The Chapelle du Séminaire: a historic Québec City venue undergoes a major renovation
A symbol of Québec's rich religious heritage, the iconic Chapelle du Séminaire de Québec is currently undergoing a massive 2-year, $4.3 million renovation project.
Built in the late 19th century, the Chapelle has etched a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike with its striking acoustics, fascinating architecture, and cultural significance. Scheduled for completion in fall 2024, this renovation project brings an exciting new chapter for this remarkable venue.
Nestled in the heart of Old Québec, the Chapelle du Séminaire is more than a one-of-a-kind event venue; it is a living tribute to Québec's religious past and Canada's history. As a top spiritual venue in Québec City, the venue is home to precious relics that are the silent storytellers of a rich heritage that melds French and British influences.
The architecture of the building itself is a spectacle worth seeing. The design, inspired by the Second Empire style and reminiscent of the Trinité church in Paris, is beautifully complemented by a majestic white marble altar and luxurious red cherry woodwork.
Beginning in the fall of 2021, dedicated restorers from the Centre de conservation du Québec of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications have been carefully working on the decorative and architectural aspects of the Chapelle. Their mission is to refurbish the venue and preserve its architectural splendour for decades to come.
The renovations will meticulously restore the following:
- The intricate ceramic floors of the choir, nave, and aisles
- The captivating high altar and white marble side altars
- The stunning stained-glass windows and all the trompe-l'oeil painted décor surfaces
- The marble sculptures and reliquaries and marouflage paintings
This substantial renovation project also presents a unique opportunity to incorporate modern amenities within the venue’s historic setting. State-of-the-art sound and audiovisual equipment will be seamlessly integrated into the Chapelle, enhancing its capacity to host a wide range of events, from conferences to cocktail receptions.
Stéphan La Roche, President and CEO of Musée de la civilisation, which manages the venue, expressed his anticipation for the reopening:
We are very much looking forward to returning the Chapelle to the community. Visitors and guests will be able to appreciate all its artistic beauty as well as its historical significance thanks to the extraordinary work of the restoration team.
Despite its expansive renovation, the venue's event capacities will remain unchanged. The Chapelle offers 3,000 square feet of unique event space, hosting up to 200 attendees for banquets, 250 theatre-style and 300 cocktail-style, and this ultra-inspiring venue will continue to accommodate prestigious events, upholding its reputation as a beloved community landmark.
A chapel steeped in Québec’s religious history
The Chapelle is part of the Séminaire de Québec, a society of diocesan priests. Founded in 1663 by Bishop François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, the Seminary’s original mission was to prepare men for ordination and ministry in parishes and missions of the French colonies in North America. The Seminary became a boarding school and then evolved into a full-fledged college. Thanks to the high-quality teaching, Queen Victoria recognized it in a royal charter, paving the way for the foundation of Québec City’s Université Laval. In 1929, the Séminaire de Québec was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
The inaugural chapel was constructed in 1750, only to be devastated by fire in 1888. A subsequent structure was erected based on the designs of architect Joseph-Ferdinand Peachy (1830–1903), and the chapel was finally sanctified in 1900. Priests, seminarians, professors, and Petit Séminaire and Université Laval students regularly attended Mass and Sunday Vespers at the Chapel.
Desacralized in 1992, the Chapelle du Séminaire has since become a much-sought venue for event planners to host unique off-site activities, including banquets, galas, press conferences, product launches, and other business events.
Chapelle du Séminaire de Québec remains a testament of Québec's past, present, and future. As we eagerly await the completion of its renovation, we can only imagine the renewed grandeur this venue will grace on Québec City's event landscape.