4. Issues and Strategic Directions
4.2 Strategic Directions
4.2.6 Architectural motif and site planning
Few traces of previous periods remain, but certain facilities are representative of a style particular to the Saint-Ours Canal. The superintendent’s house is the main building of historic interest but it has lost its stone cladding as well as certain decorative details that were once part of its exterior architecture. The service buildings are scattered around the site in locations that are relatively inconvenient.
The creation of a secondary access on the west bank led to the construction of temporary facilities that are out of keeping with the “spirit of the place.” The opening of the dam to pedestrians and the building of the fish ladder demonstrated the need to better serve the local and regional population by providing an entrance on the west bank.
The layout of the site and the presently configuration of the buildings and spaces, more or less correspond to visitors’ tendency to watch boats and walk beside the lock (i.e., their principal activities) as well as to their picnicking needs.
The periods of intensive use noted above lead to congestion and dissatisfaction at parking access points and mooring docks. This congestion is detrimental to the safety of access via Route 133, the unhindered movement towards the parking areas on the east side, and the enjoyment of land and water activities.
Spaces in parking and activity areas on the east side are insufficient to meet the high demand. Given how parking is currently located and organized, the allocation of additional space for both parking and recreation will interfere with the presentation of the site’s cultural attributes, such as the remains of the first lock.
The concentration of visitors around the lock where the boats transit through the canal at Darvard Island—the ideal place for observing the lock—makes this location a source of problems, particularly overcrowding in peak periods.
- Emphasize the heritage character of the Saint-Ours Canal using a coherent, meaningful architectural motif that recalls various significant elements of the canal-building period;
- Highlight the exterior architecture of the superintendent’s house;
- Harmonize the nature of any new buildings (architecture, exterior cladding), of whatever size, with that of the existing buildings so as to reaffirm the identity of the Saint-Ours Canal;
- Create a core of activities and presentation/interpretation events around the old lock and near the new one;
- Improve the functional organization of outdoor spaces with respect to the requirements of the main activities, the comfort of shoreside visitors, and any future developments surrounding the remains of the first lock and the old mill;
- Improve the functional organization of the mooring docks and access to the lock with respect to the specific needs of pleasure boaters;
- Install permanent structures at the western entrance.