Gilmour Hill and Trail

   

The Park is honoured for the redevelopment of Gilmour Hill

Plains of Abraham Trail

November 4, 2016 – Québec – The National Battlefields Commission   

Once again, The National Battlefields Commission is proud to be honoured by the Communities in Bloom program with focus on the enhancement of green spaces in communities. The Battlefields Park received a 5 Bloom – Silver rating and special mention/recognition for the redevelopment of Gilmour Hill in the Special Attractions category during the national and international awards ceremonies held in Regina on October 29.

Quick facts

  • “The redevelopment of Gilmour Hill was originally undertaken to ensure safe access for automobiles year round. However, we were able to note that the success of this very complex project largely exceeded vehicular access. A second access onsite winding through steep wooded areas now offers pedestrians and cyclists a unique experience in winter and summer. Despite the complex nature of the site with its steep hills and fragile forest ecosystem, the team was able to design and complete a winding trail with grades of 10% and less, offering breathtaking glimpses of the river. There are also a number of rest areas and interpretive panels that highlight the historic and natural heritage of this exceptional site that marked the country’s history. In addition, lighting integrated beautifully into the environment, special protective measures for existing trees, the architectural vocabulary of the entrances, appropriate floral and vegetal arrangements and quality paving create an impression of project sustainability. Note that this entry was able to address all key evaluation criteria and we congratulate The National Battlefields Commission on this unqualified success,” stated volunteer judges Lucie Gagné and Gérald Lajeunesse.

  • Participating communities receive information and are evaluated by a volunteer jury of trained professionals (active or retired) on the accomplishments of their entire community (municipal, private, corporate and institutional sectors, citizens) on eight key criteria: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and groundcovers, floral displays and community involvement.

  • Over the years, The National Battlefields Commission has been awarded several honourable mentions in the Special Attractions and Parks and Landscaping categories: majestic trees, My Mobile Plains (application), recognition for urban forestry, showcasing history and heritage, floral arrangements… but to mention a few.

  • Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on enhancing green spaces in communities. The pride, community spirit and sense of accomplishment that participants feel are visible in Canadian communities.

  • The Battlefields Park was created over one hundred years ago. It includes, among other features, the Plains of Abraham and Des Braves Park. Today, The National Battlefields Commission oversees the preservation and development of this magnificent urban park, ranked among the most prestigious in the world. Often referred to as the lungs of the city, this central rallying site attracts four million local and foreign visitors annually.

 

New Plains of Abraham Trail

Sentier des Plaines

Sentier des Plaines 2

Inauguration of the Plains of Abraham Trail:
Last phase of the Gilmour Hill redevelopment project completed

May 5, 2016 – Québec – The National Battlefields Commission            

This morning, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, and The National Battlefields Commission Chair, Margaret F. Delisle, inaugurated the Plains of Abraham Trail.

This symbolic gesture completes the Gilmour Hill redevelopment project announced in August 2013. The project, split into two inseparable phases (road and trail), was completed on time and within the allotted budget of $8.2 million.


Quick facts

  • The trail covering more than one kilometre is set in natural surroundings independent of road infrastructure and focuses on the beauty and history of the premises with its rest areas and interpretive panels. The winding path, with a more moderate slope than Gilmour Hill, is designed to facilitate pedestrian and cyclist traffic. The Plains of Abraham Trail is groomed in winter, lit year round, and a safe and popular route for park users between Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain and Upper Town Québec.

  • Prior to the official inauguration of the Plains of Abraham Trail, the NBC announced last December that the multi-use interpretive trail would be open to pedestrians and cyclists.

  • In February 2015, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), responsible for the Gilmour Hill redevelopment project (two phases), launched a call for tenders for the completion of work to develop the new Plains of Abraham Trail. Following an open and transparent competitive process, PSPC awarded the contract to Les Constructions Bé-Con inc. to build a safe and accessible path for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Note that the purpose of the $8.2 million project announced by the Government of Canada on August 2, 2013 was to redevelop Gilmour Hill to improve urban traffic flow in the sector, open the hill to traffic in winter and create a multi-purpose interpretive trail. The trail offers a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists between Lower Town and Upper Town, allowing them to discover the rich history of neighbouring premises through interpretative panels located in the rest areas.

  

Quotes

“I congratulate the National Battlefields Commission on having completed a project that does such a great job of highlighting the historic and natural heritage of this exceptional site. The Plains of Abraham Trail will allow the park’s users to learn more about our history while travelling on a safe path.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Public Services and Procurement Canada is proud to have contributed to the Gilmour Hill trail development project. Québec City residents and visitors to this historic city now have a trail suitable for walking and cycling through the Plains of Abraham site, in both summer and winter.”

The Honourable Judy M. Foote
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“I would like to thank the Government of Canada for supporting this important two-phase project (road and trail) that has allowed the National Battlefields Commission to pursue its mission of preserving and developing the Plains of Abraham ― a natural and historic heritage treasure. This project, completed on time and within the allotted budget, clearly demonstrates our desire and ability to work for the benefit of park users and Québec City area residents. The Plains of Abraham Trail now allows pedestrians and cyclists to share a safe route that showcases the area’s history and minimizes environmental impacts.

I join all the staff at the Commission in highlighting the exceptional contribution of André Beaudet, Secretary-Director General for the NBC from 2009 to 2015, to this project of great importance to him. He left us suddenly, December last, and he would have been thrilled to celebrate with us, the successful outcome of this huge endeavour that he oversaw with passion and conviction.”

Margaret F. Delisle
The National Battlefields Commission Chair

Inauguration

The Mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and The National Battlefields Commission Chair, Margaret F. Delisle.

 

Work on the Plains of Abraham Trail Completed | The Plains of Abraham Trail Accessible

December 1, 2015 – The National Battlefields Commission wishes to inform the population that work on the new Plains of Abraham Trail has been completed. The mixed-use trail is now open to pedestrians and cyclists. This second phase of the project was finished on time and on budget. The trail, more than one kilometre long, is set in natural surroundings independent of road infrastructure and focuses on the beauty and history of the premises with its rest areas and interpretive panels. It will assuredly become a valued link for various park users between Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain and Québec City’s Upper Town.


Quick Facts

  • Mandated by the National Battlefields Commission, Public Works and Government Services Canada awarded a contract worth approximately $3.7 million to Les Constructions Bé-Con inc., through an open and transparent competitive process, to build a safe and accessible path for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • The layout of the trail was designed primarily to preserve the site’s heritage and historic cachet and minimize the impact on the cliff’s vegetation and morphology. With a maximum speed limit of 10 km/h, the trail will also help ensure the safe coexistence of users (pedestrians and cyclists), in addition to offering users exceptional observation points. Skiing, snowboarding, skating and skateboarding will not be allowed on the trail.

  • Along its winding sections, the new path will facilitate recreational traffic and the development of active transportation. The path, which is 1,190 metres long, has a more moderate slope than Gilmour Hill. It will be groomed in winter, lit year round and include six rest and interpretation areas, and safe crossings.

  • The official inauguration of the Plains of Abraham Trail will take place in the spring of 2016 during more favourable weather conditions.

Sentier des plaines 1

Sentier des plaines 2


Work to start soon on new mixed-use interpretive trail

April 2, 2015 - Hikers and cycling enthusiasts will be delighted to know that work on the new Plains of Abraham Trail, due to open to the general public this fall, will start in the coming days. A large part of the trail, which will be set in natural surroundings and independent of road infrastructure, will be integrated into the cliff along Gilmour Hill.

Mandated by the National Battlefields Commission, Public Works and Government Services Canada has awarded a contract worth approximately $3.7 million to Les Constructions Bé-Con inc., through an open and transparent competitive process, to build a safe and accessible path for pedestrians and cyclists. The Commission strongly favours the construction of a staircase (an option in the contract), but would like to ensure that funds are available within the allotted budget before giving the green light.

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, has been closely following the Gilmour Hill redevelopment project announced on August 2, 2013, and is delighted to see the second phase of the project get underway. “Our government is proud to have financed this project for the people of Québec and all Canadians who visit the Battlefields Park national historic site. Our investment enables citizens to use Gilmour Hill year round and, starting this fall, will allow them to discover the park’s history thanks to the creation of a new multi-use interpretive trail.”

André Beaudet, Secretary and Director General of the Commission, reiterated that “This project, divided into two inseparable and complementary phases—the road and trail components—aims to benefit all types of users while maximizing their safety. That’s why pedestrians and cyclists will also have a dedicated route, and not just drivers. The trail will focus on the park’s history and become a valued link between Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain and Québec’s Upper Town. This addition is a perfect example of our desire and ability to work for the well-being of all park users and Québec residents, and we’re proud of that.”

The new path will facilitate recreational traffic and the development of active transportation. The path, which is 1,190 metres long and has a steep grade of over 8% in places, will be cleared and packed down in winter. It will include, among other things, a multi-purpose trail, six rest and interpretation areas, and safe crossings.

This optimal route aims to preserve the site’s heritage and historic cachet and minimize the impact on the cliff’s vegetation and morphology. It will help ensure the safety of users (hikers with or without strollers, cycling enthusiasts, and snowshoers in winter) while keeping the project on time and on budget. Work primarily includes tree cutting and reforestation, excavating loose soil, rock excavation in the cliff, earthworks, building gabion retaining walls, stabilizing rock walls, and related civil, structural, landscaping, and development work.

The project meets the requirements of all federal environmental codes, laws, and regulations and complies with relevant local and provincial standards. Monitoring will be provided due to the possible nesting of endangered species. The presence of tree species with protected status, such as the butternut, required a permit from Environment Canada.

The work will require the removal of trees on the new path, but the Commission is committed to offsetting this by planting an equal number of trees. To repurpose the timber cut, the contractor will be responsible for finding the best possible way of maximizing its reuse and must submit a report.

Road traffic on Gilmour Hill may be temporarily affected during trail construction. If such is the case, more details will be disclosed.

2014-2015 Preliminary sketches
 

Phase I of Gilmour Hill redevelopment project complete:
The first motorists expected this October 31, 2014

On October 31, 2014, The National Battlefields Commission chair Margaret F. Delisle officially opened Gilmour Hill by cutting the ribbon alongside the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume, and Mr. Sam Hamad, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region. This road was open to motorists starting at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

This ribbon cutting marks the end of roadwork on Gilmour Hill—Phase I of the project, which will be followed in fall 2015 by the addition of a mixed-use interpretive trail.

Phase I of the project involved resurfacing the road portion of Gilmour Hill and Avenue George VI between Boulevard Champlain and Avenue Montcalm. The work primarily included a complete resurfacing of the roadway, restoration of the stone retaining wall, installation of an underground drainage system, rehabilitation of intersections and parking lots, reconstruction of the lighting system, and other related improvements (signage, curbs, grass, etc.). Due to a stone supply issue, the wall coping will be completed in the spring. Sustainable development considerations were also part of the project. These included recovery of paving material, reuse of curbs and street lamps, and vegetation protection.

Changes were also made to traffic patterns in order to better preserve a highly popular area of the park for families and sports lovers. In all seasons, vehicular traffic from Gilmour Hill will now get to Grande Allée via Avenue Montcalm, instead of passing in front of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. The City of Québec will be reprogramming traffic lights in order to avoid congestion in the park and improve flow.

The cost of snow removal and winter maintenance for Gilmour Hill will be assumed by the City of Québec. New illuminated signs will be installed on Grande Allée and Boulevard Champlain to alert motorists to intermittent closures.

The National Battlefields Commission authorized Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) for the Gilmour Hill rehabilitation (road and trail). PWGSC awarded the contract to Excavations Lafontaine Inc.

The $8.2 million project announced August 2, 2013, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for the redevelopment of Gilmour Hill in order to improve urban traffic flow and allow the road to remain open in winter, as well as the creation of a mixed-use interpretive trail. In fall 2015 this trail will offer pedestrians and cyclists a safe route between Lower Town and Upper Town, allowing them to discover the rich history of the neighbouring sites thanks to interpretive panels in rest areas.

“I would like to thank the Canadian government for supporting this important redevelopment project that allows the National Battlefields Commission to pursue its mission of preserving and developing the Plains of Abraham—a natural and historic heritage treasure. This two-phase project clearly demonstrates our desire and ability to work for the benefit of park users and Québec City area residents. When the new mixed-use interpretive trail is added a year from now, pedestrians and cyclists will also have a safe route that showcases the area’s history and minimizes the impacts on cliff vegetation and morphology. It’s a win for everyone.”

Margaret F. Delisle
Chair, The National Battlefields Commission



Redevelopment of Gilmour Hill for its year-round opening 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closure of Gilmour Hill: New Roadwork Begins

The National Battlefields Commission is beginning roadwork on Côte Gilmour. The hill will be closed to automobile traffic from May 20, 2014 (from 5:30 a.m.), until work is completed in late fall 2014.

The $8.2 million project announced on August 2, 2013, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make room for a new mixed-use interpretive trail for pedestrians and cyclists.

Phase 1 of the project will involve resurfacing the road portion of Gilmour Hill and Avenue George VI, between Boulevard Champlain and Avenue Montcalm. Specifically, the work will include a complete resurfacing of the road surface, restoration of the stone retaining wall, installation of an underground drainage system, rehabilitation of intersections and parking lots, reconstruction of the lighting system, and other related improvements (signage, roadside areas, grass, etc.).

 

 

June, 2014

   

   

July, 2014

    

    

August, 2014

    

    

 

The road will reopen at the end of fall 2014, and the mixed-use interpretive trail for pedestrians and cyclists will be completed in fall 2015.

 

  

Temporary opening of Gilmour Hill: from April 29 to May 20, 2014                

The National Battlefields Commission is announcing that Gilmour Hill will be open for several weeks to automobile traffic starting April 29. It will later close again for roadwork to convert it for four-season use.

Since work on Gilmour Hill has not yet started this spring, the National Battlefields Commission is taking the opportunity to temporarily open this important part of the city’s road network to vehicle traffic.

The road contract tendering process via the Public Works and Government Services Canada website is open until April 30. The contract will be awarded in May, and construction will begin after that.

This announcement does not however preclude the possibility of earlier or intermittent closures due to weather. The safety of park users remains paramount for the Commission.  

The National Battlefields Commission reminds drivers that the speed limit in the park is 30 km/h and that there are signs on Grande Allée and Champlain Boulevard indicating whether Gilmour Hill is open. This information can also be obtained by phone at 418-648-4212.

 

Announcement - Providing funding for the year-round opening of Gilmour Hill and to add a new walking and cycling trail

Announcement of $8.2 million on August 2, 2013 implement the works toward the year-round opening of Gilmour Hill implement the works toward the year-round opening of Gilmour Hill to implement the works toward the year-round opening of Gilmour Hill and to add a new walking and cycling trail.

On the picture: Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume, Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Margaret F. Delisle, the National Battlefields Commission chairwoman, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

Following today’s announcement of $8.2 million by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accompanied by Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, in the presence of Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume, the National Battlefields Commission will implement the works toward the year-round opening of Gilmour Hill. 

In light of this announcement, the Commission will complete the drawings and specifications for the year-round opening of this vehicular route of the park beginning in the fall of 2014; the feasibility studies have shown that the project is sustainable and that the negative impacts can be limited and remain at an acceptable level, provided the mitigation strategies described in the report are implemented. Moreover, the Commission will add a safe nature trail for pedestrians and cyclists in the cliff running alongside Gilmour Hill, this optimization should ensure the cohabitation of various users while maximizing their safety.

In January 2011, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) was authorized by the National Battlefields Commission to inquire into the technical, biophysical, economical and social challenges involved in the winter opening of Gilmour Hill, including geotechnical and traffic analyses, a topographic survey as well as a botanical and a sensitive environment inventory. The final report concludes that the axial highway rehabilitation is feasible by improving the safety of users while minimizing environmental impacts and preserving the landscape and commemorative integrity of the site. However, to achieve this major work will be required.

Considering the need to preserve the heritage and natural character of the park and improve user support services, the Commission was willing to agree to the winter opening of Gilmour Hill under the following conditions: there would not be any cost to the Commission; the project should be designed as a complete project intended for all users, respectful of practices; the historical integrity of the park should be preserved; and the new needs and realities of citizens should be taken into account.

According to Margaret F. Delisle, the National Battlefields Commission chairwoman, “The National Battlefields Commission was anxious for the Gilmour Hill project to benefit all types of users of the Plains of Abraham, not only the drivers. This is why the Commission chose to integrate a safe all-purpose nature trail into the cliff for pedestrians and cyclists, which will also be a valued link between the Samuel-de-Champlain and Québec City’s Upper Town.” This area of the park will then be highlighted for visitors, hikers and cycling enthusiasts, who can absorb the park’s history along the way via the interpretation panels. The analysis done by experts proposes an optimum layout to ensure the safety of users and minimize the impacts on the vegetation and the morphology of the cliff.

 

 

The actions contemplated in the Commission’s Sustainable Development Policy to reduce the impacts of the emission of greenhouse gas consist in offering infrastructures to encourage the use of bicycles, and in reviewing the traffic plan. The addition of a multi-purpose trail for pedestrians and cyclists is right on this target, and Québec City will implement the required measures to program traffic lights in order to avoid blocking traffic in the park and to increase fluidity. The sustainable development orientations will also be integrated to the project, such as paving recovery, re-use of curbs and street lamps, and reduction of tree cutting. Moreover, in summer as well as winter, the vehicular traffic on Gilmour Hill will now get to Grande Allée via Montcalm Avenue instead of passing in front of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec; this, to better preserve a highly animated area of the park for families and sportsmen and women.

When the issues surrounding the year-round opening of Gilmour hill were considered, it became clear that the Commission could not meet the expenses of the required financing package because the costs related to such a project (construction, rehabilitation, environmental mitigation, maintenance, snow removal, etc.) were too high. Today’s announcement shows that the Government of Canada is open and willing to contribute to the project and, in that sense, that it supports the Commission’s implementation by meeting the necessary expenses; it should be noted that Québec City had agreed to cover the costs of snow removal and maintenance related to the Gilmour Hill winter component.

Before Gilmour Hill is opened for winter traffic, major works will be required for the protection of the environment, the durability of infrastructures, user safety, and for compliance with the laws. It should be mentioned that the work will involve an archaeological watch for the duration of the operations. Access to the road will therefore be closed beginning next November 1st, and the road will be reopened in the fall of 2014, whereas the general public will have access to the trail in the fall of 2015. Considering the different stages of progress of the road and trail component, and for reasons of specialized expert assessments, there will be two separate job sites for the achievement of the overall project.

The Commission has authorized PWGSC for the Gilmour Hill rehabilitation (road and trail). The details of the implementation of the project, including the schedule and the terms and conditions, will be released according to the advancement of the file.

Press Release - Temporary closure Gilmour Hill (July 29, 2015)
Press Release - The Government of Canada will provide funding (August 2, 2013)
Data Sheet - (August 2, 2013)
Synthesis Report - (July 9, 2012, in French)
Plan - Redevelopment project of Gilmour Hill (in French)
Trail - Redevelopment project of Gilmour Hill (in French)

 

Development of Gilmour Hill, 1931
The National Battlefields Commission Archives