Montreal: Maison Saint Gabriel
About Maison Saint Gabriel:
This farm and building were bought by Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1688 as a home for orphaned girls as well as nuns. At this time in history, Montreal had a population of about 3,000, most of whom were men, and there were not many women for them to marry. At the same time, King Louis XIV had many poor, orphaned girls in France. Since they were poor and did not have a dowry, they had little prospect of marriage, and likewise could not enter the convent, since that also would also require a dowry.
Louis XIV made the wise decision to book passage for these girls to “New France”, providing each of them with a dowry and a trousseau. They became known as the “filles du roi”, or King’s daughters.
Although about 800 of them came to Quebec City, but only about 100 made it to Montreal, which took two weeks by canoe from Quebec City. Many of these girls resided here in Maison Saint Gabriel, until a suitor would win their hand.
Women were selective…..they wanted a man who had land or a farm to help them survive the tough winters. It might seem a bit like speed dating, but it worked. Women averaged 7 children each, and within 10 years the population of Montreal had grown to 7,000.
Visiting Maison Saint Gabriel:
You will find guides in period costumes eager to show you around. The farm has many artifacts showing life in those times: the molds the nuns used to make communion wafers, early crow’s beak lamps, butter churns and more.
Address: 2146, place Dublin, Pointe-Saint-Charles, Montréal (Québec) H3K 2A2
Tel: +1 (514) 935-8136 Fax: +1 (514) 935-5692
email: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of Maison Saint Gabriel in Montreal