Introduction

The management statement for the Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic site is currently being developed. As part of the process, Parks Canada gave the public and local stakeholders the opportunity to share their opinions on the proposed management approach and objectives for the site for the next 10 years. The public consultations took place over six weeks, from April 23 to June 1, 2018.

This document describes the consultation process and presents a summary of the opinions expressed by the citizens, local stakeholders and regional representatives who were consulted.

Objectives

The objectives of the consultations were to:

  • Make known the proposed management approach and objectives for the first draft of the management statement.
  • Collect opinions and comments from the public and partners to help Parks Canada improve and modify the proposed management statement.
  • Foster a climate of trust and mutual respect via a constructive process that takes various points of view into consideration.
  • Build productive, lasting relationships between Parks Canada and the various partners associated with the process.
  • Promote the seamless integration of the national historic site into its environment.

Consultation process

The national historic site planning team developed a public consultation document that addressed the following points:

  • The site’s historical importance;
  • The site’s activities and operations;
  • The main achievements since the 2007 management plan came into effect;
  • The primary issues;
  • The vision for the site;
  • The proposed management approach for the next 10 years, including the management objectives and the targets to be achieved.

This document was posted in English and in French on the historic site’s website. The public was invited to read it and share comments and suggestions by June 1, 2018, via an online survey. A comments sheet was available online throughout the consultation period. In all, 19 comment sheets were filled out and the survey was opened by 158 people.

The consultations were also announced on the Facebook page of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site on April 23, May 14 and May 28, 2018. The posts reached 3,798 people, received 66 “likes” and was shared 8 times. The link to the historic site’s webpage to consult the document was clicked 26 times. The post was also shared on the Facebooks pages of the Lairet and Vieux-Limoilou district councils. The www.monlimoilou.com website also shared the consultation and summarized the document’s main points in an article published May 14, 2018.

An ad was placed in the local newspapers (regional weeklies published by Transcontinental and the Chronicle-Telegraph weekly newspaper).

A link to the online consultation was added to Consulting Canadians site.

On April 27, 2018, personalized emails mentioning the possibility of scheduling individual meetings were sent to elected officials and targeted regional partners. A reminder email was send on May 23 to invite the concerned individuals to share their comments.

The following organizations called a meeting with Parks Canada or sent their comments by email: the Lairet and Vieux-Limoilou district councils, the Société historique de Limoilou, the Centre communautaire Jean Guy Drolet, the office of Member of the National Assembly André Drolet and the Ville de Québec. Other organizations expressed interest in discussing the site’s future, but were unable to do so during the consultation period. Meetings are now being scheduled.

Summary of the main comments received during the consultations

Encourage contact and connection between cultures

In general, the respondents reacted positively to Parks Canada’s intention to encourage contact and connection with local, multicultural and Indigenous communities. Community centres and immigrant welcoming organizations in Québec City said that establishing partnerships with them would be a good way of achieving this goal.

Establishing partnerships with Community centres and immigrant welcoming organizations in Québec City would be a good way of achieving this goal.

Several respondents said it would be interesting to create spaces to encourage these connections. Some ideas would be to set up recreational equipment like self-serve barbecue grills, offer watercraft rentals, build a bandstand and so forth. Offering urban campsites like those along the Lachine Canal was also suggested as a means of increasing the onsite activities.

Several people mentioned that they didn’t know the interpretation building was open during the peak season.

“The interpretation centre is so uninviting that I’ve never been tempted to go in. It seems like it’s not in use. Its architecture is neither historical nor current. It would be good if the work opened the building up to the community.”
Online participant

Having a multi-use room that opens up onto the park and is available to the public for rentals was mentioned several times.

The participants also suggested taking advantage of National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) to commemorate and call attention to the connections between the Europeans and the Indigenous peoples. It was suggested to use this day to launch the site’s open season. As another way to focus on Indigenous history, it was suggested to work directly with Tourisme Wendake to enrich the activity offering:

“It would be quite interesting to have a site that’s co-managed with Tourisme Wendake.”
Online participant

Several commenters noted the importance of creating new connections with the Huron-Wendat community.

Communicate heritage values

In the wake of the federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, several respondents said they would like to see the name of the historic site changed. “Stadaconé,” the name attributed to the Iroquoian settlement located in the Limoilou district of Québec City, was mentioned several times. The current name “Cartier-Brébeuf” is seen as a reference to colonialism (“Cartier is tainted by his aggressive colonialist character”) and evangelization, judged to be “from another era.”

“It is high time and critical to redefine the site’s commemoration statements given that there isn’t any archeological proof that Cartier was at the site. The historical site should be much more dedicated to the Indigenous presence in the area. I support the conservation of this location as a protected space, but Parks Canada’s custodianship should be more in the background.”
Online participant

The following ideas were raised to better highlight the park’s commemorative vocation:

  • Create a New France garden.
  • Reintegrate a ship like the Grande Hermine to bring to life the commemoration themes and to reaffirm the importance shipbuilding on the St-Charles River had at a certain point in history.
  • Reinstate an Indigenous long house to remind visitors of the pre-colonial occupants of the land and the discussions that took place when Cartier spent the winter there.
  • Increase the choice of activities outside the interpretation centre with costumed historical figures, and equip staff to present certain objects to visitors at the site.
  • Add distinct urban furniture within the boundaries of the historic site.
  • Enhance the permanent signage at the historical site and the temporary signs used for events and activities.
  • Update the dated interpretation modules and stations.

Other suggestions focused on the idea of taking advantage of the creativity of the local Limoilou residents, to not only strengthen their sense of ownership of the site, but also to give the site its own unique flavour “like the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park in New York that people can touch, use, photograph and call their own.” The work could be utilitarian for visitors, but it should refer to the site’s past, particularly to the local post-commemoration history. Temporary works were also mentioned. Some organizations (particularly the Société historique de Limoilou) expressed interest in working with Parks Canada to improve the activities and services offered.

For some, the historical site is synonymous with early Canada and the French presence in North America, and these themes should be better highlighted. For others, the ambiguity of the exact location of where Cartier and his companions wintered would require re-evaluating the site’s historical significance.

While most of the comments recognized the site’s heritage significance, others stressed the importance of it as a green space located in one of the most populated neighbourhoods in the city.

Wi-Fi access was mentioned as an interesting addition that could improve visitors’ experience at the site.

Conserve and protect the site’s resources

Caring for the vegetation to maintain and strengthen the cultural landscape was seen as commendable, but it should not take precedence over the site’s recreational use. However, the threats to certain tree species, particularly from the emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease and Diplodia tip blight (pines), was of concern to participants. Respondents felt that Parks Canada should develop an action plan to “proactively” replant trees to maintain the urban canopy and this green space, which are essential in the city environment.

Building better bike-path connections was mentioned frequently during our discussions. Besides encouraging active means of transportation and a better link to the neighbourhood, these “official” bike-friendly paths would, for some, help counter the shortcuts and “pirate” trails defacing the site. Others felt that cyclists should be made aware that these sections are shared, mainly to require them to slow down.

The parking lot is believed to be too large for local use, considering the site’s operational changes. For some respondents, the lot’s size also adds to the feeling that the park is an island with an “impermeable barrier” between the street and the park. However, given the lack of parking in the neighbourhood, especially during snow removal, local residents would appreciate (free) access to a parking lot. The idea to create a space for bike parking was mentioned several times.

While the site’s commemorative integrity is recognized in Parks Canada’s mission, it is also important to consider its environmental integrity, which is also part of the mission:

“I would like the environmental and species protection aspect to be more explicit.”
Online participant

Conclusion

The consultation process was a positive endeavour. It allowed Parks Canada to improve its management approach for this national historic site and its work with the stakeholders. Overall, the participants were in favour of the approach and supported the management objectives proposed by Parks Canada.

The management plan will be finalized by the end of 2018.

Lastly, Parks Canada would like to thank all the participants for sharing their ideas and their vision for the future of this national historic site.