3 July

Quebec, from a drawing by Champlain

Champlain Establishes Colony at Quebec

It was de Monts who fitted out the expedition that was responsible for the founding of Quebec on July 3, 1608. There were three ships; one went to Port Royal to revive the original community, while Champlain took the other two to Quebec. On the way up the St. Lawrence, they had to fight their way past Basque traders at Tadoussac.

Champlain had brought competent workmen and, taking advantage of the abundant timber, they built a habitation of which Champlain left a drawing. The three wooden buildings, each of two stories, with a gallery around the second storey, were protected by a ditch, 15 feet wide and 6 feet deep. Champlain mounted a cannon as a further safeguard because the Indians heard the news of his arrival through their uncanny "woodlands telegraph," and came in thousands to see what was going on. Perhaps they weren't so different from the "sidewalk superintendents" who like to watch new buildings going up today!

Champlain's greatest danger at that time was within his own ranks. While he was working on a garden, a river pilot asked to speak to him alone. He told Champlain that there was a conspiracy to end the French fur trading monopoly. The plan was to sound an alarm at night and shoot Champlain when he appeared. Then Quebec would be handed over to the Basques or to Spain.

Champlain learned who the leaders of the conspiracy were and was amazed to find that even his personal attendant was involved. He invited the conspirators to a festival at which he served wine. He then had them seized and put on trial. Three men were sent back to France to face trial there, and were later executed. Another man, locksmith Duval, was hanged at. Quebec. His head was exhibited on a pole as a warning to others who might get ideas.

In 1908 there was a stirring ceremony at Quebec celebrating the tri-centennial anniversary of its founding. Chief among the visitors was the heir to the throne, who later became King George V. British and American warships, decorated by day and lit by night, added to the majesty of the scene, dominated by the stone cliff and Citadel of Canada's oldest city.


3 July

-1717    The building of the fortress of Louisburg began.

-1754    George Washington, then a British officer, attacked a French force at Fort Necessity and was forced to retreat.

-1770    The first ordination of a Presbyterian minister in Canada took place at Halifax.

-1797    The Law Society of Upper Canada was established by a statute.

-1814    Fort Erie, Ontario, was captured by an American force.

-1876    The Inter-colonial Railway was completed between Halifax and Rivière-du-Loup.