Blossoms, Beetles and Birds

Meet the early pioneers of Quebec’s natural history thanks to this guided tour and interactive mural. Turn the pages of a larger-than-life book and visit the rooms of Morrin College to explore the extraordinary discoveries of some of Quebec’s first scientists. Learn about a trio of aristocratic women who hunted orchids in Sillery in the early 1800s, the early Canadian scientists who put the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec on the world map, and a colourful 19th-century naturalist who was determined to interest young Quebecers in the local birdlife. Schedule to come Made possible thanks to the support of: Created in partnership with:

The Hanging of William Pounden

The Hanging of William Pounden: Capital Punishment at the Quebec Common Gaol* Thanks to the exceptional atmosphere of the old gaol and captivating audiovisual animations, travel back in time to 1823 when William Pounden was hanged for murder. During this immersive guided tour of the spaces used to imprison and hang the condemned, follow the series of tragic events that led to his execution. Let the animations guide you through the Quebec common gaol as it stood in the nineteenth century and witness the events that would lead the condemned to the most severe punishment of that time. End the tour with the Morrin Centre’s new permanent exhibit, The Hanged: Two Centuries of Executions in Quebec, and learn about the history of capital punishment in this province, from the first execution of a civilian under the British regime to the abolition of the death penalty in Canada in 1976. *Contains scenes which may be unsuitable for young children and disturb certain visitors. Presented by: Made possible thanks to:   Created in partnership with:

Our Writings

Whether they lived here or merely visited, Quebec City has been the setting for works by a number of great English-language writers, including Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Margaret Atwood. Our Writings is a walking tour examining these writers and the places in our magnificent city which inspired them. One of these sites is our very own building, which retains architectural evidence of its past as a municipal prison (1812-1867), a Presbyterian college affiliated with McGill University (1868-1902), as well as the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec’s magnificent library (1868-present). Visiting authors have been highly inspired by our venue and the city. In 2010, Louise Penny published her bestselling crime novel, Bury Your Dead, in which much of the action takes place at the Morrin Centre. Our Writings walking tours will be held on: Sunday, June 23rd at 10:30 a.m. in French and 1:30 p.m. in English. Sunday, July 7th at 10:30 a.m. in French and 1:30 p.m. in English. Sunday, July 21st at 10:30 a.m. in French and 1:30 p.m. in English. Sunday, August 4th at 10:30 a.m. in French and 1:30 p.m. in English. Sunday, August 18th at 10:30 a.m. in French and 1:30 p.m. in English. The outdoor walking tour lasts one hour come rain or shine. Please dress accordingly.  Click the points on the map to find out more, or view the full-screen version.   The Walking Tour  

Discovery tour

Built over 200 years ago to house a prison, the Morrin Centre is now also the home to one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. This National Historic Site is yours to discover. Ramble through the sinister jail cells. See graffiti carved into the floors by inmates and the iron rings used to chain them down. In cell block A6, let our guides lead you through our exhibition entitled “Doing Time: the Quebec City Common Gaol (1808 – 1867).” This exhibition covers one of the oldest prisons in Québec, part of which still exists in the heart of our building. Visitors will discover a hidden, dark and almost unknown part of the city’s history by exploring the building’s past, the life of its prisoners and the conditions of their imprisonment. Learn also about Morrin College, the city’s first English-language institute of higher education. Explore the chemistry lab while one of our guides tells you about the history of the college from its first class in 1862 to its closing in 1902. Then, let yourself be spellbound by the haunting stories surrounding our charming Victorian Library, home to a collection of literary gems, some of which date back to the 16th century. Schedule: January – May 2020 Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (Friday, January 3 until Sunday, May 10) : Friday and Sundays between 12h and 16h, Saturdays between 10h and 16h. (Please consult the calendar on the English home page for the tour times in English and the French home page for the tour times in French). May – September 2020 : Schedule to come September – December 2020 : Schedule to come  Tours last from 45 to 50 minutes and are available in English and in French. To check availabilities for tour times in English and in French or to reserve, please click on the Eventbrite link found below. Please take note that the times are subject to change due to group reservations, events or rentals. Please call us in advance. Group tours are available all year long for a minimum of 8 people, by reserving two weeks in advance. For more information on group rates or to reserve your group tour, please contact Stefanie Johnston, Guided Tours Coordinator at or 418-694-9147, ext. 226.

Life of a convict

A theatrical experience that will put you in the shoes of a convict who was recently interned at the Quebec City Common Gaol. As soon as you arrive, the physician will examine you and explain how he plans to cure you of all the physical and mental ills that some inmates appear to be afflicted with. Then, the prison guard will take you on a tour of death row and the isolation cells, where you might well end up if you don’t follow the rules! Special treats include the sampling of period remedies and various punishments! Duration 45 to 60 minutes (available in French or English).

When Science Writes History

At the science laboratory, discover the science courses taught at Morrin College from 1868 to 1902. Bu putting themselves in the shoes of a 19th century college student, pupils will be given an introduction to the secrets of the electron, which was only just beginning to be explored during this era of great scientific discoveries. They can then build a voltaic pile, extract copper and learn the rudiments of light reflection and fluorescence. Duration 60 minutes (available in French or English).


“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James Come sample traditional teas, a variety of sandwiches, and delicious teatime treats, while boning up on Victorian etiquette and teatime customs in our historic library which boasts a collection of over 26,000 books, a spiral staircase reminiscent of the library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and artifacts dating back to a time when afternoon tea was in fashion. Teatime at the Morrin will be the opportunity to celebrate special occasions or to simply discover the English heritage that is part of our city’s history. Please take note that this bilingual activity will be offered on the following dates: Sunday, June 30th at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, July 14th at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, July 28th at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, August 11th at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, August 25th at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, September 1st at 4:15 p.m. Teatime may be canceled if the minimum number of registrations (5) has not been met, and a reimbursement will be issued. Maximum number of registrations is 26 people. We strongly advise to purchase tickets ahead of time.

Historic library from cover to cover

Explore the library of the Canada’s oldest learned society and discover some treasures of the past. Duration 30 minutes (available in French or English) Available only following one of our other 3 guided tours.