Citadelle of Quebec

Quebec City, Canada

The Citadelle of Quebec is an active military installation and official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. It is located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The citadel is the oldest military building in Canada, and forms part of the fortifications of Quebec City, which is one of only two cities in North America still surrounded by fortifications, the other being Campeche, Mexico.

The first fortifications in Quebec were built by the Governor General of New France Louis de Buade, and completed just in time for the Battle of Quebec in 1690.

After the British conquest in the second half of the 18th century, the problem of Quebec City's defences grew more acute. Fears of a potential French attempt to recapture the colony, concerns about a possible uprising by the local French population and war with the Americans forced the British to develop a new defensive strategy for the city. Between 1778 and 1783, during the American War of Independence, wooden redoubts and earthworks were constructed on Cap Diamant. The Citadel was not necessarily meant to be the central element in Quebec City's defences, but was designed to play more of a supporting role while at the same time serving as the corner stone of the system.

Having narrowly repelled the American invasion of Canada during the War of 1812, the British decided to re-examine their defensive strategy. The current fortress was constructed from 1820 to 1832. 

Soldiers of the British garrison did the lion's share of the construction work. The Citadel, which was also designed to serve as a barracks and arms depot, could house between 1,000 and 1,500 soldiers and their equipment. It was rare, however, for the full complement of troops to be stationed there. In mid-19th century Quebec City, the British garrison was split between the Citadel, the Jesuit Barracks (where City Hall stands today), and Artillery Park.

The Citadel's role has evolved over time and although it was never tested in battle, it has been continuously occupied by the military throughout its history. In the years following its completion, changes were made to the defensive system in Quebec City and the surrounding area. For example, the guns on the bastions were replaced by more modern artillery. Tensions during the American Civil War (1861-1865) spurred British authorities to strengthen the city's defences further. Between 1865 and 1871, three forts (including Fort No.1 in Lauzon) were built on the Lévis heights on the south shore to provide support for the Citadel.

Today the Citadelle remains an active garrison and since 1920 is home to the Royal 22e Régiment, the Canadian Forces' sole French-language regular force infantry regiment. The Citadelle is a National Historic Site of Canada. The site receives some 200,000 visitors annually.

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Founded: 1693
Category: Castles and fortifications in Canada

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Bhavin Ahirekar (3 months ago)
Wow what a great place to go in Quebec City. The heart of downtown, they have lots of section where there is information about world war 2 Canadian Lila try forces. Which fought bravely with German soldiers, also there is all kinds of high honour medals and lots of cannons all around the corners of palace. You can also watch whole city from there too.
Orlando Navarro (4 months ago)
This is a must see spot in Quebec city (once it reopens). We love history and this place is a melting pot of historical events between France, England and Canada. The fort - which is an active base - is impeccably preserved with manicured grounds. We had an excellent and funny guide with our group. From the top of the walls you have breathtaking views of the city and if you are going to go - make sure you don’t miss the change of guards. The kids loved to see the new Batiste.
Sin Jaz (6 months ago)
This was so interesting. You Have to take a guided tour since it’s an active base. It was 1 hour and well worth it. You get to see some really cool cannons and the prison and get a great history lesson. Great views as well.
Jason Athan (6 months ago)
Knowledgeable employee's. Definitely a spot worth visiting on your trip to Quebec. There are stairs near the Chateau. It is a long walk but has multiple lookouts and benches.
Remy Guay (6 months ago)
I don’t care where your from, this place is worth to visit. If your Canadian and never put a foot in this place, your missing out. This was a truly well built fort. Stood the test of time so far and will Fort many century to come. Pack your bags, get excited and past a beautiful day at The Citadel of Quebec, rain or shine it will be a great day
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