a family tree from a nice exhibit at the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec, or Museum of Civilisation, on the gods of Mount Olympus. My guided tour (in English) featured only the history of the gods—nothing really on the art or the style of the sculptures. But it was still pretty good.

I have three photos of the family tree, which is first presented in an elaborate glass piece that creates depth. Unfortunately this photo doesn’t quite capture the impressiveness. The next two are a smaller wall installation that highlights those gods that apparently lived on Mount Olympus and were thus the focus of the exhibit.

the tree on glass

the tree on glass

the tree in full

the tree in full

the tree in detrail

the tree in detrail

Credit for the piece goes to the graphics department at the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec.

Ringwoodlite

Your author is still in Canada. So here’s a graphic from the Globe and Mail that explains the process by which ringwoodite is formed. Recent research shows that the water contained within the mineral makes the mantle beneath the surface of the Earth contain more water than all the world’s oceans.

Ringwoodite

Ringwoodite

But mostly, I’m still in Canada.

Credit for the piece goes to the Globe and Mail graphics department.

Where’s the Beef?

Today I’m enjoying some really good burgers. So via Fastco, today’s graphic looks at cattle, pig, and chicken populations across different regions of the world. In the United States, as you can see in the map here, that dark red spot in eastern Pennsylvania, that has to be Lancaster County.

US cattle population

US cattle population

Credit for the piece goes to International Livestock Research Institute.