Graveyards such as the world-famous Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris are popular destinations for visitors interested in history, monuments, and famous characters, and Québec City cemeteries are no exception. The city and region invite you to discover its most important burial sites.
Marked with a simple cross, the Côte de la Montagne Cemetery in Old Québec harks back to the days of early French settlers in North America. Nearby, the Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica-Cathedral houses the funeral chapel of New France’s first bishop, François de Laval, and a crypt containing the remains of about 900 people who have been buried in the Cathedral over the years, including four governors of New France and almost all the Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops of Québec.
Also in the historic district, the Hôpital-Général Cemetery is eloquent testimony to the Augustine sisters’ dedication to the sick and their role in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). A monument commemorates the fallen and a mausoleum is dedicated to Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, commander of the armies of New France.
Located near the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain in front of the Maison des Jésuites de Sillery (1637), the Indian Cemetery recalls the Jesuits’ mission to convert and settle First Nations peoples.
The Beth Israel Ohev Sholom Cemetery on boulevard René-Lévesque was established by Québec City’s Jewish community in the mid-19th century. In the parish of Saint-Roch, local cemeteries have disappeared but burials still take place in the crypt , which is open to visitors in summer.
In the heart of Faubourg Saint-Jean (neighbourhood) is St. Matthew’s Cemetery, an exceptional urban cemetery where an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 Anglicans and Presbyterians were buried between 1772 and 1860. As in many older burial sites, most were buried in unmarked graves, but some 314 tombstones bearing 518 inscriptions remain. A free iPhone application available through App Store takes visitors on a visit of the cemetery with historian David Mendel. The guided tour is complemented by musical sound effects, archive documents and recent photographs by Luc-Antoine Couturier.
Québec City also boasts two major garden cemeteries, Mount Hermon Cemetery and Saint-Charles Cemetery . Both are masterpieces of landscaping and feature remarkable funeral monuments from the 19th and 20th centuries. A stroll along their shady paths provides a glimpse into the history of anglophone, francophone and allophone residents of Québec and evokes great figures and tragic events of the past.
The cemetery in Saint-Pierre-de-l'Île-d'Orléans near Québec City attracts many fans of the legendary singer Félix Leclerc. Shoes are sometimes left at the tombstone of the composer of one of Québec’s most popular songs, Moi, mes souliers… (“My shoes…”)
The Grosse-Île National Historic Site was a quarantine station which, over a period of 105 years, received thousands of immigrants. Over 7,500 of them, mostly Irish, died and were buried on the island. From May to October, Grosse-Île is accessible by boat from Québec City, Lévis, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Île d’Orléans and Berthier-sur-Mer.