This vast 4.3-kilometre long park has been inaugurated in 2008 as a gift from the Government of Québec to the capital for its 400th anniversary. The park, which runs along boulevard Champlain between the Pierre-Laporte bridge and côte de Sillery, and the St. Lawrence River, restores access to the mighty waterway for Québec City residents.

Activities and Attractions

Promenade Samuel-De Champlain offers four different experiences in four different zones:

Promenade Samuel-De Champlain | Credit:  Ville de Québec
Credit: Ville de Québec

Station des Cageux

Built around a reclaimed industrial wharf, this zone features a wetland that reproduces an indigenous shoreline ecosystem, a 25-meter observation tower, and access to the waterside. It is named after the brave fellows who played a major role in Québec folklore, the raftsmen.

Boisé de Tequenonday

This unique old woodland crisscrossed with walking paths contains native archaeological remains that are over 5,000 years old. A small lookout affords a spectacular view of the river and south shore. The woods contain numerous hundred-year-old trees including pines close to 30 meters tall.

Station des Sports

This section, dedicated to sporting activities, contains two soccer fields and a multi-use grass-covered play area to get athletes of all ages moving.

Sentier des Grèves

This trail offers a magnificent view of the St. Lawrence River. It extends 1.7 km (1.1 miles) between Parc de la Plage-Jacques-Cartier and the Pierre-Laporte bridge, and allows users to have privileged access to Plage Gagnon, one of the few natural sand beaches of the capital. This pedestrian trail is adapted to a fragile natural environment and allows the discovery of the river as well as its cliff. It is also equipped with interpretation panels explaining the transformation of the landscape over the years and the tidal phenomena.

Station des Quais

This zone is the cultural focal point of the Promenade. It includes four themed gardens that reflect the moods of the river.

  • Quai-des-Brumes calls to mind the riverside atmosphere with granite blocks and fog machines that evoke the rocky shore and river mists.
  • Quai-des-Flots with its fountains evoke water in all its forms and movements by the lapping river.
  • Quai-des-Hommes is inspired by the human activity that spurred the area's development in the days of the timber trade. It recalls the link between human beings and the river.
  • Quai-des-Vents depicts the unceasing wind along the shoreline. The long stems emerging from the garden call to mind the flight of birds.

On foot or rollerblades, by bike, or even on snowshoes in winter, this is the ideal place for active people who like to stop off here and there to check out the contemporary art or learn a little something on the interpretive paths.

The Restoration

The Promenade Samuel-De Champlain project was undertaken in 2006 to reclaim one of the most degraded sections of the St. Lawrence River shoreline.

Long used as an alternative city access and truck route, boulevard Champlain has a whole new look. The Promenade runs between Quai des Cageux and côte de Sillery and provides a whole new perspective on the Québec City shoreline.

Residents of the city embraced—even flooded—the park from the moment it opened, and the call quickly went out for a westward extension toward plage Jacques-Cartier. A first section of the extension, the Sentier des Grèves, was inaugurated in June 2012. It is accessible by plage Jacques-Cartier. In 2013, the trail will reach Quai des Cageux and the Sentier des Grèves, once completed, will add 3.1 kilometre to the Promenade. It, too, will follow the river, climbing the cliffs at certain points.

Awards and Distinctions!

The Promenade has already received a number of awards and distinctions both locally and internationally.

  • International Architecture Award (from Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, with the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Arts Metropolitan Press)
  • Award of Excellence—Institutional (for Quai des Cageux) and Award of Excellence—Urban Design, from Ordre des architectes du Québec (2009)
  • Certificate of Honor from Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec (2009)
  • City Renewal Award from the Canadian Urban Institute (2009)
  • Canadian Society of Landscape Architects National Honour Award (2009)
  • American Concrete Institute Award (2009)
  • Wood Design & Building Awards (2009)
  • World Architecture Festival shortlist (2008)
  • Three major awards at the Design Exchange Awards in Toronto (2008)
  • Special Jury Prize at the City of Québec's Les Mérites d'architecture competition (2008)
  • Special mention from the jury at the fourth PMI Montréal ELIXIR Awards Gala (2009)

See Also