300-year-old farmhouse in Point St. Charles is undergoing a $9.5-million expansion in an effort to keep up with its growing number of tourists, and leave a legacy behind.
In the rustic spot tucked away off Wellington St., Maison St. Gabriel feels like it has been trapped in time.
The site, which is steeped in local history, was where the filles du roi were sent to populate the colony of New France. The lived in the quarters until they met their future husbands.
Some 15,000 artifacts dating back to the 17th century are found here.
The property became a museum in 1966, and belongs to the Notre Dame Basilica's congregation. Until now it has housed ten nuns, but they will relocate in September to make room for facilities to accommodate the 75,000 annual visitors.
The explosion of tourist, up from 7,000 a year in 1999, is largely thanks to its director for the past 12 years, Sister Margaret Juneau.
"For me, these origins are important, and we should be proud of them," said Juneau.
The expansion will include a renovation of the nuns' quarters, and should be completed by September.
"It will allow the Maison St. Gabriel to expand and to offer visitors a more complete experience in terms of infrastructure," said the museum's Mark Verrault.