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“The era of Captain Bernier is that of the last tall ships, flourishing exotic trade […], onboard ship discipline and death lurking beneath each wave.” – Paul Terrien

The Exhibition

The Musée maritime du Québec commemorates the memory of Captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier. But who is this man immortalized as a historical figure by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec in 2016? Visit the Capitaine J.E. Bernier – 1852-1934 exhibition to find out! You will be impressed by the scope of his seafaring legacy to maritime heritage and his contribution to the history of Canada. 

Born in L’Islet and the son and grandson of mariners, Captain J.E. Bernier is now considered to be the youngest man in the world ever to become a naval captain. His career is impressive, his achievements, larger than life. Learn about this exceptional man through audio tales, photos and logbooks. Meet the individual who spent his whole life at sea, driven by the desire to master one of the most hostile territories on the planet: the Canadian Far North. 

The virtual door to Captain Bernier’s amazing story

Are you planning to visit this exhibition with the family? Be sure to interact with its responsive attraction: the virtual history door. Locate the intriguing huge red door beckoning in the room. Dare to open it and step into the adventuresome world of the youngest man in the world to become captain. Use the touch screen to travel back in time with him and learn more about the incredible journey of this remarkable seafarer.  

But be watchful! You might very well meet in real time another museum visitor at the other end of a virtual gateway between the Musée naval de Québec, the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père or the Musée Royal 22e Régiment. Visitors to these three cultural venues can also walk through a virtual door.

Three original aspects to discover in the exhibition

  • The reason why Captain Bernier sailed all the way to Rome to meet Pope Pius XI
  • The extent of his personal fortune that he spent to raise public awareness about the importance of exploring and mastering the North Pole
  • Some of Captain Bernier’s personal belongings, such as his cap and business cards

Coup d'oeil sur l'exposition


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