Old Québec is, not surprisingly, known for its old architecture. 411 years of existence have left us numerous varieties of vintage buildings that make a stroll through the streets a passage into the past. In fact, much of the Old City’s architecture was chosen in order to make the city look older than it was: the Québec Parliament building reminds us of Renaissance Paris, the Frontenac takes us back to the golden age of the Loire Valley chateaux, and the city gates along the western wall are downright medieval. Through architecture, traveling back in time is quite possible in Québec City.
But one salient building of the Old City was designed to do the opposite. Constructed in the first months of the Great Depression, the Price Building was built as a testament to innovation and the future; its Art Deco style was at the height of its popularity, hearkening back to no by-gone period. Instead, all looked forward and all look up in this 16-storey, New York-style gratte-ciel. Even the Indian-chief bas-reliefs on the front facade, a heavy-handed paean to the North American past, seem to look forward with determination toward a new era of appreciation for First Nations people. As the limestone cladding of the Price Building soared toward the sky in the early 1930s, it must have felt like modernity itself had arrived in Old Québec.
Today, the Price Building is one of the best-liked buildings in town. It is especially beautiful at night; the top floors are glowing green and gold. On cold winter nights, that glow offers warmth and welcome to pedestrians throughout the city.