Institut canadien | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Institut canadien

Institut canadien, Quebec City.

Institut canadien, Quebec City

Institut canadien, Quebec City. Cultural society founded 2 Dec 1847 by a group of young intellectuals, including the future judge Marc-Aurèle Plamondon, the poets Octave Crémazie and Louis Fiset, the painter Théophile Hamel, and the historian François-Xavier Garneau, to create a francophone literary and scientific milieu through the development of a library, lectures, and publications.

Whereas the parent association founded in Montreal in 1844 was politically oriented, the Quebec City branch concerned itself more, as did the Institut canadien-français of Ottawa inaugurated in 1852, with history, the natural sciences, and the fine arts. It is to the Quebec City institute's credit that it published numerous literary works in the 19th century, including those of Octave Crémazie.

The institute's archives reveal that occasional concerts were offered as early as 1850; and that the Septuor Haydn, the Quatuor vocal de Québec, and some local amateurs performed at ceremonies with which the institute was involved at the end of the 19th century, including the centennial (1875) of the siege of Quebec City and the 400th anniversary (1892) of the discovery of America.

After six relocations, the society found an ideal home in 1944, acquiring, with the financial help of Senator Lorne C. Webster and his heirs, the Wesleyan Temple on Ste-Angèle St in Old Quebec City. This renovated temple became one of the city's most popular halls. The frequency of concerts increased gradually, and in 1966, owing to the enthusiasm of Dr Gustave Lachance, several activities were being offered each week, including the famous Mondays at the Institute.

Thereafter, the 'stronghold of culture in Quebec City' has presented a choice of lectures, shows, and especially recitals of international calibre each season. Performers have included Victor Bouchard and Renée Morisset, James Campbell, Maureen Forrester, I Musici de Montréal, Sonia Racine and the Pierre Bourque Saxophone Quartet.

Mondays at the Institute, which had long been reserved for members, were opened to the public in 1989. A non-profit organization, the institute receives grants from Quebec City and from the MACQ. It also administers the network of the Bibliothèque de Québec which includes the Bibliothèque Gabrielle-Roy (inaugurated in 1983) and its Joseph-Lavergne Auditorium where concerts are also held.

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