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Fort Chambly National Historic Site of Canada

2 Richelieu Street, Chambly, Quebec, J3L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1920/01/30

General view of Fort Chambly showing its location on the banks of the Richelieu River, 1965.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
Aerial view of Fort Chambly showing the central courtyard surrounded on all four sides by stone buildings. 1965.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1965.
Aerial view
General view of Fort Chambly showing the bastioned design influenced by classic 17th-century European fortifications, 1965.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1965.
General view

Other Name(s)

Fort Chambly National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Chambly
Fort Chambly
Old Fort Point Chartrain
Ancien fort Point Chartrain

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1665/01/01 to 1870/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/09/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Chambly National Historic Site of Canada is a square-shaped stone fortress strategically placed on the Richelieu River at Chambly, Quebec. The present structure is the fourth fort to have been constructed on the same site. Four prominent corner bastions and high curtain walls protect accommodation and storage facilities arranged around a central courtyard. Strongly built of stone the fort also features bartizans, embrasures and muskets loopholes. The fort stands within a large waterside park. Official recognition refers to the fort on its small plot of land on the banks of the Richelieu River.

Heritage Value

Fort Chambly was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1920 because:
-Fort Chambly was used continuously during the French and British regimes as an essential component of Canada’s defence infrastructure; and,
-Fort Chambly played a defensive role during the armed conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries: Iroquoian Wars, Anglo-French Wars, American War of Independence, War of 1812-1814, Rebellions of 1837-1838.

In 1665, French army officer Captain Jacques de Chambly directed the construction of the first wooden fort in Canada to control the invasion route and to support French troops against the Iroquois. The present stone fort, built between 1709-1711 to protect New France from British invasion, draws inspiration from European classical fortifications adapted to the particular geographical context of North America. Ceded to the British in 1760, the fort was temporarily occupied during the American invasion of 1775 before being recaptured by the British. It also played an important role during the war of 1812 and the rebellions of 1837-1838. The fort subsequently fell into disrepair and was abandoned in the mid-19th century. The intervention of Chambly inhabitant Joseph-Octave Dion played an important role in safeguarding the fort between 1875 and 1916. Designated a national historic site of Canada in 1920, Fort Chambly was restored by Parks Canada in 1983 and now houses a small museum and interpretation centre.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1975; June 2004, July 2005; Commemorative Integrity Statement, May 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
-its location on the banks of the Richelieu River and its proximity to old Chambly Road;
-the rapids on the river;
-the square massing;
-the bastioned design influenced by classic 17th-century European fortifications;
-the stone construction of the massive exterior walls, the corner bastions with bartizans;
-the musket loopholes, and embrasures all around the fort;
-the central courtyard surrounded on all four sides by stone buildings that run contiguous to, and back directly against the fort’s exterior wall;
-the main entrance portal emphasized by rusticated stonework inscribed with the names of notable figures in the history of New France, the projecting gallery pierced by musket loops set above the entrance surmounted by a neoclassical pediment with a coat of arms;
-the projecting (machicoulis) gallery pierced by musket loopholes set above the entrance surmounted by a Neoclassical pediment with coat of arms;
-the vestiges of the free fire zone of the military reserve;
-the integrity of the surviving archaeological remains relating to the site’s use as a fort during the period from 1665 to 1860;
-the integrity of the cemetery as a simple grassed area;
-the integrity of surviving elements of the Chambly Road;
-the surviving qualities of the site which speak to its defensive purpose, namely the relationship with the Richelieu River, its rapids, the Chambly road, and the surviving open spaces around the fort;
-the clear views from the fort to the surrounding area, and from the surrounding area towards the fort;
-the legibility of the original elements, as well as the late 19th-century reconstructions and interventions;
-the Palladian design of the guard house;
-surviving archaeological evidence of the fort’s ancillary structures and of the original village of Chambly (1672-1711).

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1920/01/30

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1771/01/01 to 1771/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Defence
Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

602

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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