Track 5: CANADA 150 – INDIGENOUS HERITAGE, DIVERSITY, and NEW DIRECTIONS / Volet 5: Canada 150 – Patrimoine autochtone, diversité et nouvelles orientations

Restoration of the Galets de Natashquan site

Saturday, October 14
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

The site, an island covered with 12 fishermen's warehouses, is located on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 1200 km from Ottawa. Previously, the site was the subject of a conservation plan, drawn up in 1990 by Émile Gilbert; this plan served as a basis for the work undertaken in 2010-2012.

The building of fishing warehouses right on the shore is not unique to Natashquan, and many examples have survived on the North Shore and in Labrador and Newfoundland. The fact that the local community recognizes this typology as part of its cultural identity justifies the granting of heritage status to the « Galets de Natashquan » as well as the safeguarding and restoration of the site.

The site had hardly been used for nearly 20 years and many of the buildings were in an advanced state of dilapidation. Certain shacks were more vulnerable to the elements, in particular to storms and high tides. In addition, the island is undergoing a build-up of silt and sand which has affected the foundations of some buildings, leading to the degradation of their structural frames.

Special care was given to architectural detailing; the twelve surviving shacks were not built at the same time, nor by the same families, and techniques and materials varied considerably from one to another. Replacement materials were fabricated in a local sawmill according to the original characteristics of each building.
The proposed presentation would be 7 minutes long, with a bilingual PowerPoint, presented by Émile Gilbert in French, with simultaneous translation in English and Spanish. The subjects addressed would be:

Learning Objectives:

Émile Gilbert, MOAQ, FIRAC, APTI

Senior architect

Émile Gilbert was born and practiced architecture in Québec City and Montreal, and also has worked in France, USA and Morocco.

He graduated from the School of Architecture at Laval University (1972) and founded his own firm in 1976. BGLA Architecture and Urban Design has offices in Québec City, Montreal and Sept-Iles, Canada. The firm has over 50 professionals working in institutional areas especially, and illustrated in several competitions and awards for excellence in architecture.

During this period, he has been regularly involved in conservation projects and development of historic sites including the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, the expansion of the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Villa Cataraqui in Québec, the Quebec Citadel. He also has worked on the rehabilitation of several historic sites and cultural spaces including the Meduse Centre for Arts in Quebec City, IMAX theatres in Detroit, Quebec City, Brossard and San Antonio, TX, and was in charge of the conservation of several historic lighthouses Gulf St. Lawrence.

Émile Gilbert is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (2003), member since 1990 of Action Heritage (Heritage Québec), and Special Advisor on architecture and conservation for many private, public and semi-public organizations.

In December 2016, he was awarded an official tribute from Quebec for his career as an architect and conservator.

He received the Medal of Citizenship from the Québec Government in 1991 and has won numerous awards during his career. For more information, visit the firm at

More recently, in April 2017, M. Gilbert participated in a conference in Quito (Ecuador), where he presented four conservation case studies from Quebec City (both Quito and Quebec City are world heritage cities from Unesco list).

Emile Gilbert is Member of APT Board since 2014, and co-chair of APT Quebec Chapter.

Émile Gilbert est né et a exercé l’architecture à Québec et Montréal, mais a œuvré aussi en France, aux États-Unis et au Maroc. Il est gradué de l'école d'architecture de l'Université Laval (1972), et a fondé sa propre firme en 1976, firme connue depuis sous le nom de BGLA architecture et design urbain, qui a des bureaux à Québec, Montréal, et Sept-Îles, au Canada, qui compte plus de 50 professionnels, œuvrant dans les domaines institutionnels surtout, et qui s'est illustrée lors de plusieurs concours et prix d'excellence en architecture.

Durant cette période, il s'est régulièrement impliqué dans les projets de conservation et de mise en valeur de sites historiques, dont Le Centre Culturel Canadien à Paris, l'agrandissement du Musée Henry Ford à Détroit, la Villa Cataraqui à Québec, la Citadelle de Québec, et a œuvré à la réhabilitation de plusieurs sites historiques et espaces culturels, dont le Centre Meduse à à Quebec, les salles IMAX a Détroit, Quebec, Brossard et San Antonio, Tx., et la sauvegarde de plusieurs phares historiques du Golfe Saint-Laurent.

Émile Gilbert est fellow de L'Institut Royal d'Architecture du Canada (2003), membre depuis 1990 d'Action Patrimoine (Héritage Quebec), et conseiller spécial en architecture et en conservation pour plusieurs organismes privés, publics et parapublics.

En décembre 2016, il a reçu un hommage officiel de Québec pour sa carrière comme architecte et comme conservateur en patrimoine bâti.

Il a reçu la médaille de civisme du Gouvernement du Québec en 1991, et s'est mérité de nombreux prix et mentions durant sa carrière. Pour plus d'informations, consulter le site de la firme, à

Récemment, en avril 2017, M. Gilbert a participé à une conférence sur le patrimoine à Quito, où il a présenté quatre études de cas pour des projets réalisés à Québec (Quito et Québec sont deux villes classées sur la liste des Villes du Patrimoine Mondial).

Emile Gilbert est membre du Conseil d’administration de l’APT depuis 2014, et co-président d’APT Québec.


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Tom Urbaniak, PhD

Tom Urbaniak, PhD, is the past chair of the National Trust for Canada’s board of governors. He has championed the Trust’s role as a high-profile, accessible, engaging organization, which links heritage to social justice, sustainability, reconciliation with Indigenous nations, and cultural diversity. He is a political scientist at Cape Breton University and also teaches in CBU's MBA program in Community Economic Development. Tom is the director of CBU’s Tompkins Institute. He is the author of four books, including Action, Accommodation, Accountability: Rules of Order for Canadian Organizations and Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga. He recently co-edited the book Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation, working with authors from across the country. Tom has spearheaded demonstration projects in affordable housing using vacant historic properties, helping to set up a revolving fund and the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership. Tom serves on the board of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. He is active in Nova Scotia's Polish community, and chairs the parish council of St. Mary’s Polish Church in the multicultural community of Whitney Pier, where he resides. He has been working with the community to rebuild the historic church following a devastating fire. Tom has served as a Canadian election observer in Ukraine. He is a past board member for Centre communautaire Etoile de l'Acadie.


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Restoration of the Galets de Natashquan site

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