Named for Claude de Ramezay, governor of Montréal from 1704 to 1724, the château was built in 1705. It served as home to Ramezay and then the city’s other governors until it was sold in the mid-1700s. It became the local headquarters to the American Continental Army in 1775 when revolutionary forces took control of the city from the British. Benjamin Franklin stayed here for a time in 1776 as he tried to convince the Québécois to side with the Americans in revolt against the British—to no avail. The building was subsequently used for a variety of purposes, including home to the English governors of Lower Canada, as a faculty building for Laval University’s school of medicine, and as a government office building. In 1895, it was turned into a museum, and today it provides an excellent primer on the history of Montréal. In summertime, costumed interpreters talk about what life was like in early Montréal. There’s also a historically accurate garden containing medicinal herbs, vegetables, and ornamental flowers that were popular around the time the château was built, and a cafe with a terrasse at garden level. Several permanent exhibits are worth taking in, including one that outlines what life was like in the city in the 18th century.
- Leslie Brokaw, Erin Trahan, Matthew Barber