Sail the High Seas at Pointe-à-Callière

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by .

Pirates et Corsaires, musée Pointe à Callière

Travel back in time and live the swashbuckling, adventurous life of pirates and sailors of New France at Pointe-à-Callière Museum’s Pirates or Privateers?, a hands-on exhibition for families and kids 6 to 12 years old…

The archaeology and history museum’s newest addition to its permanent collection, Pirates or Privateers?, not only recreates the massive merchant ship Corsair: The Iberville, but adds multimedia sound and image that brings to life the time of the Franco-British war – the late 17th to early 18th century – when the waterways around Montreal were still controlled by the King of France.


Climb about the 65-foot ship to explore and take on the role of a privateer – New France sailors who were given permission to attack enemy ships in times of war – or a pirate – dangerous criminals of the high seas who invaded ships and stole their cargo, sometimes even attacking towns along trade routes. Historical Montreal-based privateer, ship’s captain Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville, leads young visitors through battle and rough waters, testing intellect and physical skill along the way.

Along with embarking in battle and sailing through stormy weather, explore what everyday life was like aboard a merchant ship as it traveled up the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, along the Atlantic coast, and to Newfoundland. Catch a glimpse of the usually off-limits captain’s quarters, and learn not only what privateers ate and what their duties were aboard a ship, but how to execute maritime manoeuvres and what a pirate’s treasure chest really held – see some of that “booty” on display alongside navigational instruments, tools and weapons of the time.

While at the museum, also visit the permanent multimedia exhibition Where Montréal Was Born and the temporary exhibition Lives and Times of the Plateau, featuring historical photographs, blueprints and maps, beautifully-displayed artifacts, video and more about how the city of Montreal came to be the artistic and cultural centre it is today. And beginning May 6, Marco Polo – An Epic Journey takes us into the 13th century, when East met West in high-seas trade and in war. See rare and valuable art objects, touch fur and silks, and sail away in the aroma of prized spices, all with explorer Marco Polo as our guide. Kids can also get their hands dirty – in a scientific way – in a simulated archaeological dig, part of the museum’s Archaeo-Adventure workshop.



Pirates or Privateers?, Pointe-à-Callière Museum, 350 Place Royale, (514) 872-9150

Photo Credit: Caroline Bergeron

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