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The name of the town means "Cape Health". Cap-Santé is on the northern bank of the Saint Lawrence River, 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Quebec City. Legend has it that this community’s name was coined when soldiers suffering from an unknown disease miraculously recovered from a cure discovered in the village.
The first settlers arrived around 1679, and in 1714 the village became an official parish.
The present-day church, a historical-registered building, was built from 1754 to 1767. Interrupted during construction by the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), it is one of the last buildings to be constructed under the French regime. The church has a facade and two towers, a baroque interior, a neoclassical reredos, and two-tiers of openings on the bell tower, a presbytery (designed by architect Charles Baillargé in 1849) featuring five neatly lined dormer windows. A cemetery encircles the square, leading to the river below.
The Place de l’Église square is crowned with old wells dating back to 1799.
Vieux Chemin street was built along the same geographical line as that Chemin-du-Roy, the first road linking Montreal and Quebec City in the 18th century. Wooden and stone homes dot the narrow and shaded street that borders the cape. This street was designated as one of Canada’s most beautiful streets by the national newspaper, the Globe and Mail.
The quay is on the Saint Lawrence.
In 1759, during the English conquest, the Chevalier de Lévis built Fort Jacques Cartier at the mouth of the Jacques-Cartier river (also named after the famous explorer) from materials originally destined for construction of a church. The following year, in the same place, Lévis attempted unsuccessfully together with 7000 men to recapture Quebec City from the English. Today, virtually nothing remains of the fort, which is also situated on private land inaccessible to the public on the 'Plateau Jacques-Cartier' district of the municipality. Close by, is the Allsopp House (late 18th century), an old seigneurial manor named after the Allsopp family, now a private property registered as a historical building.
The founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Bon Pasteur, Marie Fitzbach, lived in Cap-Santé from 1826-1840. Gérard Morisset, architect and art historian, was also a resident, and designed the interiors of many of the region’s churches.
- Population in 2011: 2996 (2006 to 2011 population change: 12.4%)
- Population in 2006: 2666
- Population in 2001: 2571
- Population in 1996: 2615
- Population in 1991: 2563
Private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 1246 (total dwellings: 1327)
- English as first language: 2.7%
- French as first language: 96.0%
- English and French as first language: 0%
- Other as first language: 1.3%
- Reference number 366751 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (French)
- Geographic code 34030 in the official Répertoire des municipalités (French)
- Statistics Canada 2011 Census - Cap-Santé census profile
- Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census