LAM’s May issue features a piece on the Promenade Samuel-de Champlain in Quebec City. This is a whimsical and impeccably crafted space without a specific purpose: a folly for the New Millennium. An excerpt….
The Saint Lawrence is perhaps the strangest river in the world. For most of its length, 750 miles between Lake Ontario and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it runs flat and wide, and drops just 245 feet. It is studded with four separate archipelagos cloaked in northwoods. For about half its length, it widens gradually toward the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which covers 91,000 square miles, including the river’s lowest reaches, and is considered the largest estuary in the world. At the point where the St. Lawrence River changes from being essentially a long finger of the ocean to a flowing waterway with occasional rapids sits the provincial capital of Quebec, Quebec City.
Quebec City is old. Founded in 1608 it is the only inhabited walled city remaining anywhere in Canada and the United States. It has existed here for one simple reason: the cinching in of the Saint Lawrence (the city’s name comes from the Algonquin kebek, which means “where the river narrows”). Though “narrows” is a relative term—the river is still about a mile wide here—this change has always had both strategic and economic implications. The city has served as trading post, fort, and transfer point for Quebecois lumber heading to Europe. Today, the St. Lawrence riverside docks are gone, replaced, just in time for the Quebec’s 400th birthday, with a sleek contemporary playground that pushes the boundaries of landscape abstraction.
But this issue of LAM here.