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culture, de l'organisation, des forêts en quinconce, des champs rectan-
gulaires et bien alignés.' (12; Utopia is the domain of culture, of organi-
zation, of forests in staggered rows, of rectangular, well-aligned fields.)
For Bureau, it is the interplay of these two myths that shapes the percep-
tion and organization of space in Quebec, beginning in the Renaissance
with the 'utopian' vision of Cartier and Champlain.
Cartier: The French Vision
Jacques Cartier, the first European to explore the interior of Canada,
may also be considered legitimately as the first to have 'painted' it. His
frequent, detailed descriptions are invariably accompanied by hyper-
bolic assessments of the aesthetic 'beauty' of the landscape, as Michel
Bideaux notes (74). Furthermore, Cartier sees and describes persistent
characteristics of the landscape, which combine to define its beauty,
leading Bideaux to conclude that 'pour le découvreur, un beau pays est
donc une terre plane, couverte de hautes forêts bordées de prairies na-
turelles. N'est-ce pas là, avec en plus l'exubérance et la virginité d'un
continent nouveau, le pays même de Cartier dans l'ouest de la France?'
(75; for the discoverer, beautiful land is thus land that is flat, covered in
lofty forests bordered by natural meadows. Isn't that, along with the
exuberance and virginity of a new continent, the land of Cartier himself
in western France?)
More than a mere memory of Cartier's homeland, however, the land-
scape descriptions reveal a consistent set of embedded ideological val-
ues, on one level seemingly aesthetic, but on a more profound level,
ultimately utilitarian and highly 'utopian.'
During his first voyage of 1534, Cartier primarily explored the coast
surrounding the gulf of the Saint Lawrence River. As an example of his
assessment of the landscape, consider his description (from his ship-
board viewpoint in the Baie des Chaleurs) of the coastline to the south
(now New Brunswick) and to the north (now the Gaspé Peninsula re-
gion of Quebec):
Et la terre vers le sud de ladite baie est aussi belle et bonne terre, laboura-
ble et pleine d'aussi belles campagnes et prairies que nous ayons vues, et
unie comme un étang. Et celle vers le nord est une terre haute à monta-
gnes, toute pleine d'arbres de haute futaie, de plusieurs sortes; et entre
autres, il y a plusieurs cèdres et sapins, aussi beaux qu'il soit possible de
voir, pour faire des mâts, suffisants pour mâter des navires de trois cents
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