Quebec City by Foot and by Bike

Being a tourist offers the luxury of time, assuming you’re not one to over schedule (younger me did such things – I’ve learned my lesson). Without too much of a schedule you’re free to wander, stop, stare at architecture, and take in the new sights and sounds, and hopefully local flavors (beer + gelato, anyone?). My favorite modes of transportation for city exploring are via bike and foot. Bikes cover greater distances so you can see more than when walking. It’s easier to navigate while on a bike than in a car, and you don’t have to worry about parking. You can get out of the tourist-centric areas and see more of the city. And, it’s good exercise (to work off that beer and gelato). Find a bike path or bike lane, and you’re set. Walking, of course, is best in crowded areas and really allows you to stroll hand in hand or hand in camera, whatever your preference.

Quebec City is such a place: bike friendly and pedestrian friendly. There is so much to see that you will need a bike. Just be prepared for some ridiculously steep hills. Seriously, I’d rather run up those hills than bike some. And make sure you have good brakes! The city is filled with bike paths and bike lanes, including a linear park / bike path along the St. Lawrence River (the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain). Don’t worry if you’re not into hills; it’s flat. And when you get hungry, head back into the city for some architectural eye candy and good food.

Here are some of the scenes from the bicycle and pedestrian point of view.

img_5469

It’s hard to capture the scale of steepness in a photo. On a different note, check out the terraced landscaping between the sidewalk and the traveled way. Beautiful, and such good design!

img_5474

VELO (BIKE) parking on Rue Saint-Jean.

img_5553

A very pedestrian oriented neighborhood, though there is easy automobile parking, too. And, restaurant seating instead of parking spaces.

img_5487

Heading down to the bike path along the river (Promenade Samuel-De Champlain) for beautiful views. The Quebec Bridge is in the background.

img_5486

The promenade.

img_5484

The Promenade Samuel-De Champlain is lined with parks, shelters, and other amenities. This is, by far, my favorite: an exhibit of historic and modern street lights. (Transportation nerd forever.) Recognize anything? There’s even a cobra light!

img_5491

Through careful navigating, it’s possible to get to the Quebec Bridge by bike path. It’s a tight squeeze on the path though, so be courteous to others.

img_5504

You can get off the bike path, lock your bike, and explore the Basse-Ville (Lower Town) by foot and take the Funicular up to Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec). Note the public art swing on the left: fun for all! It’s a very family friendly place to visit.

img_5509

Another scene of Basse-Ville.

I highly recommend a visit to Quebec City. Have you been? Do you prefer to a be a cyclist or a pedestrian? What cities are your favorite?

Happy Friday, friends! Happy travels.

 

With Your Coffee

Welcome to the weekend! How’s it going? The flamingo in the photo above is from my sister who is exploring the wild American west (specifically Las Vegas as of lately). Of course, I asked for flamingos and she obliged. She sent some live flamingo photos, too, but you know I cannot resist flamingo kitsch. This week I worked on some blog formatting changes. If you haven’t noticed, check out the Series page and the drop down menu when you hover over it. I’ll be working to tidy up the blog and making it more accessible. Hope you like it! Now, for some links.

Have you read anything good this week? Please share!

Coffee cheers! Have a great weekend.

Abandoned Quebec: Henrysburg Church

For years on my travels from Burlington to Montreal, I’ve caught glimpses of a small brick church beside the highway giving me an “abandoned” vibe. Even from the highway at 60mph, I could see that this church didn’t have any windows.

Finally, I was able to take a detour to visit this church. Getting off the exit at Henrysburg, Quebec, I was stunned. At first, there didn’t appear to be a way to get to the church, as it appeared to be encircled by the highways and ramps, without an access road. Fortunately, that was not the case. A small road off the access ramp led to the church.

A view from the side of Autoroute 15.

A view from the side of Autoroute 15.

The stone is the edge of the church property. See Autoroute 15 and the overpass. The church is practically in traffic.

The stone is the edge of the church property. See Autoroute 15 and the overpass. The church is practically in traffic.

See that island of trees? The church sits in there.

See that island of trees? The church sits in there.

Just sitting there in the middle of an interchange. (I do not know what Noel Canada means in this location.)

Just sitting there in the middle of an interchange. (I do not know what Noel Canada means in this location.)

The access road leading to the church.

The access road leading to the church (looking back to the highway on/off ramp). 

Despite the proximity to Autoroute 15, this is one of the most peaceful locations that I have visited. The church sits in an oasis of trees. The grass is mowed, probably because there is an active (as recently as 2012) cemetery on site.

Henrysburg Methodist Church, 1861.

Henrysburg Methodist Church, 1861.

Church & cemetery hiding in the trees.

Church & cemetery hiding in the trees. And, no windows on the church. 

The cemetery beside the church.

The cemetery beside the church.

Some headstones date to the mid to late 1800s.

Some headstones date to the mid to late 1800s. That’s the highway in the background. 

Others are much more recent, including up to 2012.

Others are much more recent, including up to 2012.

It's always sad to see a vandalized headstone. I wonder if this person's descendents have any idea.

It’s always sad to see a vandalized headstone. I wonder if this person’s descendents have any idea.

View on the other side.

View on the other side.

Front of the church. Note the tower is covered in vinyl. Meaning, not all that long ago, someone "cared" to take care of this church.

Front of the church. Note the tower is covered in vinyl. Meaning, not all that long ago, someone “cared” to take care of this church.

I was not expecting to find what I did when I looked in the church windows.

Rubble!

Rubble!

The interior was completely stripped of all materials - walls, floorboards, everything!

The interior was completely stripped of all materials – walls, floorboards, everything!

Upon further investigation, I found a demolition permit. It expired in 2014. Perhaps they started and were stopped?

Upon further investigation, I found a demolition permit. It expired in 2014. Perhaps they started and were stopped?

Montee Henrysburg.

The former address: 138 Montee Henrysburg.

I stood there fascinated while simultaneously feeling like I was attending a building’s funeral, or memorial service and having so many questions. Why is this church stripped of everything? How long has it been in the middle of this interchange? When was the roadway completed? Why was demolition stopped? Is there a community group, or perhaps the descendents of the departed have rallied? So many thoughts and questions. What are yours?

Presumably, the church was active until the overpass was constructed, until Autoroute 15 was widened or completed. The road was completed around the 1960s, though I cannot find a definitive date, nor one for roadway upgrades such as widening. A lot of google searching reveals only that the church was constructed as a Methodist Church in 1861 and active until 1975, but burials have continued until 2012.

And why strip the church? Perhaps to protect it from fire? It’s much harder to burn a brick building than one filled with wood and other flammable objects.

Does anyone care about this church? I cannot think of another example of a building stuck in the middle of an interchange. One on level, the interchanged caused the demise of the building. Yet, it’s also preserving this structure. It doesn’t appear to be a spot where anything else would be built, so why not leave the church there?

You can see the super-tall  highway lights over the ridgeline of this church.

You can see the super-tall highway lights over the ridgeline of this church.

Do you know anything about this church? I’d love to hear more and find out it’s fate, hopefully with good news.

Church Turned Condos in Toronto

Large churches struggle to find alternative uses once they no longer serve as houses of worship. Whether located in a small town or a large city, too many churches sit empty and abandoned. Once in a while you’ll come across a success story. This church in Toronto has been converted into condos. Take a look at the photos and let me know what you think.

The Victoria Presbyterian Church converted to condos.

The Victoria Presbyterian Church converted to condos.

Only being able to see these from the outside you can see that floors have been added. The balconies are clear glass. The original windows have been removed, but the fenestration remains.

Only being able to see these from the outside you can see that floors have been added. The balconies are clear glass. The original windows have been removed, but the fenestration remains.

Another view of the church, now condos.

Another view of the church, now condos.

A bit about the Victoria Lofts:

Converted from a turn-of-the-century church into 38 gorgeous units, this building is beautiful, rooted in history, and ideally located.  Boasting soaring ceilings and gorgeous architecture including a dramatic sloping roof, a copper-trimmed steeple, romanesque arches and curved brick columns, suites range from 600 to 1800 square feet over one or two storeys.  Originally the West Toronto Presbyterian Church, this stunning building has been a vital part of the Junction neighbourhood since 1885, when it first opened its doors.  Renamed the Victoria Presbyterian Church to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, this structure is one of several historic buildings in the area.  Located near the West Toronto Rail Path, a multi-use 4km path that links several Toronto neighbourhoods, the Junction is well-connected and a haven for any one seeking to reduce their carbon-footprint.  Spend an afternoon checking out the Junction Arts Festival, a neighbourhood display of music, dance and visual art, or take a fifteen-minute stroll south to High Park.

Apparently, converting churches into lofts is a thing in Toronto. Check out this post and this post. Do you want to live in a church? What do you think? A good idea? I’d like to see the inside. But, from the outside it looks pretty good. The windows would be better intact, but perhaps that wouldn’t work for the residences. In that case, the structure remains as a landmark in the neighborhood and it is legible.

Do you have a church in your town that could serve as a residence?

Roadside Friday Links

Chilliwack, BC, Canada is losing its dinosaur theme park, Dinoland, which was originally affiliated with Hanna Barbara and named Bedrock City (who else loves The Flintstones!?) You can watch a video of its history and catch some Flintstone images here. The park will close forever on September 6, 2010. Why is it closing? The owner decided to sell the property for financial and health related reasons. Dinoland has the claim as “North America’s only cartoon dinosaur town.” Though it was only 35 years, roadside culture and amusement seems like it’s losing a bit of history.

The United States actually has a few Flintstone related parks: Flintstone’s Bedrock City in Custer, South Dakota and Bedrock City in Valle, Arizona. There is also Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota.

These Friday links so often seem to be roadside related. I couldn’t hide my obsession if I tried, so I might as well continue on today’s inadvertent theme.

On that note, abandoned interstates intrigue me and crack me up at the same time, like the I-189 interchange in Burlington that has been sitting there for decades. I’ve heard that the tallest filing cabinet in South Burlington is a monument to the amount of paperwork the interchange and road extension, dubbed the Southern Connector or the Champlain Parkway (another post for another time).  You would expect to find an abandoned old road, but an interstate? Apparently it’s rather common. Check out “Why the Lost Highway” and this page of abandoned freeways. The site itself is quite dated, but still entertaining.

Parkways and carefully designed highways are some of the most enjoyable. What will happen to the Pasadena Freeway and the Merritt Parkway? See this NY Times blog post. The Merritt Parkways is also on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Places List for 2011. How do we adapt historic roads without destroying their character?

Is anyone attending the Historic Roads 2010 conference in Washington, DC from September 9-12? Please share! One attendee, Heidi Beierle has been cycling from Oregon to DC and chronicling her adventures along the way in the effort to research the impacts of bicycle tourism on rural communities. Talk about dedication!  Check out her blog and see her route.

Need more roadside fun? Of course. Check out the blog Go BIG or Go Home, for a family’s adventures as they travel to everything giant. I LOVE it.

Have I actually run out of new roadside photos to share? How about an old one?

The 2006 Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Photo by Sarah O'Shea.

Summer corn, yum. Funny story: the restaurant that was supposed to have the best corn ever, located next to the corn palace, actually ran out of corn and we didn’t get to have any. It figures. Anyway, happy weekend! Happy Labor Day!

Ghost Lines

When examining and analyzing buildings, preservationists love to find ghost lines (or marks) that give us clues to where there was once a window, a door, or a change in original construction. These are some very subtle hints on the surface like a change in brick pattern. They are always fun. Imagine my surprise when I saw this while visiting Montreal, Canada with some of the UVM HP students:

IMG_7779

This one tells quite the story. Enjoy!

Covered Bridge

Photographs of a covered bridge in Canada! Traveling with some classmates on Saturday, we turned to follow a sign that said (in French) covered bridge, 4km. We were in Notre-Dame de Stanbridge, a village in the province of Quebec. We got out to take pictures and walk on the bridge, which is still in use. There was a sign inside the bridge explaining the architecture and the history, but since I do not read French, I cannot be sure. See below.

IMG_7828

IMG_7808

IMG_7822

IMG_7830

IMG_7806

translation, please?