Did you know that… ?


Many marks and symbols of North America’s History are visible in Old Québec,

making it #1 Canadian destination to discover how

the History of Québec, Canada, France, the U.S.A. and U.K. are intertwined!





Historical Note 3
Did you know that… one can find 2 large scale models of the fortress of Québec in Old Québec?

The most recent model was made in the 1960s by Anthony Price – founder of Musée du Fort – and shows the fortress of Québec around 1750, a decade before the fall of New France. Since 1965, the Price model is the masterpiece of the Musée’s sound and light show, highlighting the 6 military sieges that shaped Québec during the colonial period. On the other hand, the By and Duberger model has been displayed at Québec’s Artillery park since 1981. It was built between 1806 and 1808 before being shipped to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich England until its return to Ottawa Canada in 1908.  What was the purpose of this 900 sq.ft. model?


Scale models for military purposes were widely used in Louis XIV’s  France by military strategists during conflicts and by students in military academies. To a lesser extent, British also built scale models, like the fortresses of Gibraltar and Quebec. In the context of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, that led to the War of 1812 in America, Quebec City needed to improve its defense system by reinforcing the existing French walls and by adding new fortifications.


Only 2 out of 4 steps of military engineer Gother Mann’s plan were approved by London:

1-      adding new walls at the top of the eastern and northern sides of Quebec promontory (still along rue des Remparts but lowered later from 20 ft to 4 ft only),

2-    building a permanent citadel on the highest hill within the walls of Quebec (still there, completed in 1831),


However, local British Governor Craig interrupted those works and imposed his priorities, even if he was not authorized to. His plan included the addition of:

3-    advanced defenses along the French wall on the western side of the city (removed after the 1871 peace treaty with the Americans to free space in order to build the 1870s Parlement de Québec),

4-    4 Martello towers further west on the Plains of Abraham Battlefield (3 still exist, 1 was demolished due to urbanization of Montcalm district).


Not having obtained prior approval by the committee of engineers in London, Craig had the Duberger and By scale model built and shipped to London to justify his actions to the authorities. The 4-step plan was finally accepted and fully completed over a few decades.


Going through 2 major restoration phases in 1909 and 1971, only 1/3 of the original model is now exhibited at Artillery Park near St-John Gate (Porte St-Jean) in Old Québec. The missing parts, representing most of the Plains of Abraham, were destroyed in London before the remaining model was shipped to Ottawa.


For a few dollars, visit Artillery Park and explore Quebec City at the beginning of the 19th Century! Or visit the Musée du Fort where a sound and light show tells the story of the six sieges of Québec City including the famous battle of the Plains of Abraham.



The Price scale model integrated to the Musée du Fort’s Sound and Light Show !

4 Views of the Duberger and By scale model at Artillery Park (a Parks Canada’s site)





Main source : CHARBONNEAU, André. The Model of Quebec, The Fortification of Quebec Series, Booklet No. 1, Parks Canada, 1981, 48 pages.

Other source (in French):


Photo credits: Anick Hébert, Michel Sirois