its history


The Fortress of Old Québec

The Citadelle of Québec is the largest British fortress in North America. It is an integral part of the Québec fortifications and is located on Cape Diamond, the city's highest point.

The Citadelle was recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980 and is part of the Historic District of Old Québec, which was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1985.

A Historic Treasure

Having narrowly repelled the American invasion of Canada during the War of 1812, the British decided to re-examine their defensive strategy. Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Governor-in-Chief of British North America, was given the task and drew up plans to build and improve defensive works at strategic locations.

Lieutenant-Colonel Elias Walker Durnford of the British Army was entrusted with building the Citadelle of Québec. His star fort shape is based on designs by French engineer Sébastien Le Prestre Vauban. Construction spanned from 1820 to 1850, and the Citadelle is today an integral part of the fortifications of Québec.

Its first occupants were British troops, followed by the Royal Canadian Artillery. It remains an active garrison and since 1920 is home to the Royal 22e Régiment, the Canadian Forces' sole French-language regular force infantry regiment.

An Authentic Fortress

A number of outstanding buildings are found in the Citadelle.

  • Canada's oldest military building, dating back to 1693 and the French Regime
  • The Dalhousie Gate, the city's only authentic gate not rebuilt for automobile traffic
  • The East Casemate at the Citadelle entrance, home to the Royal 22e Régiment Museum
  • The residence of the Governor General of Canada, founded in 1872

From the beginning the Citadelle has played an important role in Québec City and in the history of Canada, through its characteristic architecture, its military functions, and the events it has hosted, such as the Québec Conferences where military strategies to end the Second World War were hammered out. The Citadelle continues to serve as a diplomatic centre and host to many official events.

A Living Fortress

The men and women of the Royal 22e Régiment bring military traditions to life inside the Citadelle. Visitors bear witness to these traditions in ceremonies like the Changing of the Guard and the daily noon-day gun.

Experience over 300 years of history at the Citadelle of Québec and the Royal 22e Régiment Museum.

For those who love to surf the Internet, visit our virtual exhibition where you will learn more about the Citadelle's architectural heritage.