Setting > Valcartier Camp
View Photo Gallery of the Valcartier Camp
On August 2, 1914, Colonel Sam Hughes arrived by special train to Quebec City and was driven the twenty miles to Valcartier for an inspection. He was considering the site as the mobilization base in the event that British declared war on Germany. He informed the accompanying reporters that Valcartier made 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.
While 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 one problem. The base did not actually exist!
When war was declared on August 4 the Canadian government announced Valcartier as the assembly point for a contingent of 25,000 troops that they were planning to send to defend the British Empire. To accommodate the volunteers the following facilities were built by the time the men and women arrived by 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 2 1/2 mile, 400 yard rifle range with 1,500 targets.
- Two electric pumps with 1.5 million galloon 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.
For nearly two months the camp was home to nearly 31,000 men plus 7,000 horses. For the first month the conditions that the men labourers under were 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