The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today expressed his deep regret at the destruction of Québec’s ancient drill hall, a landmark adjacent to the Historic District of Old Québec, which was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985.

“I deeply regret the destruction of this important landmark,” said the Director-General. “It is particularly sad that this proud testimony of Québec’s history was so severely damaged on the eve of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City.”

“It is doubly poignant that this loss should occur at a time when Canada is showing great and generous commitment to heritage preservation with its preparations to host the next session of the World Heritage Committee in July,” the Director-General declared. “I hope that it will be possible to rebuild the ancient drill hall using existing plans and photographs,” he concluded.

Built of brick and timber in 1887, the landmark burnt down on 4 April. Only one brick wall, the main entrance and two towers remained after the blaze whose cause has yet to be determined.