The Dufferin-Montmorency autoroute, which ends right at the gates of Old Quebec, was built in the 1970s, at a time when we attached less importance to the built heritage than we do today. Thirty years later, in the early 2000s, the it was felt that the final stretch of highway should be tamed down and turned into a friendly urban boulevard worthy of Québec City’s status; it had been designated a “World Heritage City” by UNESCO in 1985.
The work of transforming this final stretch of highway would thus eliminate the perception of a highway, and project a new, more urban image, in keeping with the character of the old town. The primary aim was to introduce various measures to slow down the traffic, including reducing the number of lanes, and creating pedestrian areas, a median and pedestrian islands, enhanced by an enriched ground vegetation and street furniture and signage designed for the setting. Lastly, the initial order called for the installation of works of art evoking the rich cultural history of Quebec.
This work, carried out in close cooperation with the landscape architects team, is an original response to a complex problem, relying on technical, but above all historical and cultural solutions, since Quebec City is a city with a maritime and military character. For example, the bollards evoke the guns on the Ramparts of Quebec, while the weathervanes reflect the many towers of the city. Honoré-Mercier Avenue has been transformed from a highway to an urban street that reflects the site’s history and beauty.