Description of Historic Place
The Casemate is located within the ramparts of the west wall and the adjoining walls of the Dalhousie and Richmond bastions. The front comprises more than 50 vaulted spaces and forms a long section of the escarp. Measuring 24 feet high, its masonry wall streches along the curtain and around the two bastions. The roof hidden under turf, supports the embrasures. The focal point of the Casemate complex is the Dalhousie Gate of neoclassical inspiration and patterned on the triumphal arch form. The designation is confined to the footprint.
The Casemate, Building 3, is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Casemate occupies a large part of the escarp and is one of the best examples directly associated with the defence of British North America in the years following the War of 1812. After the war, the United States remained a potential enemy to Canada and the best way to bolster the city’s defences was to build a permanent citadel on the Cap-aux-Diamants heights. The Casemates were an integral part of the defence system established at the Citadel. They provide an excellent example highlighting the military role of the Citadel, which had a major impact on the civilian administration and local development of Québec.
The Casemates are an excellent example of functional British military defence design. Its facades reflect the dual function of the Casemates, which as viewed from outside of the complex served as a defence work and inside the complex as housing for the soldiers. Its value lies in its functional design, excellent craftsmanship and materials. The casemates are the most complete expression of Elias Walker Durnford, a leading figure in the construction of the fortress.
The Environmental Value
The most imposing and best integrated complex in the Citadel, the Casemate, Building 3 is the primary structural element of the site and reinforces the historical military character of its Citadel setting. From outside the complex the exterior wall of the Casemates are familiar to all those who enter the Citadel. From the interior, the Casemates are located below the level of the parade ground and are the dominating architectural presence and provide the principle visual definition of the interior of the fortress along the west and within the Richmond and Dalhousie bastions.
Rhona Godspeed, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Building Report 89-163.
The Casemates Buildings 3 and 22, The Citadel, Québec, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-163.
The following character- defining elements of The Casemates, Building 3 should be respected, for example:
Its functional, defensive military design and high quality craftsmanship and materials such as:
- On the ditch side, the 24-foot high irregular masonry wall, of finely cut stone, pierced by loopholes at ground level for its entire length and with a course of stone marking the top of the wall.
- The neoclassical elements of the façades, composed of pilasters, a continuous cornice, fanlights, recessed panels, and wood gables over some of the doors.
-The roof, hidden under turf and supporting the embrasures.
-The two symmetrical curving staircases located at either end of the curtain wall.
-The Dalhousie Gate, with its triumphal arch form, and Tuscan half-columns supporting weighty capitals on its ditch side, simple bas-relief, neoclassical decoration on the parade ground side and its interior passageway which is sheathed in brick and has pillars of cut stone.
-The large vaulted interior spaces, thick walls, bomb-proof ceilings and the loopholes which made it possible to defend the ditch.
The manner in which The Casemates, Building 3 reinforces the historical defensive military character of its fort setting located in the Québec Citadel.