This spacious urban park was once the site of fierce clashes between the British and French empires.
Created more than a hundred years ago, Battlefields Park is one of Canada’s natural historic parks. These days, both locals and visitors come here to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Within the park’s 255 acres (103 hectares), you’ll find landscaped gardens, an arboretum, monuments, fountains, skiing trails and riverfront views.
The park’s location on high ground above the St. Lawrence River made it a key stronghold for the defense of Québec. Battlefields Park encompasses the Plains of Abraham, the site of a decisive 1759 clash between the French and British armies that determined the country’s fate. The battle led to the French ceding control of Canada to the British.
Traces of the park’s military past are seen in some of the surviving fortifications, including the Martello Towers. Enter Martello Tower 1 for the exhibition on the towers’ history, organized each summer. Your ticket includes the use of an iPad, which you can point at different parts of the tower to see animations and maps superimposed on the walls. Browse the museum at the Discovery Pavilion and watch Odyssey, a multimedia presentation charting the history of the Plains of Abraham and its epic battles.
After taking in the history, climb up the Grey Terrace in the south of the park for views of the river. Venture northwards and follow the scents of thousands of plants in the Joan of Arc Garden. Stop by the arboretum with 28 tree species from all over the world. In summer, hiking the park’s long trails is a great way to get fit.
Winter in Québec brings heavy snowfalls, and Battlefields Park offers various wintersports. Go cross-country skiing, ice skating or tobogganing. These activities are free if you bring your own gear. The ski season usually runs from the middle of December until the end of March.
Battlefields Park is in the Upper Town of Old Québec, only a few minutes’ walking distance of Château Frontenac. If you are driving, visit the website of The National Battlefields Commission for parking facilities and directions.