Designated a national archaeological and historic site, Pointe-à-Callière presents centuries of history from the settlements of our Indigenous People to the present day. Located on a spot occupied by humans for more than a thousand years and on the very site where Montréal was founded, the Museum is home to some remarkable architectural ruins that are showcased on site.
Inextricably connected to its site, the Museum owes its development to important archaeological discoveries made in Old Montréal in the eighties. Inaugurated in 1992 as part of the 350th Anniversary celebrations of the City of Montréal, Pointe-à-Callière is the only substantial archaeological museum in Canada. It is also the largest and most visited history museum in Montréal.
In addition to the permanent exhibitions – Where Montréal was Born, Archaeo-Adventure and Pirates or Privateers? – The Museum also presents Yours Truly, Montréal, an avant-garde multimedia extravaganza on the history of the city. Every year, the Museum also holds three national and international temporary exhibitions as well as a full and constantly changing program of cultural activities for young people and families. In addition, the Museum is home as well to a gift shop and restaurant, L’Arrivage. A must see for anyone who visits or lives in Montréal!
A site of great historical importance
On May 17, 1992, Pointe-à-Callière opened to the public on the very spot where the Mass marking the founding of Montréal had been celebrated 350 years earlier, before Sieur de Maisonneuve, Jeanne Mance and their entourage came together on a point of land between the St. Lawrence and a small river that flowed into it.
Until the inauguration of the Museum, only geographers knew about the existence of this point, named in honour of Louis Hector de Callière, third governor of Montréal who had established residence there in 1695. Today, the point has become part of the shoreline of the Island of Montréal, but its name is better known than ever, thanks to the Museum.
A national historical and archaeological site
On May 17, 1998, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized that the Museum is located on “the site where Montréal was born” and that Pointe-à-Callière was an historical site of national importance. This homage also recognized the restoration and improvements made by the Museum. In 1999, the Ministère de la Culture et des communications du Québec officially designated Pointe-à-Callière a national historic and archaeological site. Both these honours are formal recognition of the heritage value of the sites and the Museum.
To find out more about the commemorative plaques awarded to Pointe-à-Callière, please consult Commemorate plagues (in french).
The Museum’s mission is to bring visitors to know and appreciate the Montréal of yesterday and today through outreach, education, conservation and research activities revolving around Montréal’s archaeological and historical heritage, and to build links with regional, national and international networks in these fields, for the benefit of our visitors.
Pointe-à-Callière consists of seven pavilions and structures: the Éperon Building, the archaeological crypt, the Old Custom House, Mariners’ House, the Youville Pumping Station and, as of 2017, Fort Ville-Marie and the First Collector Sewer.