Covering 108 hectares (267 acres) of grassy hills, sunken gardens, monuments, fountains, and trees, Québec's Battlefields Park was Canada's first national urban park. A section called the Plains of Abraham is where Britain's General James Wolfe and France's Louis-Joseph, marquis de Montcalm, engaged in their short but crucial battle in 1759, which resulted in the British defeat of the French troops. It's also where the national anthem, "O Canada," was first performed. Today, the park is a favorite place for Québécois when they want sunshine or a bit of exercise. From spring through fall, visit the Jardin Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc Garden), just off avenue Wilfrid-Laurier, near the Loews le Concorde Hotel. This spectacular garden combines French classical design with British-style flower beds. In the rest of the park, nearly 6,000 trees of more than 80 species blanket the fields and include the sugar maple, Norway maple, American elm, and American ash. Also in the park are two Martello towers, cylindrical stone defensive structures built between 1808 and 1812 when Québec feared an American invasion.
On the eastern end of the park, the Discovery Pavilion of the Plains of Abraham, at 835 av. Wilfrid-Laurier (tel. 418/648-4071), has a tourist office and a multimedia exhibit called "Odyssey: A Journey Through History on the Plains of Abraham." It's presented in English, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
- Leslie Brokaw, Erin Trahan, Matthew Barber