Impressive Victorian residence of the 19th century
Quebec City has over 400 rich years of history, from its founding as part of the original French colony, to British rule, to its role today as a Canadian provincial capital. The architecture of the old town is a testament not only to the city’s colonial history, but also to the strength and to the creative genius of those who built the city. In the mid-19th century, “Saint Louis Street” housed the British colonial elite. Two buildings on this street, 69 and 71 rue Saint-Louis, have stood proudly for over 150 years and have been preserved in much of their original glory. Today they are the Hotel Le Clos Saint-Louis.
Constructed in 1844 and 1854, the homes of John Racey, Sr. and John Racey, Jr. are characteristic of nascent urban Quebec at a time when neoclassicism – specifically its Quebec form – was well established in the city. Of Scottish heritage, Dr. John Racey, Sr., or “Dear Dad” as he was called affectionately by his wife Susanna Wise, was born in Quebec City in 1809. Intelligent, hardworking and generous, he left his hometown to study medicine in Montreal. He later returned to Quebec City and constructed 69 rue Saint-Louis in 1844. He and his wife had five children.
After treating roughly 500 to 600 patients during the typhus epidemic of 1847, Dr. Racey succumbed to the illness himself. To preserve the memory of her husband for her children, Susanna wrote an emotional letter which recounts his life, describing him as an affectionate and dedicated husband. A copy of the letter is available in the hotel’s lobby.
Continuing the legacy
John Racey, Jr. also became doctor. In 1852, on the land adjacent to his father’s house, he constructed 71 rue Saint-Louis.
As the father of a large family himself, he had the two houses adjoined. The houses were eventually separated again and finally re-adjoined in 1988. In the late 1940’s, the two family houses were converted into “rooming houses.” Roughly two decades later they were transformed into a small hotel.
The first Victorian hotel dedicated to romance in Quebec City
In 1987 Madame Ghislaine Donais acquired both houses and fulfilled a dream: to offer accommodation in a Victorian house in a part of the city rich in history. In recent years the hotel has been completely renovated. Its beauty, comfort and quality of service make the Hotel Le Clos Saint-Louis a must for all travelers seeking a unique and authentic way to experience Quebec City’s history.