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Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada

1 61st Avenue, Saint-Paul-de-lÎle-aux-Noix, Quebec, J0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1920/01/30

Aerial view of Fort Lennox showing its position as an island in the Richelieu River.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
Aerial view
General view of Fort Lennox showing the elements which speak to the site as a fortification.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
General view of Fort Lennox showing the buildings, their stone construction, their volume, mass, roof type, window and door placements.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view

Other Name(s)

Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Lennox
Fort Lennox

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1759/01/01 to 1760/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/06/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada is a highly evocative military fortification and landscape covering the full extent of Île aux Noix in the Richelieu River near the city of Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-Noix, Québec. Over a critical period from the end of the French Regime to the 1870s, French, American and British forces exploited the strategic value of the site. The fortifications themselves are framed by a water-filled moat that surrounds the ramparts. Inside is a collection of handsome, classically designed buildings beautifully executed in stone. The designation refers to the entire historic place and the cultural resources it contains.

Heritage Value

Fort Lennox was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1920 because:
-in preventing invasions via the Richelieu River, one of the gateways to Canada, it was repeatedly fortified from 1759 onwards and was occupied by a garrison until 1870.

Fort Lennox played an important role in the military history of Canada due to its strategic location along the Hudson-Champlain-Richelieu navigation route. The island’s geography, with narrow channels and an elevated southern point, provided a natural defence system that was supplemented by military defensive works. The French first fortified the island in 1759 as a barrier to British invasion along the Richelieu River. In 1760, the British captured the island, just prior to the fall of New France. In 1775, American revolutionary forces used the island as a base for an attack on Canada. After their retreat in 1776, the British began fortifying the island to guard against further invasions. During the War of 1812 the fort was used to secure the border with the United States and to protect the Royal Navy base at Saint-Jean. The present Fort Lennox, the third set of fortifications on the island, was built from 1819 to 1828. It replaced the earlier fort and was garrisoned until 1870. Île aux Noix was also used, but not modified, by British forces during the uprising of the Patriots, the Fenian Raids, and the American Civil War. After the departure of the British garrison in 1870, the Canadian militia used the site for summer training until 1921. From 1940 to 1943 a refugee camp for European Jews was located on the island.

The historic place includes archaeological and built resources associated with each of the following periods of military occupation: the French fortifications (1759-1760); the period of American occupation (1775-1776); the first British occupation and installations (before 1778); the first British fortifications (1778-1812); the redevelopment of the British fortifications (1812-1819); the naval establishment (1812-1834); and the establishment and operation of Fort Lennox (1819 to present times).

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1920; Commemorative Integrity Statement, August 2002.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- its position as an island in the Richelieu River, the main point of entry between Canada and the American colonies in the 18th century;
- its natural geography, consisting of a long narrow island with deep channels on either side;
- those elements which speak to the site as a fortification;
- the built features consisting of the fort itself, its walls, ramparts, entrance ports and gates; the buildings, their stone construction, their volume, mass, roof type, window and door placements, openings, surviving interior fittings in their surviving original locations, massing and materials;
- those landscape features which speak to a military purpose, namely the open central parade ground, the placement of the buildings and built features within the interior of the fort; the surrounding moat and glacis, the trenches, roads, the open, free fire zone, the related cemeteries, the uninterrupted views towards the river, and the field to the north in their surviving original morphology and materials;
- objects and archaeological sites related to the site’s military history in their found locations, extent and materials.

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)

1775/01/01 to 1778/01/01
1812/01/01 to 1814/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type

Current

Defence
Armoury or Drill Hall

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

618

Status

Published

Related Places

General view

North Front Casemate

The Fort Lennox North Front casemate forms an enfilade of 6 vaulted spaces built into the fort embankment and faced with similar ashlar stone façades. It is composed of two…

Corner view

Officers' Quarters

The Officers’ Quarters at Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada is a two-storey, rectangular-plan, masonry construction, measuring 27 by 13 metres, and covered with a metal…

Facade

Fort Lennox, West Front casemates

The West Front casemates at Fort Lennox form an enfilade of 11 vaulted spaces built into the fort embankment and faced with similar ashlar stone façades. They are composed of…

General view

South Magazine

The South Magazine is a solid, two-storey stone structure located east of the parade grounds at Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada. The austere, rectangular building has…

General view

North Magazine

The North Magazine is a solid, two-storey stone structure located east of the parade grounds at Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada. The austere, rectangular building has…

General view

Barracks

The Barrack at the Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada is the dominant and the largest structure along the west side of the parade ground. Locally known as ‘The Big…

Exterior view

Guardhouse

The Guardhouse is located at the foot of the ramparts, adjacent to the Officers’ Quarters, at the main gate to Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada. The classic…

Corner view of the Powder Magazine at Fort Lennox

Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine, also known as the Fort Lennox Powder Magazine, is located northwest of the parade square in the bastion at Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada. Built…

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