For immediate release
(Montréal, December 14, 2023) — Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex, is pleased to announce that its Fort Ville-Marie — Québecor Pavilion and Collector Sewer will re-open to the public on Friday, December 15, 2023. Note that the exhibitions Where Montréal Began and Memory Collector have been closed to the public since this past March 16 following the fire at 224 Place d’Youville, the building next door to Fort Ville-Marie.
“Our main objective was to restore citizens’ access to Montréal’s birthplace as quickly as possible. While the re-opening is good news for Pointe-à-Callière, the last few months have been very difficult. Our team was deeply unsettled by the human drama that unfolded right next door to us. But there was drama for us on another level as well: the dread of seeing the site of Montréal’s birthplace—which has become the heart of the Museum since it opened to the public in 2017—affected by this terrible fire. Thanks to the preservation and showcasing of the archaeological site, the archives, media library, rare book collection, and artifacts were protected.”
Anne Élisabeth Thibault, Executive Director, Pointe-à-Callière
Over the past nine months, the Museum had to carry out clean-up, restoration, stabilization, and rehabilitation work to return the premises to its original state.
“The work was financed by our insurer, CHUBB. Pointe-à-Callière carried out the work, with the support of a team of seasoned professionals, including Atelier Ville-Marie and Ethnoscop. They have been partners from Day 1, and we were very touched to be working with them again.”
Louise Pothier, Curator and Chief Archaeologist, Pointe-à-Callière.
The main damage was caused by the persistent odour of smoke and by soot. Ventilation systems helped a great deal, but the building’s interior nevertheless had to be completely rebuilt—from the exhibition rooms to the office floors—and all technical and multimedia equipment had to be cleaned. It should be noted that the archaeological remains were in no way damaged by smoke and soot, thanks to their location beneath a protective glass floor and to the closed-loop climate control system, which allowed the site to be preserved in its entirety.
There was some water seepage at certain spots in the Collector Sewer and the remains, probably due to the extensive amount of water that firefighters had to use to protect the building from the fire. In carrying out their work, the Museum’s team and the restorers called on the floor’s designer to remove glass plates at strategic locations to allow required procedures to take place.
Please note that currently, outdoor work is not yet complete.
A close call!
The fact that the archaeological site of Fort Ville-Marie is preserved in a new building outfitted with the latest fire protection technology, in compliance with the most recent construction standards, no doubt allowed the Museum’s collections to remain protected. In addition, the firefighters’ quick and coordinated response, and awareness of the site’s value, also helped save the precious site of Montréal’s birthplace. Pointe-à-Callière would once again like to acknowledge the exceptional preservation work of the firefighters of the Montréal Fire Department and the collaboration of the officers of the City of Montréal Police Department.
On the schedule until March 3, 2024, Pointe-à-Callière presents The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores, which takes a deep, multisensory dive into the heart of this vast waterway, exploring its multiple facets. The journey through the exhibition features projected images, textures, smells, and sounds to engage the senses and bring up memories that recall the beauty of this priceless natural treasure!
Pointe-à-Callière also has a wonderful program of family activities for the holiday season! The Museum will be open on December 24 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), December 26 (noon to 5 p.m.), December 27 to 29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), December 30 and 31 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and January 2 (noon to 5 p.m.).
About Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex
Inaugurated in 1992, on the city’s 350th anniversary, Pointe-à-Callière is today the largest archaeology museum in Canada and the busiest history museum in Montréal. Rising above a concentrated number of historic and archaeological sites of national significance—including the birthplace of Montréal—, the Museum has a mission to preserve its collections and to further knowledge, while showcasing and fostering an appreciation for Montréal’s archaeological and historical heritage. This mission is carried out through various activities focused on conservation, research, presentation, education, and inclusion, along with community initiatives benefiting both Montrealers and visitors to the city.
Pointe-à-Callière, proud partner of the City of Montréal.
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SOURCE: POINTE-À-CALLIÈRE, MONTRÉAL ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY COMPLEX
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