A working-class area and shipbuilding site since the early 1800s, up until a decade ago the Saint-Roch district of Quebec City was an industrial wasteland. Today, it’s the hippest district in the city that’s full of 19th-century factories-turned-nightlife hangouts, alternative stores, tech startups, and bistros. Even the 150-year-old Notre-Dame-de-Jacques-Cartier church has been given a second life as Espace Hypérion, a creative performance center.
Most of the action in Saint-Roch takes places on the main commercial street, rue Saint-Joseph, where hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into renovations over the past 10 years.
Spanning 15 square blocks, even the quarter’s new name is up-to-the-minute: the “Nouvo” in Nouvo Saint-Roch is text speak for “nouveau.” And in the east streets of Saint-Roch, on the pillars beneath the Dufferin-Montmorency expressway, look out for giant, colorful murals featuring everything from oversized church doors to chess boards.
Saint-Roch is a very walkable area, though a steep 1km walk downhill from the historic Upper Town. On rue Sainte-Claire, take the Ascenseur du Faubourg from Upper Town to make life a little easier on your legs.