Monday 29 July 2013

Touring the Citadel of Old Quebec City

After hiking up the walls of Old Quebec, Teena and I decided to take the tour of the Citadel. Citadel actually means "walled city" so here was a walled city, built by the English after defeating the French on the Plains of Abraham, on the corner of yet another walled city.

Here I am approaching the fort. You'll notice I am not dressed in camouflage! 


Although Britain had won the Seven Years War against the France for control of North America, they feared not only another war with France but also attack from the United States. Quebec means "narrow water" and Quebec City was built on a narrow part of a bend in the St Lawrence River.

As you enter the main gate, which is set within two protective walls and ditches, you come to the main gate guarded by centuries. There is a large changing of the guards ceremony every day at 10 but the guards do changes during the day. We were inside the gate when the new guards came out to replace the ones on duty. We heard commands being shouted out and then the relieved guard came back in.

Goofing around before the tour.

The woman in white is our tour guide and is explaining the timeline of the fort. The girl in the red to the left is learning to be a guide and did a pretty good job.

This is the original gate when the fort was first built. It is the only entrance to the interior of the fort.

This is still a working fort with the 22nd Regiment still training and drilling at the fort.

This is their barracks. Only single soldiers stay in the barracks now. Those who are married have to pay for quarters off site. Notice Ligne Gothique 1944 etched into the war. It is a citation for a battle the forts infantry has fought in. There are 44 around the fort.

There are military antiques all around the fort

The old gunpowder magazine is now the forts museum.


Then it was up the hill to the tallest point in Quebec City, the south west corner overlooking the St Lawrence river.

This part of the fort overlooks the Plains of Abraham where James Wolfe after a very long siege, had his troops climb the cliffs on the up from the St Lawrence in the dark and coax Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and his forces out of the fort to defeat him in less than 15 minutes. Although the battle took place in 1759 and the war lasted 'til 1762, the French never recovered from this battle and it is said that on this battlefield was where the fate of North America was decided.

Here shows the advancement in warfare. These two cannons are from periods one hundred years apart. The top one form the 1850s took seven men to load and fire. The lower one from the Korean war was loaded and fired at noon by our guide in training today.

This unique building is under repair. It was used so ships coming up the river could set their clocks according to where the ball was on the tower. At its highest point, it was noon.

This building was originally built to be an inner defense position if the outer walls were breached. Later for a hundred years it was a military jail. Now it too is a museum.


Our second last stop was at the King;s bastion over looking the curve in the river. Best vantage point in all Quebec City. At the end of the row of cannons is Rachel, the big gun that oversees the bend. The picture at the top of this post is was taken here. The premier of Quebec lives in the top two stories of the tall building in the third picture.


We also saw a cardinal sing to its mate in a nearby tree.


The final stop of our tour was at a converted magazine (the one with the cross on it) and cooperage building. The cooperage building now a memorial building houses the remains remains of former Governor General George Vanier. The magazine is now a church where every day a soldier enters and reads two pages out loud of the names of those of the regiment who have given their life in battle for the unit and our country. This is done 365 days a year.

Beside the church is a memorial to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which was fought in 1917 and was the first time Canadians fought together as a unit in an overseas war. It is said that it was here that Canada became a nation. The cross stood on the battle field until it was donated to the unit in 1923. Soldiers passing here are required to salute each time!


It was a great interesting tour and is quite worth taking if you are visiting Quebec City.

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