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Davie Shipyard National Historic Site of Canada

Saint-Laurent Street, Lévis, Quebec, G6V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/23

Aerial view of Davie Shipyard; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, HRS 0838.
Aerial view
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Other Name(s)

Davie Shipyard National Historic Site of Canada
Davie Shipyard
Chantier Davie

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Davie Shipyard National Historic Site of Canada is located on the St. Lawrence River waterfront close to the Québec-Lévis ferry terminal. The shipyard is bi-sected by rue Commerciale running parallel to the St. Lawrence River. A marine railway and floating dock are located on the river side, and three buildings are situated across the road. Together they constitute the rare cultural landscape of a shipyard of the wooden sailing ship era. The designation refers to all shipyard-related resources within the site boundaries.

Heritage Value

Davie Shipyard was designated a national historic site in 1991 because:
- it is a rare witness to an age of naval construction in Canada through the early nature, the diversity and the longevity of its activities and through the innovative techniques it used while in operation; and
- it conserves rare, high quality resources associated with 19th-century naval construction.

Davie Shipyard was the oldest shipyard in Canada in operational condition when it was commemorated in 1991. Established by former sea captain Allison Davie in 1829, upon his death it was managed by his wife, Elizabeth Davie, operating continuously as a shipyard until 1998. During that time, Davie Shipyard was responsible for several innovations important to sailing ship construction. The site today consists of a two-and-a-half-storey residence and office (1832), a single-storey brick stable (1872) and two-storey brick warehouse (1892) on the landward side of rue Commerciale, and on the river side, a patent slip (or marine railway), a floating dock, and possible underwater archaeological remnants.

The heritage value of Chantier Davie lies in its unique surviving representation of a shipyard of the wooden sailing ship era. Its value resides in the integrity of its components, together with their setting and, spatial disposition.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1990, 1991, 1996; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 2003.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:

- the completeness of the cultural landscape of the shipyard and the integrity of its component parts;
- its setting on the banks of the St. Lawrence River beside an excellent landing point;
- its 1880 footprint bi-sected by the path of an historic road;
- the functional and spatial organization of the office, residential and interior manufacturing /repair facilities of the shipyard on the landward portion of the shipyard, and the docks and dry-dock components adjacent to the river;
- the found forms, materials and construction technology of all three buildings on the landward side of the complex, including the footprints, rectangular forms and distinctive roof profiles of the buildings (the office/residence and stable with steeply pitched centre gables, the warehouse with a mansard roof), the two-and-a-half-storey height and regular Neo-classical proportions of the residence and office with its traditional Quebec architectural features such as roof gables, verandah, exposed basement, louvered windows, and pièce sur pièce construction;
- the integrity of the footprint, form, materials and technological components of the patent slip (or marine railway) with its visible manufacturer's stamp (Thomas Morton);
- integrity of the large dimensions, location, materials and buoyancy of the remaining floating dock;
- integrity of archaeological evidence of the dimensions, location and materials of the other dock that once accompanied it;
- the integrity of any and all archaeological evidence associated with the complex (on land or under water);
- the continued association of a collection of 33 objects describing the business of George Taylor Davie and Sons with the shipyard premises;
- viewscapes to the bicycle trail on the former railroad bed adjacent to the shipyard (an area which once formed part of a larger version of the shipyard), up and down the major St. Lawrence River shipping route, and across the St. Lawrence to historic Quebec City.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1829/01/01 to 1998/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Developing Economies

Function - Category and Type




Crafts Production Facility

Architect / Designer

Allison Davie


Allison Davie

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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