* * *
The Ottawa Citizen reported a second incident only six days later at the Île d'Orléans or Orleans Island, not far from downtown Quebec City, "Spy stories are current throughout the country and the island of Orleans, where a naval station has been established, is having its share of the spy scares. Since the authorities have taken precautionary measures no fewer than eight spies have been seen on the island, the latest suspected being reported yesterday as taking plans and making drawings."2
As these reports continued to escalate, so did ethnic jealousies towards Austro-Hungarian workers, who were often willing to perform more dangerous work for lower wages than their Anglo-Canadian neighbours. The Canadian government grew increasingly nervous about the reports of sabotage and the numbers of Austro-Hungarian immigrants who had settled in Canada over the previous decades. On February 10, 1915, the Minister of Justice reported that since the outbreak of the war 30,324 "enemy aliens had been interned or paroled. Out of these, 8,845 were from Quebec, a larger amount than from any other province and more than British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon all put together.3
Despite the proportionately high number of internees from Ontario and Quebec, the majority of camps were in Alberta and British Columbia. In Quebec, the first receiving station was set up at the Immigration building on August 13, 1914 to temporarily hold enemy aliens until more permanent solutions were established. Between August and December, 11 more camps and receiving stations were set up across the country, but Quebec did not have a permanent internment camp until December 28, 1914 when the armoury at Beauport, Quebec was set up to take in internees.
Beauport operated for over two years until June 22, 1916, but only ever held a small number of German and Austro-Hungarian internees. For those who were first interned at Beauport in the winter of 1914-15, the biggest complaint was boredom. With no work to keep them busy, officials kept internees active with physical drills and exercise. The American consul in Quebec city reported, ""The only complaint made was lack of work, which made the life of these men, accustomed to hard physical work, somewhat tedious."4
Due to this inactivity, a second camp was opened 40 km northwest of Quebec city at the Valcartier militia camp. Valcartier was a labour camp used for the spring and summer of 1915. After it closed in October 1915, internees from Valcartier were relocated to Spirit Lake and Kingston. When Beauport closed less than a year later in June 1916, there were only 21 internees left. These men were sent to the camps at Spirit Lake and Kingston.5
1. "Austrians at Quebec Attack Sentinels" Edmonton Bulletin (Edmonton, AB), August 13, 1914. Online.
2. "Another Spy Scare" Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario), August 19, 1914. Online.
3. Lubomyr Luciuk, In Fear of the Barbed Wire Fence: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 (Kashtan Press, 2001), 55.
4. Peter Melnycky, Badly Treated in Every Way: The Internment of Ukranians in Quebec During the First World War, 1993. http://www.infoukes.com/history/internment/badly_treated_in_every_way/#FOOTNOTE_21
"Another Spy Scare" Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario), August 19, 1914. Online.
"Austrians at Quebec Attack Sentinels" Edmonton Bulletin (Edmonton, AB), August 13, 1914. Online.
Luciuk, Lubomyr. In Fear of the Barbed Wire Fence: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920, Kashtan Press, 2001.
Melnycky, Peter. Badly Treated in Every Way: The Internment of Ukrainians in Quebec During the First World War, 1993. http://www.infoukes.com/history/internment/badly_treated_in_every_way/#FOOTNOTE_21