Pointe-À-Callière – the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History

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On my most recent tour with Prometour,  I had the chance to finally visit the Pointe-à-Callière with a group of students and teachers from Palmetto Scholars Academy. The museum of archaeology and history was founded in 1992 as part of a celebration to mark Montreal’s 350th birthday and features various exhibitions including collections of artifacts from the First Nations of the Quebec region. Located at the very birthplace of the city, Pointe-à-Callière is a perfect place to stop if you’re visiting Montreal. With more than 350,000 visitors a year, the complex stands above several historic and archaeological sites of national significance and was constructed on pilings in order to leave existing finds undisturbed and protected.

To date, it has hosted more than 60 temporary exhibits on themes relating to local and international archaeology, history and heritage, culture and artistic creativity, and multiculturalism. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, the Museum also hosts musical performances, theatre demonstrations, lectures, debates and three to four temporary shows every year. During our visit we watched an 18-minute video projected on a 270-degree screen where we were engulfed in breathtaking and evocative images of the city’s past. The short documentary is available in eight languages including French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Arabic, providing a fascinating journey through Montréal’s history.

Pointe-À-Callière Museum

While the entire visit to Pointe-à-Callière was both entertaining and informative, it was the underground tunnel that left us with the biggest impression. Since May 2017, visitors are now able to stroll through North America’s first collector sewer, an incredible feat of civil engineering built between 1832 and 1838. The underground tunnel, extending for 110 meters under the Old Port, is lit by an incredible neon light installation that is projected onto the stone walls coupled with a specially designed sound environment. It’s truly one of the most interesting places I’ve visited yet and comes highly recommended.

On the museum’s 20th anniversary in 1999, the site was officially classified as a Québec national historic and archaeological site by the province’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications. It has since won more than 70 awards including the Grands Prix du Tourisme Québécois, among countless other international honors.