Old Quebec

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic District of Old Quebec
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Old Quebec City Hall.jpg
Type Cultural
Criteria iv, vi
Reference 300
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1985 (9th Session)

Old Québec (French: Vieux-Québec) is a historic neighbourhood of Quebec City, the capital of the province of Quebec in Canada. Comprising the Upper Town (French: Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (French: Basse-Ville), the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Administratively, Old Quebec is part of the Vieux-Québec–Cap-Blanc–colline Parlementaire district in the borough of La Cité-Limoilou.

The area is sometimes referred to as the Latin Quarter (French: Quartier latin), but this title refers more to area around the Séminaire de Québec, the original site of Laval University.

Upper Town[edit]

In 1620, Samuel de Champlain chose Upper Town as the site of the Saint-Louis Fort. Ever since it was founded, it has remained the military and administrative centre of the city which was determined by the strategic heights of the promontory. After the British Conquest, Upper Town was mostly populated by British government officials and Catholic clergy members while French and English merchants and artisans lived in Lower Town.

The strong military presence in this area has long limited its expansion. By the end of the 19th century, some wanted the city’s fortifications to be demolished as they were deemed unnecessary and they interfered with urban development. Lord Dufferin would successfully persuade officials to conserve the city’s fortified appearance by adapting it to meet the needs of a modern-day city.

The area was subjected to some deterioration during the 1950s but it since gained impetus in the 1970s.

With its ramparts, citadel, century-old houses, historic sites and landmarks, Québec’s Upper Town has a rich heritage of several generations with beautiful, unique surroundings.

Most of the buildings date back to the 19th century with the construction of some dating as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries. The area has several commercial roads like Saint-Jean, Sainte-Anne and De Buade streets. Some public administration and other institutions found at the heart of the city include the Québec City Council, the Séminaire de Québec, the Ursulines Convent, and the Augustinian Monastery and l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. It also has a vast choice of accommodations including the famous Château Frontenac since Old Québec is among the most popular tourist destinations.

The area also has many well-maintained parks. Among some are the Esplanade, Artillerie, Des Gouverneurs and Montmorency parks along with the gardens of l’Hotel-de-Ville. People can also take advantage of the great view of the St. Lawrence River from place D'Youville and the Dufferin Terrace.

The Château Frontenac dominates Old Quebec City's skyline

Lower Town[edit]

Lower Town is a historic district located at the foot of Cap Diamant. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain built a habitation where its remains can be found with Place Royale as its centre. It was restored with the goal of reconstructing the French flair from its origins. Construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church started in 1687 at this location and was completed in 1723.The Musée de la civilisation, the Musée naval de Québec, the caserne Dalhousie and the Théâtre Petit Champlain are among some of the museums, performance halls, theatres and exhibition venues in Lower Town.

Places such as the Louise Basin, Brown Basin, La –Pointe-à-Carcy, the Gare du Palais and the Marche du Vieux-Port can be seen from the Port of Québec.

Other places of interest include:

· Place de Paris,

· Parc Ulric-Joseph-Tessier,

· Saint-Pierre Street,

· Saint-Paul Street,

· Sault-au-Matelot Street and

· Saint-Vallier Est Street, previously called Saint-Charles Street, the first paved road in Quebec.

A funicular car allows for easy transportation up Cap Diamant connecting to Upper Town from the narrow Petit-Champlain road at the foot of the Cape to the top with a marvellous view of the city. Côte de la Montagne is another option for hikers.

The Historic District of Old Québec[edit]

The Old Québec heritage site is located in Québec City although it is administratively recognized as a part of the La Cité-Limoilou Borough. It has gained recognition as a part of Quebec’s cultural heritage and is also among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

History[edit]

The district was established by the National Assembly of Quebec on July 10, 1963 after an amendment to the Historic Sites and Monuments Act. The protected perimeter of the area was delimited in two stages. The initial layout included the fortified area as well as its periphery. The second and final layout added other surrounding areas to the plan on May 6, 1964. The whole district covers a total area of 1.4 km².

As of December 3, 1985, UNESCO declared the Historic District of Old Québec a World Heritage Site.

Establishment[edit]

The historic district was established following public debates from 1945 to 1965, concerning the preservation of Old Québec and the restoration of Place Royale.

In 1956, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was given the authority to acquire or expropriate any “site, building or other place of national historic interest or significance." [1]

Transportation[edit]

Public transport[edit]

The Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) operates the Écolobus loop service within Old Quebec. The Écolobuses are 100% electric, non-polluting and very quiet. The buses are much smaller than the RTC's regular fleet, accommodating 10 seated and 10 standing passengers.[2]

Rail[edit]

Old Quebec is serviced by the Gare du Palais train and bus station. Built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the châteauesque station is similar in design to the Château Frontenac. Via Rail operates regular services to Montreal via Drummondville. The station is also serviced by the private coach company Orléans Express.

Air[edit]

Old Québec is 16 km east of Quebec's Jean Lesage Airport.

Recognition[edit]

In 1963, an area in the historic area of the city was named a "Declared Historic District" (French: Arrondissement historique décrété)' by the province of Quebec, and was expanded the following year to an area of 135 hectares (330 acres). It includes 1,400 buildings within the neighbourhood of La Cité, including the promonotary of Cap Diamant and a strip of band below the cliffs, between the Saint-Charles River and the Saint Lawrence River.[3] In 1985, it was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Historic Sites and Monuments Act. Laws-lois.justice.gc.ca. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  2. ^ http://www.rtcquebec.ca/Écolobus/tabid/151/language/fr-FR/Default.aspx
  3. ^ HistoricPlaces.ca. HistoricPlaces.ca (2006-01-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  4. ^ Historic District of Old Québec - UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Whc.unesco.org (2008-04-07). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.

Coordinates: 46°48′47″N 71°12′29″W / 46.813°N 71.208°W / 46.813; -71.208