The Price Family
Innovators of the Museum-Hotel Concept
The Price family and its businesses have been part of Québec’s history for nearly 200 years. The first four generations of this family of Welsh origin worked in the logging industry.
Auberge Saint-Antoine is the fruit of another Price family effort at the hands of Martha Bate Price (wife of Tony Price), Evan, Llewellyn and Lucy Price (their children and the family’s 6th generation). Its innovative hotel-museum concept provides an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
The family also owns the Musée du Fort which presents an original and unique sound and light show on the military history of Québec City.
The Price family and their commercial enterprises have been part of the history of Québec for over 200 years. The first four generations of this family of Welsh origin focused on the forest industry with William Price arriving in Québec City in 1810 to seek pine logs suitable for ship masts, circumventing Napoleon’s continental blockade, which had cut off the traditional sources of supply of the Royal Navy to this strategic material.
Twenty years later, William boldly moved into the forests along the Saguenay River and Lac St. Jean when the Hudson’s Bay Company released its grip on these lands. He established sawmills, logging camps, farms (to feed the workers and their dependents), and co-founded the city of Chicoutimi. William became known as “le père du Saguenay.”
William’s legacy was passed on first to his three sons, known as the Price Brothers, and then to his grandson, also named William, who assumed the presidency of the Price Company at the turn of the 20th Century, and moved the family enterprise from lumber to pulp and paper. The crown jewel of the company, the Kenogami mill was built in 1912 and the largest and most modern pulp and paper mill in the world at the time. Over ninety years later, it is still in operation, a testament to the Price vision and commitment to cutting-edge service.
Outside business interests, William Price became very active in society, including the swift building of the Valcartier military base (located outside of Québec City) for training recruits during the First World War. For this service to Canada and the British Empire, he was knighted. Sir William Price died in 1924 at the age of 57 in a landslide adjacent to the Kenogami mill.
Sir William Price’s sons continued the development of the Price Company until its merger into Abitibi-Price and then Abitibi Consolidated, the largest newsprint manufacturer in the world today.
The vestiges of this epoch are still very present in Québec City and across the province, with the old company headquarters, Price House, remaining a landmark in Québec City and the location of the Québec Premier’s official residence, as well as the head office of the Caisse de Dépôt et de Placement du Québec, the multi-billion dollar Québec Pension Fund.
Countering the trend of Anglophones leaving the province, Sir William Price’s grandson Tony remained in Québec City and established the family in the tourism industry with the foundation of Musée du Fort in 1964. Presented on a scaled model of the city, this educational diorama has, for almost 40 years, been the definitive presentation of Québec City’s rich military history and a popular historical site for visitors. It is also a testament to the Price family’s dedication to the city’s history and its dissemination. For his lifetime contribution to the country, Tony was awarded the Order of Canada in 1998.
Tony’s family has pursued this tradition, of combining tourism with history, in the creation of Auberge Saint-Antoine. This leading luxury hotel opened in 1992, and immediately impressed guests with its lobby set in the Québec City’s only remaining early-19th Century dockside warehouse. In 1996, six historically-themed suites were added in the 18th Century James Hunt house, cementing the hotel’s place as one of the region’s most historic.
The current expansion, which blends unique archeological artifacts throughout the property, has added another dimension to the hospitality-history theme that sets the Auberge Saint-Antoine apart as a landmark luxury hotel in Québec City. The realization of this project was another true Price family effort that brought together the talents of Martha Bate Price (Tony’s wife), Evan, Llewellyn and Lucy Price (his children and the sixth-generation Price progeny). By creating this seminal concept and managing day-today hotel operations, the Price family continues to provide an unparalleled and historically rich guest experience at Auberge Saint-Antoine.