Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced financial support for the reconstruction and development of the Grande Allée Armoury, an important Economic Action Plan cultural initiative, and unveiled the architectural concept of the building. A national historic site, the original armoury was destroyed by fire in April 2008.
“Our Government is proud to support the reconstruction of the Grande Allée Armoury, a centrepiece of Quebec City’s rich architectural and historical landscape with a proud military past,” said the Prime Minister. “The reconstruction of this National Historic Site of Canada will generate jobs in Quebec and culminate in an exciting new space that will host cultural and community activities, government offices and a tribute to the Voltigeurs de Québec, which this year celebrates the 150th anniversary of the current regiment and also perpetuates the history and heritage of the Canadian Voltigeurs from the War of 1812.”
The concept and drawings, which were informed by public and expert consultations — including key Quebec stakeholders — reflect the emphasis on and deep respect for heritage preservation and the architectural integrity of the original building.
This included using surviving elements of the original structure and drawing inspiration from Eugène-Étienne Taché’s original design. The design and reconstruction of the armoury will also be done in a manner that honours the government’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.
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Backgrounder - Grande Allée Armoury
The Government of Canada is committed to refurbishing national historic sites to ensure that Canadians understand and appreciate their common history. To this end, on November 16, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced financial support for the reconstruction and development of the Grande Allée Armoury in Quebec Cityand unveiled the architectural concept for the reconstruction of the national historical site, which was destroyed by fire in April 2008.
History of the Grande Allée Armoury
Built in 1887 and expanded in 1913, the Armoury has been a prominent feature of the urban landscape in Quebec City. It was designed by renowned Quebec architect Eugène-Étienne Taché, known for designing Quebec’s Parliament Building and the former Quebec City courthouse.
The Armoury, which is owned by the Government of Canada, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1986 because of its unique Château style of architecture and its function as the drill hall of the Voltigeurs de Québec, which this year celebrates the 150th anniversary of the current regiment and also perpetuates the history and heritage of the Canadian Voltigeurs from the War of 1812.”
Details of the rehabilitation and restoration of the Armoury
Despite the damage it sustained in the April 2008 fire, the building retained some of its architectural integrity and most of the features that make it an exceptional example of the Château style.
The reconstruction and restoration of this proud Canadian landmark – which is expected to create local construction and full-time jobs – is projected to start in 2015. Consolidation and consultations have been completed where the rehabilitation of the existing structure as well as the development of architectural plans will be worked on to be completed by 2014.
The Armoury will be rebuilt as a multi‑functional building with federal government offices, a multi‑purpose hall for community, cultural and social activities, and space set aside to commemorate the military history of the Armoury and the Voltigeurs regiment. The restored Armoury will be able to stage events attended by up to 1,300 people in public areas available for rent. In addition, the public will have access to walking paths linking the Plains of Abraham to Place George V.
The selected architectural design fosters heritage conservation and respect for architectural integrity, and is based on sketches prepared by the architect of the original building. The components of the original Armoury that still exist will be preserved and integrated into the new building. The building will be expanded through the addition of annexes on the western side and the southern side (back of the building, near the Plains of Abraham) in order to maximize use of the facilities and make them more useful to the community and the government.
The rehabilitation and restoration of the Armoury will respect the government’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint and will comply with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy standards as well as the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.
Support for the project
The reconstruction of the Grande Allée Armoury represents an investment of approximately $104 million under Canada’s Economic Action Plan, notably $93 million expected for the reconstruction and $11.3 million invested towards consultations, the development of a plan for the future of the Armoury, a feasibility and cost-effectiveness analysis, the development of the concepts, as well as work towards the rehabilitation and preparation of the site.
To allow for the reconstruction, the government took action in April 2008 to clean up the site and protect what remained of the building. This major task, carried out by the Department of National Defence (DND) and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), was completed in October 2009.
Budget 2009 allocated $2 million for the development of a plan for the future of the Armoury and options for reconstruction. Public consultations were held from May 15 to June 15, 2009, to obtain feedback and suggestions from the public regarding the future of the Armoury. The results of these consultations were announced in October 2009.
In October 2009, the government hired a firm specializing in real property to analyze the feasibility and cost effectiveness of proposals made during the public consultations. The firm submitted its report to PWGSC at the end of December 2009.
On June 11, 2010, the Government of Canada announced a plan for the Armoury’s future as well as rehabilitation work in preparation for reconstruction.
On October 25, 2010, the Government of Canada launched a call for tenders with a view to awarding a contract to an architectural and engineering consulting firm for the preparation of architectural designs and sketches for the reconstruction of Quebec City’s Grande Allée Armoury. An independent fairness monitoring firm was hired to oversee the competitive contracting process.
On June 15, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that a contract had been awarded to Arcop/DFS/STGM architectes en consortium through a competitive and transparent process for the development of the architectural designs and sketches for the reconstruction of the Grande Allée Armoury.
It is expected that the architectural plans will be completed by 2014. A separate call for tenders is planned for 2014 in order to hire a construction firm to carry out the reconstruction work. The reconstruction is expected to begin in 2015.