Québec City is the only city north of Mexico to have retained its city walls. Many cities in North America had walls. Montreal had a city wall, but that wall is long gone. New York City had a wall, but it is long gone as well; Wall Street is the sole vestige. Here in the capital of Québec however, we still have them: 4.6 kilometers of Sillery sandstone that surround the upper town.
Wherever you are in Old Québec, its ramparts are nearby to complete the scene. At the top of the Côte de la montagne, sturdy stone stands guard over the site of the city’s first cemetery. Alongside of Auteuil Street, you’ll see the walls watching westward over the National Assembly and the government buildings of Parliament Hill. On both sides of St. John’s Gate, they form the backdrop for the artistic venues of la Place d’Youville.
In fact, the city walls are woven into the very cultural fabric of this place. Go cheer on the minor league hockey team, the Remparts, and you will see on their jerseys a stylized ‘R,’ made to resemble a fortified wall. And don’t forget the city’s flag: a golden ship bordered by a crenelated wall, just like the city itself.