Maison Saint-Gabriel is a museum in Montreal dedicated to showing history that presents and explains the many aspects of rural life in Quebec and specifically, the residences various guests. Visitors can expect to see the role Marguerite Bourgeoys played in the King’s Wards work, along with how she developed the farm of Pointe-Saint Charles.
Guests will commune with the spirit of those that came before them, building the countryside and establishing their values. Those interested in heritage, history, and culture will get a glimpse into the traditional rural life of seventeenth to nineteenth century Quebec, and its social and religious heritage.
In 1966, the Maison Saint-Gabriel museum and the historical site opened to the public. Residing in Pointe-Stain-Charles, in what was once a part of New France, this three-century-old establishment is an exceptional example of the traditional architecture of its time. The Main Saint-Gabriel was purchased in 1668 by Marguerite Bourgeoys to house the King’s Wards. This building, of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, was the heart of educational and agricultural activities for three hundred years.
Sitting near to the Maison Saint-Gabriel, two of its buildings, the stone house, and the barn, were given the title of historical monuments in 1965. In 1992, to raise awareness about Quebec’s history, heritage, and culture beginning from the French regime era, the province’s minister announced the site would be given historic status. This proclamation gave the museum a unique and privileged rank. In 2007, Maison Saint-Gabriel became a National Historic Site of Canada.
When Marguerite Bourgeoys came to the Ville-Marie, she had a definite goal and mission in mind. She wanted to establish a small colony that would provide instruction and education to the children in the surrounding area at no cost.
To accomplish her vision, she established the Congregation de Notre-Dame, a secular religious community. De Maisonneuve granted her a land concession in Pointe-Saint Charles in 1662. She purchased a fieldstone house and the land on which it stood from her neighbor, Francois Le Ber, allowing for site expansion.
Marguerite Bourgeoys established a model farm on the land and in 1671, King Louis XIV sent letters to her officially authorizing the site as an “establishment of the Congregation de Notre-Dame on the Island of Montreal in New France.”
Exhibits and Collections
Visit the Maison Saint-Gabriel and see various collections and objects from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Ranging from clothing to paintings, to furniture and domestic objects, there will be no shortage of unique and exciting things to see.
From the Cellar to the Attic
This display features many everyday objects from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These items include handmade furniture, paintings, sculptures, embroidery, and other antiques. Visitors will see these objects arranged in a manner that they will appear as if they were recently used.
The arts exhibit depicts living in a rural countryside with a challenging climate, isolated and surrounded by wild forests. These works include crafts, paintings, silverware, sculptures, and interior decorations.
Clothing in New France at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries served as both decoration and protection. Protection was of the utmost importance, as the clothing of the time had to endure the challenging weather conditions like heat, rain, and cold.
Humans by their very nature are beings which like to communicate. Communication devices over the centuries have been an attempt to improve the environment of humans. In this display, visitors will see stereograms, books, postcards, and other sound related objects.
During the New France era, the interior of the home felt incomplete if it did not consist of domestic objects. These objects included methods for heating and preparing food, lighting, or basic housekeeping items. Many of these objects could be found in homes throughout New France and were not familiar to only a specific class. Peasants, middle class, and noblemen were all likely to have domestic objects within their homes.
Residences of the area attempted to recreate the lives they knew in France by building furniture inspired by the styles they were accustomed to. They also made furniture that would stand up well to the climate in which they lived, using nearby materials. Over time they filled their houses with chests, dressers, tables, chairs, stools, hutches, and various other items.
Guests of the Maison Saint-Gabriel will discover the option to visit a gift shop with gifts for all occasions, or sit down in the Tea Room and relax while having a cup of tea.
Outfitted in modern décor, the gift shop provides guests the chance to purchase original and unique items that connect with the history and rural life which the museum depicts. Products include traditional toys, books specializing in history, and Amerindian items.
The Tea Room
Sit down for a cup of tea on an outdoor terrace adjacent to the gift shop. The Tea Room offers a means to sample different herbal teas while also tasting a seasoned cake. Nearby, a real bread oven makes exquisite bread, which can be consumed with tea or purchased as a gift.
Maison Saint-Gabriel 2146, Place Dublin, Pointe-Saint-Charles Montreal, Quebec H3K 2A2, Phone: 514-935-8136