Description of Historic Place
Martello Tower 4 sits on the edge of the Sainte-Geneviève hillside in an urban, residential area of Québec. The low, round, sturdy tower of brick and stone construction features an encircling terrace at its top and a protective pierced parapet. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Martello Tower 4 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Martello Tower 4 is one of four constructed and is one of the best examples of a building associated with a period of strong military development to strengthen Québec’s key strategic role in defending British North America from water borne attack. These military improvements were brought to the city by the Royal Engineers at the beginning of the 19th century, and the structure was constructed to form a first line of defense within the ensemble of the fortifications of Québec.
Martello Tower 4 is of value for its good aesthetic design. As well it has very good functional qualities, primarily in its adaptation of a British coastal defense model to inland warfare. This was achieved through excellent craftsmanship found in the technical execution of the masonry construction as evidenced in the walls of greatest thickness, the vaulted ground floor designed to enclose a powder magazine, and the encircling terrace with a protective pierced parapet to provide for both surveillance and mounting artillery.
Martello Tower 4 provides important symbolic references to Canada’s military past and reinforces the historic, 19th-century military character of its urban hillside setting in Québec. The tower is a neighborhood landmark in the area.
Sources: Yvon Desloges, Les Tours Martello de Québec, Québec, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 89-053; Martello Tower #4, Québec City, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 89-053.
The following character-defining elements of Martello Tower 4 should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design and excellent materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the low, sturdy massing;
-the encircling terrace and protective, pierced parapet;
-the vaulted ground floor designed to enclose a powder magazine and to support soldiers’ lodging above;
-the walls of high quality brick and stone construction with ventilation channels and whose thickness greatens towards the direction of expected attack;
-the stairway designed to provide infantry with protected access.
The manner in which Martello Tower 4 reinforces the historic, military character of its urban hillside setting in Québec and is a neighbourhood landmark, as evidenced by:
-its specialized military design, low scale, massing and sturdy construction, which harmonizes with its residential surroundings on the hillside in the historic district of the City;
-its association with, and symbolic references to, Canada’s military past which makes it a destination for visitors and a local landmark.