The Morrin Centre launches a new immersive tour on capital punishment in Quebec City’s old jail

On May 15, Quebec City’s English-language cultural hub, the Morrin Centre, launched a new guided tour allowing visitors to travel back in time to when its building housed a prison. The Hanging of William Pounden: Capital Punishment at Quebec City’s Common Gaol takes visitors through the spaces of this stately edifice―nestled in the heart of the Historic District―used to imprison and hang the condemned. Thanks to captivating audiovisual animations, participants can follow the series of tragic events that led to William Pounden’s execution, from his imprisonment in death row to his hanging above the entrance in 1823. By examining this specific case, this historical tour sheds light on the 16 hangings that took place at Quebec City’s common gaol open from 1812 to 1867. Offered in English and in French, the tour also allows participants of all ages to understand the steps that led to the most severe punishment of that time. The Hanging of William Pounden is offered every day of the week until Labour Day weekend. A new permanent exhibit titled The Hanged: Two Centuries of Executions in Quebec is also accessible at the end of the tour and allows visitors to learn about the history of capital punishment in the province.

Presented by Desjardins Group

On the occasion of the Morrin Centre’s most recent annual fundraising dinner held last fall, on November 15, the President and CEO of Desjardins Group, Guy Cormier, announced a contribution of $150,000 to develop this immersive tour on capital punishment. Desjardins Group’s donation was made through the $100-million development fund which was launched in 2016 to support and promote key projects for its members and communities in Quebec and Ontario.

Desjardins’ support made this new educational activity possible for tourists and school groups alike. In 2018, the Centre welcomed 57,000 visitors. During this period, 25,000 people immersed themselves in the history of this unique National Historic Site on the occasion of one of the Centre’s guided tours. Of that number, 8,700 were students and their teachers. For Barry Holleman, the President of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec which manages the Morrin Centre, “the launch of this project marks the culmination of several years of planning, coordination, and building partnerships. It is central to our mission to offer educational, artistic, and historical programming that provides the local population and visitors from outside the region with opportunities to gain a better perspective on the city’s unique French- and English-speaking heritage.”

Presented by Desjardins Group, The Hanging of William Pounden and the exhibit The Hanged were also made possible thanks to the support of the Entente de développement culturel and the Quebec City Tourism.

About the Morrin Centre

As an English-language cultural centre located in Quebec City’s historical quarter, the Morrin Centre is a leading cultural institution of national standing, providing the Anglophone and Francophone public with rich, engaging programming in the areas of heritage interpretation, education, and the arts. Building upon our Centre’s history and key institutions, our programming aims to provide historical perspective on the region’s unique French-English heritage, develop enhanced educational opportunities for youth, and act as a springboard for artistic creativity. 

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For information and interview requests:

Elizabeth Perreault

Development and Communications Director

418-694-9147, ext. 223

Jeanne Lebossé-Gautron