Québec

What does the Fortified Wall look like?

WHAT DOES
OLD QUÉBEC'S FORTIFIED WALL
LOOK LIKE TODAY?

(In the 21st Century)

Imagine having a time machine at your disposal.

Having a "special" time machine that you can use to witness more than four centuries of evolution and the growth of the Fortified Wall that completely surrounds the Upper Town of Old Québec, in Québec City, one of the most unique structures in North America!

Well, here it comes … because we will provide such a special time machine for you.

However, before you start your time travel, first have a closer look at Old Québec's Fortified Wall, the way it looks today…

On the U-Haul SuperGraphic for the Province of Québec, right behind the horse-drawn carriage, you have already seen an intriguing European-looking structure. It is actually a North American structure called "The St. Louis Gate" (or "La porte Saint-Louis" in French) and a section of Old Québec's Fortified Wall, in Québec City.

Québec City is located along the St. Lawrence River, in a place "where the river narrows". It is considered to be the most European city in North America and its population speaks French, which is the official language for the whole Province of Québec, in the eastern part of Canada.

Northeast of North America
Québec City is located in the northeastern part of North America, along the St. Lawrence River "where the river narrows". It is the capital of the Province of Québec, in the eastern part of Canada.
© 2010 U-Haul International, Inc. / Graphic by Steve King.

Québec City is more than 400 years old, having celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008, long after it was founded by Samuel de Champlain, in 1608.

The oldest part of Québec City is called "Old Québec". It is divided into an Upper Town (on top of monumental cliffs) and a Lower Town (at the bottom of those same prodigious cliffs). Those high cliffs range in height from 164 to 328 feet (50 to 100 meters).

The Upper Town of Old Québec is surrounded by a Fortified Wall that is unique in North America and St. Louis Gate is a crucial section of that Fortified Wall.


You can zoom in and out of this aerial view of Québec City with the St. Lawrence River at its feet. It shows us that Old Québec's Fortified Wall and the high cliffs upon which it is perched on three of its four sides still delineate the urban geography of that most European city. The modern skyscrapers you see in the top part of this aerial photo are mostly located behind the west side of the Fortified Wall, which overall surrounds the Upper Town of Old Québec.
© 1999 Éditions Phidal, Inc. / Book entitled "Québec, La Belle Province", pages 76 and 77 / Photo reproduced with the permission of Éditions Phidal.

Québec City is the only city in North America that has preserved and maintained its Fortified Wall in its entirety.


You can zoom in and out of this high-resolution satellite photo of Old Québec's Upper Town (for the main part of the photo), with Old Québec's Lower Town and the St. Lawrence River at its feet (at the bottom of the photo). It allows you to see clearly Old Québec's Fortified Wall (represented by a thick red line) surrounding that Upper Town. The gaps you see in the thick red line representing the Fortified Wall are either gates that can be considered like sections of that Fortified Wall or modern openings to let streets through. All those features will be identified more specifically in the following simplified illustration, which will represent Old Québec's Fortified Wall in the same position as it is in this image.
© 2008 Google, Imagery and © 2008 DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, GroupeALTA Inc., for the high-resolution satellite photo itself.
© 2010 U-Haul International, Inc. / Graphic by Steve King, for the thick red line representing Old Québec's Fortified Wall over that satellite photo.

In order to better understand the different sections of Old Québec's Fortified Wall, we show a simplified representation of it where those different sections are clearly identifiable.


You can zoom in and out of this simplified illustration of Old Québec's Fortified Wall in its entirety. It shows the different sections and architectural features of the Fortified Wall (identified by numbers in the graphic and captions related to these numbers at the bottom of the graphic), regrouped in the same global image. Overall, Québec City's Fortified Wall covers 2.86 miles (4.6 kilometers) as it surrounds the Upper Town of Old Québec.
© 1998 Parks Canada / Brochure entitled "The Fortifications of Québec", pages 12 and 13 / Map reproduced with the permission of Parks Canada.

We are now ready to look more closely at the different sections of Old Québec's Fortified Wall, the way they look in the 21st Century:

  • St. Louis Gate (represented on our SuperGraphic);
  • Four other gates, still existing today;
  • The walls of the Fortified Wall and their three main bastions;
  • The star-shaped Citadel, a formidable last-resort stronghold;
  • The majestic Château Frontenac with its spectacular Dufferin Terrace.