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 …
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!