Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by Pamela
Even on the greyest of days, Maison de la littérature (literature) appears to be bathed in warm light. This, no doubt, is the result of the triple lancet windows – tall, narrow windows with a pointed arch on the top – that surround the Maison de la littérature library.
One of the most Instagrammed interiors in Old Québec City (Vieux-Québec), the library is a delightful marriage between contemporary design and neo-gothic architecture. The walls, bookshelves, and tables are white; the floors and stairs are blonde hardwood; the furniture is contemporary in design and either charcoal, mint, or beige in colour; the lights are chrome and contemporary in design; the staircase looks like a white metal ribbon that runs from the mezzanine to the library floor.
Wesley Temple & L’Institut Canadien de Québec
The exterior of the library retains its original form, that of the former Wesley Temple. A Methodist church designed by architect Edward Staveley and constructed in 1848, the Wesley Temple was the first neo-gothic church in Québec.
In 1931 the Methodist congregation abandoned the Wesley Temple in Old Québec City and joined with another congregation in the city.
With the help of Senator Lorne Campbell Webster, the Wesley Temple was leased** by L’Institut Canadien de Québec (The Institut) and transformed in the mid-1940s into the city’s first public library. Over the next seventy years, L’Institut Canadien de Québec served as a public library (bibliothéque) and concert hall, and in 2005 a writers-in-residence program was introduced. The Institut also developed a network of public libraries in Québec City during this time.
**The lease was a 99-year lease by the City of Québec, which was rescinded in 2012 when the city announced the Maison de la littérature project, assuming all responsibility for the building.**
A Library and Conservation of French Literature
Three years and $14.5 million dollars later, Maison de la littérature opened its doors in October 2015. While the architectural transformation by architectural firm Chevalier Morales is definitely something to be admired, there is more to Maison de la littérature than clean design, natural light, and a welcoming ambiance.
At its core, the library is the home of Québécois literature. It is here, that the literary works of Québec authors are being preserved and shared with the public. It is a house of literature working to ensure that Québécois culture, traditions, and language continue to thrive.
Aside from being beautiful, the library also features quiet writing and reading rooms and creative studios. A stage and small café occupy the main floor, a perfect venue for literary events and festivals. A beautiful glass
Once an anglophone church, Maison de la littérature is now a hub for francophone literature and culture. Visit their website for more details: http://www.maisondelalitterature.qc.ca/
- Take the elevator to the 2nd floor (mezzanine) for a view of the library from above. It is pretty.
- Watch your step on the winding staircase coming down – don’t Instagram and walk!
- Remember to be respectful to those using the library
- There are computers with wifi on the library floor as well as the mezzanine
- Check out the interactive displays, they are in French, but still interesting.
40, rue Sainte-Stanislas • Old Québec City • 418-641-6797
Maison de la littérature is across the street (rue Dauphine) from the Morrin Centre. A short walk from Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral.
You can also take bus 11 or 25 to stop #1134 Hôtel de Ville.
Tue–Fri 10am–8pm, Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 10am–5pm
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