Hôtel-Dieu de Québec National Historic Site of Canada

Québec, Quebec
Aerial view of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec during the last quarter of the 20th century. © Parcs Canada | Parks Canada
Aerial view
© Parcs Canada | Parks Canada
Exterior view of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, showing the monastery garden and a lateral 19th-century addition, 2004. © Parcs Canada | Parks CanadaInterior view of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, showing an interior corridor with period detailing and decoration, 2004. © Parcs Canada | Parks CanadaAerial view of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec during the last quarter of the 20th century. © Parcs Canada | Parks Canada
Address : 11 Côte du Palais, Québec, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1936-05-28
  • 1695 to 1936 (Construction)
  • 1756 to 1756 (Significant)
  • 1800 to 1803 (Significant)
  • 1809 to 1809 (Significant)
  • 1930 to 1931 (Significant)
  • 1936 to 1936 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Pierre Lévesque  (Architect)
  • Beaulé and Morissette  (Architect)
  • Father Desjardins  (Architect)
  • Thomas Baillairgé  (Architect)
  • Raphaël Giroux  (Architect)
  • François de Lajouë  (Architect)
  • Jacques Desguise dit Flamand  (Builder)
  • François Charlery, Pierre Émond, Raphaël Giroux  (Builder)
Other Name(s):
  • Hôtel-Dieu de Québec  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2002-SDC/CDE-069


Existing plaque:  11 Côte du Palais, Quebec

Founded on 16 August 1637 by the Duchess of Aiguillon and the religious order of the Augustines Hospitalières of Dieppe, the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec was the first permanent hospital established north of Mexico. As soon as they arrived in Canada in 1639, the sisters dedicated themselves to the relief of human suffering. The stone walls of Hôtel-Dieu still enclose a hospital, a monastery and a church, as well as a garden and a cemetery, all evidence of the life of this once cloistered community committed to its nursing mission for over 350 years.

Description of Historic Place

Hôtel-Dieu de Québec National Historic Site of Canada is a large religious complex and hospital located in the heart of Old Québec, Québec. Founded in 1637, it is now one of the most important hospitals in Quebec. The site includes interconnected structures that range in date from 1695 to 2001. The vaulted cellars that support the three-storey wings were built in 1695. Stone walls surround an adjoining Augustine cemetery, monastery, garden and cloister. Opened in 1803, the hospital chapel had its interior and façade remodelled in later years by Thomas Baillairgé. Official recognition refers to the institution as a whole as it stood in 1936.

Heritage Value

The Hôtel-Dieu de Québec was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1936 because: it was the first permanent hospital established in North America north of Mexico; and, the Soeurs Augustines Hospitalières de la Miséricorde de Jésus have worked there for more than 350 years to alleviate human suffering.

The Duchess D’Aiguillon founded the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec on August 16th 1637. The Augustines, Hotel-Dieu’s religious community, came to the City of Québec in 1639 to establish a hospital to provide physical and spiritual comfort to those in need. In 1644 they moved to the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec’s present site. The Hôtel-Dieu de Québec quickly became the main civil and military hospital of New France. The complex gradually evolved incorporating new additions and in 1855 was designated a university hospital. In 1995 the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec merged with two other hospitals to become the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec. The Augustine Nursing Sisters remain at the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include: its location as an integral element of Old Québec; the spatial arrangement of the buildings around a central courtyard, reflecting the characteristic arrangements of monastic orders; the construction materials and their treatment, the construction techniques, architectural styles, arrangement of open spaces, all evocative of the evolutive character of the site, and of its monastic and medical purposes; the varied massing of elements dating from different periods, including three, three storey 18th-century wings that are set over a vaulted cellar, a chapel, monastery, lateral 19th-century additions and early 20th-century additions; the landscape features, including the walled cemetery, garden and cloister; the formal composition of the three wings all rebuilt above ground level in stone around 1756, the regular placement of doors and windows, the period detailing and decoration, the wall cupboards and doors with original hardware, and the period attics with massive elaborate roof framing; the main stair that is square framed with knobs and pendant drops after the 17th-century manner; the early 19th-century hospital chapel (1800-1803) designed by Father Desjardins with façade and interior later remodelled by Thomas Baillairgé, the interior details, fittings and finishes including the original elaborate altar tabernacle and retable, and the sculptured wall panelling. the integrity of the associated collection of books and objects, and the integrity of the associated archival collection; the integrity of the archaeological resources which are presumed to exist on the site.