Historical Day: Law and Disturbances on the Plains

Historical Day: Law and Disturbances on the Plains

Delve into the dark past of this legendary park

Plains of Abraham 1Québec, September 3, 2013 – The National Battlefields Commission invites the general public to attend this year’s historical heritage day, Law and Disturbances on the Plains, held Sunday, September 8, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on the Plains of Abraham. Delve into the dark past of this legendary park and discover some of its shadiest secrets. Meet a variety of characters engaged in some rather unsavoury activities, and witness everything from banditry to vagrancy, debauchery, idleness, military discipline, and punishments as you explore the many historical stations at and around Martello Tower 1. Learn more about artefacts and the story of Marie-Josephte Corrivaux. Enjoy entertainment, music, and period atmosphere punctuated by the cannon and rifle fire of historical re-enactors. And it is free!

Banditry and Vagrancy

Beware of Charles Chambers, an infamous criminal who may attempt to swindle you; say hello to the bowman of the Maréchaussée, New France’s long arm (or bow) of the law; and come face-to-face with the colony’s most feared man of all—the executioner. Find out everything there is to know about how prisoners were arrested, interrogated, and in some cases executed. With the help of a Morrin Centre guide, learn what life was like for the prisoners locked up here.

Debauchery and Idleness

Meet Philomena, an unmarried mother who will try desperately to lure passing men with a promise of a late-night tryst at the city gates. Come hear the guides at Musée du Bon-Pasteur explain how the religious helped women who gave birth to illegitimate children.

Historical Demonstrations

Witness duels between young swordsmen and gunmen willing to put their life on the line for honour. Attend musket-firing and weapon demonstrations by the Quebec Historical Corps (Voltigeurs canadiens) and learn how to load cannons from the historic re-enactment company Canonniers-Bombardiers de Québec.

Military Discipline

Ever wonder what life was like for British soldiers in the Martello Tower? What punishment awaited Private Alexander Sommerville after he failed to obey an officer? A captain will tell you all about it—and try to enlist you in an army in dire need of new recruits!

Religious and Military Orders

The Ursuline Convent, which suffered only minor damage in the bombardments of the 1759 siege of Québec, was used for many purposes by the British. Guides from Musée des Ursulines de Québec will explain the effect British soldiers had on daily life in the convent.

Tavern and Games

For a true taste of New France, stop by the tavern and have a chat with innkeeper Jos Vaillancourt over a frothy mug of beer—spruce beer, that is. While there, try your luck against our resident champion in a game of 9 Men’s Morris or help the cooper make barrels!


Catherine Ferland and Dave Corriveau, historians, authors, and Marie-Josephte Corrivaux specialists will be on hand to tell you more about the history and legends of this woman who still captures our collective imagination 250 years after her execution.

On the roof of Martello Tower 1, archaeologist Maggy Bernier will present Plains of Abraham’ artefacts associated with drinking, hobbies, and games in New France.

Sunday, September 8, 2013
From 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. At and around the Martello Tower 1 Free Information: 418 649-6157 / 1 855 649-6157 www.theplainsofabraham.ca

National Battlefields Commission Press Release

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