The Shrine gets a makeover to welcome you
Trois-Rivières, Friday, October 20, 2023 – Our Lady of the Cape launches phase 1 of its development and restoration project. In 2018, a development project for the Shrine was announced, at a cost of several tens of millions of dollars. Since then, the explosion in material costs brought about by the pandemic has forced an update of this project. The project had to be divided into phases to facilitate completion. In addition, the site’s crying need for infrastructure rehabilitation meant that this project had to include the restoration of various infrastructures.
The first phase of the Shrine development and restoration project will run from 2023 to 2026.
It mainly comprises the following two actions:
1) Construction of a reception building. It will be erected on the part of the parking lot closest to the gardens, opposite the Rue du Sanctuaire entrance. Construction will take place from autumn to late winter.
2) Restoration of the Basilica begins. Restoration work will begin on the masonry of the Basilica’s south facade, on the river side. For each front, although the central concrete structure is very solid, the brick and stone facings on the outside are damaged. Work on this front will begin this autumn, to be completed in 2024.
This first phase of the Basilica’s restoration also includes securing the stones and rebuilding the exterior staircases.
Various levels of government are involved in this project. Firstly, Canada Economic Development has granted $3 million for the entire first phase.
“Our contribution to Our Lady of the Cape Shrine project is proof of our commitment to supporting the region’s tourism industry – a vital sector of our economy. The Shrine is a world-class attraction and a real tourism driver for Trois-Rivières and the entire Mauricie region. That’s why we’re proud to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of its tourism offering,” says the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, MNA for Saint-Maurice-Champlain and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on behalf of the Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, MNA for Hochelaga, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for CED.
The Quebec government, for its part, has allocated $3 million to this phase of the project through the Ministry of Tourism, to enable the construction of the reception building at the site entrance, thus greatly improving visitor reception and orientation. In addition, the Ministère de la Culture, through the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec, is also contributing $700,000 for masonry work and repairs to the Basilica’s access staircases.
“It is with great pride that I see the project to modernize Our Lady of the Cape Shrine taking shape with the start of work on the new pavilion, which will adequately welcome the many visitors who converge there every year, as well as attracting a broader and more diversified clientele. I’m delighted that our government is promoting this major Mauricie attraction, a unique site conducive to rejuvenation, while ensuring the sustainability of its religious, cultural and social heritage,” said Sonia Lebel, Minister responsible for Government Administration, Chair of the Conseil du trésor and MNA for Champlain.
“The need for an adequate reception infrastructure is fundamental for the Our Lady of the Cape Shrine, as it will enhance the visitor experience, in particular by making the site more user-friendly. With a view to boosting tourism, this project will have interesting spin-offs for all industry players and local businesses. The Mauricie region shines thanks to projects like this,” adds Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour, Minister responsible for the Mauricie region and MNA for Trois-Rivières.
The City of Trois-Rivières is also a stakeholder in the project, with a 20-year commitment to enable this unique site to continue its progress. For this first phase, $360,000 per year will be added to the sums already mentioned. Mayor Jean Lamarche takes a very positive view of this development.
“Our Lady of the Cape Shrine is a place of welcome that transcends borders. It is one of the most visited religious sites in Canada, and we are truly proud that it is located in Trois-Rivières. The revitalization project announced today aims to restore and, above all, preserve this jewel. By providing financial support for this project, we hope to make a concrete contribution to preserving this sacred heritage, increasing the number of tourists and highlighting its cultural and heritage assets,” says Jean Lamarche, Mayor of Trois-Rivières.
Reforestation of the site is also underway. We had to cut down some 185 trees, mainly elms and ashes, which were too badly damaged by insect pests and certain fungi. So far, 145 trees have been planted, including 60 last week. The remainder will be planted in the summer of 2024. Increased surveillance and treatments are being applied to prevent and care for less-affected trees. A plan to revitalize the gardens has been drawn up and will be implemented in several stages. The Corporation du Our Lady of the Cape Shrine will complete the financing of this first phase to the tune of $2,000,000.
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For further information: Father Rémi Lepage