Building Montréal

© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History 2006. All Rights Reserved.


We decided use the precariousness of Montréal's situation during this time (compared to that of Québec or Trois-Rivières) to characterize the period. This situation was due mainly to the hostility of the Iroquois, who were at war with Aboriginals allied with the French for control over the fur trade. The period extends from the first records of "Montrealist" victims in the burial registry of Ville-Marie's first cemetery to the pictographic signatures of Native delegates at the ceremonies of the Great Peace of 1701. Aside from a few lulls, this precariousness affected the entire period.

The fur trade-the colony's most lucrative activity and what made Montréal such a sought-after location-had highs and lows that mirrored the periods of calm in the Iroquois wars. Located at the confluence of water routes used by most Aboriginal fur traders, Montréal was a hot spot in this conflict, and the fur trade was therefore also partly contingent on it.

The three scenarios chosen to represent this period hinge on realities and issues related to the colony's precariousness, which itself stems from its relationships with its Aboriginal allies and enemies.

  1. The founding of Montreal - represented by the construction and role of Fort Ville-Marie.
  2. The fur trade - represented by the annual "fur fair."
  3. Making peace with the Aboriginal peoples  -represented by events surrounding the negotiations for and signature of the Great Peace (1701).

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