Home / Accueil

Sulpician Towers / Fort de la Montagne National Historic Site of Canada

2065 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, Quebec, H3H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1970/06/08

General view, showing the circular form and massing of the two 13-metre high towers.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
General view, showing the eight-sided conical roof, covered with cedar shingles and topped with a cross.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
General view, showing the multi-paned doors and windows.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1694/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/11/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Sulpician Towers / Fort de la Montagne National Historic Site of Canada is located on Sherbrooke Street West, in downtown Montréal, Quebec. The site is comprised of two two-storey 13-metre high stone towers, built in 1694, that were part of the original Fort de la Montagne. They each have one entrance and a single door with square panes on the north side, above which is a single multi-paned window. Both towers have eight-sided conical roofs topped with a cross. In addition, the west tower is topped by a weathervane. Official recognition refers to the two towers on their footprints.

Heritage Value

Sulpician Towers / Fort de la Montagne was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1970 because:
- these two towers were once the bastions of a fort built at the end of the 17th century by M. de Belmont for the Sulpicians of the neighbouring Indian mission of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges;
- the west tower housed the school of Marguerite Bourgeoys, and the east tower, the nuns of the Congregation.

Around 1676, the Sulpicians of Montréal Island founded a mission, known as the Mission de la Montagne, intended for the instruction of local aboriginals and their conversion to Catholicism. In 1681, M. François Vachon de Belmont was named a superior of the mission which housed over 200 Iroquois, Hurons and Algonquins living in cabins within the fort.

In 1694, a stone fort composed of four towers connected by a stone enclosure wall, was constructed to protect the new mission. The towers were built with gun-ports for the defence of the fort; however, they acted as a deterrent and were never used. In fact, the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame used the southwest tower for a school and the southeast tower as a residence for the nuns of the Congregation. With the increasing departure of the aboriginals between 1692 and 1705, the southeast tower was transformed into a chapel (1824) and the northwest and northeast towers were demolished.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1970; November 2008

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the original location of the towers on the actual Sherbrooke Street West, in downtown Montréal, Quebec;
- its setting in front of the Collège de Montréal;
- the circular form and massing of the two 13-metre high towers;
- the stone construction of the towers, pierced with gun-holes, that were originally an integral part of Fort de la Montagne;
- the eight-sided conical roofs, covered with cedar shingles and topped with a cross;
- the multi-paned doors and windows;
- the weathervane atop the west tower;
- the spatial relationship between the towers and the architectural remains of the fort, including parts of the curtain wall, foundations of the chapel and the horseshoe shaped front steps, and a vault;
- viewscapes from the site to the original location of Fort de la Montagne.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1970/06/08

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Historic or Interpretive Site

Historic

Defence
Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

661

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

SEARCH THE CANADIAN REGISTER

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Find Nearby PlacesFIND NEARBY PLACES PrintPRINT
Nearby Places