One of the entrances to the fortified walls of Old Québec is the Saint-Louis Gate. The Parliament Building and Grande Allée are located outside the walls, while rue Saint-Louis runs from the gate to Château Frontenac inside the walls.
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. The Kent, Saint-Jean, and Prescott gates are the only remaining gates from the ancient walls. There were several others.
At the Saint-Louis Gate, what to do
- Take the stairs up to the top of the gate to see Parliament Hill and rue Saint-Louis. The promenade that runs along the top of the fortifications is also accessible from these stairs. You will be in awe of the vista of Old Québec provided from this vantage point as you proceed along this promenade to the Saint-Jean Gate.
- Take note of the monument honouring the momentous gatherings when American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to debate the war’s strategy in 1943 and 1944.
An overview of the Saint-Louis Gate’s past
The first Saint-Louis Gate was built there in the late 17th century during the French Regime.
Trade was hindered and the growth of the city was slowed during the British Regime when the army shut the gate doors at night to limit travel between the city and surrounding areas. The gate doors were taken down in 1871 to allow free flow of traffic once the British troops left.
The newly appointed Governor General of Canada, Lord Dufferin, was opposed to having the ramparts and gates demolished because he recognized the historical significance of this architectural masterpiece. He came up with a strategy to protect and improve these defensive works working with an Irish architect who specialized in the reconstruction of mediaeval military fortifications. The defenses and gates that can be seen today are a result of their efforts. The original Saint-Louis Gate was much smaller and less aesthetically beautiful than the one that that stands today, which was built in 1878.
[…] to the evolving 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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