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Alert Hangar National Historic Site of Canada

La Baie, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/06/08

General view of the Alert Hangar at CFB Bagotville.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada
General view
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Other Name(s)

Alert Hangar National Historic Site of Canada
Alert Hangar
Hangar d'alerte
Quick Response Alert Hangar
Hangar d'alerte à réaction rapide
Alert Building
Bâtiment d'alerte
Air Defence Building
Bâtiment de défense aérienne
The Q
Le "Q"
QRA (Quick Reaction Alert)
"QRA" (Quick Reaction Alert)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Alert Hangar National Historic Site of Canada is situated at the eastern end of the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Bagotville, Quebec. Located in the alert area at the end of the airstrip, it is composed of four large steel hangars grouped two-by-two and set either side of a smaller rectangular Domestic Centre. Each hangar features a steel gable roof and two large, three-panel doors that open vertically at at the front and back. The hangars are connected to the central domestic centre by two covered passageways. Official recognition refers to the alert area, composed of the four hangars, the domestic centre and the apron.

Heritage Value

The Alert Hangar was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005 because:
- it played a key strategic role in the air defence of Canada and North America during the Cold War, as an integral part of Canada's defence system;
- its isolation, its location at the end of the airstrip, its minimalist and functional design, its living quarters integrated with the hangars, and the specific way of life of its occupants reflect the security measures taken and the constant state of alert during the Cold War;
- it is a representative and well-preserved example of the first Canadian design standard for a quick response hangar, in particular by the lack of windows, by the durable and functional construction, by the integration of a living quarters and by the quick opening system for hangar doors.

During the Cold War the Bagotville Alert Hangar formed part of a network of five Canadian all-weather jet fighter bases designed to counter surprise attacks by Soviet bombers. The Alert Hangar speaks to the unique lifestyle of its occupants during the Cold War, when operational, pilots and ground personnel spent up to a week at a time inside the hangar. Pocket doors at each end of the building enabled pilots to take off quickly in the event of an alert. Eating facilities and sleeping quarters were located in the Domestic Centre a few metres from the armed and prepared aircraft. Like their Second World War counterparts, the Bagotville pilots had to be ready to jump into the cockpit at any moment. The Cold War pilots lived in a constant state of alert for over thirty years in structures reflecting the anticipated continuation of wars. The Alert Hangar is based on the first model developed by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in the 1950s, and is one of the last surviving examples of its type in Canada. Austere in appearance, it is distinguished by its imposing size and its supremely functional architecture.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, December 2005.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- the location of the hangar on the CFB Bagotville;
- its setting at the end of the airstrip, in the Alert Area, bordered by fields to the
east and south, by airstrips to the south-west, by military installations to the west and by Route 170 to the northeast;
- the enormous volume of the rectangular hangars, as well as their simple profiles with emphasis
on horizontality;
- the openwork steel construction of the hangars, topped with a steel gable roof, and the aluminium-steel alloy exterior walls with no openings, except for two wide, three-panel vertical doors at the front and back;
- the construction of the Domestic Centre, with its large massing, although small in comparison to the hangars, with windows all along its walls, an aluminum steel alloy roof and metal cladding painted white;
- the two long, covered passageways connecting the hangars to the Domestic Centre;
- the interior layout of the hangars, which consist of open spaces without columns;
- the Domestic Centre, which includes the officers’ quarters, consisting of an operations room, a mission planning room, a kitchen, a cafeteria, a rest room, an exercise room, bedrooms and bathrooms;
- the choice of fire-resistant materials, explosion deflectors designed to protect personnel, and service and living furniture.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1958/01/01 to 1989/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)


Coseley Engineering Company Limited

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




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