By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca
Located on a former wharf off Lachine’s first canal, now known as “la promenade Père Marquette” on Saint Joseph Boulevard opposite the Convent of the Sisters of Sainte-Anne, stands a single-storey, stone warehouse, which dates back to 1803. It was built by Alexander Gordon, an ex-clerk and stockholder of the North West Company.
Lachine, being upstream of the rapids that block the St. Lawrence at Montreal, became a strategic position on the fur route as a departure and arrival point for trading expeditions. It was here where flotillas of westbound canoes were assembled, and where Montreal merchants had their traded goods and furs stored. In 1833, the building was acquired by the Hudson’s Bay Company after the two companies merged.
In 1861 the warehouse was transferred to the Sisters of Sainte-Anne, who owned it until 1977, when Parks Canada acquired the building and the land it stands on. In 1979 a fire destroyed most of the building, except the fieldstone walls and a part of the hipped roof structure.
The fully restored Hudson’s Bay Warehouse with its dormer windows, rough masonry walls and wood shingled roof, remains the only witness of the Montreal fur trade in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Today it is home to an interactive exhibition that enables visitors to trace the lives of trappers, adventurers, traders and Native Americans and relive the era of the fur industry.
The Fur Trade at Lachine was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1984.
The Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site is located at
1255 Boulevard Saint Joseph
Sources : HBC / Parks Canada / Ville de Montréal Borough Lachine