Since the turn of the century, the historic core of the town of Percé, located at the eastern tip of the Gaspé region in Canada, has suffered the effects of climate change. Indeed, the gradual loss of the ice cover that once protected Anse-du-Sud Promenade has disappeared, leading to significant coastal erosion, causing irreversible damage to the concrete wall and promenade along the shore and threatening several historic buildings. In 2017, the provincial Government of Québec granted emergency assistance to proceed with shore protection works, including the Anse-du-Sud Promenade and the rehabilitation of the village’s historic core.
The landscape architects collaborated with the municipality, citizens and riparian owners throughout the design process, continuously adapting the plans and bringing improvements. The recently renamed Promenade de la Grave, therefore, respects the community’s values, landscape and culture, while succeeding as a sustainable coastal restoration and tourist infrastructure revitalization project.
The option of rebuilding a protective wall was quickly discarded. Efforts were rather put into an intensive beach recharge operation requiring over 9,300 truckloads of pebbles: an innovative, sustainable solution that enabled designers to recreate the coastal landscape once settled by Percé’s first inhabitants in the 17th century. Completed by the summer of 2018 at a cost $20 M, the nearly one-kilometer-long project required the displacement of the shoreline and the relocation of several buildings and public infrastructure.
The project connects the coastal landscape and the village’s historic core through a series of public spaces opening either towards the sea or the main street, such as Loups-Marins Park, Suzanne-Guité Plaza or Allée-des-Manigots. Indigenous plant species help stabilize the shore while enhancing the visitor experience.
An entire range of distinctive street furniture designed specifically for the promenade creates a dialogue between residents and visitors. Memory benches featuring quotes from famous visitors, historic interpretive panels, maritime-inspired signage, controlled lighting and mist blowers all highlight the exceptional landscape while paying tribute to Gaspesian traditions, culture and history.
Today, the site is highly valued as a gathering point for the region while serving as an example of proactive adaptation to climate change.
Promenade de la Grave
Urban design and Landscape architecture: AECOM
Jean-François Rolland, FCSLA
Alexandre Parent, CSLA
Serge Poitras, FCSLA
Aline Gravel, CSLA (landscape architecture)
Engineering and Project Management: TetraTech
Architecture: Vachon Roy Architectes
Image credits: AECOM