Modernity

Old Québec is, not surprisingly, known for its old architecture. 411 years of existence have left us numerous varieties of vintage buildings that make a stroll through the streets a passage into the past. In fact, much of the Old City’s architecture was chosen in order to make the city look older than it was: the Québec Parliament building reminds us of Renaissance Paris, the Frontenac takes us back to the golden age of the Loire Valley chateaux, and the city gates along the western wall are downright medieval. Through architecture, traveling back in time is quite possible in Québec City.

But one salient building of the Old City was designed to do the opposite. Constructed in the first months of the Great Depression, the Price Building was built as a testament to innovation and the future; its Art Deco style was at the height of its popularity, hearkening back to no by-gone period. Instead, all looked forward and all look up in this 16-storey, New York-style gratte-ciel. Even the Indian-chief bas-reliefs on the front facade, a heavy-handed paean to the North American past, seem to look forward with determination toward a new era of appreciation for First Nations people. As the limestone cladding of the Price Building soared toward the sky in the early 1930s, it must have felt like modernity itself had arrived in Old Québec.

Today, the Price Building is one of the best-liked buildings in town. It is especially beautiful at night; the top floors are glowing green and gold. On cold winter nights, that glow offers warmth and welcome to pedestrians throughout the city.

32 thoughts on “Modernity”

  1. always enjoy our memories of your wonderful city and your enthusiasm in presenting it to all of us on your tour. Hope to return someday and spend more time in the city that you love..

  2. Sally Eleanor Klein Fribley

    Hi Neil. We love your city too and enjoyed your talk while going to the falls and forest.
    I have a photo of a building that I cannot ID. if I send it could you inform me please?

  3. Fascinating ~ thank you.

    In a future edition, could you please do an article about the huge mural / wall painting in the lower part of the city? It’s one of the most memorable parts of our trip to Quebec.

  4. Hi Neil. Thanks again.

    The Price building is effectively one of the most beautiful one in Quebec City. It’s probably for this reason that our Premier has his/her official residence into the 2 highest storeys of the tower. The view from the top must simply be amazing…

  5. Beautiful! I hadn’t appreciated the contrasting architecture when seeing the Price Building while in the City, so now an even stronger incentive for a return visit!

  6. Tony and Gwen Wappner

    Thank you for your publication. We did enjoy Quebec tremendously and you as our tour guide. We intend to return for a longer tour.

  7. We enjoyed our tour of Quebec with you as guide and have since enjoyed your blogs. They are historic, positive and upbeat. Keep it up.

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