What’s the New france festival?

It’s a unique and festive historical event showcasing 17th and 18th century America.

Celebrate québec city in its major historical role…

Thanks to its historical and entertaining atmosphere, its numerous activities for gourmets and its conferences, shows, reenactments and lectures, the TD New France Festival celebrates with both pomp and humour the historical period that gave to Québec city its major role in the history of the continent. Hundreds of artists, crafters and interpreters bring life to this rich cultural heritage. Festive, historical, gastronomical are thus the three words that summarize the idea behind this festival.

This year, exploration, celebration and discovery reign supreme!

At the Festival, you will be immersed in the New France era: 18th century soldiers stand guard as merchants do business on the shopping streets. There’s no better reason to savour summer every day thanks to the great barbecue and to numerous local products tasting kiosks. And why not celebrate lovely summer evenings to the sound of our music shows at the TD Stage?

A bit of history

1534 - Discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier

New France was founded during the age of the great European discoveries in the 16th century. On a voyage of exploration, Frenchman Jacques Cartier landed in North America and “discovered” the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The territory was already populated by indigenous peoples, who called the land “Canada.” In 1534 Cartier erected a cross at Gaspé and claimed Canada in the name of the king of France.

1608 - Quebec founding by Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain, considered the founder of New France, built a habitation in what would later become Québec City, making it his base for trade and other economic ventures. French colonists began to settle in the St. Lawrence Valley and Acadia.

1620-1670 - Establishment of the first cities

The early settlers played a major role in New France’s development by introducing newcomers from France to the land, climate, and the aboriginal nations who made North America their home. As European explorers ventured further and further afield, trade thrived and new towns and trading posts sprang up.

Early 18th century - French North America reached its peak

Its boundaries had expanded considerably to encompass over half of the continent, extending all the way from Hudson Bay to Louisiana, and including a goodly portion of the present day Maritime provinces, the entire St. Lawrence Valley, the Great Lakes Basin, and the Mississippi Valley.

1713 - Treaty of Utrecht

The British colonies, already a threat, became too populous and encircled New France. In 1713, France ceded Newfoundland, Acadia, and Hudson Bay to England under the Treaty of Utrecht.

1760 - Conquest of New France by England

New France was conquered in 1760 and handed over to England once and for all three years later under the Treaty of Paris. Only Louisiana remained in French hands, but it too was ultimately ceded to the United States in 1803.

The Giants

Samuel De Champlain

The Champlain Giant is the largest of the Québec giants! Standing 6m tall, it takes two people to carry him. His skirt draws its inspiration from one of Champlain’s many maps, with his illustrations and writing carefully reproduced like a timeline, highlighting some of the historic events witnessed by Québec City.

Mister Du Talion

This giant symbolizes the hangman, in front of whom, all too frequently, many criminal affairs were settled. At the time, justice still relied upon questioning and torture, considering a person guilty until they could prove their innoncence. Monsieur du Talion, wearing many instruments of torture, is a tribute to those who were forced to torture prisoners. The upper part of his body is carved out of stone, indicating the unshakable nature of the task he is to carry out.

Nicolas the Noble Heart

The Nicolas dit Noble Coeur giant is a tribute to the soldiers of the Carignan Sallières Regiment. It was the first regiment in New France and many of its soldiers decided to remain in the colony, becoming lords of the New World’s seigniories. Symbolically, we could consider Nicolas dit Noble Coeur and MarieVictoire to be the colony’s mother and father. This giant, representing a soldier of the period, wears a uniform that includes a map of France upon which the origins of the regiment’s soldiers are marked.

Marie-Victoire

Marie-Victoire represents all the women of New France—mothers, grandmothers, wives and daughters—who contributed to the demographic development of this new territory. Although she symbolizes both the past and the present, the child in her arms invites us to look forward, offering us a vision of a colony headed towards prosperity.

Great Spirit of the Nations

Great Spirit of the Nations is a representation of and a homage to the Native American cultures of the First Nations, i.e. the original inhabitants of the continent. The Spirit takes the form of a woman, symbolizing the prevalence of matriarchy among these peoples. Her garments derive inspiration from many cherished symbols of Native cultures, such as circles, the four elements (water, earth, air and fire) and life and death (as seen through images of spirits and of objects belonging to the departed, like weapons and tobacco).

Captain Valiant

Captain Valiant is the embodiment of the explorers of New France and their spirit of discovery. His head is a globe topped with a floating ship, and he holds a spyglass in his hand. His robe of parchment sheets by the hundreds, each about some subject or other, calls to mind the travelogues of explorers. Through their notes and sketches, these men preserved and transmitted scores of observations regarding the flora and fauna of the New World.

Dame Cap-Diamant

Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond) is the name of the eastern part of the hill on which the Quebec City Upper Town lies. It was so named to mock the first explorers of Quebec, who thought they’d found diamonds on the cape. French explorer Jacques Cartier, after finding shiny rocks at the top of the cliff, surmised they might just be diamonds. After he handed over some samples to experts in France in 1542, it turned out those “diamonds” were merely quartz. Thus was born the French expression “faux comme un diamant du Canada” (phony like a Canadian diamond). During the conquest of Quebec City, British General James Wolfe and his men climbed the western end of cap Diamant to invade the Plains of Abraham.

Jean-Denis-Joseph Pacifique

This man of the cloth is a homage to the Recollects, who arrived in 1615 as the first heads of religion in New France (Fathers Jean Dolbeau, Denis Jamet and Joseph Le Caron, and Brother Pacifique Duplessis).

Louis and Émeline

The couple of Émeline and Louis were the first Giants built by the New France Festival workshops. They were created as part of a partnership with Louisiana and represent two legendary characters of Acadian folklore, Évangéline and Gabriel. This couple is a symbol of an eternal and undying, yet impossible love, as they were separated during the deportation of Acadians from Grand-Pré in 1755. Yet, their love endured, remaining intact even after death. While Louis and Émeline are a couple, each also carries his and her own symbolism. With her needlework in hand, Émeline represents patience, waiting and faith in her loved one, but also loyalty, candor, purity and innocence. Louis, meanwhile, resembles a tree, namely the great oak where, according to legend, Évangéline found Gabriel. Louis is an allegory of immortality and symbolizes sturdiness as well as the lasting nature of love.

Dress-up!

Want to blend into the celebrations? Show up on to our sites in a costume to make your stay at the New France Festival unforgettable!

Costumes are not required, but we encourage all colonial era enthusiasts to wear their finest outfits. Many festival-goers enjoy wearing historical costumes, but only the Medallion is required to access all activities on the program.

Clothing in New-France

The People

Quilted bonnet : This headwear made of quilted fabric covers one’s hair and is tied under the chin. This specific bonnet is worn under a coif (cornette) while others, such as the one­row or two row bonnets, are worn on their own.

Skirt : A long and ample wool skirt worn over an underskirt.

Shirt : A white cotton shirt that includes a collar and buttons at the wrist.

Breeches : These wool pants are buttoned at the crotch and fastened at the knees.

Tricorn hat : The rim of this triangular hat is folded towards the skullcap into three horns, hence the name.

The bourgeois

Shirt : A thin shirt of white linen featuring ornamental lacework at the neckline.

Robe : A tight­fitting garment with narrow sleeves.

Stomacher : An embroidered or richly coated triangular piece of clothing that covers the lacing of a boned bodice.

This outfit sometimes includes a fan, a parasol and gloves.

Tricorn hat : Often decorated with feathers.

Jabot : A lace (or muslin) ornament that’s stitched around the neck and lays down to the chest.

Cuffs : Removable wrist ornaments for a man’s shirt.

Jerkin : An embroidered piece of clothing covered in braids and ribbons. It is adjusted around the waist and drops to the knees. It features basques, ornamental folded cuffs and either low pockets or high pockets, according to the fashion of the moment. It is split at the bottom in the back and on the sides.

The Nobles

Robe : Tailored from the best brocaded silks, it is richly decorated with golden and silver thread.

Brocade : Rich silk finely decorated with images woven of golden and silver thread in relief.

Engageantes : Removable funnel­shaped lace ornaments adorning the bottom of the sleeves of a woman’s shirt.

Skirt : Ornamented with fringes and worn over multiple underskirts.

Fringes : Strips of hanging thread or fabric that decorate cloth.

Wig : Also called an in­folio. It is so large it forces its wearer to carry his hat under his arm.

Jabot : A lace (or muslin) ornament that’s stitched around the neck and lays down to the chest.

Cuffs : Removable wrist ornaments for a man’s shirt.

Jacket : Embroidered with golden and silver threads.

Jerkin : Worn over the rest of the clothes, it is decorated with golden braids and ribbons.

This outfit features gloves and a cane.

The Corporation

Corporation des fêtes historiques de Québec was set up by the municipal authorities in fall 1996 to create a popular festival with a historical flavor. The result is the creation of a notforprofit organization and an executive committee that today governs the New France Festival.

  • Boards of directors

    Benoît Bernier – PRESIDENT

    Nathalie Gilbert – ADMINISTRATOR
    Responsable marketing, communication et évènements
    OSEntreprendre

    Yanick Santoire – TREASURER
    CPA, CA, MBA
    Associé BDO Canada

    Dominic Bédard – SECRÉTAIRE
    Associated director
    Cochon Dingue Lévis

    Marie-Dominic Labelle – ADMINISTRATOR
    Directrice Société du patrimoine urbain de
    Québec Îlot des Palais

    Philippe Morisset – ADMINISTRATOR
    Lawyer at Joli-Cœur Lacasse S.E.N.C.R.L.

    Marlène Lyane Richard- ADMINISTRATOR
    Marketing and Events Strategist / Public Relations
    Productions Star Mundo / Mundo Medias

    Bianca Drapeau – ADMINISTRATOR
    Key Account Manager
    De Marque

    Alexandre Naud- ADMINISTRATOR
    Étudiant à la maîtrise en Archéologie profil géomatique
    Université Laval

    François Barrette- ADMINISTRATOR
    Entreprise-Architect
    COFOMO