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Port Dover, Ontario
April 5, 2004
The park offers 108 hectares of meadow and grassy knolls, along with a wide array of activities and exhibits to explore its historical past. It was here that the reversal of fortunes of the French and English occurred, when in 1759 General Wolfe's English forces defeated the French, under General Montcalm, in a battle on the Plains. The cultural significance is undeniably poignant as tensions between English and French Canada are still alive and well to this day.
Many exhibits exploring the history of the region are available within the park, and one of the best is the Canada Odyssey, located in the Discovery Pavilion, 835 Wilfred-Laurier Avenue. The multimedia exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to learn how the Plains of Abraham have shaped Canada's identity, geography, fauna and flora, and meteorological and scientific development.
The Interpretation Centre, located in the Baillairgé Pavilion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (east entry, by the Museum's parking), is another excellent exhibit that details the military history of Quebec City and the battles of 1759-60 with multimedia presentations and exhibits. An excellent display of military life in 1759-60 has recently opened and offers the points of view of both English and French soldiers. I would recommend visiting the centre before venturing out into the park so that you may better understand the significance of the site as you walk, ski, bike, etc. around.
From journal The most European of Canadian cities
June 25, 2003
The Interpretation Center details the history of the battle for Quebec and the history of Battlefield Park itself. Originally part of the holdings of Abraham Martin (thus the name plains of Abraham) another of my ancestors; this area has been a vital part of Quebec’s history. A mural by Aline Martineau details the many phases that the park has gone through. It was the site of the death by hanging of Marie Joseph Corriveau who is rumored to have murdered her second husband, her body was then exposed in a cage for 40 days. Between 1763 and 1810 120 others suffered the same fate.
This is not as slick a multimedia show as the Quebec Odyssey. Part of the time you are standing and listening to the narrative. We moved from display to display and we had to be careful to make sure that the other adults with us let Alex have a view of the visual part. There are two areas where you actually sit through the presentation. The complete audio tape takes 45 minutes.
To get to the Interpretation center you enter the Musee de Quebec, which is in one corner of Battlefield Park. The Baillairge Pavillion which houses the Interpretation Center is the former Plains Jail. The Musee de Quebec has free entrance for the regular galleries; special exhibits are $10. Even if you just visit the galleries take one of the museum pins; it will get you a discount at the Interpretation Center. Entrance was $2.50 for adults, free for children with the pin, $3.50 without.
When you finish the audio tour, take the time to look through the displays. There is a lot of additional information. This is a very interesting tour and Alex in particular gained a lot of knowledge about the history of Quebec. This is probably not interesting for very small children since there is quite a lot of reading also involved.
Parking is available along the road with parking meters or there is a parking lot with attendant on the east end of the building.
From journal Quebec with Alex
June 14, 2002
The multimedia part of the exhibit is located in three rooms. You sit down on a bench and place headphones on your head. You can adjust the volume and it is offered in a choice of 4 languages: English, French, Spanish and Japanese. Your hosts are Generals Montcalm and Wolfe, with an appearance by Abraham Martin. The characters appear as holograms.
We listen as both of the generals are interviewed and both give their slant on the history of the land known as Kebec. There is lots of history and a little humor thrown in. General Montcalm tells General Wolfe he knows that he isn’t a tourist because he doesn’t have a reservation. The lesson begins with Jacques Cartier and goes through the 1982 when the Canadian Constitution was returned from England.
I found it well-done and very educational. It was light and the format was interesting. One thing I found particularly interesting and disturbing was the sense of paranoia when it comes to the United States. British Columbia was promised a railroad within 10 years to keep it from joining the U.S., and there appears to be a general fear that the U.S. wants to annex Canada. I found this troubling; after all, I don’t think we have invaded since 1776!
In the third room there is an animatronic reporter named Walter who buzzes quickly through two world wars and Canada’s independence. There is a subtle emphasis on French Canadians' disapproval of conscription.
After that part ends, you go through an educational exhibit on the flora and fauna of Canada. You can sit and listen at some of the exhibits, and others have computer screens and mouses. There are also displays on some famous Canadians in the sciences. I sat at one computer and mapped the longitude of Quebec. Kids will love this area.
We were able to see the exhibit at the family rate of $20. When I asked the guide in the lobby, she said that many people compare it to the "Quebec Experience," but think theirs is better. It is a more comprehensive lesson than the "Quebec Experience," which is a bit more of a show and less of a lesson. If you can only see one, I would recommend this one, especially if you have children.
From journal Je me Souviens-Quebec City
November 29, 2000
From journal Quebec City: A Love Story
August 27, 2000
The Battlefields are a beautiful recreational spot right in the city much like Central Park is to New York. There are fountains and flower gardens and huge expanses of lawn to picnic and play frisbee on. There is also a great network of trails and park roads weaving through the park which are great for rollerblading, running, or biking. If your not feeling quite that active you can relax in the back of a horse drawn carriage or take the bus tour of the park.
It would be easy to spend a whole day taking in the views of the city on one side of the park and the river on the other. I was there in the summer but I imagine the fall foliage on the rivers banks is an amazing sight.
From journal Quebec for a day