Morrin Centre

This former Quebec City prison now houses a library devoted to English-speaking history

Morrin Centre is a must-visit for culture buffs, book worms and history enthusiasts alike. 

This building in Quebec City was built over 200 years ago and reflects four major periods of Quebec history. Originally constructed as a military barracks in 1712, it was later reconstructed and became the city’s first and only prison.

The prison holds a dark past and is known for mistreatment of its prisoners, often cramming offenders together with no consideration to their crimes.

The high balcony that looks out over the central area acted as a gallows and many individuals were hanged from the railings. Books are now lined against the walls in the prison’s former main area and on the balcony from which these atrocities once took place.

Due to the poor conditions in the jail, the prison was closed in 1868.

The site was later turned into Morrin College in 1862, and was eventually taken over by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec and was transformed into the city's first English-language library, cultural centre and historical interpretation site. 

It was designed with the intention to educate the public about the historic contribution and present day culture of local English-speakers.

There are educational resources relating to the contributions and history of English-speaking figures in Quebec available to visitors, as well as heritage spaces and interpretation services.

Due to its tremendous historical significance and dedicated work to recognize the English-speaking communities in Quebec City, the building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

With a spiralling staircase and a plush couch older than your grandmother, the Victorian-style interior of this cultural gem is so inviting and cozy, you wouldn't think it was a former prison. 

Lead photo by


Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Travel

Canada is getting a massive new resort that pays homage to Indigenous culture

Burnaby Mountain park in Canada is home to the Playground of the Gods

The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan are a slice of the Wild West

Mingan Archipelago national park reserve is home to the largest group of monoliths in Canada

Ouimet Canyon has breathtaking fall colours and an unreal lookout bridge

This tiny Scandinavian cottage in the Canadian forest is the ultimate getaway

The Parkhurst Ghost Town is an old logging outpost hidden deep in the Canadian forest

The Eastern Townships in Quebec look absolutely breathtaking in the fall