Video Transcript: Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury
Start of video.
(Text on screen: Restore)
(Archived images of the Armoury fire)
(Jean-Benoit Saint-Laurent speaks.)
(Text on screen: Jean-Benoit Saint-Laurent, architect and manager of Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Heritage Conservation Program)
When I first heard that the Armoury was on fire I was home watching the news. I came to see the impact the fire was having on the heritage site. It’s impressive to see what kind of devastation a fire like that can cause.
(Jonathan Chouinard speaks.)
(Archival footage of the Voltigeurs and military firefighters during the fire)
I was nearby at Château Laurier and, like my fellow Voltigeurs, I watched, helpless, as the firefighters beat back the fire as best they could.
(Text on screen: Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Chouinard, former Commanding Officer of the Voltigeurs de Québec)
The regiment is not the building. The regiment continues to operate regardless of conditions, regardless of where they are. We do, however, have a symbol: our colours, our bugles and drums.
(Image of a painting of the Voltigeurs on a mission)
(Jonathan Chouinard shows a woman the regiment’s bugles and drums.)
(Archived images of the day after the fire; members of the regiment are on site)
A small team supported by firefighters managed to enter the building, climb up to the third floor, break the glass and rescue the symbol of our regiment before the building collapsed.
(The Armoury in 1887)
(Text on screen: Built in 1887)
The Armoury was built in 1887 by architect Eugène-Étienne Taché. Canada’s first building constructed in the château style, the Armoury was commissioned by the Government of Canada to house the first official French reserve regiment in Canada.
(The Armoury shortly before the fire)
(Archived image of the Voltigeurs)
Heritage conservation is important in any civilization. We are too quick to want to eliminate all traces of the past and replace them with something more modern, but when we can, we need to ensure the survival of our history and not just our buildings.
(Overview of an architect’s drawing of the Armoury’s facade)
(Digital image of the foyer of the Armoury)
Working on the Armoury project is probably the greatest challenge we have ever faced, in any case, it was for me. It was a complex project.
(Series of images showing the ravaged Armoury: aerial view, facade, interior, debris on the ground, roof)
We participated in the investigations and inspections with the firefighters at the Department of National Defence to determine the source of the fire. Then we began conserving the elements recovered from the debris, everything from bricks and stones to burnt pieces of wood, to see whether we could recover any of them or use them to rebuild. The copper parts of the roof were all recovered, so, while the inspection was going on, we conserved the architectural elements found on the ground.
(Series of images of the Armoury after it was restored: interior, facade)
(Jean-Benoit talks to a woman inside the Armoury.)
We reconstructed the architectural elements, including the ridge crown, the roof, the machicolation, the corbels, the ventilation and the windows to be able to maintain the heritage value associated with the château style.
(Stéphan Langevin speaks.)
(Text on screen: Stéphan Langevin, main architect and designer, STGM architects (A49-DFS-STGM))
(The Armoury in flames)
It was a shock to see the images of the fire on television, to see one of Quebec City’s major monuments go up in smoke.
(Stéphan discusses drawings with a colleague.)
Architecture 49, DFS and our firm joined forces to get the contract. We complement each other in terms of expertise, in particular with respect to heritage buildings.
(Stéphan and three colleagues talk in front of a screen showing a drawing of the Armoury.)
(The Armoury under construction)
(The Armoury’s new modern service room)
(The Armoury’s new multipurpose room)
The first challenge was how we were going to equip the compound with all of the modern amenities it needed to be both functional and comfortable, while maintaining its historical spirit.
(Stéphan enters the multipurpose room from the weapons room and crosses to the other side.)
(The ceiling of the multipurpose room)
(Digital image of a banquet)
From the start, we knew that we were making a multipurpose room. That requires extensive work and study in terms of design, acoustics and lighting. We were able to deal with all of these aspects the right way because the client allowed us to. PSPC had the genius and open-mindedness to let us go the distance. That allowed us to deliver the project in its current form.
(Stéphan walks with a woman on a catwalk above the multipurpose room.)
One of the things I am most proud of at the Armoury is that it is now open to the public. Today, in addition to being a public monument, the Armoury is a gateway to the Plains of Abraham. We succeeded in giving the people back more than an image; we have given them a place where they can gather.
(Series of digital images of the finished Armoury: the foyer, the Commemorative Hall and the catwalk to the Plains of Abraham)
(Aerial photo of the Plains of Abraham)
(Image of the modern facade at the rear)
(Jonathan Chouinard speaks.)
(Two images showing old Voltigeurs uniforms on display)
By reconstructing the building, by respecting its heritage value, I think that we are also respecting our military history, the history of our regiments and the history of the people who served our country.
(Jean-Benoit walks in front of the Armoury.)
(Jean-Benoit touches the stones of the facade.)
(Image of the roof)
(Image of the restored facade)
When I’m outside the building, when I look at the building now, I think that we were able to respond to Eugène-Étienne Taché’s original design and say, “Wow, we’re conserving your building.” We honoured him by restoring the elements he thought up in 1885.
(Text on screen: Public Services and Procurement Canada would like to acknowledge the contributions of STGM Architectes, DFS, Architecture 49, Pomerleau and Voltigeurs de Québec, as well as everyone else who contributed to the completion of this project.)
(Public Services and Procurement Canada Wordmark)
End of video