Since 1688


At the heart of the oldest Catholic diocese in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is the oldest building in Quebec and Canada which still stands as a unique building which serves exclusively as a church.

The church was built in 1687-1688 on the site of the second “habitation” of Champlain, founder of Quebec City, and on a part of the remnants of the King's storehouse, destroyed by fire in 1682.

Msgr de Laval's Idea

Monsignor François de Laval is behind the construction of this small church in Lower Town, which is a complement of Quebec City's Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Back then, the access to Upper Town from Lower Town was much more difficult than today, and the construction of the small chapel aims to better serve the parishioners.

Origins of the Name

It was named Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire in 1690, following English Amiral William Phips' decision to retreat, him and his fleet of 30 ships carrying 3000 men, after trying to take possession of Quebec City. This retreat was attributed to favors from the Virgin Mary.

In 1711, the church was renamed Notre-Dame-des-Victoires after the dispersion of another British fleet, this one commanded by Amiral Hovenden Walker.

The sea unleashes its fury on Amiral Walker

On August 22, 1711, an English fleet counting 77 ships and over 17,000 men was faced with a severe storm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Nature unleashed its fury and sent a good part of the vessels of the English fleet to break on Île aux Oeufs. Commander Walker and his troops barely managed to turn back towards Boston.

You can read in the annals of the Ursulines that the chapel of 1690 then changed its name from Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire to Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, a reminder of the Mother of God's double favor. This divine power will also be presented as a STAR OF THE SEA with the power to raise storms that help to take out the enemies of its beloved people.


Illustration of the taking of Quebec on September 13, 1759, by Hervey Smyth (Department of National Defence of Canada Library).

On August 9, 1759, the church was destroyed by the British during the bombardments of Lower Town that preceded the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.


Jean Baillairgé, master carpenter, restored the sacristy in 1762 and worked the following year to raise the church from ruins.

July 1929

The Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church was among the first three monuments classified by the Commission of Historic Monuments of the province of Quebec, hence the accreditation providing for its protection.

January 1988

Notre-Dame-de-Victoires was designed as a national historic site by the Government of Canada on January 1st, 1988.

Extract of
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires - The Oldest Church in Quebec

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires - The Oldest Church in Quebec image circuit

Presented by : Paroisse Notre-Dame de Québec
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