Description of Historic Place
Situated near the Saint-Louis Gate and the National Assembly in the Québec Fortifications National Historic Site of Canada, the Esplanade Powder Magazine, is a gable roofed, military structure of vaulted stone construction with a south-facing entrance. A flat roof connects the building to its surrounding protective, stone wall, which stands at a distance of 12 feet (3.6 meters). The building houses the Fortifications of Québec Interpretation Centre. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Esplanade Powder Magazine is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Esplanade Powder Magazine is closely associated with the vast reorganization of Québec’s defensive system at the turn of the 19th century. An integral part of Québec’s system of fortifications, the Esplanade Powder Magazine has played a significant role in local history, as it bears witness to the defensive works building program begun in 1790 to meet the needs of a military presence that was growing steadily in the Upper Town of that period.
The Esplanade Powder Magazine is valued for the good aesthetic qualities of its specialized military defensive design. Demonstrating excellent functional design, the magazine is true to the pure military tradition established by the engineer Vauban in the 17th century, and contains all of the features needed to render its two rooms bomb-resistant and dry. The south-facing entrance and the presence of vents attest to the measures taken to ensure better ventilation. Noteworthy of its good craftsmanship, the main building, of vaulted stone construction, is surrounded by a protective wall, also of masonry construction.
The Esplanade Powder Magazine, located close to the St-Louis Gate on the west side of the rampart, reinforces the defensive military character of its fortress setting in Old Québec. The building has become a landmark for both Quebec residents and the city’s many tourists.
Sources: André Charbonneau et Julie Harris, La poudrière de l’Esplanade, Quebec, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 88-165; Esplanade Powder Magazine, Quebec, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement, 88-165.
The character-defining elements of the Esplanade Powder Magazine should be respected.
Its specialized military defensive design, excellent functional design and good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the main building with a gable roof and south facing entrance;
- the vaulted stone construction;
- the barrel vaults of the magazine;
- the vents in the longitudinal walls;
- the interior division into two bomb-resistant and dry rooms.
The manner in which Esplanade Powder Magazine reinforces the defensive military character of its fortress setting in Old Quebec and is a well-known landmark in the city, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, massing and materials, which harmonize with its surroundings on the west side of the rampart in Old Quebec;
- its role as an interpretation centre, and its prominent location in the Québec Fortifications National Historic Site of Canada, which makes it a familiar landmark for both Quebec residents and the city’s many tourists.