Tag Archives: January 10 2024

LHSQ president Gina Farnell, Lt.-Gov. J. Michel Doyon, Morrin Centre executive director Barry McCullough and former LHSQ president David Blair gather in the library at the beginning of the evening’s events. (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)

LHSQ celebrates 200 years of history and literature

LHSQ celebrates 200 years of history and literature

Shirley Nadeau


The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (LHSQ), the oldest existing learned society in Canada, founded on Jan. 6, 1824, celebrated its bicentenary this past week. The Morrin Centre, which is managed by the LHSQ, held a members-only event in the library featuring a lively talk by author Louisa Blair and a concert, among other activities.

LHSQ president Gina Farnell delivered opening remarks, saying, “Here I am, a French-mother-tongue woman, born and raised in Quebec City, and president of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Two hundred years ago when the LHSQ was founded, I suspect most members were English-speaking men, although French speakers were invited to join. Members were most likely prominent businessmen, military officers or scholars. Look at us all gathered this evening: we come from all walks of life, different mother-tongue speakers and all genders. The English-speaking community of Quebec City is very much alive and kicking. As I like to tell visitors, there is a vibrant English-speaking community here. Anglophones here are integrated, not assimilated.”

Farnell also spoke of other longstanding English-language institutions such as “St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity just down the street, which are both over 220 years of age. Saint Brigid’s Home and Jeffery Hale Hospital – not quite 200 years old – are pillars of the English-speaking community. And there is the LHSQ – from a learned society to a vibrant cultural centre and library. Let the celebrations begin!”

Lt.-Gov. J. Michel Doyon congratulated the society for its many achievements. City councillor Mélissa Coulombe-Leduc also delivered remarks on the historic occasion.

After a short concert by a string quartet from the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, LHSQ member Louisa Blair, author of The Anglos, The Hidden Face of Quebec City; Iron Bars & Bookshelves: A History of the Morrin Centre and The Calf with Two Heads: Transatlantic Natural History in the Canadas, regaled those gathered in College Hall with tales of the history of the LHSQ, which included a slide presentation. She pointed out that “when the Lit & Hist celebrated its first 100 years, in 1924, the Society had 250 members, 30,000 books and a budget of a few hundred dollars. Now, in 2024, we have 2,500 members. The library has about the same number of books, and the whole thing has a budget of over a million.” She finished by remembering Sovita Chander, the society’s president from 2012 to 2016, “whom we tragically lost last year … Originally from Malaysia, Sovita was the second woman president of the Lit & Hist and the first president of colour.”

Kathleen Hulley, the head of library and collections at the Morrin Centre, spoke about the Morrin Centre’s latest publication, a booklet entitled Reading the Objects Around Us: A Guide to the LHSQ Library. “At the 200-year mark, we are at an ideal moment to reflect on where we’ve come from and how we see ourselves moving forward. We have a duty to preserve and care for what we have in our collections,” she said.

Cultural heritage co-ordinator Anthony Arata unveiled the Morrin Centre tartan that he designed for the LHSQ to celebrate its 200th anniversary and its contribution to preserving Scottish heritage and culture in Canada. Arata also introduced two new Morrin Centre tea blends created by La Maison des 100 thés, “Domestic Chemistry” and “Poet’s Dream,” which were served at the end of the evening along with a birthday cake.

Throughout the coming year, the LHSQ will hold many events to mark the anniversary. The celebrations are just beginning!

LHSQ president Gina Farnell, Lt.-Gov. J. Michel Doyon, Morrin Centre executive director Barry McCullough and former LHSQ president David Blair gather in the library at the beginning of the evening’s events. (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)
Kathleen Hulley, head of library and collections at the Morrin Centre, stands behind a display of historic books and a pile of 150 books that represents the approximate number in the collection of the LHSQ in 1831 when the Society printed its first catalogue. The library now has over 28,000 books. (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)

LETTERS: New Year’s greetings from across the country; tramway and school reform thoughts

LETTERS: New Year’s greetings from across the country; tramway and school reform thoughts

Dear Editor, 

Thanks for the photo of the [Robert Wakeham] Pilot painting of Quebec (“Historic paintings of Quebec City on display in Montreal,” Dec. 20). He was an excellent landscape painter. I guess the view of the skating rink on [Dufferin] Terrace could be called ”improvised” in that there was no signs of it in the summer, as there was and is of the toboggan slide. However, in its time, it was a very organized winter feature. I know because my father – abnormal as it was – lived in the Château Frontenac for a few years in the winter time in the late 1920s. He (tall) and his pal (not tall) had a job entertaining people on the rink, as a couple of clowns.

As one of your Alberta subscribers, congratulations to the QCT team for your consistently good job.


Dennis Apedaile



Dear Editor, 

I left Quebec City in the late ‘60s. Work had me all across this country, and I settled in southern Ontario, but Quebec City always remained home. While I did get back to my hometown annually, it was difficult to keep up to date with all that was going on. Fortunately, a year ago I discovered the digital version of the QCT. It not only brings back many wonderful memories, but keeps me up to date. Thanks for what you did!

Bruce West



Dear Editor, 

I’m reading the Dec. 20 QCT. It’s fun to see the reference to the Chateau Ramezay exhibit about Quebec City (“Historic paintings of Quebec City on display in Montreal”) and the photos of all the contributors on page 11. And it’s a twelve-page paper! 

Happy New Year to all!

Helen Meredith



Dear Editor, 

Further to “Could tramway pause be beneficial?” (Nov. 22, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12): More questions have since been raised, without obtaining a satisfactory public answer :

  • The loss of on-street parking. The tram project will remove a considerable number of on-street parking spaces. During the consultations by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), the Ville de Québec said it would come back with the solutions to allay the sudden loss of so many spaces. No [further] information has since been circulated. 
  • The use of the rail lines during the night to place the railcars at the railhead in the morning (5 a.m.) and to bring them back to the garage after 1 a.m. risks disturbing the sleep of thousands of residents (the project of a garage on 41e Rue was jettisoned but could make a comeback).
  • The installation of tactile warning strips to alert visually impaired people about the possibility of danger, which is in itself a positive move, is not applied uniformly and could possibly disorient people with limited vision.  No information has been provided to show this confusion has been resolved. 
  • With global warming, it is expected that the St. Lawrence River will rise and that the southwest part of the Limoilou district, near the Saint Charles River, will be flooded.  How has the tramway project taken this into account? 

One can thus dream of a means of transit greatly improved! The extension towards Charlesbourg could be accomplished fairly easily, since the studies have already been undertaken. An extension toward Lebourgneuf will require much more than a simple line on a map – for example, it needs to cross both the Saint Charles River and a freeway at the same time!

Paul Mackey*

Quebec City

*The writer is an urban mobility consultant and former city councillor. 


Dear Editor, 

A comment made by former MNA Robert Libman in his Jan. 6 column in the Montreal Gazette regarding rulings made by francophone judges on matters related to the anglophone community warrants concern.

He wrote that it was “impactful” that a francophone judge “smacked down the Legault government regarding Bill 40 on English school boards.”

It is important to examine the implications of such comments, specifically in regard to the potential implications for the relationship between the two linguistic groups. Let’s analyze.

The governance of Quebec’s public education system has been a matter of debate for years. 

In 2015, former Liberal premier Philippe Couillard introduced Bill 86 in an effort to restructure the province’s anachronistic education system. The bill aimed to shift the “centre of gravity” of the system toward schools, teachers and parents, granting them greater autonomy and control over the direction of their children’s education. 

The Quebec English School Boards Association launched a campaign threatening to challenge in court the violation of minority-language educational rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The threat was effective; the bill collapsed. 

In 2019, the CAQ government introduced school board reform Bill 40. The matter is currently wending its way through the judicial system. 

These challenges have caused an ethical issue that strikes at the heart of our Canadian values of democracy and equality. 

At present, there exists a notable discrepancy in the compensation received by English-speaking commissioners serving on school boards and their French-speaking counterparts on service centre boards, despite performing equivalent duties.

Also, directors are not permitted to run for municipal offices as councillors and mayors, whereas commissioners have the liberty to do so. I believe these factors threaten to erode the very fabric of Quebec society.

That said, we must ensure fair treatment for all, regardless of background.

Chris Eustace*


*The writer is a retired teacher


Our Walk on the Wild Side columnist Lise Lafond snapped this photo of a blue jay enjoying seeds in her yard in spring 2023. Send us your best photos this year and they may be published and entered in a provincewide competition! (Photo by Lise Lafond from QCT archives)

NOTICE TO READERS: Share your best photos of 2024 with the QCT and win!

NOTICE TO READERS: Share your best photos of 2024 with the QCT and win! QCT staff Our friends at the Quebec Community News- papers Association (QCNA) have announced an interesting…

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Families enjoyed racing down the toboggan run on Dufferin Terrace on New Year’s Eve. Long lines of people waited for their turn to take an exhilarating ride down the historic slide that was built in 1884. Speeds of up to 70 km/h can be attained! (SN) (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)

Sliding into the New Year on Dufferin Terrace

Sliding into the New Year on Dufferin Terrace…

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