This Week in History
Québec Fortifications Unique in North America
For the week of Monday December 4, 2000
On December 3, 1985, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee designated the Historic District of Québec a World Heritage Site, commemorating the only walled city remaining on the North American continent.
By the 1870s, the fortifications no longer had a defensive function and sections of the walls were being demolished in order to accommodate the growing population. Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada (1872-1878), however, saw their beauty, historical value and tourist appeal, and put a stop to this destruction. He developed a plan that included restoring the damaged battlements, rebuilding the gates to preserve the historic character of the fortified colonial town in a new style, and constructing a continuous walkway along the ramparts. These features are all intact today.
Old Québec's unique status as the only remaining walled city in North America contributed to its being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Walls and Fortifications of Québec, which represent over three centuries of defensive works, have been designated a National Historic Site and are among the best preserved in the world. The cradle of French civilization in America, the Historic District of Québec World Heritage Site is one of 13 Canadian sites on the World Heritage List.
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