Classified Federal Heritage Building
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Rhona Goodspeed, 1991.)
Québec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, Québec, Quebec
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1846 to 1846
Event, Person, Organization:
Former Defensive Casemate
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Incorporated into the wall of the Prince of Wales Bastion, the full length of the Quebec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, Building No. 44, also known as the former Defensive Casemates, is below ground, and the only evidence of its existence is the series of loopholes, which pierce the flank of the Prince of Wales Bastion. The defensive wall extends into a crenellated parapet where a band course indicates the line of the roof, hidden by a grass-covered terreplein. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Building No. 44 is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Building No. 44 is one of the best examples directly associated with the defense of British North America in the years following the War of 1812. After the war, the United States of America remained a potential enemy to Canada and the best way to bolster the city’s defenses was to build a permanent citadel on the Cap-aux-Diamants heights. The Building No. 44 was an integral part of the defense system established to ward off the threat posed by the United States. They provide an excellent example highlighting the military role of the Citadel, which had a major impact on the civilian administration and local development of Québec.
The Building No. 44 is a very good example of a British military defense structure with excellent functional design. Its vaulted building design clearly reflects the defensive character of the building. Its architectural value also lies in its quality craftsmanship and materials.
The Environmental Value
Located in the corner of the Prince of Wales Bastion beneath the terre-plein, built to command the sallyport in Mann’s Bastion and the portion of the top of the bluff behind the Former Commissariat (Building No. 8), the Building No. 44 reinforces the historical defensive-military character of the Citadel setting. Its defensive function strengthens the defensive role of the military components of the fortress in the immediate vicinity and its materials and design blend in well with the other buildings on the site.
Rhona Godspeed, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Building Report 89-161; Former Defensive Casemate, Building 44, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-161.
The character defining elements of Building No. 44 should be respected.
Its functional, defensive military design and high quality craftsmanship and materials such as: its vaulted building of cut stone with its full length below ground and the series of loopholes which pierce the flank of the Prince of Wales Bastion being the only visible feature of the building from the outside; its defensive wall that extends into a crenellated parapet and a band course that indicates the line of the roof which is hidden by a grass-covered terreplein; its access through a long masonry passage adjacent to the Former Commissariat Building No. 8.
The manner in which the Building No. 44 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 Defensive Casemate was constructed in 1846 from plans prepared by the Royal Engineers. The building has not been altered over the years and is currently used as storage space. The Former Defensive Casemate (Building No. 44) is incorporated into the wall of the Prince of Wales Bastion. It is part of the Citadel of Québec, a National Historic Site. The building is owned by the Department of National Defence. See FHBRO Report 88-161.
Reasons for Designation
The Former Defensive Casemate has been designated “Classified” because of its historical significance, the precision of its design, the quality of the materials and workmanship, and its environmental significance.
The Former Defensive Casemate, which is an integral part of the ramparts, is associated with the defence of British North America during the period in which construction of the Citadel was being completed (1839-1857) in order to ward off the threat posed by the United States. From a local standpoint, it highlights the military character of the Citadel, which had a major impact on the civilian administration of Québec in the last century and also on local development.
The design of the casemate, which cannot be seen from outside the walls other than through a series of loopholes, clearly reflects the defensive character of the building. The vaulted building of cut stone was very well-crafted and has retained its original formal characteristics. It is the only single casemate in the Citadel which played a defensive role.
The Former Defensive Casemate was built to command the sallyport in Mann’s Bastion and the portion of the top of the bluff behind the Former Commissariat (Building No. 8). The integrity of this strategic location has been preserved.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of the Former Defensive Casemate resides in its architectural design, the building materials and techniques used, and its relationship to the sallyport in Mann’s Bastion.
The full length of Building No. 44 is below ground; the only evidence of its existence is the series of loopholes which pierce the flank of the Prince of Wales Bastion. The defensive wall extends into a crenellated parapet and a band course indicates the line of the roof, which is hidden by a grass-covered terreplein. The casemate is still accessible through a long masonry passage adjacent to the Former Commissariat (Building No. 8).
The Former Defensive Casemate maintains its original appearance, and it would be desirable to preserve its integrity. To stabilize and preserve the masonry elements, it is recommended that an ongoing maintenance program be put in place. New joints and replacement stones should be made to blend seamlessly with the existing walls, in keeping with the original design in terms of material, colour, profile and bond. It is particularly important that the ceilings be sealed and an effort should be made to avoid altering the formal design of the building.
The interior of the Former Defensive Casemate comprises a single rectangular vaulted room, approximately 45 square metres in area. The east wall is pierced by seven loopholes that also provide light to the interior. The cut stone vaults are exposed and the floor is of battered earth, as they were originally. Any development of this building should respect the current rudimentary appearance. The recommendations for the exterior masonry apply also to the interior.
The heritage character of Building No. 44 resides as well in its association with the Former Commissariat, through which it could be accessed, and in its relationship with the sallyport in Mann’s Bastion, which it commanded. It is therefore important that the relationship between these elements of the defensive system be respected. In particular, an effort should be made to avoid introducing elements that would obscure interpretation of the defensive function of the former Defensive Casemate.