The Observatoire de la Capitale offers a view of Quebec City like no other. Nestled at the top of a 31-story office skyscraper, Édifice Marie-Guyart (also known as Complexe G), this attraction features a 360 degree view of the entire city from its expansive windows. Not only is it the tallest building in Quebec City, but it is the tallest building east of Montreal in Canada! While regular office employees visit this building to go to work, visitors to Quebec can take the elevator to the top floor, 221 metres above the ground, to experience incredible views.
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Designed in the Brutalist style, this massive concrete structure was completed in 1972. It was actually quite difficult to take this photograph from directly beneath the building – I had to bend my body waaaay back to do so (it was either that or lay on the ground, which wasn’t exactly appealing to me). It might not be a super tall building compared to the ones in other major cities, but being at the top of the tallest building in Quebec City means that nothing will get in the way of your view.
Once you purchase your tickets at the front desk, you can proceed to the elevator. Make sure you get on the right elevator as they all don’t go up to the 31st floor. It is pretty obvious which elevator is the correct one – there’s a huge sign on it promoting the attraction! The elevator ride was really fast to the top.
When we got to the top, we were greeted by a lady who took our tickets and engaged in friendly conversation with us. She was always available to answer any questions that we may have had. It was refreshing to have such a warm welcome! We walked to the right and made our way around the four corners of the building, with each wall of windows offering a different viewpoint. Before each section, there was a short video to watch about Quebec’s history and how it fit into the larger cultural shifts in North America. I’m not sure that the history lesson was entirely necessary as most people were there for the view, plus it was a very generalized overview of historical events with a few small props here and there. I can understand that they wanted to add an educational component at the attraction.
Now, for the spectacular views of the city:
There was some technology at the Observatoire that we truly enjoyed and we felt was very useful. In front of all of the windows, there were small touch screens (they were either on iPads or something similar) with a 3D map on each. You could look out the window and easily spot the same buildings on the touch screen. From there, you could tap on any building and a screen would pop up displaying photographs of the site, detailed facts about what the building was used for, and where it was located. We loved this feature! We kept looking out the window and asking each other, “What’s that building there?” and we could easily answer our own questions by using the touchscreen. This really helped us to get to know the city better. Not only did we see different views of the places we had visited already, but we became familiar with new ones, too! It actually helped us to locate the Parliament Building, among other spots that we ended up visiting.
There were also some interesting chairs where you could watch an educational display. We found them to be quite comfy!
There was also a collection of Bonhomme Christmas ornaments from the iconic Quebec Winter Carnival. I somehow feel as though a display about the history of Quebec would not be complete without showing that delightful snowman!
We had a really great time appreciating the scenery of Quebec from up high and all around! We were also getting a little bit overheated from walking around all day, so this was a great escape from the heat as well. We visited mid-week during the afternoon in the summer at prime tourist season, and it was not busy at all! It might get busy here on the weekends, but you will have no problem enjoying the views quietly and peacefully on the weekdays.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and children 12 and under get in for free.
Observatoire de la Capitale
1037, rue de la Chevrotière, 31st floor
From February 1st to Mid-October open daily 10am-5pm
From mid-October to February 1st open 10am-5pm, closed Mondays
This blog post is part of the Sunday Traveler series. Please check out Chasing the Donkey’s article, Croatia Inspiration Photos, to link up this week!