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The gardens

Maison Saint-Gabriel is one of the few rare farms in Canada that belonged to a single entity, namely the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, for almost 300 years. Today, through its collection and its interpretation, it brings rural life of the 17th century back to life. The gardens and the vegetable patch are living and complementary aspects of this.

Guided tours of the Farmhouse garden
Tuesday through Sunday

In French: 11:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
In English: 1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


Photo: Maude Laferrière

The Sharecroppers’ garden

To access the Catherine-Crolo pavilion, the visitor takes the Sharecroppers’ path and walks through the magnificent Sharecroppers’ garden.

This garden reflects the evolution of the farm’s landscape over the centuries, from the initial wooded area to the market garden field. From the entrance of the Catherine-Crolo pavilion, you walk through:

  • the market garden field (20th century).
  • the grain field (18th and 19th centuries)
  • the deserted (recently cleared) area (17th century)
  • the wooded area (17th century)
The Sharecroppers’ path

Walking down the Sharecroppers’ path is like taking a stroll through time. The names of the women who, over the centuries, supervised the farm of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame are engraved on the tiles that cover the path. The Pointe-Saint-Charles farm was a sharecropping farm, operated by the sharecroppers, the farming sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, who gave the fruits and harvests to their community. From 1668 to 1955, 86 women took turns, one by one, managing the Farm. The Sharecroppers’ path honours them.


Photo: Albert Mondor

Passenger pigeons...

Passenger pigeons (ectopistes migratorius) were once very numerous in the St. Lawrence River Valley and the farmers detested them. When they landed in large flocks on the grain fields, they caused a considerable amount of damage. They were hunted mercilessly and… eaten in tourtières (from the French name for this bird – “tourte”). This species has disappeared today. Hunting, the destruction of its natural habitat and the transformation of its environment are the main causes.


The Jardin des origines Inauguration on Monday, June 5, 2017

This bequest is an addition to the gardens inspired by New France that are found on the site of Maison Saint-Gabriel, a living aspect of the history proposed by the museum.

The Jardin des origines recalls the contribution made by First Nations women and makes visitors aware of the importance of their heritage. Filled with indigenous plants, this garden testifies to the meeting of the French and Aboriginal cultures and the horticultural and medicinal knowledge of the First Nations women.

Visitors are invited to explore this harbour of peace through a mobile application through which they can take in the richness of the history evoked by this unique site. Filled with fascinating symbols, this garden transports us into a world of beliefs, traditions and astonishing knowledge.


Photos: Pierre Guzzo
Sanguinaire du Canada
Sanguinaire du Canada

The Great turtle, considered by many Aboriginal nations as a spiritual guide, loans its shape to the garden and the pergola. The four feet stretch out into the paths that lead to the zones dedicated to the three sisters, berry picking, the undergrowth and medicinal plants

The four zones of the garden

  • The Three sisters: corn, beans and squash need one another to grow without fertilizers, labour or pesticides. Used by First Nations women, this method of planting is both clever and efficient.
  • Picking berries, a seasonal activity handled by women, is also essential to the traditional way of life of the First Nations people and that of the first settlers. The strawberry was the most present; it was considered magical and filled with the power of creation.
  • The undergrowth, a dark, cool and humid landscape, was a place where the First Nations women who were able to walk for several days went frequently, accompanied by their children, to find the plants that were most sought after.
  • The Medicinal plants zone honours the knowledge of the First Nations women, experienced herbalists who understood the healing properties of plants, a knowledge that was vital for survival.

The palisade, which surrounds the garden, stands as a witness to a period when impressive wooden fences were erected around Iroquoian villages to protect the long houses from strong winds.

The four zones of the garden – Click on a zone to learn more.

Jardin des origines The Three sisters Medicinal plants Undergrowth Picking

The Jardin des origines was developed with financial support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Québec and the Ville de Montréal to mark the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montréal, with the cooperation of the Jardin botanique de Montréal and the Abénakis of Odanak.


The Farmhouse garden

In 2001, the Farmhouse garden was recreated in the spirit of New France. It provides an image of the settlers of that time, torn between their new country and European tradition. Although it generally preserves a typically French tradition, it also reflects a personality of its own in the choice of the species grown there and in the manner in which it fit into daily life in this new land that would become Canada.

The vegetable garden is enclosed by hedges and wooden edging and the plants are grown there in six orderly squares, each covering an area of 450 square feet. At the entrance to the vegetable garden, the scents of flowers and herbs fill this hidden corner. The same fruit trees, the same flowers and the same vegetables mentioned by Pierre Boucher are grown there, taking into account the fact of hybridization and the disappearance of species. The most popular vegetables during the time of New France dominate the garden and are grown there in orderly rows: turnips and rutabagas, cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke, salsify, carrots and beets, beans, onions and leeks. Rows of flowers – garden marigolds, marigolds, nasturtium – separate the rows of vegetables. Decorative flowers add a rainbow of colour to the garden: orange daylilies, beebalm, poppies, musk mallow, roses, pansies, dames-rocket, English daisies, yarrow, hollyhock, bellflowers.


3 photos: Pierre Guzzo
jardin des Métayères
jardin des Métayères

A magnificent border of aromatic, scented and medicinal plants decorates the entrance to the garden: thyme, lovage, lavender, coriander, green mint, sage, chamomile, chives, chervil; rustic rosebushes standing eight to ten feet tall form a wall to protect the garden. In the aromatic corner, several species of thyme, with different colours and scents, are presented for visitors.

At the back of the garden, there is a gazebo made of weathered wood and surrounded by vines and scarlet beebalm; it can shelter more than 30 visitors and is used during guided tours of the gardens.

The Farmhouse garden is one of the rare examples of a farm garden, located in an urban setting, that has been recreated in the style of New France. It is an oasis of peace and beauty for the eyes and the heart.

Guided tours are offered during the months of July and August, along with concerts and samples. Lectures about the history of gardens are presented every Sunday during the summer.

Guided tours of the Farmhouse garden
In French: 11:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
In English: 1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


Photos: Pierre Guzzo

The glade and the poetry path

In May 2007, a glade was created with indigenous plants and shrubs typical of the St. Lawrence plain, such as bog rosemary. black crowberry, snowberry, Canada yew, alpine current, Canadian elder, withrod, and the highbush cranberry.

A poetry path has also been created. A veritable ode to the beauty of nature. it highlights Canadian poets.

Le sous-bois et le sentier de poésie
3 photos: Maude Laferrière
Le sous-bois et le sentier de poésie
Le sous-bois et le sentier de poésie

An arboreal circuit

Trees and time
Several of the trees found on the Maison Saint-Gabriel historical site are more than 100 years old. Some were planted carefully, while others grew from a seed carried here by the wind. They can be classified into approximately 20 species. Discover them with a touch of history in this document, which you can download as a pdf file. Use it when you visit the museum!

jardin des Métayères
3 photos: Pierre Guzzo
jardin des Métayères


3 photos: Maude Laferrière
La passion des graminées
La passion des graminées