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Building 21

Québec, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/06/29

View of the main entrance to Building 21, showing the ground floor’s solid masonry construction, 1991.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Rhona Goodspeed, 1991.
General view
View of the façade of Building 21, showing the six large, low arches supported by pilasters, each opening is topped by a stone arch, circa 1980.; Department of National Defence / Ministère de la Défense nationale, circa 1980.
Side view
Side view of Building 21, showing the solid massing, 1991.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Rhona Goodspeed, 1991.
General view

Other Name(s)

Former Coal Vaults
Ancien dépôt à charbon
Building 21

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Building 21, also known as the Former Coal Vaults and Warehouse, stands within the walls of the Québec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada. The solid rectangular building is constructed of cut stone and orange-hued brick. The façade features six large, low arches, supported by pilasters, which define six bays and vaulted and bombproof, compartmentalized interior spaces. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Building 21 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
Building 21 is associated with the defence of the city of Québec in the colonial defence system under the British Regime. At the beginning of the 19th century, a deteriorating political and military situation led authorities to increase the number of personnel in the city of Québec. Building 21 was built in 1848 from plans developed by the Royal Engineers. It is now part of the historic district of Old Québec City, which was created in 1963 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Architectural Value
Valued for its very good aesthetics, Building 21 is constructed on the principals of English military classicism. Its solid masonry walls are clearly defensive while its good functional qualities can be seen in its simple utilitarian design. The stonework and the brickwork of the vaulted ceilings display excellent craftsmanship.

Environmental Value
Building 21 reinforces the historic character of its site within the Québec Citadel, and together with the associated adjacent buildings is a well-known local landmark.

Sources: Rhona Goodspeed, Reports 88-161, 90-312, 90-313, 90-314, 90-315, Buildings, Citadel, Quebec, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-161; The Former Coal Vaults (No.21), Cote de la Citadelle, City of Quebec, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 88-161.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Building 21 should be respected.

Its very good aesthetics, functional design and quality materials, for example:
- the sturdy massing with sodded roof, which runs into the ramparts;
- the ground floor’s solid masonry construction and contrasting materials of orange brick and grey cut stone;
- the façade dominated by six large, low arches supported by pilasters, each opening is topped by a stone arch;
- the arches, which define six bays and form the interior edge of the vaults;
- the solid side-walls with a band of stone;
- the interior is characterized by compartmentalized spaces and brick vaulted ceilings;
- a band of stone that marks the separation between the wall and the top of the building;
- the remaining original layout and interior finishes.

The manner in which Building 21 and adjacent buildings are compatible with the historic character of the fortress setting, and is a familiar regional landmark, as evidenced by:
- the design and form, which complement the location in the city of Québec’s old defence system;
- the structure’s high visibility near historical components that include the access routes, steps to the ramparts, retaining walls, and exit postern, make it well-known.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Military Support

Architect / Designer

British Royal Engineers



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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Québec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada

The Québec Citadel National Historic Site of Canada is the 19th-century fortress located on Cap Diamant in the centre of Québec City. This great stone fortress sits with its back…


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