Promenade Samuel-De Champlain

Phase III of the Promenade Samuel-de Champlain has transformed the land into a canvas for a recreational and cultural project.

Pavillon de la Côte; a sheltered stop for users of the Coastal Meadows. Photo credit: Adrien Williams


Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker has introduced its recently concluded third phase of Promenade Samuel-de Champlain, which converted 2.5 kilometers of a previously desolate expanse of highways and rail corridors along the St. Lawrence River into a canvas for a recreational and cultural project.

Phase III, completed fifteen years after the inaugural phase, continues the same design language while evolving to provide enhanced visitor amenities.

The area was previously a barrier for the inhabitants of the city. The transformation of the highway into an urban boulevard, as well as the relocation of railway tracks unlocked roughly 150,000 square metres of land for creating active mobility along the riverfront.

Beach sector; an attractive and recreational center within the entire project. Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The primary goal of the project was to “return the river to the people”—a social mission and driving force behind the Quebec government’s legacy project for its capital city.

The architectural vision embraced a multidisciplinary approach from all scales, including the master plan, to architectural and landscape design, down to urban furniture and signage.

Marshland Wharf; juxtaposition of docks enhancing the consolidated existing marsh ecosystem. Photo credit: Adrien Williams

While capturing the essence of the site and celebrating its historical iconography and the unique character of its coastal ecosystem, the project amplifies the presence of the St. Lawrence River.

The architectural language showcases the ingenuity of early 19th-century industrialists and draws inspiration from the area’s rich history and this expression finds its support in the use of a noble material; wood.

The final phase serves as the centrepiece of the project, with the development of a beach that is reminsicent of the beloved “Plage du Foulon.”

Beach sector; the granite wall as an architectured fragment of the adjacent cliff. Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The design of the main service building, Pavillon des Baigneurs, embodies the elongated form of two rectangular volumes. The first volume, in granite, extends from the curvilinear beach wall, while the second, fashioned from wood, sits atop the granite base, offering panoramic views of the landscape.

The use of high-performance glass aims to blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces, integrating users into the beach ambiance. The interior’s white wood was meant to pay homage to the character of coastal locales, while the overhangs of the wooden structure frame the threshold and the beach-level snack bar terrace.

Coastal Meadows; revitalization of Quai Frontenac as a rare opportunity to venture onto the river. Photo credit: Stephane Groleau

The interplay between the mirror of water, the swimming area, and the river creates a connection. The sandy beach, alongside the beach wall and the sea lyme grass plant bed, crafts a landscape akin to a riverside resort.

The promenade unfolds with diverse functions and atmospheres. To the west, visitors cross a series of gardens that mimic the coastal meadows, and blend natural contours with a plant composition characteristic of native coastal landscapes.

Architectural elements like Pavillon de la Côte and Frontenac Quay contribute to the project’s contemporary expression.

Coastal Meadows; revitalization of Quai Frontenac as a rare opportunity to venture onto the river. Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

The project further served as an opportunity to restore biodiversity to the area with a total of 1,055 trees, 28,950 shrubs, and 117,000 native herbaceous plants being planted. Efforts were also made to revitalize the Saint-Michel marsh, preserving an ecosystem crucial for the area’s flora and fauna.

Beach sector; a swimming area offering the illusion of bathing in the river. Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

The outcome is a project woven into its environment, that resonates as a success among visitors since its inception. It stands as a source of pride and identity, aligning with its objective of offering users a meaningful experience, while championing goals related to public health, ecology, biodiversity, and climate action.

Pavillon des Baigneurs; a built interface as a landmark, embracing its presence on the boulevard. Photo credit: Stephane Groleau


Technical sheet

Client: Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec (CCNQ)

Project Manager: Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI)

Lead designer – architecture, urban design, landscape:

Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker
Réal Lestage
Eric Lizotte
Caroline Beaulieu
Lucie Bibeau
Grégory Taillon
David Gilbert
Mélissa Simard
Luca Fortin
Maria Benech

Architecture: Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker

Consortium – landscape: Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker, Option aménagement et Williams Asselin Ackaoui

Partner: Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable

Engineering: AtkinsRéalis, WSP, Tetra Tech

Process engineering: François Ménard

Construction manager: Pomerleau


Construction BML – Station de la Côte, station de la Voile et Boulevard

Construction Deric – Station de la plage, mirror of water and the swimming area

Construction Citadelle – Pavillon de la Côte et pavillon de la Voile

Bauvais & Verret – Pavillon des Baigneurs

Photo credits: Adrien Williams, Stéphane Groleau, Maxime Brouillet, Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker / Luca Fortin, Nicole Grenier, Radio-Canada / Erik Chouinard, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, Archives du Musée McCord, Archives de la Ville de Québec

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