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Parliament of Canada (Montmorency Park)

Parc Montmorency
Credit: Parks Canada / Jean Jolin

In 1949, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) recognized Montmorency Park as a site of national historic significance since it was the seat of the Parliament of the Province of Canada. Today an urban park, it is part of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site.

On this site on the heights of Québec City close to the Château Saint-Louis (recognized by the HSMBC in 2002), Bishop Saint-Vallier (recognized in 1990) built the Episcopal Palace in 1693–95. From 1777 the building served a new function: rented by the government, it housed the Legislative Council of Governor Guy Carleton (recognized in 1974) and, from 1791 to 1838, the Lower Canada House of Assembly. This is where the first patent for a Canadian invention was issued, in 1824 (recognized in 1923).

The building was purchased by the government in 1831, when a wing was added to the palace and the chapel was demolished to leave space for the main chamber of Parliament. Québec City lost its status as capital in 1840 but regained it in 1850, alternating with Toronto. To accommodate the Parliament of Canada, what remained of the Episcopal Palace was demolished and replaced with a new wing in 1852–53. Construction was scarcely finished when fire destroyed the building in 1854, forcing Parliament to sit in another location. A new building was erected in 1859–60 and officially opened by the Prince of Wales; here Parliamentary sessions were held from 1860 to 1865. In 1864 this was the site of the Québec Conference, a first step toward Canadian Confederation. After 1867, the new provincial government occupied the building until it was destroyed by fire in 1883.