Setting > Valcartier Camp
View Photo Gallery of the Valcartier Camp
On August 2, 1914, Colonel Sam Hughes arrived at Quebec City by special train and was then driven the twenty miles to Valcartier for an inspection. He was considering the site as the mobilization base should Britain declare war on Germany.
He informed the accompanying reporters that Valcartier would make an ideal location because it:
- Was close to the port of Quebec City,
- Had suitable terrain for military training, and
- Had plenty of fresh water.
The federal government had been buying property at Valcartier to build a central training base for the province of Quebec for a number of years. There was only one problem. The base did not actually exist!
When war had been declared on August 4, the Canadian government announced Valcartier as the assembly point for a contingent of 25,000 men they were planning to send to help defend the British Empire.
To accommodate the volunteers the following facilities were built in early September 1914:
- 20,000 feet of railway, for a spur line, was laid. As well as:
- 4 sidings
- 3 loading docks, and
- A 300 foot freight shed.
- A 400 yard rifle range that was two and half miles long with 1,500 targets.
- Two electric pumps with 1.5 million gallon per day capacity were installed to supply the camp with chlorinated water.
- 28,000 feet of pipe was laid for water and sewage systems.
- Several corrugated steel buildings were constructed to store ordinance and food supplies.
- A one mile long crushed stone road with six foot ditches on both sides.
- A camp headquarters building which also served as the residence for the Minister when he was in camp.
From August to October of 1914, the camp was home to nearly 31,000 men plus 7,000 horses. For the first month, the conditions the men trained and lived under were quite deplorable as the base was being constructed.
Map of Valcartier Camp 1914
Sources and further readings
Canada Enters the War - Training at Valcartier | Canada and the First World War
The Valcartier tour de force | World War I
CFB Valcartier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Canadian Forces Base Valcartier | Canadian Army