Description of Historic Place
The Casemates are located at Fort No.1, which is delimited by a rock-hewn ditch at Lévis Forts National Historic Site of Canada. The casemates are covered by a grassed terreplein. The visible part of the structure is its long façade constructed of stone with alternating doors and windows and projecting chimneys. Inside, there is a succession of vaulted spaces. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Casemates are a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of their historical associations, and architectural and environmental value.
The Casemates at Lévis Forts National Historic Site of Canada are one of the best examples of a building associated with “Lévis, A Sentinel of Québec”, a historic theme that implicitly refers to the military role that Québec played in the defence of Canada. The Pointe Lévy fortification has both a political and strategic context. Fort No.1 at Lévis, whose construction coincided with the period of Canada’s Confederation, was part of a defensive strategy aimed at thwarting any attempted American invasion, which posed a threat to the integrity of Canada’s territory during this period.
The Casemates are an excellent example of military engineering. Its essentially functional architecture is in keeping with the military tradition of using fill from the terreplein or rampart to erect structures that could withstand artillery bombardment. Building materials and techniques were chosen on the basis of strict principles. The structure is an important contribution of W.F. Drummond Jervois, a British Royal Engineer and a well-known fortification designer, to the concept of detached forts. Examples of his work are also found in the Portsmouth, England area.
The Casemates reinforce the military character of its semi-rural setting at Lévis Forts National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar structure to visitors and those who work at the site.
Sources: Yves Desloges, Fort No.1, Lévis, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-030; Lévis Forts No. 1, Lévis-Lauzon, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 90-030.
The character-defining elements of the Casemates should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and excellent functional design and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
-the terreplein that covers the structure along with the embedded masonry construction;
-the façade of the casemates with alternating doors and windows, arranged according to the needs of the program;
-the interior succession of vaulted spaces;
-the treatment of the walls and ceiling;
-the ventilation and heating arrangements of the earth covered rooms, including the sash windows which provide a supply of fresh air and the cast-iron stoves connected by pipes to the chimneys, which provide heat in winter.
The manner in which the Casemates reinforce the military character of its semi-rural setting and is a familiar building, as evidenced by:
-its specialized defensive military design and materials which harmonize with its surroundings and maintains a visual and physical relationship to the caponiers, passages and the powder magazine;
-its familiarity to visitors and the community as part of the Lévis Forts National Historic Site of Canada.