STREET VIEWS: The story behind Avenue Wolfe

Avenue Wolfe street.jpg
Photo: Bill Cox

Avenue Wolfe runs south from Chemin des Quatre-Bourgeois to Boulevard Hochelaga with both residential and institutional buildings, such as St. Vincent’s Elementary School and the Valcartier Family Center, where many activities of the English-speaking community take place.

Avenue Wolfe is named in honour of Major General James Wolfe (1727-1759) who was born in Westerham, England. He was the commander of the British expedition that captured Quebec during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City on September 13, 1759 – 258 years ago today! 

The son of a distinguished general, Wolfe received his first commission at a young age and saw extensive service in Europe during the War of the Austrian Succession. He later served in Scotland, where he took part in the suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion. Following the Peace Treaty of 1748, Wolfe spent much of the next eight years on garrison duty in the Scottish Highlands. Already a brigade major at the age of 18, he was a lieutenant-colonel by the age of 23.

The outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in 1756 offered Wolfe fresh opportunities for advancement. His part in the aborted raid on Rochefort in 1757 led to his appointment as second-in-command of an expedition to capture the Fortress of Louisbourg. 

Following the success of the Siege of Louisbourg, Wolfe was made commander of a force which sailed up the St. Lawrence River to capture Quebec City. After a long siege, Wolfe defeated a French force under Marquis de Montcalm allowing British forces to capture the city. Wolfe died, however, as a result of injuries during the battle. Montcalm was also mortally wounded and died the next day. 

The Wolfe-Montcalm monument stands in their memory in the Parc des Gouverneurs, near the Château Frontenac, overlooking St. Lawrence River. 
Major General James Wolfe