March 2013

The Mariners’ House: A Place for All!

For immediate release

With the inauguration of its fifth building, Pointe-à-Callière takes another step toward creating the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex.

Montréal, March 6, 2013 – Pointe-à-Callière inaugurated the Museum’s fifth building today: the Mariners’ House, a new space devoted to history and archaeology. The ceremony was attended by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, Minister of Culture and Communications Maka Kotto, and Montréal Mayor Michael Applebaum.

“With the inauguration of the Mariners’ House, Pointe-à-Callière is taking another step toward creating the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex. This world-class museum and tourism complex will bring together some ten different sites that played significant roles in the history of Montréal, Quebec and Canada as a whole,” explained Jacques Parisien, Chair of the Board of the Société du Musée.

Pointe-à-Callière benefited from the support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montréal, which respectively allocated $20 million for the renovation of the Mariners’ House and $2.2 million to build the tunnel linking the Museum and the archaeological digs conducted in Place D’Youville. The Pointe-à-Callière Foundation also made a financial contribution to acquiring the building and fitting out the 360 degres Montréal Space.

The Mariners’ House is an all-new cultural asset for Montréal, with many superbly equipped multipurpose rooms, perfectly suited to hosting major exhibitions and prestige cultural activities. The building also houses the Archaeo-Adventure workshop, featuring simulated archaeological digs for young people; the Museum’s gift shop; space for the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation; administrative spaces; and rooms for public and private functions of all kinds, including a magnificent rooftop glass pavilion with an adjoining terrace.

“When it opened in 1992, Pointe-à-Callière was intended to handle 150,000 people. Since then its visitor numbers have risen to the point that annual attendance now tops 400,000. Given the growing interest in Montréal’s history and birthplace, we had no choice but to open new facilities in the Mariners’ House. We wanted something contemporary but that fit in Old Montréal, open to the city and accessible to all our clienteles, with a multipurpose layout and the flexibility to meet future needs,” added Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière.

The makeover of the Mariners’ House was designed by Dan S. Hanganu and Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes to fit seamlessly with the Éperon building, the Museum’s main building, and with its historical surroundings. The architects sought to make the Mariners’ House a vibrant place, somewhere people would want to gather, a fluid space with no apparent boundaries between the inside and outside. The Quartier International de Montréal acted as prime contractor and Pomerleau, as managing contractor. Many different firms and consultants were involved in creating the new Mariners’ House, including structural engineers Pasquin St-Jean et associés and Caron Beaudoin et associés / Bouthillette Parizeau, the consortium of electromechanical engineers.

Exclusive artwork in the foyer
The façade of the Mariners’ House is a glass curtain wall offering a superb view, day and night, of the building’s foyer. There visitors can admire a piece by Montréal artist Nicolas Baier, designed as part of the policy for the integration of the arts in architecture and the environment administered by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications. Vanitas 3. The Mirrors of Time is a three-storey photographic mural consisting of 75 digitized images of 75 old and new mirrors. The piece was chosen for the way it fits with the particular focus of the Museum’s collection, as well as for its allusions to the past and to memory.

The foyer also features an installation that both informs visitors and adds to the ambience. Moment Factory, a world-renowned Montréal firm, created a multimedia installation spread over 12 screens and 12.2 metres wide in all. The installation, inspired by nautical symbols and textures, represents the horizon. It adds a maritime touch to the surroundings while informing visitors about the building’s vocation and the Museum’s different activities in an original way.

A place for major events
With the Mariners’ House, Pointe-à-Callière has added some 3,500 m² to the entire museum complex, and tripled the space devoted to temporary exhibitions. The new rooms in the Mariners’ House feature state-of-the-art equipment and technology and meet the most stringent museum standards. They are flexible and multifunctional, with high-end lighting, projection and sound systems and electrical and computer capacity. Starting March 29, 2013, the Mariners’ House will host The Beatles in Montréal, an exhibition on the visit 50 years ago by this mythic British group that revolutionized rock music around the world and its far-reaching influence on musical trends here in Montréal and in Quebec as a whole.

An archaeological adventure: sure to be an exceptionally popular outing in Montréal
The Archaeo-Adventure workshop, a Pointe-à-Callière exclusive, takes young people and families on an incomparable experience in the basement of the new building, featuring a simulated archaeological dig that takes place on the excavation site, in the head archaeologist’s tent and in a laboratory space. It is a very realistic reproduction of an archaeological dig site, where young visitors, either with their families or in school groups, can enjoy an unusual and educational experience. They can step into an archaeologist’s shoes and head off to find some authentic remains and artifacts buried in the soil and unearth the past.

The gift shop: Lots to discover and exhibition-related merchandise
The Museum’s gift shop, upstairs in the Mariners’ House, has a great selection of goods and gift ideas, objets d’art and decorative items, original jewellery, toys, and local products including Native creations, all for every taste and budget. In addition to the publications produced by Pointe-à-Callière, it has a wide range of books on the history and archaeology of Montréal and Quebec as a whole.

New spaces for the Foundation and Members
The Pointe-à-Callière Foundation, Museum Members and volunteers, along with scientific staff and interns, will now enjoy new spaces where they can pursue their work in support of Pointe-à-Callière. The Mariners’ House includes workrooms, a production room and a lounge. “Since it was created in 1993, the Foundation has carried out a number of important projects on behalf of the Museum. We are particularly proud to have helped the Museum make the Mariners’ House accessible to everyone. The success of the Foundation’s activities also depends on the involvement of Museum Members and volunteers, all of them deeply committed to the Museum’s development, and we want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation,” noted Russell Goodman, Chair of the Board of the Foundation.

Taking functions to new heights
Lastly, the Mariners’ House will become a favourite venue in Montréal for admiring the vista from the 360° Montréal space. The rooftop glass pavilion offers extraordinary potential with its view of the St. Lawrence River, Old Montréal and the downtown skyline. Pointe-à-Callière now has five new multipurpose rooms available for rent, equipped with the latest technology, ideal for business meetings, lectures, client meetings, launches, celebrations or prestige events like galas or even wedding receptions.

Preserving memories
When the Mariners’ House was being renovated, the project crew found a time capsule – a metal box containing a number of symbolic items from when the Montreal Sailors’ Institute was built, in 1953-1954. Pointe-à-Callière decided to continue the tradition by leaving a new time capsule, to be buried under a slab in the building’s basement. The mementoes in the box will include a certificate of authenticity signed by the dignitaries attending the inauguration, a copy of the Pointe-à-Callière book Signé Montréal, the Foundation’s magazine, some 2013 coins, architectural plans of the Mariners’ House and copies of different Montréal dailies containing articles on the inauguration ceremony.

About Pointe-à-Callière
Rising atop Montréal’s birthplace, Pointe-à-Callière is a five-building museum complex consisting of a concentrated ensemble of national historic and archaeological sites that illustrate key periods in the history of Montréal, Quebec and the rest of Canada. Pointe-à-Callière is the largest archaeology museum in Canada and the second most-popular museum in Montréal. Opened in 1992, to mark the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montréal, its mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks concerned with archaeology, history, and urban issues.



Mariners’ House
Fifth building in the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex

Official inauguratio
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

165, Place D’Youville
at Place Royale,
Old Montréal, H2Y 2B2

Partners / Financing

  • Ministère de la Culture et des Communications
  • City of Montréal
  • Pointe-à-Callière Foundation

Main components

  • Foyer
  • Exhibition rooms
  • Archaeo-Adventure workshop
  • Museum gift shop
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Premises for the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation
  • Premises for scientific staff, partners and interns
  • Pointe-à-Callière Foundation offices
  • Members’ Lounge
  • Conservation workshops
  • Corridor leading to the archaeological crypt

Prime contractor

  • Quartier International de Montréal
  • Clément Demers
  • Danielle Demers

Dan S. Hanganu Architectes and Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes consortium
Dan S. Hanganu, Gilles Prud’homme, Claude Provencher, Michel Roy and Marie-Claude Lambert

Managing contractor
Pierre Pomerleau, Robert Jacob, Éric Perras, Caroline Mailhot-Théberge, Gaétan Marquis and Claudio Perez

Structural and civil engineers

  • Pasquin St-Jean et Associés
  • Normand Leboeuf

Electromechanical engineers

  • Caron Beaudoin et Associés/ Bouthillette Parizeau consortium
  • Claude Décary, Sylvain Caron and Pierre P. Godbout

Vanitas 3. The Mirrors of Time
Nicolas Baier


  • Ethnoscop
  • Paul Girard
  • SACL
  • François Véronneau

Archaeo-Adventure workshop

  • Carrier communication & design
  • Denis Carrier
  • Nathalie Lampron

Multimedia installation

  • Moment Factory
  • Éric Fournier
  • Gabriel Pontbriand
  • Geneviève Forest
  • Marie Belzil
  • Marie-Claire Lagacé

Museography / Technology

  • XYZ Technologie Culturelle
  • Éric Cyr
  • Jacques Gagnon
  • Luc Perreault Designer
  • Dator SIS

Executive Committee

  • Clément Demers
  • Danielle Demers
  • Yves Dumas
  • Moreno Dumont
  • Diane Dupré
  • Brigitte Jacques
  • Francine Lelièvre
  • Catherine Michon

Advisory Committee

  • Anne-Marie Balac
  • François Bélanger
  • Monique Camirand
  • Élisabeth Côté
  • Alexandre de Lorimier
  • Moreno Dumont
  • Sophie Limoges
  • Louise Pothier
  • Luc Thessereault

Capital Investment Committee of the Board

  • Yves Beauchamp
  • Sophie Brochu
  • Jean Lamarre
  • Gordon McIvor
  • Jacques Parisien