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Periodic Report on the Application of the
World Heritage Convention

Section II

Report on the State of Conservation of
Historic District of Québec


1a State Party
1b Name of World Heritage Site
Historic District of Québec
1c Geographic Coordinates
Latitude 46º 48' 34" N / Longitude 71º 12' 38" W
1d Date of inscription
1e Date of subsequent extension(s)
Not applicable

1f Organization(s) responsible for the preparation of report

Organization Name: Ville de Québec
Name: Caron, Robert
Title: Service de l'aménagement du territoire,
Division du design, de l'architecture et du patrimoine
Address: 295, boulevard Charest Est
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1K 3G8
Telephone: 418 641-6411 p.2128
Fax Number: 418 641-6455

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2a Original justification for inscription
The original nomination noted that:

  • Québec is the only fortified city in North America and most of its defensive works constructed since the 17th century are still intact. The architecture and urban fabric of the city's historic centre reflect nearly four centuries of historical development.
  • Québec is the birthplace of French civilization in America.

2b Criteria for initial inscription
Cultural Criteria:
Natural Criteria:

2c Agreed upon Statement of Significance
At the time of inscription, the World Heritage Committee did not agree upon a Statement of Significance.
Proposed Statement of Significance
The World Heritage Committee inscribed the Historic District of Quebec on the World Heritage List under criteria C(iv) and C(vi).

  • A coherent urban ensemble, Québec's Historic District, including the Citadel, the Upper Town defended by walls with bastions, and the Lower Town with its harbour and old quarters, provides us with an eminent example of a fortified, colonial-era town, which is by far the most complete in North America—(Criterion IV)
  • The former capital of New France, Québec illustrates one of the major stages in the settlement and development of the Americas in the modern and contemporary period (Criterion VI).

(Note: The Statement of Significance proposed here reflects the definitions and numbering of the criteria at the time the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List. Changes in the definitions and numbering of the criteria since that time will need to be taken into account when officially submitting a Statement of Significance to the World Heritage Committee for approval.)

2d Criteria added after initial inscription
Since the initial inscription, the World Heritage Committee has not added additional criteria to the inscription.

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3a Initial evaluation of authenticity/integrity
The December 1983 nomination stated the following: “The historic centre of Québec, contained within the present-day limits of the area defined, is the outcome of more than four centuries of urban development. During this process, the fortified town has preserved the authenticity of its most significant historic elements, particularly in terms of its spatial organization and architecture; [....] The attractive features of the natural site, where the old fortified town was built, are still evident and have remained intact; [....] The structure and urban fabric of the old town derive directly from the spatial organization of the mid-18th century fortified town; [....] The fortifications and most of the major military installations are still in existence; [....] A large number of buildings, the authenticity of which is undisputed, provide an outstanding example of commercial, domestic, military and religious architecture.”

ICOMOS provided the following evaluation in July 1985: “The oldest quarters are located in the Lower City in the vicinity of the Place-Royale, which along with the rue Notre Dame, is lined with old 17th and 18th century houses. Notre-Dame-des Victoires Church, which was built starting in 1688 according to Claude Baillif's plans and burned down during the siege of 1759, was rebuilt during the English domination.” [....] “In the Upper City, [certain religious buildings] have not retained their original form. However, despite the vicissitudes of history [....], they have kept some of their original elements. Of the seven hundred old civil or religious buildings remaining, 2% date back to the 17th century, 9% date back to the 18th century and 43% back to the first half of the 19th century, when the city took on its present aspect.”

3b Significant changes in authenticity / integrity
Since inscription, there have not been significant changes in the authenticity/integrity of the site.
Description of changes in authenticity / integrity
There have not been any changes in the authenticity/integrity of the property, although it is an urban area and the historic centre of a city of 500 000 people and is therefore, by definition, constantly evolving. Since 1985, several old buildings have been restored and the entire area has benefited from environmental and landscaping improvements.

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4a Ownership/Management

Management under protective legislation.

Management under contractual agreement(s) between State Party and a third party.


Description: Management is also under various plans, guides, principles and statements described in section 4h 1.

4b Level of authority
Description: The site is managed by the national, provincial and municipal governments (see 4f).

4c Legal status
The property is the Historic District of Québec, a legally protected area under a law passed by the Government of Quebec in 1963. Its boundaries were established by government decree in 1964. Within the Historic District, there are 23 National Historic Sites managed by Parks Canada and other public and private partners.

4d Agency/agencies with management authority

Agency Name: Ville de Québec
Name: Martin, Fernand
Title: Directeur, Service de l'aménagement du territoire
Address: 295, Charest est
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1R 4S9
Telephone: 418 641-6411 p.2101
Fax Number: 418 641-6455

Agency Name: Ville de Québec
Name: Bégin, Francine
Title: Directrice,
Division du design, de l'architecture et du patrimoine,
Service de l'aménagement du territoire
Address: 295, Charest est
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1R 4S9
Telephone: 418 641-6411 p. 2120
Fax Number: 418 641-6455


Agency Name: Gouvernement du Québec
Name: Latérière, Hélène
Title: Directrice, Direction de la Capitale-Nationale, MCC
Address: 225, Grande-Allée est
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1R 5G5
Telephone: 418 380-2346
Fax Number: 418 380-2347


Agency Name: Gouvernement du Québec
Name: Bertrand, Benôit-Pierre
Title: Directeur du bureau de la capitale nationale pour la Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)
Address: 36 1/2, rue Saint-Pierre
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1K 3Z6
Telephone: 418 643-2581
Fax Number: 418 643-8918


Agency Name: Parcs Canada
Name: Desautels, Jean
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Québec Field Unit
Address: 2, rue d'Auteuil
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1K 7R3
Telephone: 418 648-4168
Fax Number: 418 648-2506

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4e Protective measures and means of implementing them

  • Québec. Loi sur les biens culturels (1972, amendée en 1985, 1993, 1994)
  • Québec. Loi sur les cités et les villes (1941)
  • Québec. Loi sur l'aménagement et l'urbanisme (1979)
  • Québec. Charte de la Ville de Québec (2001)
  • Canada. Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1992)
  • Canada. Canada National Parks Act (2000)
  • Canada. Historic Sites and Monuments Act (1985)
  • Ville de Québec. Règlement VQZ3 sur le zonage et l'urbanisme (1994)
  • Ville de Québec. Règlement sur la Commission d'urbanisme et de conservation

4f Administrative and management arrangements
The Historic District is a vibrant, inhabited urban area. The City of Québec therefore assumes all management responsibilities under its jurisdiction in regard to land use planning and development (zoning bylaws), traffic, public conveniences, the maintenance of public spaces, economic development, fire protection, public safety, etc. The governments of Quebec and Canada have a shared responsibility for managing, enhancing and protecting the Historic District.

Responsibility for preserving the Historic District falls, under the Cultural Property Act, to the Government of Quebec, acting through the ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCCQ). This responsibility is exercised through the advice provided by the Commission des biens culturels du Québec about building, renovation and restoration permits for buildings located in the District and through partnership agreements with the City of Québec. Responsibility for implementing these agreements falls to the Service de l'aménagement du territoire of the City of Québec. The Government of Quebec also acts through the Société de développement des enterprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Musée de la civilisation. SODEC owns the buildings on Place-Royale—the birthplace of French civilization in America—and it manages, operates, renovates and restores them, while the Musée de la civilisation is responsible for the interpretation of the site and various animations.

The Government of Canada manages a large part of the Historic District and the many heritage buildings on its properties, which include the fortifications among other things. It carries out this task through Parks Canada, the Department of National Defence, Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Québec Port Authority, and the National Battlefields Commission. All these agencies are landowners and have adopted basic principles for preserving their properties. They have also created a consensus-building organization, the Federal Inter-Departmental Committee on Québec. The Québec Heritage Coordination Committee was formed in 1993 and coordinates the work of the City and the governments of Quebec and Canada.

To improve the management and administration of the property, framework agreements have also been signed between the City of Québec and various other partners, such as the Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec (CCNQ) in regard to planning and development in particular, Laval University in regard to architecture, archaeology and ethnology, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Québec in regard to protecting the religious heritage, the Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec (CSMQ) in regard to the presentation of old interiors, and the Société du Patrimoine urbain de Québec (SPUQ) in regard to the dissemination of knowledge.

Landowners in the Historic District are also responsible for maintaining its integrity, and they are the first line of defence for ensuring that their buildings are maintained and preserved. Some of them have formed the Comité des citoyens du Vieux-Québec (CCVQ) for the purpose of protecting and enhancing the Historic District “as a living, inhabited urban ensemble.” The city, for its part, has created the Comité consultative du Vieux-Québec consisting of residents, merchants and representatives of the tourism industry. This committee must be consulted, under the 1996 bylaw on public consultations, before any changes can be made to the urban planning and traffic regulations.

4g Significant changes in management regime since inscription
There have not been any significant changes in the ownership, legal status, or protective measures for the site. However, its management has been improved through the formation of consensus-building agencies (see 4f, 5a and 6c), the signing of framework agreements with certain partners (see 4f), and the creation of management plans for the property (see 4h1).

4h Management plan
There is a management plan in place for the site.
Summary of management plan

  1. Produced by the City of Québec, Conserver et mettre en valeur le Vieux-Québec (published in 1998) is a management guide that updates a 1982 document. It takes into account the inscription of the Historic District on the World Heritage List and the evolution in the theory and practice of managing historic cities. The guide contains general and specific principles on managing and enhancing the Historic District as an urban ensemble.
  2. The Plan directeur Vieux-Québec Basse-Ville, Cap-Blanc, Entre la falaise et le fleuve (adopted in 1993) was also produced by the City of Québec. It guides interventions in this part of the District and ensures prudent, balanced development that respects the environment and our heritage. It provides basic directions, development strategies and outlines for the desired space organization.
  3. The development plan called Place-Royale Lieu de vie et d'histoire. Horizon 2008. Plan de développement de Place-Royale (Société de développement des enterprises culturelles [SODEC], 2000) contains an action plan and timetable for “completing the buildings to be restored, re-developing the public spaces, and generally enhancing Place-Royale.”
  4. Parks Canada's management plan Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site (published in March 1988, new revised edition scheduled for 2005) is a guide to preserving, enhancing and managing the city's defensive works, proclaimed a National Historic Site in 1948. In order to help visitors understand these works as a whole and integrate them better into the life of the city, this management plan calls for the creation of a continuous pedestrian circuit along the ramparts around Old Québec and an interpretation concept based on the model of an urban park path, among other things
  5. Parks Canada is developing its Commemorative Integrity Statement of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site. It will explain the concept of the commemorative integrity of the Fortifications of Québec NHS. It is intended for everyone involved in protecting, enhancing and managing the site and will provide a frame of reference for planning, managing, and operating the site and producing evaluation reports on it, as well as for taking corrective action.
  6. A paper called Principes fondamentaux pour la préservation de l'arrondissement historique de Québec (1993, revised in 2003) and drawn up by the Federal Inter-Departmental Committee on Québec sets out basic principles and guidelines - in accordance with the international Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Areas and the Venice Charter - for ensuring that the site is preserved. The guidelines also state that federal departments and agencies must consider public concerns and environmental impacts that could affect the historic nature of the District.

4i Annual operating budget

It is difficult to provide a specific figure for the operating budget of the Historic District. Three different governments are involved in its management, and each one has several departments or units that are involved in the Historic District but not devoted exclusively to it. A precise estimate would also have to include the financial commitments made by the owners of businesses and homes and of museum societies and various groups and agencies that work in the District. The main organizations involved in managing the property provide the following estimate: • Parks Canada estimates the cost of its annual operations at $1.4 million. Since 1985, the stabilization, reconstruction and rehabilitation work has cost $30.6 million. For their parts, the Department of National Defence, the Department of Public Works and Government Services, the National Battlefields Commission and the Québec Port Authority have invested about $80 million for maintenance and repairs. • Over the last 20 years, the City of Québec and the MCCQ have signed agreements worth about $100 million. Most of this has gone to the restoration and enhancement of the Historic District. A large part of the public funding has also been used as incentives to induce property owners to have work done on their own buildings, although the ensuing private investment is hard to quantify. • The CCNQ has invested nearly $13 million since 1995 on urban planning and development in the historic area of Québec (the District and its surroundings). This does not include activities to promote the capital (exploration, commemoration, dissemination, etc.), which have also required several million dollars in investments.

4j Staffing levels
Full time: 0
Part time: 0
Seasonal: 0
Other: 0
At Parks Canada, there are ten full-time employees (a historian, an archaeologist, a collections manager, a site director, two interpretation technicians and four guide-interpreters), 11 seasonal employees (six masons, one carpenter, two caretakers and two guide-interpreters), and 14 part-time employees, who are guide-interpreters.

  • At the City of Québec, 15 people (nearly all full-time) work in the Division design, architecture et patrimoine of the Service de l'aménagement du territoire on developing and enhancing heritage: they are management and support staff, architects, an art historian, archaeologists, and a landscape architect. In the Service de la culture of the Division art et patrimoine, there are four professionals and one office staff member. It should be noted that these people do not work exclusively on the Historic District and that the city also regularly hires the services of professionals and multidisciplinary consulting firms in history, ethnology, urban development, architecture, graphics, museology and translation.
  • At the MCCQ, at least eight people spend some of their time on the Historic District, and at the CCNQ, there are 20 people—professionals and management and support staff—who work on developing and promoting the capital. Only some of their work is related to the Historic District, but here too, outside professionals and consulting firms are regularly hired. The SODEQ has four people who spend some of their time specifically on managing Place-Royale.

4k Sources of specialized expertise, training and services

  • There are several departments, schools and research centres at Laval University that provide professional training in the conservation and presentation of heritage and architecture: the faculté Aménagement-architecture et arts visuals, the Departments of History and Geology, the Centre interuniversitaire d'études sur les letters, les arts et les traditions (CÉLAT), the archaeology laboratory, the UNESCO Chair in Heritage, and the Institut sur le patrimoine culturel.
  • The Centre de conservation du Québec promotes awareness of conservation and provides professional restoration services and expertise.
  • The MCCQ's Laboratoire d'archéologie has research facilities (artefact preparation room, archaeological documentation centre, and analysis room) and hosts the reserve archaeological collections of the Province of Quebec - including those from Place-Royale - as well as the City of Québec's archaeological laboratory.
  • The Parks Canada Service Centre, with its specialized facilities and staff, also manages a large collection of ethnological artefacts and objects directly related to the site.
  • The Organization of World Heritage Cities has been headquartered in Québec since it was established in 1993. Its mission is to promote the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

4l Visitor statistics available

Visitor statistics are available for the site.
Annual visitation, methodology and trends
Québec had more than 9 million visitors in 2002. It is estimated that 63 percent of them—about 5.7 million people—visited the Historic District. These data come from Statistics Canada, which bases its calculations on continuous monthly telephone surveys of the Canadian clientele and person-to-person surveys, depending on the sampling technique, of foreign tourists. No data are available prior to 1996. Since that time, the calculation method has changed twice and it is difficult, therefore, to determine past trends in visitor numbers. Other indicators, such as the visitation of tourist information offices, make it possible to conclude that there has been an increase since 1985. Over that same time, the number of tourists—i.e. people who slept at least one night in Québec—rose from 3 141 000 in 1984 to an estimated 5 815 000 in 2002. However, these figures must be taken with a bit of caution because the calculation method changed four times between 1991 and 2002.

4m Visitor facilities
As soon as visitors arrive, they have the services provided by Tourisme Québec offices and the Québec Tourism and Convention Bureau. There are also about a hundred hotels just in the downtown district, as well as many public and private museums and interpretation centres.

4n Tourism/visitor management plan
There is a tourism/visitor management plan in place for the site.
Summary of tourism/visitor management plan

  • Parks Canada produced a plan in 1999 for the National Historic Sites in the region, including the Fortifications of Québec and the Old Port Interpretation Centre. It contains general strategies for various clienteles.
  • For its part, the Québec Tourism and Convention Bureau has a marketing plan for the Québec City region for 2003-07. It contains a report on the tourism performance of the entire region and the desired development strategies and thrusts.
  • Tourism is also governed by strict zoning bylaws adopted to maintain mixed use in the Historic District. The current zoning bylaw, “Règlement VQZ3 sur le zonage et l'urbanisme,” was adopted in 1994.
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4o Key scientific studies and research programs

Research programs (undertaken and/or supported) include:

  • The City of Québec, in cooperation with the MCCQ, has carried out some major multidisciplinary studies (archaeology, history, architecture, geomorphology, urban planning) since 1985 of all areas of the old city and of some properties that are privately owned or belong to institutions. Several archaeological excavation campaigns have also been conducted, in each case with the support of expert reports and studies. Only the Place-Royale area—the birthplace of the city and the hub of French settlement of the St. Lawrence valley—has had detailed archaeological, architectural, ethnological and historical studies. Toponymic and museological studies have also been done. In all, including the results of the cooperation between the City of Québec and CÉLAT, this research has resulted in nearly 140 different reports, studies and publications, a list of which can be found in the Appendices.
  • Parks Canada has also conducted many archaeological excavations and historical, architectural or ethnological studies since 1985 to document Québec's colonial history or improve our understanding of certain aspects of the District and the defensive works. A list of about 150 reports, papers and publications can be found in the Appendices.
  • The CCNQ has also done research on the commemoration and architecture of Old Québec. For its part, the Comité des citoyens du Vieux-Québec (CCVQ) has carried out broad surveys (in 1990 and 2002) to learn more about the residents of the District, how its population is changing, its socio-demographic characteristics, and the advantages and drawbacks of this neighbourhood.

Use of results of scientific studies and research programs
In general, these studies have helped us understand the site better and therefore manage it better. Knowledge of the features of the Historic District and of its geographic, urban, social and architectural characteristics makes it possible to set planning priorities and guide the construction, restoration and development work. The studies have also made it possible to develop educational tools for sensitizing residents and visitors alike to the importance of conserving and protecting the heritage of the Historic District.

Role of WHS designation in design of scientific studies and research programs
The property's designation has facilitated and increased the studies done on the conservation and presentation of the site. It has also confirmed the thrust pursued since at least the 1970s of preserving and enhancing the Historic District. Several basic research studies and educational works produced since 1985 have taken the World Heritage values of the property into account. Nearly all the studies have pertained to Québec's colonial past, its role as the capital and hub of French settlement in America, and its defensive works.

4p WHS plaque

There is a plaque at the site indicating that it is a World Heritage Site.

4q Use of WHC logo
The World Heritage Convention logo is not used on all publications for the site.

4r Educational programs for schools
There are educational programs about the site's World Heritage values aimed at schools.
Description of educational programs for schools

  • Parks Canada offers various educational programs to help young people from various educational institutions explore the Fortifications, Artillery Park and the Old Port National Historic Sites. Using guided tours, period costumes, group activities and workshops, the guide-interpreters show visitors the features and history of the city's defensive works, the living conditions of soldiers under the French and British regimes, and aspects of the shipbuilding and intense activities in Québec's harbour in the 19th century.
  • The educational program Découvrir la capitale was drawn up by the CCNQ in 1997 to give primary school, secondary school, college and university students educational trips to learn about the city with the emphasis on history, art, architecture, society, politics and science. These trips make it possible to explore a sector of the old city or an aspect of its history. In 2001-02, more than 13 000 young people participated in this program.
  • The Centre d'interprétation de la vie urbaine de Québec (CIVUQ) also provides educational activities for educational institutions. They take the form of games and trips, and although not focused specifically on the heritage values of the site, they are held in Old Québec.
  • In cooperation with the CMSQ, the City of Québec has been participating since 2001 in the Monuments Photographic Experience international project. Workshops are provided for secondary school students initiating them into the city's history and heritage. In addition, the city organizes various educational activities on the Journée de sensibilisation au patrimoine, an annual heritage awareness event started in 1998.

4s Special events and exhibitions
There are special events and exhibitions concerning the site's World Heritage values.
Description of special events and exhibitions

  • Various exhibitions, events and publications have dealt with Québec's World Heritage designation or have had the objective of raising awareness of World Heritage: the 1985 exhibition Québec, un trésor fortifié, a special edition of the journal Cap-aux-Diamants in 1986, the brochure Québec une ville du patrimoine mondial in 1995, and the exhibition Québec, ville du patrimoine mondial in 1996. In the summer of 1991, Québec hosted the World Heritage cities for a conference on the topic of conserving historic urban ensembles in changing times. In 2000, the CIVUQ organized an exhibition on the World Heritage cities of the Americas in cooperation with the Service de la culture de la Ville. Parks Canada also staged two exhibitions on World Heritage sites in the 1980s, and since 1998, the City of Québec has held a World Heritage awareness-building day every fall.
  • A number of other events, especially exhibitions, have explored various aspects of the heritage values of the site over the last 20 years: Québec plein la vue (1994) in the Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Ludovica (1998 to 2000) and Amérique française (since 1996) in the Musée de l'Amérique française, Place-Royale en pleine croissance (since 1999) in the Place-Royale Interpretation Centre, La terrasse, sens dessus dessous (1988), a Parks Canada creation, and Québec en trois dimensions (1987), which was presented in a number of venues in Québec City and the Province of Quebec. The themes of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site and Artillery Park National Historic Site also help deepen the heritage values of the site, as do some of CIVUQ's exhibitions. The public has also been invited to a number of conferences on the archaeology, architecture and heritage of certain buildings or sites.

4t Facilities, visitor centre, site museum, trails, guides, information materials
Since the property is the historic core of a city, there are many reception facilities, interpretation centres, museums and guides for visitors. Only those that explore the heritage values of the site are mentioned here:

  • Place-Royale Interpretation Centre. Exhibition and multimedia presentation on the history of “the birthplace of French civilization in North America.”
  • Old Port Interpretation Centre. You can explore the history of the Port of Québec in the 19th century.
  • L'Îlot des Palais. In the vaults of the intendant's old palace, an exhibition and multimedia show on the history of this site under the French Regime.
  • The Citadel. Built between 1820 and 1832, the last military work of the British colonial era is partially open to the public.
  • Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site. Interpretation Centre providing an initiation into Québec's defensive works.
  • Artillery Park National Historic Site. Interpretation Centre focusing on military life in the colonial era and Duberger's scale model from the early 19th century.
  • Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Part of the major collection of Quebec art works in this museum retraces Québec City's colonial past.
  • Musée du Bon-Pasteur. Exhibition of art works describing the social and cultural history of the Soeurs du Bon-Pasteur, a religious community established in Québec City in the 19th century.
  • Musée du Fort. Has a diorama reconstituting battles that have marked the history of the city, including the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.
  • Musée de l'Amérique française. Established on the site of the Séminaire de Québec founded in 1663, this museum traces important moments in the history of French civilization in North America.
  • Monastery of the Augustines de l'Hôtel-Dieu-de-Québec. Its art and ethnological works and impressive collection of medical equipment, documents and furniture relate the history of the Augustinians, who founded the first hospital in North America in 1639.
  • Musée des Ursulines de Québec. This museum relates the educational work of the Ursulines established in Québec City in 1639, through art and ethnological works, documents and furniture.

To explore the Historic District, visitors can also contact several different tourism companies (guided tours and audioguides), use a number of guidebooks, or rely on the interpretation panels installed by Parks Canada, the CCNQ and the City of Québec (Discover Québec).

4u Role of WHS designation in education, information and awareness building activities
Inscription on the World Heritage List has certainly played a role in the design of education, information and awareness-building activities. It is mentioned very often in publications on Québec City and efforts to disseminate knowledge. It has also played a major role in promotional activities. Since 1985, most of the advertising campaigns, brochures, and tourist publications mention Québec's designation, as do a number of websites, including those of the City of Québec, the MCCQ, the CCNQ and Parks Canada.

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5a Development Pressures
Over the last 20 years, some development projects have been quite controversial: the Imax cinema, the Naval School, and the cruise ship terminal at Pointe-à-Carcy.

  • In 1991, several groups concerned about heritage conservation contacted UNESCO to have the project to build an Imax cinema in the Old Port area examined. The building was to be on federal government land at Pointe-à-Carcy, just outside the boundaries of the Historic District. It was said that the massive size of the cinema would impinge on the quality of the site and that the flows of traffic and people to be attracted were too heavy. People pointed to the “Boulet Report” from 1989, which had stated the principles that were supposed to guide development of Pointe-à-Carcy, especially in regard to conserving views and the natural and urban environments.

In August 1992, the Department of National Defence announced the construction of the Naval School in the same area, and this project too was immediately contested. ICOMOS reported on the situation to the World Heritage Committee on December 14. According to it, both these projects were outside the Historic District and did not compromise Old Québec's status on the World Heritage List. However, it recommended that a working group be created to examine the appropriateness of the site's current boundaries, determine a buffer zone, and identify the views that should be protected. It suggested that the city should review its consultation procedures and that communications among government departments and ministries and various government levels should be improved. A federal inter-departmental committee was then formed in 1992 and an inter-governmental commission in 1993. The City of Québec, for its part, adopted a public consultation policy in November 1992 and developed a management plan for the Old Québec Lower Town in 1993. A working group was formed of representatives of the city and both levels of government to study the question of a buffer zone. The Imax project was finally abandoned, while the Naval School, which had gained public support, was built.

  • The project for a cruise ship terminal at Pointe-à-Carcy, under the guidance of the Québec Port Authority, also caused considerable controversy between 1998 and 2000. The visual aspects of the project were criticized, as well as its effects on the Old Port landscape and traffic. Some people opposed the idea of a “port of destination” without necessarily opposing a “port of call” or a short-term stopping point. In a study published in 2001, Parks Canada stated that the work done in the area should not in any way alter or reduce the value of the area's cultural resources.

Mr. Alvaro Gomez-Ferrer Bayo was sent by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee to study the project, and he submitted his report in December 2001. Among other things, he said that the planned construction was acceptable now that changes had been made to reduce the impact of the walkway, the idea of a home port should be rejected, and the Pointe-à-Carcy esplanade should be included in the Historic District. Pursuant to this recommendation, Canada submitted a request in 2002 to expand the boundaries of the Historic District to include the Pointe-à-Carcy area. However, in March 2003, ICOMOS postponed the review of this proposal to enable the State to “verify the perimeter of the new main area, thus defined, and identify an appropriate buffer zone and a management regime for the areas proposed for inscription.” [translation from the French] Canada decided to postpone any extension of the perimeter of the Historic District until later.

  • Since 1985, the integrity of the Historic District has also been threatened by the presence of burned, abandoned, dilapidated or vacant sites. Under agreements signed with the MCCQ, the city intervened to help owners and contractors restore, renovate or rebuild such sites. To this end, various programs and policies were adopted, of which the main ones were the Programme d'aide à la restauration des sites incendiés ou abandonnés (P.A.R.S.I.A.)—now called the Programme Intramuros—the Programme d'aide à l'assainissement des arrière-cours (P.A.N.A.C) — in effect between 1980 and 1992 — and the Politique d'intervention sur les biens culturels (P.I.B.C). Thanks to the grants available under these programs, sites that had been abandoned for as many as 15 years were restored, rebuilt or constructed. The area was thus cleansed of most of its most dangerous and objectionable structures. This work also had a positive bandwagon effect on neighbouring private properties, and it added several thousand square feet to the commercial area and hundreds of dwellings to the residential stock. Between 1992 and 2000, for example, more than 512 housing units were created. The gradual disappearance of dilapidated sites was also thanks to citizen groups that formed co-ops and collectively acquired buildings that were abandoned or in poor repair in order to renovate them, occupy them, and thus preserve them.

The federal government has also participated actively in the preservation of Québec's built heritage on the properties that it owns. The fortifications have been constantly maintained, repaired and restored with a view to their authenticity and integrity. Deep stabilization work has been done over the last 20 years on the west façade of the city ramparts and the adjacent curtain walls, on Dufferin Terrace, and on the tenaille of the New Barracks. The Port Authority has refreshed the Pointe-à-Carcy area, the Department of Public Works and Government Services did restoration work on the Customs Building, and the Department of National Defence is currently stabilizing several parts of the Citadel. Some National Historic Sites have also been restored through shared-cost programs (among various levels of government).

  • Preserving the authenticity of the buildings has been a constant concern for 20 years. Most of the buildings in the Historic District are privately owned, and the City of Québec and the MCCQ therefore exercise tight control over all construction, repairs and demolition to ensure that property owners do not destroy the coherence and integrity of the site. One must therefore apply to the City of Québec and the MCCQ for a permit for work of any kind. The project is studied in accordance with the criteria in the guidebook Conserver et mettre en valeur le Vieux-Québec. If the application meets the requirements, it is forwarded to the Commission d'urbanisme et de conservation de Québec and the Commission des biens culturels (CBC). Their opinion determines whether or not a permit is issued. In addition to these tight controls, the City of Québec and the MCCQ instituted the Maître d'oeuvre program in 1987. It provides financial and technical assistance for proprietors who want to maintain and restore their buildings while conserving the significant heritage features, such as traditional apertures, cornices or metal coverings. There has been a great improvement in the urban landscape since the Maître d'oeuvre program was established. It ensures continuity based on tradition in all the work that is done.

5b Environmental Pressures

  • In order to make the snow melt fast in the winter and avoid icy patches, salt was long spread on the streets and sidewalks. Now that we are more aware of the damage that this can do to the masonry of houses, grit and sand are used as often as possible.
  • Around 1984, the City of Québec noted that several bronze monuments had been affected by pollution, acid rain, dust, soot and bird droppings. After analyses and examinations were performed by chemists at Laval University, the corroded areas were cleaned and restored or Incralac was applied locally. Since that time, there has been constant preventive maintenance on the monuments.

5c Natural Disasters and Preparedness

  • The Québec promontory consists of sedimentary rock inclined in the direction of the slope and sometimes even straight up and down. There is therefore a danger of landslides. The most vulnerable areas are facing the river beneath the Citadel and Dufferin Terrace. In the north, the tip of the cape along Sault-au-Matelot, Saint-Paul and De Saint-Vallier East Streets also has weak spots, posing a threat to the fortifications, among other things. The cliff has been constantly watched and maintained for a long time, but there is continuous erosion, and new protective measures were taken in the 1990s. Early that decade, an engineering firm mandated by the city recommended that the most threatened parts of the escarpment should be chipped away, new rock bolts added, and retention structures built—trusses, protective walls or elastic barriers—in especially dangerous spots. The city is eager to ensure that this work does not detract from the look of the cliff and therefore wishes to put in plants with abundant root systems, such as willows and dogwoods, which should help limit the erosion.

To do all this work, a subsidy program had to be established. The cliff is the property of the people who live beneath the promontory, and the owners were not prepared to invest in costly protective measures. A program was established in 1992 and enlarged five years later thanks to the financial involvement of the MCCQ. Since 80 percent of the cost of the work was then covered, all the properties at risk have finally been fixed. The slope retention and stabilization structures have been camouflaged as much as possible with plants. On the northern side of the promontory, however, there is an area that is still particularly fragile and a danger to both passers-by and the fortifications, which are at risk of collapsing. Parks Canada owns the area and is currently seeking solutions that are well adapted to the urban landscape of the Historic District. In the meantime, some parts of the cliff have been covered with cement as a protective measure.

  • Québec occasionally suffers from earthquakes, like those in 1988 and 1997 (6 and 5.2 respectively in the Richter scale). Since the upper part of Old Québec is built on rock, it is less affected by vibrations. The Lower Town and Old Port, however, are built on sand or clay deposits, which can amplify the seismic waves and cause more damage. Under the National Building Code of Canada, architects must take this risk into account when restoring buildings or constructing new ones. Even though no measures specific to the Historic District are currently planned, government authorities are concerned about earthquakes. The provincial Civil Protection Act (1991) requires municipalities to have an earthquake management plan, and the City of Québec is currently developing its plan. The plan will contain provisions on cultural properties.

5d Visitor/Tourism Pressures

  • The presence of so many tourist buses in the Historic District is a major irritant to residents. They are affected by the sight, smell, pollution and noise of these vehicles. In 1990, the Comité des citoyens du Vieux-Québec (CCVQ) asked the city to contain this traffic in order to protect the local environment and the historic parts of the city. Working together with the tourist industry, the city adopted the objective in 1996 of reducing the number of buses entering by 30 percent. It also sought the right from the provincial government to regulate bus traffic on the basis of the reason for the traffic and the bus clientele, rather than using the vehicle template in place at the time. This request was granted in 1999, but the number of buses still continually increased. A working group was therefore established, bringing together 40 residents, merchants, businesspeople, and representatives of the tourism industry and various agencies. The committee's report (called the Jean Report), submitted in 1999, recommended the establishment of a route for small “green” public buses, the construction of reception infrastructure outside the city walls (especially for chartered buses), and the adoption of better targeted municipal bylaws.

In the spring of 2003, the City of Québec submitted its new “integrated strategy for managing traffic in Old Québec.” The implementation of this strategy is expected to cost some $17.4 million. It deals with limitations on truck movements and tourist buses and the fostering of conditions that encourage walking (pedestrian ambiance plan). We are currently awaiting funding to implement these measures.

  • In addition to bus noise, some citizens and merchants complain about the noise made by public entertainers and musicians. Pursuant to a number of consultations in this regard, the City of Québec adopted an ordinance in 1994 on the way in which these entertainers and musicians must work. This particular problem is handled in cooperation with the associations of public entertainers and musicians, Parks Canada, the Château Frontenac, merchants, and various citizens groups. Between June 1 and September 10, two managers are therefore appointed to control this type of activity and watch over the smooth application of the ordinance.
  • Among the other problems caused by tourism are the constant hotel and commercial pressures. We have noticed the emergence over the last few years of a kind of alternative hotel. In some cases, apartments and condominiums are rented out to tourists. There has also been an explosion of seasonal or tourist businesses to the detriment of businesses that serve the residents. Finally, some building owners leave the floors above their businesses vacant.

The municipal authorities are familiar with all these potential threats to the vitality of the Historic District and have been working for nearly 30 years on maintaining a balance among residential, commercial and tourist functions. In 1977, the city adopted a zoning bylaw (#2474) to restrict business usages to the ground floor in commercial districts and ban the opening of new bars in the Upper Town of Old Québec. The number of bars in the Lower Town was restricted in 1984. To respond to the new pressures on the District, the City of Québec has set up working committees to start thinking things through, especially in regard to the development and management of lodgings. Solutions should be proposed in the city's new urban development plan which should be adopted in June 2005.

5e Number of inhabitants within property, buffer zone
According to data from the 2001 census, the Historic District of Québec has 4 937 residents: 3 218 of them live in the Upper Town and 1 719 in the Lower Town. There is no buffer zone, the site being protected by the strict zoning and the management plans described in point 4h 1.

5f Other
Not applicable.

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6a Formal monitoring program

There is no formal monitoring program established for the site.

6b Agreed upon key indicators

No key indicators for measuring the state of conservation of the site's World Heritage values have been agreed upon.
Future development of key indicators
We do not expect to develop key indicators for monitoring the state of conservation of the property's World Heritage values. This monitoring is done through the four managers of the property (see 4d), using the management tools mentioned in point 4h 1. The institutions and organizations listed in section 4f also provide monitoring.

6c State Party actions in response to World Heritage Committee recommendations

  1. ICOMOS made several recommendations to the World Heritage Committee in regard to the Imax cinema project and the Naval School at Pointe-à-Carcy (section 5a), and the Committee approved them in December 1992. These recommendations dealt, inter alia, with the formation of a working group consisting of the three levels of government to examine the appropriateness of the current boundaries of the site and to define a buffer zone and the views to be protected. ICOMOS also suggested that the city review the effectiveness of its consultation procedures. To coordinate the future planning and development of the Old Port, it encouraged the formation of a federal inter-departmental committee and a commission consisting of the three levels of government.
    The latter two bodies were actually formed in 1992 and 1993, and they now help to manage the site (see 4f). Similarly, to coordinate its activities better, the Government of Quebec has also formed an inter-ministerial committee that brings together seven ministries. For its part, the City of Québec adopted a public consultation policy in November 1992. It also developed a master plan in 1993 for the Lower Town of Old Québec to guide future interventions in this entire area (see 4h 1). The question of a buffer zone was studied in 1994 by a working group of representatives of the three levels of government. It was determined at that time that the property was sufficiently well protected by the municipal zoning and management plans developed over the years (see 4h 1). The idea of creating a buffer zone was therefore dropped.
  2. In 2001, Mr. Alvaro Gomez-Ferrer Bayo from ICOMOS came to Québec to study the controversial project of a cruise ship terminal at Pointe-à-Carcy (see section 5a). In December, he submitted his report to the World Heritage Committee. In his view, the project was acceptable now that changes had been made to reduce the impact of the walkway, the terminal itself was acceptable as a port of call and even as a destination port if a monitoring committee set limits on it, but the idea of a home port should be rejected. He recommended transforming the old Champlain Harbour Station into a destination port and including the Pointe-à-Carcy esplanade in the Historic District.
    Pursuant to the last recommendation, Canada drew up a request to the World Heritage Committee in 2002 to expand the boundaries of the Historic District. In March 2003, ICOMOS postponed consideration of this proposal to enable the State to “verify the perimeter of the new main area, thus defined, and identify an appropriate buffer zone and management regime for the areas proposed for inscription.” [translation from the French] The report submitted by ICOMOS (WHC-03/27.COM/8C, p. 28) was heavily criticized by the City of Québec, the MCCQ and Parks Canada. They pointed out major deficiencies in general knowledge of the site and its borders, which distorted the analysis and ensuing recommendations. For various reasons, Canada decided to postpone any extension of the Historic District's perimeter until later.
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7a Main conclusions regarding the state of the property's World Heritage Values

The historic centre of Québec City is the outcome of more than four centuries of urban development. During this process, the fortified town has preserved the authenticity of its most significant historic elements in regard to both the site plan and the spatial organization, architecture and uses of the site. The fortified belt and most of the major military works still exist, as do many examples of civilian, commercial, domestic, military and religious architecture.

The oldest quarters are in the Lower Town in the vicinity of Place-Royale. There are old houses dating from the French regime, as well as Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, which was built beginning in 1688 and reconstructed under the British. In the Upper Town, of the 700 old lay or religious buildings, 2 percent go back to the 17th century, 9 percent to the 18th century, and 43 percent to the first half of the 19th century, when the city took on its present look.

7b Main conclusions regarding the management of and factors affecting the property

The Historic District is managed in accordance with the management plans mentioned above (4h 1). Considerable financial and human resources are devoted to the property, as well as sources of expertise, visitor facilities and scientific studies. These studies have helped to determine the planning and development priorities, have guided the construction, restoration and urban development work, and have been used to produce many educational tools for making residents and visitors more aware of the District's heritage.

Old Québec remains a vibrant urban centre and is therefore subjected to all kinds of pressures: controversial development projects, dilapidated, abandoned sites, the danger of renovations that could affect the authenticity of buildings, and even the possibility of landslides. Tourism itself could pose a threat to the integrity of the site, for instance because of the large numbers of buses. The vitality of the historic heart of Québec could also be compromised by the mushrooming of tourism-related businesses and the decline of businesses that serve the residents.

Interesting solutions have often been found to these problems. To improve management of the site, inter-department and inter-government working groups have been formed, public consultations have been held, and plans have been devised for enhancing various parts of the old city.

To eliminate dilapidated sites, allow restorations consistent with the urban ensemble, and ensure the safety of citizens who live at the base of the cliff, various subsidy programs have been set up that are generally conditional on respect for the integrity of the site.

We are still working on maintaining a balance among residential, commercial and tourist uses in Old Québec, and are trying to find ways of solidifying certain areas of the cliff, limiting buses, and preventing the emergence of alternative hotels. Several projects are currently being studied.

7c Approved future actions

We believe that the management tools mentioned above (4h 1) enable us to ensure that the World Heritage values of the property are conserved. However, we will be sending a request to the World Heritage Committee to change the official name of the site. Since the new Québec City was formed in 2001 from the merger of several municipalities, Québec now has four historic districts. To avoid confusion, we would like the Historic District of Québec to be called henceforth the Historic District of Old Québec.

7d Agency(ies) responsible for implementing actions

Agency Name: Ville de Québec
Name: Martin, Fernand
Title: Directeur, Service de l'aménagement du territoire
Address: 295, Charest est
City: Québec, Québec
Postal Code: G1R 4S9
Telephone: 418 641-6411 p.2101
Fax Number: 418 641-6455

7e Timeline for implementation of actions

Not applicable.

7f Anticipated Requests for International Assistance

It is not anticipated that International Assistance, through the World Heritage Fund, will be requested.

7g Potential Decisions for the World Heritage Committee

  • Proposed new Statement of Significance, where previously missing