The Chateau de Ramezay, once the home of M. de Ramezay, a Governor of Montreal under the old French Regime, and later the residence of British Governors, stands in the lower part of Old Montreal. This fine old stone building, low and long, untouched, looking just as it did three centuries ago, has been spared by time.
Its iron palings guard it. All around it and behind it, broad open spaces surrond this real estate More space still is added by the open Jacques Cartier Square on one side of the chateau, with the Nelson Monument by which, in a sort of paradox of history, Jacques Cartier seems congratulating Lord Nelson on Trafalgar…
The chateau was built by Claude de Ramezay, a Governor of Monteral in 1703-1702. He came to Canada as a young officer in 1685. He seerved under the command of Iberville against the English in Hudson Bay and led a Montreal force in Quebec in 1690 to aid Governor Frontenac in his defense agains Phipps's vessels.
De Ramezay married and settled in Canada, and he beuil the chateau in 1705.
It is a common mistake to suppose that the estate was the home of the French Governors. Indeed, De Ramezay expected the King of France to buy it for the purpose, but this was never done.
The building became the storehouse of the French West India Company in the last years of the French REgime. It became Government House uinder the English regime, and remained so until Lord Metcalfe's occupancy. The building was used also by Benedict Arnols at the time of the American occupation of Montreal durign the invasion of Canada. It was the headquarters of Benjamin Franklin on his mission to Montreal.
After Lord Metcalfe the chateau was turned into offices, then into law courts, then into a normal school, then into offices again, and at last, in 1894, found a fitting repose as a museum.
To learn more about the history of Quebec, see the Web Site History of Quebec
Chateau Ramezay, photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Life in Montréal in the 18th Century is presented in the vaults of the Château Ramezay, where the solid, thick-walled structure dominates the space as it did 250 years ago. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Corriveau’s cage. The sentence handed down to Marie-Josephte Corriveau, called « to be hanged in chains », was an English custom originated in the Middle Ages and amply used in the 18th century. Its aim was to provide a macabre example of the power of justice. The cage was made of chains and iron hoops that held the body in place during the public display. It also kept anybody from stealing the corpse to bury it. The Legend: There is a thin line between reality and legend. We are told that one night a few hardy youths secretly took Marie-Josephte Corriveau’s cage and buried the corps outside the parish cemetery. Thus she had mysteriously disappeared. At night, one could hear the creaking of the cage’s steel hooks and the rattling of her bones. She was haunting the site of her torment. La Corriveau was born. She was to occupy a prominent place in the imagination of Quebecers. When her cage was discovered in the 1850s it was put on display from town to town where crowds gathered to see it. Then it disappeared again. A new mystery… The legend of La Corriveau inspired literature, theatre and cinema. Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Louis Fréchette, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu and André Théberge all transformed this simple murderess into a witch. Photo: © ProvinceQuebec.com
A beavear. At that time, the area occupied by Montréal houses was confined to what we now call Old Montréal. However, Montréal was a city at the crossroads of important trade routes. Photo: © ProvinceQuebec.com
Throughout the years, its history was influenced by the Native People, the French, the British, and the Americans. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Works of art. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Built in the 18th century under the French regime, the Château Ramezay is one of the few witnesses to that era accessible to visitors: come discover the ambiance of the enchanting vaults and observe day-to-day life in 18th century Montréal. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Hochelaga, Ville-Marie and Montréal invites you to discover the history of Montréal, Québec, and Canada from Amerindian prehistory to the early 20th century. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Throughout the exhibition, you will find unique artefacts, witnesses to the daily lives of the people who inhabited the region. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
As you travel through time, you will pass through the Salle de Nantes, an opulent room noted for its magnificent mahogany panels which date back to the 18th century. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
The Governor Ramezay. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Discover the evolution of the Château Ramezay with the brand new multimedia circuit. Claude de Ramezay, Gilles Hocquart, Benjamin Franklin and Lady Whitworth-Aylmer, among others, will tell all kinds of fascinating memories about this centuries-old building. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Post office, policemen, firemen in the XIXe century. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
From the first residence built for the governor of Montréal in 1705 until now, the Château has been the privileged witness of Montréal’s history. It lived through the changes of Old Montréal and played a role in significant events of our past. Come listen… the walls have stories to tell. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Os de mouton Armchair. 18th Century. Wood, upholstery. Anonymous donation. A very popular type of armchair in Quebec. A transitional piece leading from the Louis XIII to the Louis XIV style, in which scrolls replaced rectilinear forms. Having first seen this type of armchair in the manor house, habitants called it “fauteuil du seigneur” (Lord’s armchair). Rough imitation were quickly made for use in their own homes. Image: © ProvinceQuebec.com
Concordia Salus, Montreal's coat-armours. Image: © ProvinceQuebec.com
Map of New France. 1717. Printed paper, anonymous donation. From the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1608, the French ventured up the rivers into the interior of the continent. The colony’s expansion reached its apex in the early 18th century, spreading out from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Although protected by an important network of fortified posts, New France’s territory was sparsely populated; small settlements huddles close to the lower reaches of the St. Lawrence valley. Voyageurs could cover a distance of hundreds of kilometres without encountering any sign of the French presence. Image : © ProvinceQuebec.com
An ancient oven. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Bread is prepared in an ancien oven. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Sleeping and living room. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
French sabots. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Hall du museum. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Pair of old shoes. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Macdonalds-Stewart Fondation. The multimedia circuit is offered in six languages. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com
Works of art in the Hall of Nantes. Photo by © ProvinceQuebec.com