Fort Richelieu National Historic Site of Canada

Sorel, Quebec
View of HSMBC plaque in Sorel. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2009 (Catherine Cournoyer))
HSMBC plaque
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2009 (Catherine Cournoyer))
Address : Place Charles-de-Montmagny, Sorel, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1923-05-25
Dates:
  • 1642 to 1642 (Construction)
  • 1665 to 1665 (Significant)
  • 1642 to 1646 (Other addition)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Governor Montmagny  (Person)
  • Captain Pierre de Saurel  (Person)
Other Name(s):
  • Fort Richelieu  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2011-SDC-CED-007

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque: Place Charles-de-Montmagny Augusta and du Roi streets, Sorel, Quebec

As one of the earliest forts in New France, Fort Richelieu served as a symbol of military strength and as a base for missionaries from its construction in 1642 until its abandonment four years later. It was established near here by the Governor of New France, Montmagny, as a strategic position against the Iroquois with whom war had been renewed the year before. Iroquois raiding parties used the Richelieu River as a route to put Canada under severe military pressure and the fort was intended to block this approach A second fort was built on the site in 1665 and later named Fort Sorel.

Original plaque dismantled / removed / replaced:  Rue du Fort et De la Reine, near the harbour, Sorel, Quebec

Built in wood the 13th of August 1642, by M. de Montmagny at the mouth of the river; was reconstructed in stone on this spot, the 23rd July, 1665, by Captain Pierre de Saurel. This was an important defence post against the attacks of the Iroquois.

Description of Historic Place

Fort Richelieu National Historic Site of Canada is located within the limits of the city of Sorel-Tracy 91 kilometres northeast of the city of Montreal, Quebec. Situated on the eastern shore of the Richelieu River near where it meets the St. Lawrence River, the site marks the location of two forts of which there are no extant remains. The first, known as Fort Richelieu, was constructed in 1642 by the French as a strategic position and symbol of strength to the Iroquois with whom they were again at war. A second fort, Fort Sorel, was built on the site in 1665 by Captain Pierre de Saurel. An HSMBC plaque was erected in 1980 to mark the site. Official recognition refers to the designated place at the confluence of the St Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers delineated by an almost square polygon.

Heritage Value

Fort Richelieu was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1923 because: it is one of the oldest forts of New France; and it was considered as a symbol of military strength and as a base for missionary efforts.


Fort Richelieu was one of the earliest forts constructed in New France, established in 1642, at the mouth of the Richelieu River, by the Governor of New France, Monseigneur de Montmagny. The fort was established as a strategic position from which the French could counter Iroquois raiding parties who were using the Richelieu River as a route to put New France under severe military pressure and the fort was intended to block this approach. From its construction in 1642 until its abandonment four years later Fort Richelieu was also used a base for missionary efforts amongst the local population. The fort was abandoned in 1646 and the Iroquois burnt it down in the winter of 1647. A second fort was built on the site in 1665 by Captain Pierre de Saurel which was later named Fort Sorel.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes June 1924, June 1980, April 2011

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
its location in the city of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec; its strategic location at the meeting point of the Richelieu and St Lawrence Rivers; the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found
within the site relating to either Fort Richelieu or Fort Sorel in their original placement and extent; the viewscapes to and from the site across the Richelieu and St. Lawrence Rivers.