Classified Federal Heritage Building
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Rhona Goodspeed, 1991.)
Bastion Dalhousie, Québec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, Québec, Quebec
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1852 to 1852
Event, Person, Organization:
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Within the ditch at the west corner of the Quebec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, Building 25, also known as the former Caponier, is concealed with only the stone façade and entrance visible. The façade has two faces set at a slight angle to each other and is pierced with loopholes. The roof of the building is concealed by the glacis, which slopes down toward the Plains of Abraham, making the building practically invisible. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 25 is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Building 25 is one of the best examples illustrating the defence of British North America during the period in which the Citadel was completed. Built in the west counterscarp of the Citadel outside the walls, Building 25 was intended to command the lower ditch. It is also strongly associated with the development of the City of Québec as the Citadel had a major impact on the civilian administration during the last century.
Building 25 is a very good example of British military defence buildings with excellent functional design and high quality craftsmaship. It is distinguished by its unique shape and functional, solid masonry construction.
The Environmental Value
Strategically located within the counterscarp at the west corner of the Citadel, and designed to blend in visually with the fortification, Building 25 reinforces the historical military character of the Citadel and harmonizes well with the other 19th-century military structures in materials, scale and design. Stretching from the west of this corner of the Citadel are the grassy, rolling hills of National Battlefields Park.
Sources: Rhona Godspeed, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Building Report 89-163; Former Caponier, Building No.25, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-163.
The character-defining elements of Building 25 should be respected.
Its functional defensive military design and high quality craftsmanship and materials such as: its stone façade, which has two faces, set at a slight angle to each other and pierced with loopholes; the roof of the building concealed by the glacis, which slopes down toward the Plains of Abraham making the former caponier practically invisible; its wall of regular bond, except for the lower part, which is part of the wall of the old ditch; the entrance located in the counterscarp of the main ditch at a level higher than the rest of the building; its interior vaulting throughout the long, narrow shooting gallery and stairs to the entry door and the exposed cut stone walls and vaults.
The manner in which Building 25 reinforces the historical defensive military character of its fort setting located in the Québec Citadel.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
The Former Caponiere was constructed in 1852 from plans attributed to the Royal Engineers. It is located within the counterscarp at the west corner of the Citadel. The partially buried building has undergone some modifications over the years, including the replacement of the old, dry masonry covering with a concrete shell, and the alteration of access to the west end of the passageway. The Former Caponiere is currently vacant. It is part of the Citadel of Québec, a National Historic Site. The building is under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada. See FHBRO Report 88-161.
Reasons for Designation
The Former Caponiere has been designated “Classified” because of its historical significance, its fine design, the quality of construction and its environmental significance.
Building No. 25 is associated with the defence of British North America during the period in which the Citadel was completed (1839-1857). Built in the west counterscarp of the Citadel outside the walls, the former Caponiere was intended to command the lower ditch. From the standpoint of local history, the Former Caponiere accentuates the military character of the Citadel, which had a major impact on the civilian administration of Québec during the last century and also on local development.
The Former Caponiere has retained its unique shape, which reflects its location. The facade, pierced with loopholes, is the only part of the building not hidden underground.
It is relatively well preserved, which indicates careful construction and a choice of materials generally appropriate to the characteristics of the site.
The relationship between Building No. 25 and the other defensive works in this part of the Citadel has been preserved. The presence of the Former Capon iere strengthens the military character of this strategic site. It blends well with the other defensive works in the fortress in terms of materials and design.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Former Caponiere resides in its architectural design, the building materials and construction techniques used, and the strategic location outside the fortress.
Building No. 25 displays the typical features of British military buildings, including functional, solid masonry construction, with no real decoration. In this particular case, the structure is concealed within the counterscarp. All that is exposed is the facade, which has two faces set at a slight angle to each other and pierced with loopholes. The wall is of regular bond, except for the lower part (which is actually part of the wall of the old ditch). The roof of the building is concealed by the glacis, which slopes down toward the Plains of Abraham, making the Former Caponiere practically invisible. The entrance is located in the counterscarp of the main ditch at a level higher than the rest of the building.
Nothing should be done to undermine the integrity of this arrangement, and new openings should not be created. It is recommended that ongoing maintenance of the joints be carried out and that damaged stones be replaced with stones identical to the original ones in type, size, colour and bond. In the interest of historical consistency, the style of the door should be the same as the old one if it is not already.
The interior of the Former Caponiere is vaulted throughout. It includes a long, narrow shooting gallery and stairs to the entry door. There is a vestibule at the entrance. At present, the cut stone walls and vaults are exposed. Restoration of this building should respect the rudimentary look that currently exists. The recommendations made for the exterior masonry also apply to the interior. Finally, the access point at the west end of the passageway may eventually be restored to its original condition.
The heritage character of the Former Caponiere also resides in its relationship with the other elements of the defence system located in this part of the Citadel. It is therefore important to preserve the military character of the environment and not introduce landscaping that might make that character harder to read.