The Quebec Citadel - History and Facts | History Hit

The Quebec Citadel

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

The Quebec Citadel is a 19th century British fortress and the biggest built by the British in North America.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About The Quebec Citadel

The Quebec Citadel (La Citadelle) is a 19th century British fortress and the biggest built by the British in North America.

Built between 1820 and 1850, the Quebec Citadel is still garrisoned today as the home of the Royal 22e Regiment. The Quebec Citadel also has a museum dedicated to this regiment which offers tours of the site and the site is the location of the home of the Governor General of Canada.

Since 1985, the Quebec Citadel has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Historic District of Old Quebec.

The Quebec Citadel history

The Citadel was built by the British according to fortification plans designed by the celebrated French engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban.

The site is comprised of a star-shaped stone protective wall and four bastions. With its barracks, hangers, powder magazines, armory and even a hospital, the Citadelle would have been self-sufficient in the event of a siege, but it was never attacked.

The location and size of the Citdel meant that it was nicknamed America’s Gibraltar. The French had already erected bastions in this highly strategic location. The Citadelle’s main entrance is the only authentic gate that still exists in Quebec City since its construction in 1828.

It has also preserved its zigzagging baffle that crosses the glacis that protects the exterior stone wall, forming a defensive ditch with the interior stone wall of the actual fortress.

The British military departed Québec in 1871. The Citadel served as headquarters for one of the artillery schools of the Canadian Army and became the headquarters of the Royal 22e Régiment after World War One. Old Québec was placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985. The Citadelle is open to the public and highlights the traditions of the R22eR.

The Quebec Citadel today

Today the Citadelle is the base of Canada’s Royal 22s. The only french-speaking regiment in Canada, the Royal 22s were founded in World War One and earned three Victoria crosses in that conflict and World War Two. There is a museum dedicated to the Royal 22e regiment on site.

The Quebec Citdel is the only Canadian military base that is open to visitors. The regimental mascot, Batisse the goat, attends the changing of the guard as officers and soldiers, decked out in their scarlet regimental dress uniforms and bearskin hats, perform drill movements for the public to the music of the regimental band.

Tours depart every 15 minutes to an hour depending on the season, with French- and English-language tours alternating throughout the day. The Governor General’s Residence, which can also be visited on a guided tour, is in the same complex.

Getting to The Quebec Citadel

The Citadel is located atop Cap Diamant, overlooking the city and the St. Lawrence River. There is free parking available at the Citdel for up to two hours. Bus drivers are asked to drop passengers off at the Citadelle entrance.

Featured In

Canada Historic Sites

Discover the best historic sites in Canada, from Kejimkujik National Park to the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, as well as Canada's national history museums.