Porte Saint-Jean

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The Saint-Jean Gate, a historic structure that is regularly featured in tourist photos, is located along Rue St-Jean. One of the points of entry inside the defensive walls enclosing Old Québec. Numerous stores and eateries may be found on the inside of the walls close to the gate, while Place D’Youville and a number of concert halls are immediately outside.

This famous gate is a component of the fortification system, which also includes bastions, gates, and defensive buildings, which gives Québec City its reputation as a fortified colonial city and justifies Old Québec’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only three additional gates from the original fortifications—Kent, Saint-Louis, and Prescott—remain today.

Guidelines for the Saint-Jean Gate

  • In the summer, ascend the steps to the gate’s summit to see the length of rue Saint-Jean below. The promenade that runs along the top of the fortifications is also accessible from these stairs. You will be in awe of the view of Old Québec provided from this vantage point as you proceed along this walkway to two of the other three gates in the stone walls.
  • In the winter, the snowy landscape in front of the gate is absolutely magnificent with people ice skating on the illuminated rink in Place d’Youville and twinkling Christmas decorations. beautiful as a postcard!

The Saint-Jean Gate’s History

During the French Regime, the original Saint-Jean Gate was built in the late 17th century. It was located further east, near rue Sainte-Ursule, at the time. It was moved to its current location around 1770.

During the British Regime, the army closed the gate doors at night to limit travel between the city and outlying areas, disrupting trade and stifling the city’s development. When the British troops left in 1871, the gate doors were removed to allow free flow of traffic.

Lord Dufferin, the newly appointed Governor General of Canada, was opposed to demolishing the ramparts and gates because he recognised their historical significance. He and an Irish architect who specialises in the reconstruction of mediaeval military structures devised a strategy to preserve and improve these defensive works. The fortifications and gates seen today are the result of their efforts. The current Saint-Jean Gate was built in 1939 and is stylistically similar to the Saint-Louis and Kent Gates, which were built nearly 60 years earlier. Parks Canada now manages the Saint-Jean Gate and the fortifications.

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(1) Comment

  1. History of Québec City – Tour to USA

    […] transit requirements of a modern city. Even in modern times, landmarks like the St. Louis Gate and St. John Gate still have enough space for two tour buses to pass through […]

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