CBC Digital Archives

The Plains of Abraham, 240 years later

The Algonquin called it Québec, or "where the river narrows." On a rocky point high above the St. Lawrence, French explorer Samuel Champlain founded the first permanent French settlement in North America on July 3, 1608. In 2008, Quebec City celebrates the 400th anniversary of Champlain's feat, and the CBC Digital Archives takes a walk through the city's storied streets and its remarkable history.

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In Quebec City, another battle is underway on the Plains of Abraham. Andrew Wolfe Burroughs and Baron Georges Savarin de Marestan, descendents of Wolfe and Montcalm, respectively, are leading volunteers in a light-hearted re-enactment of the famed battle - and this time, the French are victorious. "I'm surprised to feel the passion in Quebec that still surrounds the past," says Savarin de Marestan in this CBC-TV clip. "It's as if the battle was fought last week, not 240 years ago."
• The Plains of Abraham were named for a local farmer, Abraham Martin, who grazed his cattle on the site in the 1630s.

• In 1760, the French attempted to regain Quebec in what became known as the Battle of Ste. Foy. The battle ended in a siege with the British trapped behind garrison walls. Desperately low on supplies, both sides then had to wait for ships from the homeland to bring fresh provisions. The British fleet arrived first, spelling the end for French forces.

• The British then marched to Montreal on the heels of the retreating French. On Sept. 8, 1760, Governor Vaudreuil signed the surrender of New France. Three years later, France officially gave up its North American possessions to Britain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
  
• The National Battlefields Commission made the Plains of Abraham into a park in 1908 to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec.
Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Sept. 12, 1999
Guest(s): Andrew Wolfe Burroughs, Georges Savarin de Marestan
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Tom Kennedy
Duration: 2:34

Last updated: June 18, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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