Quebec is a city steeped in history. From the Fortifications of Quebec to the Battlefields Park, Quebec is proud to honour its heritage. The Citadelle of Quebec, also known as La Citadelle, is one of the city’s proudest landmarks and the largest British fortress in North America.
Located on Cape Diamond – Quebec’s highest point – La Citadelle is an active military defence site and official residence of the Canadian monarch, the Governor General of Canada and Canada’s Royal 22nd Regiment.
Housed within the Historic District of Old Quebec (a designated World Heritage Site), the fort began construction in the 17th century and was completed by the British in 1850. Built to defend Quebec against an impending American invasion that never actually occurred, La Citadelle now attracts over 200,000 visitors each year.
If military history is what you’re after when visiting Quebec, you can’t go past La Citadelle. With striking views across the Saint Lawrence River, a 25-building fortress, striking stone manors, a museum of permanent and feature military exhibits, night tours and educational workshops, the National Historic Site of Canada sure packs a military punch.
The most popular attractions of La Citadelle are the changing of the guard and the beating of the retreat. Both performances run daily under strict military precision. The changing of the guard ceremony lasts for 40 minutes and sees troops exchanging shifts with guards who have been on duty for the previous period. The most loved aspect of these ceremonies is the inclusion of the Regiment’s mascot, a goat named Batisse.
The Citadelle and museum are open all year round from 9am to 6pm from May to October, and 10am to 4pm from November to April. Tours of La Citadelle and the museum run approximately every hour. The famous changing of the guard is on daily from 10am, and the beating of the retreat takes place on Saturdays at 6pm.