This Week in History
A Wedding at the “New Château St. Louis”
For the week of Monday August 29, 2011
On August 30, 1797, Rebecca Prescott and Captain John Baldwin were married at the “New Château St. Louis” (or Château Haldimand) in Quebec City. Rebecca’s father, Robert Prescott, was Governor General and commander of the British forces in North America from 1796 until 1799, and Captain Baldwin was his aide-de-camp, or assistant.
The story of the original Château Saint-Louis begins when Samuel de Champlain chose to build a fort on this site in 1620. Its strategic location on a plateau provided natural protection and its proximity to the St. Lawrence River allowed the colony to trade with ease. Charles Huault de Montmagny, the first official governor of the colony, built the château in 1648. As the colony’s capital, Quebec City continued to house governors of New France and British North America for almost 200 years.
A fire devastated the restored Château Saint-Louis in 1834 and, in 1892, the Château Haldimand was demolished to make way for the Château Frontenac, which was built during the following year. The Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux was designated a National Historic Site in 2001, and is part of the larger Walls and Fortifications of Québec. Parks Canada conducted archaeological excavations between 1981 and 2011 that revealed an astonishing four forts, two châteaux, two gardens and three terraces at the site, a centrepiece of Québec’s more than 400-year history. The Château Frontenac was designated a National Historic Site in 1980. Samuel de Champlain, the “Father of New France,” and Louis de Buade (Count of Frontenac) were designated National Historic Persons in 1929 and 1974 respectively.
For more information on the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux, please see its webpage on the Parks Canada Archeological Discoveries website. To read more stories about Old Québec, please visit: Castle Life, Americans Attack!, Québec Fortifications Unique in North America, The Creation of the Battlefields Park, and The First Intendant of New France in the This Week in History archives.
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