Longtime Quebec City mayor Jean-Paul L'Allier is being remembered as a visionary who devoted his life to public service and helped make the provincial capital an international tourist destination.

L'Allier, who was also a provincial cabinet minister, died on Tuesday following a short illness.

He was 77.

'He saw Quebec as being a jewel of tourism, a door to North America and he wanted Quebec to have an international appeal.' - John Parisella, former chief of staff to premier Robert Bourassa

​L'Allier served as mayor of Quebec City from 1989 to 2005. He was re-elected in 1993, 1997 and again in 2001. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences on Twitter, saying L'Allier "dedicated his life to public service as an MNA & Minister, and mayor of Quebec City."

Prime Minister Trudeau responded on Twitter to Jean-Paul L'Allier's death:

Régis Labeaume, Quebec City's current mayor, praised L'Allier for his contribution, particularly for his work overseeing the merger of smaller, surrounding municipalities into the provincial capital.

"The city wouldn't be what it is today without the courage and leadership he showed during the merger process," Labeaume said. 

L'Allier, who was born in Hudson, Que., was also member of Quebec's National Assembly in the 1970s and served as minister of communications in Robert Bourassa's government during the October Crisis of 1970.

In the 1980s, L'Allier also wrote for Le Devoir, a French-language Montreal daily newspaper.

Turned city into a tourist draw

But L'Allier is best know for his time as mayor.

John Parisella, who served as Bourassa's chief of staff from 1989 to 1994, during the years L'Allier was in power, said he helped make the city a major tourist attraction.


Bonhomme Carnaval, Quebec City's winter carnival mascot, receives the key to the city from L'Allier in 2005. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

"There were parts of Quebec City in the 1980s and the 1990s that needed some makeovers, and he understood that," Parisella said. 

"He saw Quebec as being a jewel of tourism, a door to North America and he wanted Quebec to have an international appeal."

Parisella added that Quebec City is a beautiful city, "in large part because of some of the things he put in place"


David Blair, a former president of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, and worked closely with L'Allier on several projects over the years, said he was "cognizant of the importance that the English community brought to the city and the importance of its institutions."


Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, left, shares a joke with Jean-Paul L'Allier before signing a cooperation agreement between the two cities in 2005. (Michel Euler/Associated Press)

"He will definitely be remembered for many extraordinary things," he said.

Winnie Frohn, a former Quebec City councillor who worked with L'Allier, said he had a "vision of a city that was more humane, [with] a lot of parks, and a lot of squares and wasn't just dedicated to the car."

Labeaume said the city will hold an official funeral for L'Allier. The details have not yet been released.