Wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary National Historic Site of Canada

Baie-Trinité, Quebec
Submarine view of the wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary, 1997. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M.-A. Bernier, 1997)
Submarine view
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M.-A. Bernier, 1997)
Address : L'Anse-aux-Bouleaux, Baie-Trinité, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1997-09-22
  • 1690 to 1690 (Significant)
  • 1995 to 1995 (Significant)
  • 1996 to 1997 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Sir William Phips  (Person)
  • Marc Tremblay  (Person)
Other Name(s):
  • Wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary  (Designation Name)
  • Wreck of Anse aux Bouleaux  (Other Name)
  • Phips-Frontenac Wreck  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: 2006-CED-SDC-031


Existing plaque:  27 Route 138, Baie-Trinité, Quebec

The Elizabeth and Mary, found as a wreck in 1994 in l’Anse aux Bouleaux at Baie-Trinité, was one of the vessels belonging to Sir William Phips’ fleet that besieged Québec City in 1690 during King William’s War. One of four ships that were lost returning home after a disastrous campaign, the 45-ton barque carried provisions and a company of militiamen from Dorchester, Massachusetts. A rare example of a 17th-century barque, the wreck and its rich archaeological collection provide a wealth of information on the lives of those on board and on shipbuilding in North America.

Description of Historic Place

Wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary National Historic Site of Canada is an underwater archaeological site located on the seabed of Anse aux Bouleaux, not far from Baie-Trinité, in the Côte-Nord region of Québec. It is comprised of a section of the Elizabeth and Mary’s hull above and around which were found more than 4,000 artifacts that sank with the ship in 1690. These artifacts, witnesses of Sir William Phips’ tentative invasion of Québec in 1690, were taken from the site and are now preserved by the Centre de conservation du Québec. Official recognition refers to the wreck’s artifacts and its initial location 100 metres from the shoreline in a 200-radius perimeter without exceeding the high water mark on the shoreline.

Heritage Value

Wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1996. This site is designated because: it is indeed one of the ships of Sir William Phips’ fleet and most likely that of the Elizabeth and Mary.

The historic value of this site resides in the survival of the ship’s remains found in their initial location. The wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary is an important discovery for the history of Canada because it is one of the rare witnesses to the ill-fated expedition led by Sir William Phips in Québec in 1690.

In 1689, during the war between France and England, New France had proposed a plan to conquer New York in order to take control of the fur trade and fishing territories in North America. The various raids undertaken at the time caused panic among the population of these colonies who decided to organize an expedition to seize New France. In August 1690, a fleet of 32 ships left Nantasket, situated at the south entrance of Boston Bay, to attack Québec. The expedition failed and the fleet renounced its project of taking the City of Québec. During the voyage back, the fleet was struck by smallpox and a series of storms. Four ships and two companies were completely lost at sea.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1996 and October 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: the original location of the Elizabeth and Mary wreck in the St. Lawrence River, on the seabed of Anse-aux-Bouleaux, not far from Baie-Trinité, in the Côte-Nord region of Québec; the continued association of the site with the collection of more than 4,000 perfectly preserved artifacts found during the dives which relate to the navigation, armament, food, clothing, hygiene and the living conditions of the expedition, removed for research, and in storage and on display to the public; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains associated with the wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary, which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent.

Centre de conservation du Québec in the City of Québec (location of more than 4,000 artifacts removed from Wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary National Historic Site of Canada)