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Preserving Old Quebec City

The Story


New France is coming alive again in old Quebec City. An ambitious project, Place Royale, is restoring and recreating buildings in the Lower Town to bring back the area's 18th century ambience. The project demands the talents of historians, archaeologists and architects to preserve and protect its distinct heritage. But, as this CBC clip demonstrates, it's not without controversy. Critics say Place Royale is oriented too much towards tourists at the expense of the local community. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: Sept. 12, 1976
Guest(s): Russ Anderson, Guy Chenever, Robert Phillips, Peter Stokes
Host: Pat Patterson
Duration: 7:55

Did You know?


• In 1985, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deemed Quebec City's historic Place Royale a World Heritage site.

• The restoration project began in 1967, though preservation groups in the city had been calling for the conservation of certain buildings since the 1930s.

• Both federal and provincial governments contributed to the project. Buildings were expropriated and demolished, and, in some cases, residents were relocated against their will.

• In a 2002 essay on the transformation of Place Royale, archaeologists Reginald Auger and William Moss say the project's motivation was "ideologically based." Its boosters, they write, "wanted to create a representation of the 18th-century French regime to the exclusion of all other periods."  


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Quebec City: 400 Years of History more