Unlike many municipalities interested in revitalizing their shrinking downtown cores, the City of Dieppe had the opportunity to create its downtown from scratch. Between the 2006 and 2016 censuses, the population of Dieppe grew from 18,565 to 25,384 residents, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in eastern Canada in demographic terms.
Construction started in the downtown area in the early 2000s, with the new City Hall and Place 1604 its cornerstones. The year 2007 also marked the 10th anniversary of the Place 1604 opening.
Named in honour of Samuel de Champlain’s disembarkation in Acadia, Place 1604 is a public space in the centre of the downtown area. It brings the location to life with its vitality, its place in the urban fabric and its relationship to complementary buildings, like the City Hall, the Public Library, the Arts and Culture Centre and the Dieppe Market.
The people who use these public buildings are an important asset to the downtown area and help energize Place 1604.
Elected officials and the municipal government recognize the importance of programming at this location, including a wide range of year-round activities and events for all ages. Programming ensures the downtown area’s success and sustainability, while reinforcing a sense of belonging among Dieppe residents.
The designers of Place 1604 laid it out in accordance with urban design guidelines that foster compatible interaction between people, their daily tasks and their natural and built environments. These efforts invested a “sense of place” in the public space.
In terms of landscaping and urban furniture, all tree and shrub species as well as lampposts and ornamental furnishings were chosen with care to create a certain vertical rhythm emerging from the background. This rhythm sets off the central area without sacrificing its human scale.
As for the buildings surrounding the public square, special attention was paid to their lines, volumetrics and architectural treatments (which included patios) with concern to enhance urban life and social interaction.
The southern facade of Place 1604 is delineated by a street without buildings that allows for maximum sun exposure. This abundant sunlight enhances the quality of life in Place 1604, which in turn encourages more intensive use, especially in winter.