April 25, 2013 ─ Ville-Marie was Montréal’s name in 1663, the year that Marguerite Bourgeoys welcomed the first King’s Wards. The nun opened the doors of this charming farmhouse to young women who had just arrived from France, so they could adapt to the rigours of the new country before taking a husband.
A vestige of the first French colony, Maison Saint-Gabriel has long since left behind its vocation as a farm; today, it is both a museum and a recognized national historic site of Canada that offers an enriching year-round program of activities for all ages, including storytellers and musicians dressed in period costume. The permanent exhibition, From the Cellar to the Attic, provides a window onto life in New France during the 18th and 19th centuries through an authentic arrangement of heritage furniture and common household items of the time.
Lovers of original antique art and beautifully-illustrated books on history, gastronomy, horticulture or fine local products will delight in a stop in the museum’s boutique and tea room. Whether it be to unearth an original gift for the person who has everything or to indulge in an exclusive delicacy such as Les Métayères cheese, sucre à la crème (sugar cream, or traditional Quebecois fudge) by Soeur Madeleine, or a soothing cup of fragrant Le bouquet de la Métairie herbal tea, you will be overwhelmed – and sorely tempted! – by the incredible choice of items at your disposal. You may even sample a few treats in the museum tea room, a particularly delightful place in the summertime to enjoy a treat out on the patio.
But no visit would be complete without a visit to the garden, the barn and the three-hundred-year-old house to admire some traditional Quebecois architecture. Enjoy the journey as this centuries-old house whisks you back through history!