2:00pm – 5:00pm: Quebec Religious Building Tour – Walking $55 USD
Tour led by: David Mendel, Mendel Tours
Discover the living history of some of Quebec’s oldest institutions. In 1639, the Governor of New France and the inhabitants of the tiny wilderness settlement of Quebec gathered to greet a long-awaited ship from France. On board were nuns from two religious orders: the Augustinian Sisters had arrived to found Quebec’s first hospital, while the Ursuline Nuns had come to establish the first girls’ school of the colony. Over the years these institutions have expanded and evolved, but the Hôtel-Dieu and the Ursuline Convent have retained ancient buildings dating back to the 17thand 18thcenturies. During our tour will see a wealth of magnificent embroideries, paintings, sculpture, reliquaries, silver, and objects from daily life spanning three centuries.
A highlight of our visit will be the Ursuline Chapel which contains the oldest sculptural ensemble which has survived since the French regime, dating from the 1720s and 30s, as well paintings from France that came to Canada after the French Revolution. In 2018 the aging Ursuline nuns will be leaving their convent, but they have established new organizational structures such as the Pôle culturel des Ursulines, to ensure that the exceptional heritage of the Ursulines will be preserved and made accessible to the public for generations to come. Also faced with dwindling numbers, the Augustinian nuns have developed an ambitious project to create a living place of memory. Combining heritage buildings with contemporary design, the 42 -million-dollar project includes a museum and archives, hotel and wellness centre. Visitors can stay at the convent, in rooms that were formerly occupied by the nuns in the oldest wings. In 2016their 65-room hotel -museum was named the world’s number one travel experience for a physical and mental reboot by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.