"Pointe-à-Callière, a unique identifying place and a privilege for a city" - Charles Lapointe supports the expansion project for the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History

    MONTREAL, Nov. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Pointe-à-Callière's expansion project
received major support today from Charles Lapointe, President and Chief
Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal and Chairman of the Board of the
Canadian Tourism Commission, during the "Montréal, cultural metropolis -
November 2007 Rendezvous" summit.
    The only large-scale museum of archaeology in Québec and Canada,
classified as a historical site by the provincial and federal governments,
Pointe-à-Callière is a museum complex erected on a concentration of historical
and archaeological sites, allowing the tracing of major eras in the history of
Montréal and Canada.
    More than a simple enlargement plan, Pointe-à-Callière's expansion
project represents the creation of a museological institution of international
calibre positioned on a site of exceptional heritage value in North America.
    "Pointe-à-Callière is a unique identifying place, the only place that I
know of where we can find such a concentration of authentic major traces of
six centuries of Canadian history," explained Mr. Lapointe, requesting that
the governments of Canada and Québec, as well as the City of Montréal, make
the Museum's expansion a priority and assign it a national mandate that is in
accordance with its importance.
    Established in 1992 on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the
founding of Montréal, Pointe-à-Callière is a cultural, educational, and
tourist attraction of international scope that contributes to the reputation
and influence of Montréal, Québec, and Canada beyond our borders.
    "For its quality and its performance, this institution has received
60 awards of excellence, including 9 international awards: for its innovative
presentation of history using state-of-the-art technology, and for its ability
to welcome 350,000 visitors on an annual basis, close to 50% of whom are
tourists who have an economic impact," summarized Mr. Lapointe.
    He added that Pointe-à-Callière has been recognized by the Louvre Museum
as one of the five most important archaeological sites in the world and that
its international reputation has allowed Canadians to have access to works
representing the heritage of humanity from some of the world's greatest
museums. Year after year, over 90% of foreign reports about Montréal as a
tourist and cultural destination recommend visiting this museum, stated
Mr. Lapointe.
    "Pointe-à-Callière is a privilege for a city. Its expansion project has
received support from the cultural, heritage, and educational milieus, and
from the tourism and private sectors. The expansion, which will consolidate
the historical district of Old Montréal and the Old Port, must be prioritized
in the same manner as the development of the Quartier des Spectacles," said
Mr. Lapointe.

    A nine part museum and tourist complex

    The Pointe-à-Callière expansion project consists of creating an
underground network of the Museum's heritage elements and facilities, with the
William collector sewer (running under Place D'Youville between
Pointe-à-Callière and McGill Street) as the main corridor for visitor traffic.
    Added to the current elements of the Museum - made up of the Eperon
Building, Place Royale, the Ancienne-Douanne Building, and the Youville
Pumping Station - will be the Mariners House/Archeospace, the site of Fort
Ville-Marie and Callière's residence, an archaeological crypt that opens onto
an agora showcasing the remains of St. Ann's Market and the Parliament of the
United Canada, and the Canada Custom House that will hold a temporary
exhibition hall of national and international calibre.
    In more detail, the expansion project calls for:

    1. the preservation and showcasing of the canalization of the Little
       Saint-Pierre River: the backbone of the museum complex, the William
       collector sewer (1832) is an exceptional work of civil engineering in
       North America. Built on the bed of the ancient river that ran along
       the north side of Fort Ville-Marie, it was Montréal's first collector
       sewer. At 350 metres in length, it will be the main corridor between
       the various points of interest in the underground network;

    2. the transformation of the Mariners House, now called Archeospace: a
       space devoted to education and the discovery of history and
       archaeology (open to school groups, children and youths, with a
       simulated dig site, and access to a multipurpose auditorium);

    3. providing access to, preserving, and displaying the traces of Fort
       Ville-Marie (1642) and Callière's residence (1695): a rare site where
       the soil has been left undisturbed since the 17th century, and where
       the Museum, in association with the Université de Montréal, has
       created an archaeological field school. Remains of Fort Ville-Marie
       and of Callière's residence were found here;

    4. the preservation and showcasing of the remains of St. Ann's Market and
       the Parliament of the United Canada: closely associated with a key
       period in the country's history, the United Canada's first permanent
       parliament was established on the upper floor of the market in 1844. A
       number of key pieces of legislation were adopted here, including the
       act establishing "responsible government" (1848). Visitors will make
       their way into this space through an opening in the collector sewer.
       The integrity of the St. Ann/Parliament of Canada remains is
       remarkable, as exploratory surveys have shown;

    5. the transformation of the vast basement of the Canada Custom House
       into a world-class exhibition room: measuring over 1,000 m(2), along
       with the support spaces required by museum standards. The room will be
       linked directly to the underground museum network.

    Pointe-à-Callière's expansion project thereby aims to ensure the
preservation and presentation of exceptional witnesses to Québec's heritage,
and the last important remains of Old Montréal. Museum attendance currently
exceeds its present capacity, and this expansion project will also serve to
increase the space required for its collections and the presentation of
larger-scale temporary exhibitions. It also fulfils the need for added space
dedicated to the reception and education of school and youth clientele.
    Finally, the project will allow the Museum to expand its mission and put
Montréal at the heart of North America. It aims to complete the museum and
tourist complex as an international-calibre institution for the 21st century.
Ultimately, the project allows for reinvestment with a global outlook,
supporting Montréal's international presence and reputation as a cultural

    The Museum receives funding from the City of Montréal.

For further information:

For further information: Catherine Roberge, Communications Coordinator,
Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, (514) 872-7858,
Photos: croberge@pacmusee.qc.ca

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