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* J'en ferai la traduction bientôt! ;)


I've decided to take a lot of urban pictures this summer but instead of posting random pics, I thought it would be more interesting to present these pictures through an historical and architectural perspective. To be more coherent (and since it's a lot of work!!), I've decided to do it one street at a time. I thought it would be a great way to learn more about Canadian cities... I hope those interested in history as well as architecture will find this thread interesting!!!


So, here is a great example: the St-Pierre street in Quebec City. As you can see on the following map, the surface area of the Old Port was very small in 1650 and the North part of St-Pierre Street was under water whereas the south part of the street was accessible. This situation has had a very interesting impact on the aspect of the street from South to North.


On the south side, the style is French and bears witness to the period of New France. The north side has an English influence. Crossing the street is like travelling from one country to another. What’s more, the buildings and their signs speak volumes about the neighbourhood's transformation, which took place in the late 19th century. Major financial institutions moved into the area, breathing economic vitality into this sector of the city. The Banque de Québec building is an eloquent reminder.


From south to north, you can also move from one era to another. The different materials used to build houses, the street paving, the road markings on rue Saint-Antoine, the Estèbe House, the Musée de la civilisation and the rue de la Barricade all provide numerous opportunities to discover traces of the past .







This is the beginning of the northern, more recent part of the street. The wave pattern on the ground symbolizes the fact that the St-Lawrence river used to reach this part of town.




Place de la FAO par davidivivid, sur Flickr



The street isn't very long, about 600 meters, yet it's influence on the City and the Province was very important.


At the turn of the 20th century, eight banks, around twenty insurance companies and around a dozen stockbrokers, as well as numerous law firms and notary offices, lined Rue Saint-Pierre, on the north side of Rue du Porche. These establishments attested to the district’s new financial importance and even their architecture signalled the change in regime. The buildings clearly showed an English influence: they were much taller than the buildings the French had constructed and were made of freestone or brick.


In the early 20th century, Rue Saint-Pierre was dubbed "the Wall Street of Canada."





Rue St-Pierre par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Canadian Bank of Commerce, built in 1900. Also housed the American consulate in 1927.


The fountain-sculpture in the form of the bow of a ship commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), founded in Québec City in 1945.



Bank of Commerce par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Headquarters of the Dominion Fish & Fruit company built in 1912. It was the first real highrise in Quebec City.



Dominion Building par davidivivid, sur Flickr



This building, built in 1902, first housed the Quebec Stock Exchange. It later became a branch of the Hochelaga Bank (which later fusionned with the National Bank).



Hochelaga Bank par davidivivid, sur Flickr



The last two buildings have now merged to become the hotel Le Germain-Dominion. This is the flagship boutique hotel of the Germain hotel chain, which is becoming an household name in Canada. This particular hotel is often named "Best Hotel in Canada".



Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion par davidivivid, sur Flickr


Bank of British North America, now the office of a cruise ship company.



Bank of British North America par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Imperial Bank of Canada - opened in 1875.



Imperial Bank of Canada par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Imperial Bank of Canada par davidivivid, sur Flickr



First branch of the Bank of Montreal besides its headquarters in Montreal - 1818



Bank of Montreal par davidivivid, sur Flickr



This branch of the Bank of Montreal soon proved to be too small so a bigger building was built on the other side of the road.



Bank of Montreal par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Bank of Montreal par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Headquarters of the Quebec Bank, founded in 1818 - second oldest chartered bank in Canada after the bank of Montreal. Moved to this location in 1862 and fusionned with the Royal Bank of Canada in 1917.



Quebec Bank par davidivivid, sur Flickr



The building is now a part of the Quebec Civilization Museum. I love how some of the stones of the first floor were carved. It gives great texture to the facade.



Quebec Bank par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Maison Estèbe


Built in 1751, the Estèbe House is a prime example of an urban residence of the early 18th century. With a façade that spans 20 by 15 metres, and 21 rooms heated by eight fireplaces, this stately home is a masterpiece of Québec’s architectural heritage.





Maison Estèbe par davidivivid, sur Flickr




The Estèbe House is now a part of Quebec's Civilization Museum (with its signature glass tower), designed by Moshe Safdie.



Maison Estèbe - Musée de la Civilisation par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Molson's Bank - now a cooking school!



IMG_0679 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Telegraph Building built in 1856 by architects Staveley & Dunlevie. Quebec had been linked to Montreal by telegraph since 1847. The coat of arms above the entrance is that of the Great North Western Telegraph Company, which had its headquarters here for some time.



Telegraph Building par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Headquarters of the Quebec Assurance Company, the first insurance company in Canada. Building built in 1821 and now the Auberge St-Pierre, an hotel.




Quebec Insurance Building par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Compagnie d'Assurances de Québec par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Ancient headquarters of the National Bank of Canada, founded in Quebec City in 1859. The bank moved to this building in 1862. The National Bank fusionned with the Hochelaga Bank in 1924 and its headquarter was moved to Montreal. It is now a popular 4 stars boutique hotel: Le 71.



Hôtel Le 71 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



It is one of my favourite building in Quebec City. I love how sleek it is, especially considering it was built 150 years ago.



Hôtel Le 71 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Ancient headquarters of the Union Bank of Canada (founded in Quebec City), built in 1865. Merged with the Royal Bank of Canada in 1925. It is now the Institut de l'Energie et de l'Environnement de la Francophonie.



Institut de l'Energie et de l'Environnement de la Francophonie par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Merchants Bank of Canada - 1868. Fusionned with the Bank of Montreal in 1922.



IMG_0707 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Banque du Peuple - 1880. Went bankrupt in 1895.



Rue St-Pierre par davidivivid, sur Flickr



South side of St-Pierre street. Buildings in this area are on average 100 years older than on the North side of the street.


The architecture on the south side of Rue Saint-Pierre bears the mark of French craftsmen. Many of the houses are made of limestone from Beauport or Neuville.


The day after the British Conquest, Place-Royale was in ruins. But the neighbourhood managed to rise from the ashes and it was rebuilt in the same style in the following years. The same craftsmen remained, and they continued to use their own methods.



General store of Joseph Drapeau, built in 1782. On this site used to stand the first general store in North America (built in 1659 by the Gagnon brothers).



Magasin Général Joseph Drapeau - 1782 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Park of the UNESCO, commemorating Quebec City's status as a World Heritage site.



Parc de l'UNESCO par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Parc de l'UNESCO par davidivivid, sur Flickr




IMG_0726 par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Rue St-Pierre Sud par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Finally, the end of the South side of the St-Pierre street. You can see the name of the street on the bottom right of the picture.



Rue St-Pierre par davidivivid, sur Flickr



Here is part of the street around 1899, just a few years after the electric tramways were installed. However, because of its importance, public transport was accessible through this street as soon as 1865.






Allright, that's it. Hope you liked the ride! Santé

Edited by davidivivid
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Quebec City's very own Vatican...


So this post isn't so much about one single street as it is a whole municipaly. However, the said municipality has many particularities: it is the smallest in the Province at 0.06 km2, has a population of 456 residents... and is situated in the heart of Quebec’s urban core. It basically is our own version of the Vatican and I must shamefully admit that up until very recently, I had never heard about it!!!


Last weekend, I was walking in a part of town that I usually pass by but never explore and I stumbled upon an impressive and very old looking wall. The wall is very long and it seemed to surround quite an impressive cluster of old buildings.





Well, it turns out that this walled enclave, named Notre-Dame-des-Anges, has managed to become and stay a fully independant municipality for almost 300 years even though it is situated right in the middle Quebec's core. It's cemetery itself has a wonderful history!


Notre-Dame-des-Anges has managed to escape the recent municipal mergers that swallowed up most suburbs within a 10km radius. It was created to protect its main occupant from taxes, the 300+ year old General Hospital. It survives today as a tax haven run by the mother superior of the Augustines. The highlight of the town is the Notre-Dame-des-Anges Chapel, dating back to 1671. Since the hospital was located far from all the fighting between the French and English, it escaped the cannonballs that ruined most other city churches in the 1700s. This makes it the oldest surviving church in the city.



The community became autonomous in 1699 in keeping with the wishes of its founder, Mgr de Saint-Vallier. In 1721, Mgr de Saint-Vallier also took steps to constitute the hospital—which at the time included a vast farm surrounding the buildings—as a separate parish, Notre-Dame-des-Anges. The Augustinian convent and hospital in the Lower Town have had the good fortune to be spared by fire, making them the oldest religious buildings north of Mexico. However, the original structures have seen many additions over the years. Today, the complex comprises 20 wings, the result of 26 construction projects spread over 337 years.



This complex no longer is an hospital but rather, a retirement home for the elderly with specific needs.








1937 - The walls surrounding the town are clearly visible.






1947 - The walled city is situated on the upper right and as you can see, it used to be right next to the shore of the St-Charles river, facing the Queen Victoria Park.






However, during the 50's I believe (and for a reason that I ignore), the riverbed was displaced so that now the municipality is directly linked to the park.






So here are some pictures of the front building as it stands today. Since the Augustine Sisters are rather discreet, it is difficult to have pics of the rest of the buildings.




Hopital Général de Québec par P Donovan, sur Flickr







This beautiful sculpture is entitled Compassion















Hopital Général de Québec par P Donovan, sur Flickr




Hopital Général de Québec par P Donovan, sur Flickr




Hopital Général de Québec par P Donovan, sur Flickr




Monastère de Notre Dame des Anges par P Donovan, sur Flickr




Monastère de Notre Dame des Anges par P Donovan, sur Flickr





There are three historic cemeteries on the hospital grounds. One of them was created in 1728 for the poor. It officially became the Hôpital-Général de Québec Cemetery in 2001 and is the only Seven Years’ War cemetery in the world. It contains the remains of 1,058 French, English, Canadian, and aboriginal soldiers who died in the war between 1753 and 1760 and on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Many of the soldiers were treated by the nuns, and their names recorded in the general hospital archives. In 2001 the remains of General Montcalm—till then kept by the Ursulines of Quebec City—were moved to a mausoleum bearing his name, and also home to 17 of his peers. The cemetery contains the largest known concentration of French officers decorated as Chevaliers de Saint-Louis, a high distinction under France’s Ancien Regime.



Here is the Seven Years' War memorial situated in the cemetery, near Montcalm's mausoleum.








Close to the monastery on what is today Boulevard Langelier, Mgr de Saint-Vallier had a wooden windmill built for the Augustinians in 1710. It was replaced in 1731 by a stone windmill, which still stands to this day. The hospital site was classified in 1977.






Finally, on the opposite side of the street (rue des Commissaires) stands another beautiful building which used to be the Polytechnic School of Quebec:




Edited by davidivivid
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  • 2 months later...

In may 1845, a huge fire is ignited in the St-Valier suburb but the fire quickly spreads to the more densely populated neighbourhood of St-Roch. In this part of the city are concentrated working class housing and factories. On that day, about a third of the city is destroyed.







Since a third of the population is now on the streets (about 15 000 people), citizens of the St-Jean suburb, situated in the hightown, generously give shelter, food and clothes to their fellow quebekers. Unfortunately, only a month later, a second huge fire is ignited in this specific part of town. Another third of the city is burned to the ground but this fire is even more problematic then the first. First of all, the value of the houses destroyed is much higher because St-Jean is a high class suburb. Also, the citizens who used to shelter the victims of the first fire are now on the streets themselves...







On the following map, the area delimited by the red line indicates the extent of the first fire whereas the yellow line indicates the extent of the second one.








Here is an excerpt of Le Canadien, the main newspaper of Quebec City at the time, describing the second fire.





Lorsque nous annonçames l’incendie à jamais déplorable du 28, qui avait laissé sans abri un tiers des habitants de Québec, nous disions que, proportion gardée du chiffre et des moyens de la population, cet incendie éclipsait ceux de Hambourg, de New-York et de Pitsburg. Hé bien! cet affreux désastre, qui a partout excité de si vives sympathies, est lui-même éclipsé par un autre qui l’a suivi à un mois de distance, et qui a détruit presque tout le quartier Saint-Jean, composé des faubourgs Saint-Jean et Saint-Louis. Nous disons que le 28 mai est eclipsé par le 28 juin: car, si le nombre de maisons brûlées ce dernier jour n’est pas tout-à-fait si grand, la valeur des propriétés l’était peut-être de moitié plus, et les souffrances qui en doivent nécessairement résulter le seront encore davantage. En effet les habitants du quartier Saint-Roch, qui chassé de chez eux par l’incendie du 28 mai, s’étaient, pour la plupart, refugiés chez ceux du quartier St.-Jean, se voient de nouveau privés d’abri et d’asyle, en même temps que les généreux hôtes qui les avaient accueillis et, dans bien des cas, vêtus et nourris pendant un mois. Il faut dire aussi que la charité individuelle est déjà presque épuisée par les efforts qu’elle a faits, et dont les souscriptions annoncées publiquementt ne donnent qu’une très faible idée quant aux habitants de cette ville. D’ailleurs les actionnaires de nos compagnies d’assurances (excepté celle d’assurance mutuelle de Saint-Roch), qui avaient noblement résolu de payer jusqu’au dernier sous en s’imposant les plus grands sacrifices, et d’ajouter ainsi de £80,000 à £90,000 aux autres secours pour les incendiés, ne seront peut-être plus en état de le faire, et il faudra en outre que ces secours, diminués d’autant, soient partagés entre ceux auxquels ils étaient destinés d’abord et neuf ou dix mille autre individus victimes de cette nouvelle catastrophe.


Le coeur et les forces nous manquent pour entreprendre la description de celle-ci. Comparativement à l’incendie du 28 mai, qui avait commencé vers onze heures du matin et s’était terminé avant que le soleil couché, celui du 28 juin a été d’autant plus effroyable que, commencé vers 11 heures du soir, et poussé par un vent d’est violent, les horreurs en ont été rendues plus visibles par une nuit obscure, et elles l’ont été tellement que des passagers à bord d’un bateau à vapeur qui descendait de Montréal à Québec, en ont vu la lueur au port Saint-François, dans le lac Saint-Pierre, à 111 milles d’ici, et ont cru que c’était la ville des Trois-Rivières, à 90 milles plus haut, qui brûlait.



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