Friday Two Cents: Québec Trip / The Citadel And Old Québec


twoCentsOldNewQuébec_Trip

On the last day I spent in Québec I wanted to visit the Citadel of old Québec and the fortifications. Because this had a historical and military aspect I went alone. My friend knew about the history and wasn’t too interested in the military aspect, but the main reason was because this part was very personal to me. The military is a very personal aspect of my life that only a select few know about and I allow in.

I have been to the Citadel on a previous trip to Québec but I still wanted to revisit the place and the history it inspires. Built in the mid-1800 due to the growing concern of American aggression, today it is still and active military base that is the ceremonial home of ‘Le Royale 22ieme Regiment du Canadais’ the Royal 22e Regiment of Canada. This royal regiment is made up of mostly people from Québec and has a glorious history dating back to its inseption in the First World War. I asked, but they were not sure, however I believe they are the only Royal regiment in Canada and perhaps the British Commonwealth that is fully French-speaking.
The Citadel is the ceremonial home of the regiment and they usually have a changing of the guard ceremony. Unfortunately it was raining therefore they had to cancel the ceremony, yet I did see it last time I was there. I went on the tour and the guide was very helpful and knowledgeable of the Citadel and regiment.
After I was able to have a tour of the Governor General’s resident within the Citadel. We were a small group and we were able to see the residence and the wonderful works of art collected over the years. One of the amazing pieces was a gift to the city of Québec on their 400th birthday in 2008, from the hometown of Samuel de Champlain in France. It is a nine-foot high recreation of Champlain’s notebook with drawings recreated from his own notebooks. It was an impressive piece.
Another historical aspect was that this was the location of the Québec conference in 1943 between F.D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and William Lyon Mackenzie King. This conference was to discuss strategy and tactics during World War Two including the Battle of the Atlantic. I had almost forgotten this historical aspect if it weren’t for a painting and photographs of the conference.
Once the tour was completed I went into the Royal 22e Regiment of Canada museum that was in the Citadel. There were many artefacts and it chronicled the regiment’s story from its inception. One of the artefacts was this Nazi eagle the regiment captured as a war prise during their campaign in the Netherlands. It is made of iron or steel and the pieces look to be forged into winged feathers and other elements of the bird. It may have been a symbol of power and hate but the artistry and craftsmanship to create this piece is astounding. The other aspect I enjoyed is that this eagle was taken as a war prise for their service in helping to liberate the Netherlands from a hostile invasion force. This trophy stands in the museum as a symbol of the regiments sacrifice in blood to help people they did not know.
The day was very much like that for me. Visiting the past to remind me how much people from Canada sacrified to help maintain the freedom we have and sometimes take for granted. A freedom I am truly grateful for and days like this one reminds me to never forget how much the cost of freedom really costs.
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