Let’s not bury our heads and our heritage in the sand

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Our Mayor seems to be more worried about what other people might think about the ruins of the former St-Vincent-de-Paul church, perched precariously at the top of Côte d’Abraham, than saving a part of our city’s heritage.

The fact that it was unceremoniously torn down in the first place should concern him more! Such acts should be punished with more than a slap on the wrist.

Is his newfound ‘embarrassment’ linked to the fact that he’s come up with a way to fulfill an electoral promise? He needs a home for his interactive entertainment school.

Whatever the case, let’s work together on a solution that keeps the façade intact and integrated into a future project.
We are a city in evolution – culturally, economically and architecturally.

Every time I pass by, I have the urge to stand in the shadow of one of those majestic windows and take a close look at the city skyline! It reminds me of the fragility of such old buildings. The city seems a little bit older with such a window on our past. We ought to commission an artist to document what’s left.

Labeaume is worried about looking like a twit – his word – to international media.

Would we not look like twits for burying both our heads and our heritage in the sand?

That’s exactly what we’ve done with the noble Îlot des Palais project that has been left hanging in mid-air, awaiting refinancing. The decades and countless hundreds of hours of painstaking archeology work that have gone into this site must be protected and restored. We cannot afford to destroy this centuries-old portal into the life and the economic vitality of our city.

Surely our mayor, a businessman himself, must recognize that the first intendant, Jean Talon, strove, like our current administrators, to make this city stronger, and to diversify its economy.

There are other eyesores that need a helping hand getting back into shape. One of them is the crumbling building that housed Bar d’Auteuil, the former National School building that also once housed an Anglican church-run orphanage for girls.

Building something new takes time, energy and determination. We must not forget that what we choose to keep from the past as we forge ahead will be dug up by others in the future.

Labeaume should hold his head high when he travels to Europe in the coming weeks. In comparison to the history of many European countries, Quebec City is just beginning to come into its own.

I can only speculate that when these types of things happen that the builder that started this project did one of three things;

 

1. Didn't have approvals from the City and started on a verbal go ahead and later got declined.

2.  Started the demolition knowing full well that pleading ignorance would eventually put a  gun to the head of the City and get almost anything approved later.  I assume it's better to beg for pardon after the fact.

 

3.  The money never came through from the banks, or investors pulled out.

 

What this needs is some new or additional investors and if anyone has any contact information about the builder let me know and I'll see if we can find some investors to get this solved.

 

Send me the information by private e-mail from the site.

The owner of the Hotels Jaro, Mr. Jacques Robitaille is the person who acquired the church. He planned to build the rear of it to make conference rooms and business suite, keeping the historical facing. Sadly I have little information concerning the legalities and contact information, I will have to look in to it.

Andrew.

Michele, that is an amazing photo of St. Vincent de Paul Church or what remains of it. I'm sorry to say that I don't remember the location of this church. When you mention Cote d'Abraham..is that the hill that rises from downtown and where the building that houses the Le Soleil newspaper (or was it l'Action Catholique?) was at the corner? I was born and lived in Quebec City many years ago. I took a city bus to school and later to work and would have use Cote d'Abraham four times a day coming and going. I lived in Limoilou. I don't recall the church...and nothing in the photo looks familiar. Just thought I'd ask :-)

Hello Elaine,

Well, the church is indeed at the top of ote d'Abraham. Sometimes we notice it, and other times, the traffic is likely to be our first priority in the turn on the way down the hill. It is, as I had mentioned, one of the last architectural links to the neighbourhood that was once there.

It was a massive church. Perhaps if you were in town and walked up the hill you would remember. It is above the hill where the old Soleil building used to be, if memory serves me well. I am not sure about L'Action Catholique.

 Limoilou and St-Roch have changed plenty in the past decade. Hope you'll get to come and take a look for yourself!

 Take care,

Michele

Thanks for your reply Michele. I think that I'll check in the local library and I'm sure I'll find many books on Quebec City and perhaps one that shows the 'way  things were'..

Of course, I'd love to go back for a visit. Maybe some day :-) 

As an outsider and a member of St. Vincent de Paul, I am interested in getting a full update on this project.

 

Who do I speak with ?

Hello Victor,

Well, that's a tough question. Let me see if I can find out and get back to you!

Michèle