Maison Saint-Gabriel, museum and historic site, opened its doors in 1966. Located in Pointe-Saint-Charles, this magnificent 300-year-old building is one of the finest examples of the traditional architecture of New France. Purchased by Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1668 to house the King’s Wards, it lay at the heart of the agricultural and educational activities of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame for three centuries.
Two of the Maison Saint-Gabriel buildings, the barn and the stone house, were declared historic monuments in 1965. In 1992, Québec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications officially declared the site a historic site making it a privileged and unique location for raising awareness about Québec’s history and heritage, starting from the time of the French regime. Since 2007, Maison Saint-Gabriel has also been recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada.
How it all started
Marguerite Bourgeoys arrived in Ville-Marie in 1653. She had a clear vision of her mission in the small colony: to instruct and educate the children and the first arrivals, at no cost.
To do this, she founded a secular religious community, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. In 1662, she obtained a land concession in Pointe-Saint-Charles from De Maisonneuve. She expanded the site by purchasing land and a fieldstone house from her neighbour, François Le Ber. By building a veritable model farm, Marguerite Bourgeoys guaranteed the subsistence of her teaching colleagues. In 1671, King Louis XIV granted her letters patent and officially authorized the “establishment of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame on the Island of Montréal in New France”.