The night we arrived in Quebec, we took a walking ghost tour of the city. While it was hard to be spooked by the stories under the bright summer sun, it was a perfect way to explore the city and learn about its early history. Definitely not too scary for kids, ours found the tales of people dying a little sad, not frightening. Our guide definitely got into her role, telling us about the execution of Jean Duval for his attempted assassination of Samuel de Champlain, the Father of New France. “To set an example…Jean Duval was hanged and strangled and his head put on a stake to be exhibited in the most prominent part of our fort…to set an example for those remaining, that they wisely fulfill their duty in the future, and that the Basques and Spaniards of whom there were many thereabouts could not repossess it.”
Walking along the St. Lawrence, we learned about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland after a collision with another boat. Within 10 minutes, the boat lurched to its side before sinking taking 1,012 of the 1,477 people on board with it. Even today, we were told, there is a chillevery time you pass the spot where the boat sank…
Of course no good spooky tour is complete without a witch! Despite an official recording of death by horses’ hooves, rumors and gossip of murder of her second spread rapidly through the neighborhood. Inspite of the official finding, Marie-Josephte Corriveau was sentenced to death by a military tribunal held in the Ursuline Convent shown below. With each retelling, the story has continued to grow. Now, instead of killing One husband she has killed seven husbands who had discovered she was a witch. She was accused of vowing that a grave would not hold her and urban legends and tales grew from there….
The tour finished at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, where we entered the nave in complete darkness and listened by the light of a single candle to the mysterious origins of the lady in the balcony who was seen by Queen Elisabeth II in 1964…..
This was a great way to learn about the city and get our bearings. The scariness was just enough to be fun for the children, but too much to give them nightmares.
Things to know
Starting at 8:00 pm, the tours are $20 for adults and children under 10 are free.
Oh-and remember to wear a good pair of walking shoes!