Press-Republican

Black

December 16, 2011

Henri's dream and the freeway

Every day, tens of thousands of motorists in Quebec City take the "Henri IV."

That's the major autoroute (freeway) that starts from the bridges spanning the St. Lawrence River then cuts northward across the city some 10 miles and ends at the gates to the sprawling Canadian Forces Garrison Valcartier.

Quebecers perhaps being more up on their history than other North Americans, many of those motorists might know a bit about this Henri IV. The basics are that Henri was the king of France who made it possible for Samuel de Champlain to establish la nouvelle France and open up North America to European exploration and settlement.

Chances are people would have continued to give Henri IV scant notice were it not for the recent controversy over a proposal to rename Autoroute Henri IV.

Suddenly, 401 years after he died — assassinated by a religious fanatic, as was the fashion back then — this remarkable king, the last Henri and the first Bourbon, is back in the spotlight.

A member of Quebec's National Assembly, Gerard Deltell, has been lobbying since 2009 for the Henri IV to be changed to the Autoroute de la Bravoure (Freeway of Bravery) as a tribute to the soldiers from the Valcartier garrison who risked or sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan. The garrison happens to be in Deltell's constituency.

The renamed highway would be the Quebec equivalent of a stretch of the largest freeway in Ontario, which leads to a major army base. Crowds would gather on overpasses when a convoy passed transporting the patriated bodies of soldiers who died back in Afghanistan.

In 2007, the Ontario government designated the section of the freeway the Highway of Heroes, although the artery in its entirety is still called the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway.

Deltell says the Autoroute de la Bravoure would be a constant and perpetual reminder to motorists of the price paid by Canada's military in the cause of freedom.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Black
  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Trench warfare in Quebec elections

    I've seen many a Quebec election in my day (I'll skip the "by cracky"), writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Dr. Phil's election prescription Philippe Couillard is a brain surgeon, not a psychiatrist, so his expertise is not necessarily understanding the collective mind of Quebecers, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Party's charter flight to majority

    It's not surprising the political maneuvering in recent weeks in Quebec City has been dubbed the "winter games," writes Canadian columnist Peter Black

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Joe Ryan's mountain vision

    Eventually someone surely would have taken the initiative to turn what the Algonquins called Manitonga Soutana and the locals called Mont Tremblant into a popular outdoor recreational destination, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Montreal's Genie on the courts

    In a land where raquettes de neige (snowshoes) are more popular than raquets (tennis), a young Canadian with classic California surfer girl looks is turning heads on the court.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Columnist's Canada in 1954

    I will depart from my usual discreet journalistic anonymity just this once and offer a few personal reflections on my life as a Canadian, writes columnist Peter Black.

    January 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Prime minister's hockey history

    By my count, President Barack Obama has written three books under his own pen, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Quebec City displays Holy Door

    It's the first and only such thing in North America: a Holy Door, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 13, 2013 1 Photo