© Château Ramezay - Historic site and museum of Montreal, photo : Michel Pinault



© Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal

Our historic site began in 1705 when Claude de Ramezay, then Governor of Montréal, decided to build a residence surrounded by a vast 41,880 ft² garden and fruit tree orchard. Over the years, the owner and function of the Château Ramezay changed several times. It was witness to major historical events and many historical figures came through its doors, including the Intendant Hocquart, the poet Émile Nelligan, Governor Lord Elgin and Benjamin Franklin.


© Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal

In the spring of 1893, the Québec Government no longer had use for this old building and decided to abandon it. The date of the auction was set for October 24. Faced with the threat of losing the Château Ramezay to axes of demolition workers, the Antiquarian and Numismatic Society of Montreal (ANSM) mobilized public opinion and put pressure on authorities. Founded in 1862, this society brought together Montrealers who were concerned about preserving their heritage. ANSM succeeded in convincing the City of Montréal to purchase the Château and, in exchange, it agreed to set up a museum, a national portrait gallery and a public library. Their museum opened its doors on May 1, 1895.

© Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal


From the inception of the society, the collection was primarily formed through donations of citizens who wanted to preserve the vestiges of our past and, in particular, to help educate the next generation. This collection is characterized by the richness, rarity and diversity of its pieces. Estimated at nearly 30,000 objects, it can be subdivided into several categories: ethnology, manuscripts, printed material, prints, paintings, furniture, etc


The Château Ramezay has been presenting historical exhibitions and organizing cultural, scientific and museological activities for more than 120 years. Its mission is to preserve, highlight and provide access to a building, which is classified as an historical monument, and a collection mainly focused on the history of Montréal and Québec. To do so, it implements educational activities and hosts events closely connected with Montréal’s cultural life.

From 1997-2010, through a Montréal cultural development agreement between the City of Montréal and the Québec Ministry of Culture and Communications, the Château underwent an extensive interior and exterior restoration. In June 2000, its landscaping was redeveloped in order to create the Governor’s Garden. This garden is a typical example of an 18th century urban garden in New France and is a rare vestige from a bygone era. In addition to its garden, the Château Ramezay presents its collections through a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, which reveal the culture, heritage and daily life of Québec’s inhabitants over the centuries.

In recent years, the Château Ramezay has won several awards and recognitions, including:

  • Selected by a team of experts, in collaboration with UNESCO, as one of the 1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die. Out of 1001 historic sites, only 14 Canadian sites were selected (2010)
  • Awarded a recognition certificate by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) attesting to the historical significance of the Château Ramezay in Canadian-American history (2010)
  • Award of Excellence from the Société des musées québécois for its temporary exhibition Let’s Eat! The Traditional Food of Québec (2010)
  • Award of Excellence from the Association québécoise d’interprétation du patrimoine for its francization educational program (2009)
  • Special Attractions Prize – Edition Nationale de Collectivité en fleurs (2009)
  • Geotourism Certificate of Excellence awarded by National Geographic (2009)
  • Prize from the Société des Attractions Touristiques du Québec for its brochure (2002) and promotional strategy (2008)
  • National Award of Excellence from the Landscape Architects of Canada (2003)
  • Ulysses Prize awarded by Tourism Montréal as “Attraction of the Year” in its category (2006 and 2008)
  • Orange Prize awarded by Heritage Montréal for the creation of the Governor’s Garden (2000)

Today, having greeted millions of visitors, the Château Ramezay continues its mission of conservation and education. Through its architecture, history and various activities, it has become a major heritage attraction in the very heart of the historic district of Old Montréal. Three centuries after its construction, and despite its storied past, the Château Ramezay is still dynamic and alive, honouring our history while remaining solidly anchored in present-day reality. Thanks to its volunteers, partners and staff, this unique institution continues to develop and maintain its essential role in our society.

The Château Ramezay is a private, non-profit organization. It was the first building proclaimed an historical monument in Québec and is the province’s oldest private history museum. It is accredited by the Québec Ministry of Culture and Communications and its partners include the City of Montréal, the Arts Council of Montréal, Heritage Canada, and the Archives nationales du Québec.