Friday 5 August 2016

Champlain Statue in Old Quebec

Sculpture honouring "The Father of New France", with Chateau Frontenac in the background, courtesy

French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City in 1608.  Near the present day Chateau Frontenac, he built the Habitation, consisting of a Compagnie des Marchands (trading post) and a wooden building, Fort Saint Louis, where he resided and built a successful settlement.  Champlain established a good relationship with the local Native tribes including the Huron, Algonquin and Montagnais.  For all intents and purposes, the explorer became the first governor of New France.  Champlain went on to explore and map the Great Lakes, the first European to do so.

In a political move, Champlain married a 12 year old bride Helen Boulle, whose father Nicolas Boulle had influence in the royal court.  While the couple did not have any biological children, Champlain adopted three Montagnais girls named Faith, Hope and Charity.

In the 1850's, the St. Jean Baptiste Society of Quebec talked about erecting a monument of Champlain, but did not have the funds to do so.  Finally, in 1890, the group decided to act.  Out of 11 designs and 14 models, a jury chose the one created by the young French sculptor Paul-Romain Chevre.  To the tune of $30,000 Chevre designed a 16 metre high sculpture of Champlain which was erected in 1896.  One Quebec newspaper said it resembled "un gros mousquetaire triste".

Canada Post issued Champlain Statue stamp in 1935 courtesy

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