Château De Ramezay / India House National Historic Site of Canada
Château De Ramezay / India House
Château De Ramezay / maison des Indes
Maison des Indes
Château de Montréal
Château de Montréal
le Château Ramezay
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Château De Ramezay / India House National Historic Site of Canada is a private mansion situated on Notre-Dame Street east, in the Old Port of Montréal, Quebec. First constructed in 1705, the stone building was rebuilt after a fire in 1756. Surrounded by a small wall, the Château De Ramezay / India House is a one-and-a-half storey stone building to which was added an eastern extension with a conically- roofed tower in 1903. The site also contains the Governor’s garden, which was constructed at the rear of the building in 2000. Official recognition refers to the property of Chateau De Ramezay.
Château De Ramezay / India House was designated as a national historical site of Canada in 1949, because:
- it was built in 1705 by the Governor of Montréal, Claude de Ramezay;
- it contributed importantly to the political and commercial life of New France and of Lower Canada for more than two centuries;
- it was owned by the Compagnie des Indes occidentales from 1745 to 1763;
- it served as the official residence of the Governors-in-Chief of British North America from 1773 to 1844, except for the period between 1775 and 1776 when the site was occupied by American invaders.
The heritage value of the site resides in its political and mercantile affiliations. Château De Ramezay / India House was first built for Claude de Ramezay, who was the governor of Montreal from 1704 to 1724, and the acting Governor General of New France for three years (1714-1716). The construction of the building reflects the status and financial situation of Montreal’s governors who built their own private mansions that French crown did not provide them.
From 1745 –1763, the building was used by the Compagnie des Indes occidentales as a base of operations, during which time it was rebuilt and enlarged after a fire in 1756. The trading company played an important role in Canada’s economic life, benefiting from a monopoly on exported beaver pelts and on the imports of some textiles needed as exchange merchandise.
From 1773-1844, during the Lower Canada period, the Château de Ramezay became the official residence of the Governors-in-Chief of British North America, excluding the period of American occupation from 1775 to 1776, when it became the residence of successive American commanders. The importance of the site is thus exhibited in the continuity of its usage. In 1839, it housed the Executive Council and after 1849, the building was used for other government offices, courts of law and schools. In 1895, the mansion was converted into the headquarters and museum of the Antiquarian and Numismatic Society of Montréal.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1949; 1970; 2007.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- its location on Notre-Dame street East, in the Old Port of Montréal, Quebec;
- any remaining exterior or interior architectural elements and features dating from the 1756-1844 period, including its formwork, materials and handicrafts;
- vestiges still present in the exterior architecture relating to the importance of the mansion, including impressive gable parapets, the freestone used in the ornaments, the quarry stones used in the walls, and the high stone chimneys;
- interior elements relating to the various periods of occupation, such as the vaulted basements;
- its link with the spaces and public institutions situated around the building.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1756/01/01 to 1756/01/01
1775/01/01 to 1776/01/01
1773/01/01 to 1844/01/01
1756/01/01 to 1767/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Politics and Political Processes
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Office or office building
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection