Five Centuries of Hydrography – An Exhibition on Ancient Charts

« It is by the sea that geography should begin. »

Jules Michelet

Quebec is a maritime country thanks to its majestic St. Lawrence River. With its reefs, shoals, summer fogs, winter ices, strong currents and tides, this river remains one of the most dangerous to navigate. To navigate it safely, explorers, navigators and hydrographers have drawn up nautical charts from the days of New France until today.

From their surveys to their publications, these charts reveal the secrets of their making. Sometimes in paper format, sometimes in digital format, they show the St. Lawrence River and its banks in a new light. Compass, astrolabe, sextant and other navigation and hydrographic survey instruments from various eras crisscross the route. In addition to this journey, there is the history of teaching the sciences of hydrography and navigation, from the College of Quebec to the present day at Laval University.

Explore the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Tadoussac, and discover Quebec’s vast marine expertise.