This week on Sepia Saturday,
the prompt picture would have us look at castles.
Montreal being part of a "new world",
you might think we don't have such things,
and you might be right, except...
Castle in French is Chateau,
and we have a few Chateaux.
Not the kind you'd expect,
far from it,
but "Chateaux" nonetheless.
Abodes that were more than what the average guy could afford or even dream of...
Let me take you on a path to the past.
Claude de Ramezay,
painting by St Marc Moutillet.
A Frenchman from Burgundy who married into the Nouvelle-France's elite
and pursued a career in the military and a civic one,
as governor of Trois-Rivieres and then,
His legacy is of an architectural nature.
painting by Henry Richards Bunnett, 1886.
Built in 1705,
it was one of the residences owned by C. de Ramezay.
He died in 1724,
but he was not the last famous man in this house.
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin stayed there in 1776
while trying to find troops that would fight for the American Revolution?!?
I didn't know that!!!
it went through a few modifications...
Who instigated these, I don't know!?!
What I found out though is that,
the Quebec government had no use for this building and put it up for auction...
some concerned citizens convinced the city of Montreal to purchase the land and building
to preserve one of the city's monuments.
This was selected by the UNESCO as one of the Canadian historic sites to see (2010).
It does exist now as a museum about the French colony,
und so forth...
That's why I jumped when I saw,
in the third picture above a "red jacket"...
Definitely NOT "Nouvelle France"!!
Here you see a plan of "what was" and "what is now".
I'll admit I've never [yet] entered the building...
One day I will!!
There's currently an exhibit about health care in the old days.
That should be of some interest to me...
How often do you hear that tourists know more your city than yourself?!?...
I find it interesting to see how the structure evolved over time.
Speaking of which...
You see here the facade, but...
this is where it is really happening.
the city of Montreal with the cooperation of the Quebec government,
have recreated the "Governer's Garden".
A recreation of a typical urban garden of the "Nouvelle-France".
These are pictures I took in 2011.
I know this is very pretty,
but there is another reason why I photographed this.
Much like the header of this blog,
this is a ram,
and just to give you a hint...
if you say it now,
you'll be on time.
If you wait until next Saturday,
you'll be too late... to wish this Aries a happy birthday.
seen here in 1914.
Architect and Engineer by profession.
not as brilliant or ambitious as his brother but quite the entrepreneur himself,
he followed into his parents' footstep
and kept the family business going,
i.e. shoe manufacturing,
among other things...
Victoire Dussault Dufresne,
was one of the first women to practice as a shoemaker in Quebec.
The Chateau Dufresne,
built from 1915 to 1918,
costed the brothers a million dollars
and held many masterpieces by Guido Nincheri.
A private hotel constituted of two symmetrical houses for each brother.
Designed by French architect Jules Renard,
this was inspired by the "Petit Trianon" in Versailles, France.
If I may say so,
isn't it odd that the house was designed by a foreign architect
when there is one on the family?!?
I'm just saying...
Done in the "Beaux Arts" style that appealed to the Montreal bourgeoisie back then,
it still sits pretty at its address on Sherbrooke Street
with the Botanical Garden/Insectarium at the north-east corner,
and the Olympic Stadium/Biodome/Planetarium/Soccer Stadium/etc...
It did host from 1979 to 1997
the museum of decorative arts.
it is simply a museum to the legacy of the Dufresne brothers,
but also holds the archives of the City of de Maisonneuve,
now annexed for a long time to the city of Montreal.
To think that this building was left vacant twice,
from 1957 to 1965,
and again from 1968 to 1976,
leaving it in a sorry condition.
At the instigation of the city,
the MacDonald Stewart Foundation restored the building
and bought the original furniture from the Dufresne sucession
to bring it all back to its original look,
according to plans and photographs of Marius Dufresne.
Speaking of de Maisonneuve,
here's one of Marius' concepts,
those public baths,
as there were health concerns at the time,
and this was seen as a solution.
Quite a grand building!!
Here you see Oscar surveying work at the construction site of...
none other than the Jacques Cartier Bridge, in 1935.
The brothers were part of a consortium to build that bridge.
Marius would die in 1945 at the construction site of another bridge...
Speaking of MY bridge,
I leave you on this
and invite you to visit other contributors at
If you're lucky,
you may see "real" castles!!!
Legit Sepians gather on our Facebook page for fun and info.