Quebec City Fountains

Location: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Quebec City, with the air of an old European city, is a UNESCO world heritage site. A favourite tourist attraction is the guided horse-drawn carriage ride through the Historic District of Old Quebec. There are several drinking fountain/horse troughs throughout the city to accommodate these working beasts that can drink 49 litres of water per day.

These structures were manufactured by Henry F. Jenks of Pawtucket, R.I. and stand on an octagonal plinth. A fluted circular moulding creates a trough at ground level for the use of dogs. The fluted pedestal with attic base rising from the center of the trough hosts two arched panels for dedication; the coat of arms of Quebec City is represented by a ship in full sail which signifies Quebec’s importance as a seaport, and the full sails symbolize strength and courage.

The capital which supports a large basin 56 inches in diameter capable of holding 100 gallons, is decorated with bas-relief fret. It is 4 feet 3 inches above ground level. A central jamb hosts bas-relief including 4 dolphins that spout water into the basin with the overflow falling to the trough below. The pipes within the fountain were constructed to resist freezing in cold temperatures. The finial is highly decorated with floriated relief and a studded band terminating in a globe with the same detail as the basin.


  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

4 responses to “Quebec City Fountains

  • Ken Liss

    I recently came across an 1887 article about a Henry Jenks-designed drinking fountain that stood in the Brookline Village section of Brookline, MA, where I am head of the Historical Society. It is also visible in this photo from around 1908: (Click on the photo to zoom in.)

    In researching the fountain, I came your posts about Jenks and his fountains in Charlottesville, Quebec, and Cambridge.

    The 1887 article says fountains of the same design were also placed in Copenhagen, Denmark and Adelaide, Australia. I have not found pictures of those, but I have found mentions of other Jenks fountains in Boston, Washington, and Michigan.

    I’m working on an article about this for my Brookline history blog and would like to include some of the photos you have in your posts. I’ll credit the Charlottesville Creative Commons photos the way you have, but I don’t see any credits for the Quebec photos.

    Are those your own photos? If so, can I use them? Just let me know how you’d like them credited. (I’ll included a link to your blog in any case, of course.)


    – Ken

  • HIS

    Thanks for visiting my blog. This is very interesting as you have supplied me with new avenues of research.
    The Quebec city photos show the source if you open the photos to enlarge. The Flickr resource did not respond to my request and it would appear that the account is no longer in use. The other links no longer work.
    Is it possible that I could read the 1887 article you refer to?

  • Ken Liss

    I just published my blog post about the Jenks fountains — it turns out there were two — in Brookline, MA: – Ken

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: