This Week in History
The Host that Could and the Country that Would: Canada and the Quebec Conferences, 1943-44
For the week of Monday August 7, 2006
On August 10, 1943, the first Quebec Conference, codenamed "Quadrant," began at the Quebec Citadel and the Château Frontenac in Québec City as part of Allied strategic planning during the Second World War. Evoking the romance and grandeur of a French château, Château Frontenac provided a picturesque backdrop to "Quadrant." The conference lasted until August 24 and was followed by a second Quebec Conference, at the same locations, from September 11 to 16, 1944.
Despite being held in Québec and hosted by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada did not participate in either conference. As Churchill represented the Commonwealth, representation from individual Commonwealth nations was unnecessary. Although uninvited, Canadians were certainly involved. The Quebec Conferences determined the course of the Allied war, of which significant contributors were the Commonwealth nations, including Canada. For instance, "Operation Overlord" resulted in the Canadian assault on “Juno” Beach on June 6, 1944 that began the Normandy Campaign. While pushing into Normandy, battles including Caën and Verrières Ridge, took the lives of nearly 12,000 Canadians. Canada was also a great producer of war supplies for the Allies. Among other items, Canada produced tanks, large aircraft such as the Lancaster bomber, and munitions. In addition, Canada provided financial assistance to Britain, amounting approximately $3.1 billion. Despite greatly contributing to the war effort,
The significant world conferences set in Québec determined the course of the Second World War. For this reason, the Quebec Conferences became a National Historic Event in 1947. The Quebec Citadel and the Château Frontenac, the sites of these summits, became National Historic Sites in 1980 and 1981 respectively. For serving his country for almost 22 years as Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King became a National Historic Person in 1967.
To learn more about William Lyon Mackenzie King, please read this story on the Parks Canada Web site: A King is Born!
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