Jean-Paul-L’Allier Garden, Quebec City

The flower-beds of Jean-Paul-L'Allier Garden

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Once the epicenter of Quebec City’s shipbuilding industry, the district of Saint Roch has served for many decades as the commercial heart of the Québécois capital. As the neighborhood fell into a sharp decline during the 1950’s, it soon became a mere shadow of its former self. As part of a citywide plan to restore the area’s former grandeur, a verdant garden was created in front of Cape Diamond. With vividly colorful flowers, an eye-catching fountain and scores of coffee sippers, Jean-Paul-L'Allier Garden now provides a much-needed respite from the city’s tourist-infested sites.

For more than a century, the neighborhood of Saint Roch functioned as an economic hub that rivals the importance of Quebec City’s historic core. However, by the second half of the 20th century, the district’s significance waned as it became synonymous with crime and neglect. It wasn’t until the early 1990’s that the fate of Saint Roch was about to take a U-turn once again.


Determined to make a profound change, the then newly-elected mayor, Jean-Paul L’Allier, made the revitalization of the neighborhood the flagship of his 16-year tenure. No sooner said than done, L’Allier rescinded the decision to erect a commercial center on a plot of land sandwiched between Rue Saint-Vallier and Boulevard Charest.


Instead, he commissioned the creation of a public square, dotted with greenery. Completed in 1992, Saint-Roch Garden quickly evolved into the centerpiece of the rejuvenated neighborhood, bustling with passers-by ever since. With floral art that blooms in a multitude of colors as well as a fountain with several artificial waterfalls, this urban park serves as a refreshing alternative to Old Quebec, where tourists are vastly outnumbered by their local counterparts.


In 2017, one year after Jean-Paul L’Allier passed away, the garden was renamed in his honor. The late mayor may no longer be with us physically, but his legacy is alive and kicking, so much so in fact, that this green space is often acclaimed for transforming Saint Roch from an urban wasteland to a trendy neighborhood, whose popularity only grows with every day that passes.