Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by Pamela
The Fortifications of Québec are a fascination for many when visiting Québec City, and why not?! Québec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico, it’s stone walls and heavy cannons still stand guard, even if they are now more decorative than functional.
Extending over 4.6 km, the ramparts, and fortifications of Québec were an integral part of the city’s defensive system for hundreds of years. Cap Diamant, the massive cliff, atop of which we can now see Château Frontenac, offered natural protection, but the colony of New France needed more than that.
A fort and residence were built at the top of Cap Diamant (roughly where the château now stands) at the behest of Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th-Century, ideal for spotting enemies sailing down the Saint-Lawrence River. It wasn’t until 1690 when a defensive wall was built at the request of Gouverneur Louis de Buade de Frontenac, Gouverneur General of Québec. Phips attacked, lost, and in 1693 construction began on the fortifications of Québec.
The ramparts and fortifications of Québec City today is actually the third one to be built since 1693. When the fortifications of Québec were used for defending the city, they were roughly 75 metres wide (245 ft). Today, the fortified walls are considerably smaller.
Beginning at La Citadelle, walk along the top of the fortification wall to Porte Saint-Louis (first built in 1693) for views of Parliament Hill on one side, and Château Frontenac in the distance on the other. Continue to walk along the walls to the Porte Kent (circa 1878) on rue Dauphine, then further down to Porte Saint-Jean (first built in 1693) with views of Place D’Youville on one side and the bustling street of rue Saint-Jean on the other.
Make time to stop at Artillery Park and wander on your own or take a guided tour given by Parks Canada, learning about the history of the cartridge factory, as well as the military barracks of the Dauphine Redoubt. The fortifications of Québec stretch down rue des Remparts, with large black cannons strategically placed along the way. Follow the road to Montmorency Park where the walls and further up to Dufferin Terrace and Château Frontenac.
Note: Guided tours are 90 minutes in length, offered in English and French, and start at the Parks Canada kiosk on Dufferin Terrace (beside Château Frontenac). Learn more here.
2, rue d’Auteuil (Artillery Park)
$7.90 Adults, Free for children 17 and under (Artillery Park)