Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, having been settled by French immigrants in 1534. The native peoples, fur traders, soldiers and settlers have all had an impact on this city during the past 475 years making it one of the best destinations in the province of Quebec to explore the history of the region and the country. All of these are represented in the many historic sites that you can visit when you choose Montreal, Quebec as your next travel destination.
Canadian Centre for Architecture
This center was established in 1977 in the downtown core of the city to increase the public’s knowledge of the history of architecture in Canada and the role that it played in shaping Canadian society. Photo taking is not permitted inside the facility and backpacks have to be checked at the door. The permanent exhibitions include Speed Limits, which takes a look at the role of speed in the urban development and modern architecture and Total Environments, which displays architectural styles in Montreal during the decade between 1965 and 1975. There is a vast collection of photographs from the past and a selection of books on architecture in the bookstore.
Chateau Ramsey Museum
Located in the older part of the city, the Chateau Ramsey Museum gives you a chance to step backward in time to explore the history of the city and the province. Permanent exhibits include Hochelaga, Ville-Marie and Montreal, which will take you through the history of the city from the First Nations peoples who called it Hochelaga, to the French settlers and the establishment of the first hospital in Canada to the present-day sprawling metropolis that is Montreal. Learn what it was like to live in this city in the 18th century in another of the permanent exhibits.
You will have a true horticultural experience in the variety of gardens where you can stroll amidst blooming colors and fragrances that scent the air. Here you can relax in the peace and quiet of the gardens or take part in an educational program to learn more about the gardens of the early inhabitants of New France. There are activities for the children as well as the adults making this museum a venue for every member of the family.
Chateau Dufresne Museum
Take a look at the cemeteries of Quebec when you visit the Chateau Dufresne Museum. Learn about Quebec’s funeral heritage from the founding of new France to the present day. You may think that this is a macabre theme for a museum, but the vast collection is a virtual treasure trove of historical artifacts.
The Holocaust Commemorative Museum
Learn from the past is the theme of the Holocaust Commemorative Museum in the heart of Montreal. Here you will hear stories of survivors, see the artifacts that have been donated to the museum. Montreal has the third largest population of Holocaust survivors in the world and is dedicated to making their lives known to the public. There are three types of museum passes available so that you can try to see everything the museum offers in one day or you can spread your visit out over three days.
The Lachine Canal is one of Canada’s National Historic Sites in Montreal. It was started during the days of New France and tens of thousands of ships passed through this canal before it was closed in the early 1970’s. There are exhibitions in the museum as well as outdoor activities that include an outing on the canal itself. You can tour the canal by boat and even engage in the thrilling activity of going down the rapids amidst the breathtaking views along the St. Lawrence River.
Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum
Marguerite Bourgeoys played a significant role in the history of Montreal back in the days when it was known as Ville-Marie. The site on which the chapel and museum are built was once a camp site of the native peoples and offers one of the best views of the city. You can step back in time to learn about this lady and her accomplishments, view the many artifcats that have been uncovered at the site and see the furnishings that would have been in the homes of the first settlers. This is an exciting day trip for all – young as well as old.
With this small sampling of what Montreal has to offer in the way of historic sites, you will see that there is a lot of history in this city. Come explore the sites and learn about the people who made Canada what it is today.