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New Quebec park offers cruise ship passengers a greener, grander welcome

New Quebec park offers cruise ship passengers a greener, grander welcome
Quebec's new Place des Canotiers (Boaters Park) has views of the skyline, cruise ships and Hotel Chateau Frontenac. (Port of Quebec)

Some people describe the French-Canadian city of Quebec as "France without the attitude." Others laud it for its scenery and excellent cuisine.

All those attributes contribute to its popularity with cruise passengers, especially during the prime fall color cruise season, when it is a highlight of Canada-New England cruise itineraries.

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Now the city and port of Quebec are working hard to improve the first impression it offers cruise passengers.

Last week, port officials dedicated a $30-million new park, created from an old parking lot, that will greet arriving passengers. In addition, the city plans other waterfront enhancements, including a promenade.

The park, called Place des Canotiers (Boaters Park), is in Old Quebec between Rue Dalhousie and the St. Lawrence River. It is one of the largest public spaces in the city and includes green spaces, benches, an art installation, restrooms and a bike path.

Designed to highlight Quebec's maritime history, it also offers an observation deck with views of the city skyline, cruise ships and historic Hotel Chateau Frontenac.

Quebec Mayor Regis Labeaume said local residents disliked offering visitors a parking lot to look at when they arrive, preferring that they see a garden instead.

More than 150,000 cruise passengers visit Quebec annually, on 122 ships, with the majority arriving during the fall season. A 30% increase in passengers is predicted for 2017.

The city of Quebec plans on expanding the waterfront promenade for about 15 miles, starting from the Quebec Bridge. In addition, the Port of Quebec is expanding its facilities to accommodate larger ships and a new dock, across the river in Levis, as was announced recently.

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