The Gardens at the National Assembly of Quebec

Let us now move from southern California to Quebec, at the opposite end of North America. You may recall that Judy and I were in Quebec in late summer, and we spent a couple of days in Quebec City, where we visited the gardens of the National Assembly building.


As you may recall from an earlier post, I have set myself a goal of visiting all 50 US state legislatures and all 11 Canadian provincial parliaments. This is only the second provincial parliament I’ve seen (the other one was British Columbia), but I prefer to say that on this day I doubled the number of provincial parliaments on my “done” list.

The Quebec Parliament building was completed in 1886. It was built in a style that originated in France in the late 19th century, and to me it did seem reminiscent of French government buildings we saw during our two trips to that country.

When we arrived we noticed a display honoring the 10th anniversary of the Fleurons du Quebec. If I can trust google translate, this is a project to improve municipal gardens throughout the province.


To one side of the National Assembly, there is a woodland garden featuring native trees and a mix of annuals and perennials.


There are lots of annuals in the mixed borders directly in front of the building. I always like Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) spilling over edges.


Tall Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) seems to grow happily here.


To one side there is a large kitchen garden, which produces food for the Assembly cafeteria. We saw the chef tending her vegetables and herbs, but didn’t take a picture.

I like the idea of a big vegetable garden in the front yard of such a formal edifice. There’s also a beehive kept on the roof.


Very nice arbor of live willow stems.


Fountains splash between two rows of steps leading up to the Assembly building.


They really like that red Amaranthus.


The facade of the building has more statues than you can shake a stick at. There are soldiers …


Missionaries …


And explorers. Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet (the calmer one to the right) got around the USA’s Upper Midwest as well as Canada, as evidenced by all the place names in their honor.


There were also a couple of statues devoted to the First Nations. These, however, are anonymous.


We had to see the inside of the National Assembly, so we took a tour.


This is the actual legislative chamber.


This used to be the chamber of the upper house, but since 1968 Quebec has had a unicameral parliament. These chambers are now used for public hearings and ceremonial occasions.


After all the heroic poses struck by the statues on the parliament building’s facade, this fellow seemed much more like someone you could sit down and have a beer or cup of coffee with. I believe this is Robert Bourassa, who was provincial premier in the 1970s. He looks friendly, but actually I know nothing about him.


Outside the National Assembly again, we noticed the rather ornate fountain that stood between the parliament and the entrance to the old city.


Is there really a species of frog somewhere that spits out prodigious streams of water like this?


Not sure who this is, no doubt someone from classical mythology.

All in all, I would give high marks to the gardens at the Quebec National Assembly, at least in comparison to landscapes I’ve seen attached to comparable legislative buildings elsewhere. These are often little more than lawns and a few small beds of common annuals here and there, so admittedly it’s a low bar.

I would have been happier with less lawn and more perennials, but I thought the Quebec parliament gardens had an interesting mix of plants even so. The kitchen garden was also a really nice touch. Très bien!


40 Comments on “The Gardens at the National Assembly of Quebec”

  1. Having lived several years in Québec City, I was quite pleased to see this garden. It must be relatively new as there was only lawns around the buildings when I lived there. I will have to make an effort to see it. The first nation sculpture is by a Canadian sculptor who was very well-known, Louis-Philippe Hébert (chevalier of the French Légion d’honneur, Companion of St Michael and St George (Great Britain) etc.)

  2. Hello Jason, there’s a lot of effort put into those gardens! I really like the large ornate fountain too. The frogs give it a comical touch. I always joke that where there are large numbers of a single type of plan (like the Amaranthus), there was a fire sale at the local Garden Centre and they were all snapped up. It could be that they’re just suited to the climate and low maintenance, who knows?

  3. IT’S ALL GONE! I was there mid-May 2016 and the whole front was leveled, even half the curved stairway! There is a great big hole there now and a construction fence all around it. What are they building, a basement?

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