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In Quebec, a ‘wave of destruction’ pits heritage advocates against developers

Par Envoyer un courriel à l’auteur le 25 août 2019 1 commentaire

Les Perreaux
Globe and Mail

At old churches, city halls and other buildings slated for demolition, the province’s definitions of what’s ‘heritage’ and what isn’t are being put to the test.

Quebec’s famous old towns like Montreal’s Vieux Port and the capital’s fortified city present an image of a province on top of heritage preservation. But some heritage experts and historians question if those landmark neighbourhoods conceal holes in the province’s system of heritage protection.

For decades, a moribund economy and languishing property values acted as a heritage safeguard in Quebec. Developers were rarely interested in buying and bulldozing old property to build new. A robust economy in the past several years has unleashed the bulldozer and wrecking ball on old buildings at an accelerating pace. Every few weeks, some new piece of Quebec’s past is in the news for imminent or under way demolition.

“Now that the economy is going well, we are facing a wave of destruction to build new because there’s a vision that new is beautiful,” said Alex Tremblay-Lamarche, the head of Quebec City’s historical society.

No official statistics exist tracking the demolition of heritage sites – a term that is both a concept and a government classification with widely varying definitions. In a 2018 book, engineer Yves Lacourcière estimated 33 per cent of Quebec heritage buildings had disappeared since the 1970s.

Just in the past month, workers began dismantling a Quebec City church considered a unique example of Romano-Byzantine design. A 120-year-old city hall in Compton, Que., was razed. An apartment building in Montreal’s Plateau district considered a prime example of a Montreal greystone with arches and sculptured stone is under demolition. Last winter saw a succession of buildings from different eras and styles teeter and fall, from a 114-year old neo-Italian inn to a 200-year-old farmhouse in Chambly that was the home of René Boileau, one of the architects of the 1837-38 rebellions, to a 300-year-old French regime farmhouse in Laval.

La suite

Voir aussi : Arrondissement La Cité-Limoilou, Église, Histoire, Patrimoine et lieux historiques.


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  1. urbanoïd

    25 août 2019 à 18 h 57

    SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

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