Pointe-à-Callière presents


A unique, multi-sensory experience!

To echo the full majesty of the St. Lawrence River, Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex, is offering visitors a multi-sensory exhibition that will immerse them in the thousand and one facets of this immense waterway. The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores takes a captivating look at one of Canada’s longest rivers, which has been a true axis of communication between diverse riverside communities and the millions of people who live on and visit its banks.

The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the ShoresThe exhibition showcases the immeasurable wealth of the St. Lawrence, which has been designated as a historic heritage site by the National Assembly. To tell the river’s story, Pointe-à-Callière has put together a corpus of 300 significant objects drawn from rich Quebec museum collections mainly from the Musée maritime du Québec – Capitaine J.E. Bernier and the Musée de la civilisation – Québec as well as from its own collections.

The ten-stop visit traces the river’s rich history and explores its vast territory through themes such as river transportation, naval construction, shipwrecks, shipping methods, battles and conquests, different types of fishing, leisure activities, tourism and environmental issues. Along the way, projected images, textures, smells and sounds will engage the senses in fond memories that recall the beauty of this priceless natural treasure!

Diving helmet - The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores

Diving helmet. Brass and copper.

“In keeping with our mission to promote the Montréal of yesterday and today, this exhibition gives a multidisciplinary perspective of the majestic waterway that gave rise to Montréal’s birth and development. The river is an essential access route and, even today, it has positioned Montréal as a key hub of international trade. The St. Lawrence has always led to the economic and socio-cultural development of its riverside communities, and millions of people’s lives have depended on its shores. The history of this natural jewel, which is intrinsically linked to our city, deserves to be explored,” explained Anne Élisabeth Thibault, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière.


First Nations people have used the river’s banks for millennia, drawn sustenance from its resources, and used its waters to travel, trade and communicate. In the New France era, the St. Lawrence was a gateway to the inner North American continent for explorers and the backbone of the network that made up the fur trade. During the French Regime, the river’s configuration dictated where settlers could set up their villages, meaning that Québec City, Trois-Rivières and Montreal were all born out of and developed from its specific geometry.

A pivotal moment in the history of the river and Montreal was the construction of the Lachine Canal. As the first in a chain gradually linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, the canal let ships bypass the Lachine Rapids, a major obstacle to shipping. Since then, Montreal’s incredible expansion has been closely linked to the St. Lawrence River.

The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores - bottle of wine

Bottle of wine or
champagne from the wreck of the
Empress of Ireland. Pre-1914.


The objects to discover include the majestic Lady Edmonton figurehead from the Edmonton three-masted vessel; models of ships such as the RMS Empress of Ireland, the CSDL Tadoussac, and the CGS Mikula icebreaker; artifacts from shipwrecks such as the Elizabeth and Mary; accessories and clothing, including the cap of famous Quebec sailor Joseph-Elzéar Bernier; a diving suit; and naval construction tools. The exhibition also features commemorative objects that point to key sites along the river’s trajectory and that come from battles fought on the waterway, such as Sir William Phips’ attempt to conquer Quebec in 1690 and the Battle of the St. Lawrence during the Second World War.

Cap worn by navigator Joseph-Elzéar Bernier - The St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores

Cap worn by navigator
Joseph-Elzéar Bernier who made
267 Atlantic crossings and explored
the Arctic. Sealskin. 1904-1925.

In addition to these artifacts that raise the curtain on part of the river’s history, the exhibition features astonishing archival images, compelling testimonials, and rich documentary materials. Works that illustrate how the river has always been a source of infinite inspiration include the musical opus Flore Laurentienne by Gaspé composer Mathieu David Gagnon, which accompanies the exhibition’s final stop: a masterful projection by Silent Partners Studio of a dreamlike voyage on the St. Lawrence.

Influencing both its environment and the communities that use it, the river is presented in a setting that matches its immensity and portrays its future challenges, including its preservation for future generations.

The waves of the St. Lawrence await!

Cultural activities - As a holiday treat, families can take part in creative workshops related to the exhibition between 1:00pm and 4:00pm from from January 2 to 6, 2024. Enjoy painting and arts and crafts and build a model lighthouse!

For more information, including ticket prices and opening hours, visit: www.pacmusee.qc.ca

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