Montréal's Birthplace National Historic Site of Canada
Berceau de Montréal
Berceau de Montréal
Origins of Montréal
Aux origines de Montréal
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Montréal's Birthplace National Historic Site of Canada is located between de la Commune Street West and Place D’Youville in the Old Port of Montréal, in Quebec. The site marks the location where Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve laid the foundation of Montréal on May 18, 1642. The site consists of the remains of Fort Ville-Marie, also known as Fort Maisonneuve, which was built in 1645 at the request of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. There are no visible remains of the site. Official recognition refers to a circle, one hundred meters in diameter, centered on the remains of Fort Ville-Marie.
Montréal's Birthplace was designated a national historic site of Canada, in 1924 because:
- it is the location where the Sieur de Maisonneuve founded Montréal, in May 1642.
The heritage value of Montréal’s Birthplace resides in its associations with the founding of the City of Montréal, as it was here that its founders landed on May 18, 1642. In command of the expedition, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, designated a national historic person of Canada, chose to land in what was soon to be called Ville-Marie with the goal of founding a city. The site, which gave birth to Montréal, also witnessed the city’s transformation into one of Canada's largest metropolitan centres.
The foundation of Montréal was marked by the construction of Fort Ville-Marie. The site was judged to be an ideal place to erect a defensive fort, at a time when tensions were high between the French settlers and the Iroquois, who had used the location as a meeting place for centuries. Built in 1645 by French settlers under the command of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the original stone fort occupied a footprint of 97.5 square meters. Archaeological excavations have uncovered remains of Fort Ville-Marie.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, December 2008; Plaque text, June 1924, December 1997.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
- its location between de la Commune Street West and Place D’Youville, in the Old Port of Montréal in Quebec;
- the remains of Fort Ville-Marie which testify to the strategic location of the fort;
- the integrity of any identified archaeological remains relating to Fort Ville-Marie, including sections of the stone walls, and metal-working installations;
- the integrity and materials of as yet unidentified archaeological remains, relating to the location where Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded Montréal, that may be found within the site in their original placement and extent;
- the spatial relationship between the remains of Fort Ville-Marie and those of the Catholic cemetery dating from 1643, which was constructed outside the Fort at the request of Maisonneuve;
- the continued association of the site with the founding of the City of Montréal;
- viewscapes from the site to the St. Lawrence River.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1642/05/18 to 1642/05/18
1645/01/01 to 1645/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Undetermined (archaeological site)
- Buried Site
- Military Defence Installation
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