3.2 Directions and Management Guidelines


The following directions will guide the strategic actions and decisions taken by Parks Canada in managing level 1 resources and in conveying heritage values, specifically with respect to messages that are associated with the commemorative intent of the site.

The directions that appear in bold are seen as indicators of the state of the site's commemorative integrity and are objectives outlined in the commemorative integrity statement.

Built heritage

Parks Canada will respect the estate's original landscaping features, installations and buildings and ensure that a certain degree of historical continuity is preserved in the spatial organization and designation of new uses for these elements. At the same time, it will ensure that all the historical structures be conserved and their architectural integrity maintained, taking into account any meaningful changes that have been made over time.

Lastly, Parks Canada will update the standards of the buildings and rooms that are essential to the smooth operation of the interpretive program, and will make them accessible to visitors. While some actions were taken during the first phase of work carried out in 1999-2000, other interventions will have to wait for additional funding.

The manor house

The architecture of the manor house – its distinct and unique character and the way it evokes the tastes, values and aspirations of Louis-Joseph Papineau – is closely associated with the commemorative intent of the site. The architectural features of the residence will therefore be protected and presented through appropriate conservation and restoration interventions. This work will ensure, above all else, that the following four commemorative integrity objectives are met:

  • to protect the structure and the exterior characteristics of the building that reflect different architectural styles;
  • to protect the details and coherence of the floor plan and of interior woodwork and plasterwork done at the time of the Papineau family;
  • to protect and bring to light the meaningful spatial arrangement of the library tower;
  • to protect the visual and organic relationship between the manor house and its surrounding landscape.

In accordance with the commemorative integrity statement, the concept of conservation and restoration of the manor house proposes to restore the historical integrity of the building envelope, with particular attention to materials and colours, as well as the rooms, so that they reflect Louis-Joseph and Amédée Papineau's plans and the occupancy of the manor house by their families.

Completely open to visitors, the piano nobile, the elegant main floor where family members spent most of their time, has already regained much of the appearance and cachet it had in Louis-Joseph and Amédée Papineau's time; the few decorative details added by the Seigniory Club and not considered meaningful to the history of the residence have been removed. The dining room, Louis-Joseph Papineau's bedroom, the sitting room, the bedrooms of Papineau's two daughters, the entrance hall and the “yellow room” have been decorated and refurnished with the present collection and thanks to articles acquired from the Papineau family. The “blue room” will be refurnished at a later date to reflect changes made by Amédée Papineau. Papineau's reading room adjoining the library, located on the upper floor, will be accessible to small groups of visitors at a time in accordance with public safety standards.

To restore the architectural integrity of the manor in its entirety, Parks Canada would like to complete the period furnishing and decoration of all the rooms significantly used by the Papineau family. This cannot be done, however, until funding becomes available. At a later stage of the project, the upper floor could thus be restored to its original floor plan and sober décor of the time of the Papineau family18. We would also hope to restore the basement to its original appearance for purposes of presenting it to site visitors. This is where various service rooms were located: a kitchen, cellars, servants' quarters and a greenhouse. A feasibility study will address that possibility and the results will be considered in the next management plan review. Until that time, the basement will house administrative offices as well as some customer services, such as public washrooms.

The main restoration projects planned or anticipated are outlined below. Work that has already been completed appears in italics.

  • Complete restoration of the building envelope, namely restoration of the masonry foundation walls, returning the walls of the manor and library tower to visible stone; restoration of all the doors and windows and their frames and shutters; solidification of the towers and restoring them to their original vertical plank siding; repair of the walls and replacement of the roof of the annex; restoration of the finishing of all roofing19; reconstruction of the gutters and downspouts; restoration of the balcony on the south wall and the veranda; reconstruction of all the chimney stacks.
  • Setting up of administrative offices in the basement and restoration of the period kitchen to its original dimensions and wall finishings. The project would involve building a new floor over the underfloor ventilation space, conservation of the existing original divisions on the south side, and construction of a staffroom and public washrooms.
  • Restoration and reconstruction of the “piano nobile” (main floor) to bring back period decorative elements and furnishings: removal of the false domed ceiling and the decorative panel moulding on the walls20; reconstruction of the water closet, pantry and coat closet, and the floors of the greenhouse and vestibule; restoration of the plaster finishing on the walls and eventually restoration of the wallpaper; reconstruction and restoration of the wooden chimney mantles; the wood floor will have to be replaced in the medium term. The large indoor staircase will be returned to its original stain and varnish, and all the woodwork on the upper floor will be restored to its original colours.
  • Review and updating of building standards regarding comfort, safety and accessibility, namely: insulation of the attic floor and making this level into a ventilated attic space, a complete review of the heating and fire protection systems; repairing the electrical system and installation of an elevator in the latrine tower, which would provide universal access up to the main floor. The upper floor will not be universally accessible but will be open to the public once a second exit has been built.
  • Eventual restoration and reconstruction of the upper floor where the guest bedrooms were located, namely: rebuilding the large hallway over the entire width of the building, thus restoring the structural support of the original floor plan, since this wide circulation area was built in the opposite direction to the hallway directly beneath it; restoration of the woodwork and wood floors to reflect the simplicity of the original décor21.
The outbuildings

The conservation/restoration work planned for the outbuildings will be less extensive. Since only limited funding is available, only certain aspects of the work will be carried out in the short term. Other than updating the building standards, the work involves the following:

  • Protecting the characteristics of the building envelope and interior of the granary by replacing the present roof with a “Québec style” tin roof, restoring the pigeon coop and the old exterior staircase, as well as renovating the main floor to meet the requirements of its new function as a museum. The studio used by artist Napoléon Bourassa and the fresco-style drawings and paintings will also be preserved.
  • Restoring the characteristics of the building envelope and interior of the old family museum by stabilizing the façade of the lateral walls to prevent further deterioration, by replacing the recent raised roof with metal roofing, as it was originally, and by restoring or renovating the interior to convert it back to its original vocation as a museum.
  • Protecting the characteristics of the kiosk (former campanile) and explaining how it was used, particularly by restoring the kiosk's roof and structure and by moving it back to its original location.
  • Protecting the characteristics of the building envelope and interior of the tea pavilion by restoring it on its original foundations.

Cultural landscape

We know that the landscape designed by the Papineau family has been largely preserved. Generally speaking, Parks Canada's aim is to keep that landscape and modify some recently added elements that clash with the spirit of the site. In accordance with the commemorative integrity statement, the concept adopted for presenting the landscape proposes that the integrity of the area around the manor house be restored so as to reflect the original landscaping work accomplished by Louis-Joseph Papineau and his son Amédée. This means that interventions would be especially concentrated in the Cape Bonsecours area, given that the commemorative intent focuses on Louis-Joseph Papineau as a person and the architecture of his manor house. Illustrating Louis-Joseph and Amédée Papineau's love of horticulture is also part of the presentation concept.

While the most significant interventions involve the area around the manor house, other presentation measures could apply to other parts of the property leased to Parks Canada22.

Area in the vicinity of the manor house

The commemorative integrity statement identifies the following objectives with respect to the cultural landscape around the seigneurial manor:

  • to protect certain major landscape elements, including two veteran trees: the tall pine around which a lookout had been built and the oak tree on the front lawn;
  • to protect and restore viewscapes maintained by the Papineau family;
  • to protect vestiges of landscaping accessories (urns, steps, artificial waterfall, etc.);
  • to protect the width and picturesque route followed by Cape Road and the terraces built on the Cape Bonsecours escarpment.

An initial study23 has already determined the main interventions required to meet the above objectives. In addition to a restructuring of the landscape around the manor house, the study recommends general pruning work to restore vistas of the river. The study also suggests that Cape Road be resurfaced with granular material, that the loop that extended Cape Road to the south of the manor house be restored and that the road that was added to the west be eliminated; lastly, the study recommends that steps be taken to bring back the old gardens (vegetable gardens and flower beds) and the sundial that once stood near the tea pavilion.

A plan for protecting and presenting the site's cultural landscapes will indicate the work that needs to be done on the grounds around the manor house. Given that the capital budget is presently insufficient, the interventions planned will be undertaken in the longer term once funding becomes available.

Other parts of the property

The commemorative integrity statement identifies the following objectives with respect to the cultural landscape of other parts of the property:

  • to protect the width and picturesque route followed by Manor House Road and the network of trails crisscrossing the estate;
  • to protect the diversity of plant populations.

Subject to an upcoming agreement, upkeep of the estate's presently healthy woodland will be carried out jointly with Château Montebello, with a view to maintaining extensive usage of this area. In particular, veteran trees will be monitored; their survival will be ensured within the limits of practicality and plans will be made to eventually replace them. Furthermore, Parks Canada will still strive to respect the ecological diversity of the estate's natural environmental and where necessary, silvicultural work will be done to maintain the present diversity of the woodland and to encourage the growth of desirable species. A natural resources management plan updated periodically to reflect changes in environmental conditions will indicate the nature of the interventions involved.

The nature and extent of interventions that are required in the various parts of the estate will be outlined in the landscape protection and presentation plan. Generally speaking, the interventions proposed in the plan will have to respect both the spirit and integrity of the site and its heritage character, and will have to take into account measures designed to ensure the protection of archaeological resources.

Cultural resource management policy clearly stipulates that Parks Canada will protect significant components of ecosystems at historic sites in the same way it does for ecosystems in national parks. As a result, the presentation plan will not suggest any interventions that could lead to the deterioration of plant communities of interest, except if that intervention proves to be essential for sound cultural resource management.

Off-site cultural landscapes

With respect to off-site cultural landscapes, i.e. those closely associated with the seigneurial estate but where Parks Canada has no jurisdiction, PC will work in close collaboration with Château Montebello and Heritage Canada to ensure that they are protected in accordance with objectives outlined in the commemorative integrity statement:

  • to protect the division of the inhabited area of the estate grounds into four areas (the woodland park, the garden, the lawns, the meadows);
  • to raise awareness among Parks Canada's partners and encourage them in their initiatives to protect meaningful landscape elements located on their property.

To achieve the above, Parks Canada will strive to come to an agreement with Château Montebello aimed at keeping the “barn meadow” (already partially obliterated by the tennis courts) and the gardener's cottage meadow free of any other visible structures.

Archaeological vestiges

The archaeological vestiges on the site:

  • are a superb reflection of the ideology underlying the work accomplished by the men who designed the seigneurial estate;
  • are an eloquent testament to certain aspects of a comfortable way of life that was constantly evolving, always with the latest conveniences, particularly with respect to the necessities of the everyday life of a seigneur (icehouses, greenhouses, bread oven, etc.);
  • represent attractions that are complementary to the site's built heritage.

In addition to archaeological monitoring and other appropriate interventions (test excavations, salvage excavations, etc.) that will take place during all excavations and earthwork undertaken on the site, Parks Canada's actions involving archaeological vestiges will focus on the following five objectives:

  • to complete the archaeological inventory and ensure that areas covering vestiges are preserved;
  • to locate the vestiges on the property and maintain their physical integrity; to make visitors aware of the vestiges and their significance;
  • to focus on archaeological exploration in areas covering vestiges that are related to the commemorative intent of the site, notably in the area around the icehouse;
  • to take proper measures to ensure the protection and conservation of paleohistoric sites;
  • to raise awareness among the owners of property that was once part of the seigneurial estate of the importance of identifying and protecting archaeological vestiges situated on their property and to encourage their initiatives in that regard.

Considering that an assessment of the archaeological potential has already been prepared and that various archaeological interventions were carried out prior to presentation work, the next concrete actions, contingent on funding becoming available, would consist of:

  • completing selective brush-clearing as part of the landscaping work, and conducting new exploratory surveys near roads, trails, paths, bridges, stairways and retaining walls that are part of the cultural landscape enhancement program:
  • taking proper measures to preserve the vestiges of the icehouse;
  • completing exploration of the various landscaping elements (garden, flower beds, hedges, etc.);
  • completing exploratory surveys of the zone between the manor house and the granary;
  • exploring, protecting and, if necessary, excavating sites that hold a wealth of information, such as old dump sites;
  • contacting the owners of land located within the original boundaries of the seigneurial estate in order to increase their awareness of the importance of identifying and protecting archaeological vestiges found on their property.

The ethnological collection

In accordance with the presentation concept adopted, the rooms of the manor house that are open to the public have been or will be restored, where possible, using original objects and furnishings from the manor that were purchased from or donated by descendants of the Papineau family or other sources. In selecting pieces of furniture and objects, curators must give priority to those that are essential to conveying the commemorative intent of the site. Until these furnishings and objects can be acquired, Parks Canada will strive to make their present owners aware of the importance of protecting them.

Parks Canada will see to it that collections of objects are preserved and maintained in ideal and secure conditions to ensure that they can be used as effectively as possible as part of the visitor experience. To enhance that experience, visitors will be able to freely enter most of the rooms in the manor house. Since that is the desired approach, the following mitigations will be implemented:

  • interpretive guides will accompany all visitors on their tour of the manor house and make them aware of the importance of protecting the furniture and objects;
  • replicas of the more fragile furnishings and objects will be made and set up in parts of the manor house where visitors are permitted to handle the objects;
  • the furnishings and décor will be an integral part of the historical themes addressed by the interpretive guides.

Messages conveyed relating to the commemorative intent of the site

Conveying the history of the site to visitors through specific interpretive themes is the keystone of the proposed presentation of the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada. This will be achieved by addressing five themes that are drawn directly from the statement of commemorative intent (see section 1.3).

The visitor experience that Parks Canada is proposing is based primarily on a respect for and maximization of the site's authenticity, the potential of the site's buildings and landscapes for evoking the past and, above all, the designer and builder of the seigneurial estate, Louis-Joseph Papineau. Whether the site is viewed as a family home, an illustration of architecture, an estate or a seigneury, Louis-Joseph Papineau is at the centre of the visitor experience offered. As a result, the message conveyed can be formulated as follows:


A discovery of...

  • because visitors leave their familiar everyday reality to enter into the world of another era;
  • because visitors must walk into the grounds, heightening all their senses, and their visit then becomes one of a physical experience of exploration;
  • because different clues along the way initially raise questions in their minds;

little-known facets...

  • because Louis-Joseph Papineau's title of “seigneur” is not as well-known as his role as a political figure and represents something of a novelty for the majority of visitors;
  • because the idea of a “seigneur” is in itself an unusual reality for English-speaking visitors and a fairly nebulous concept for francophones;
  • because the “man of great culture” dimension, creator of a private library of considerable size for the time, sheds new light on Louis-Joseph Papineau;
  • because the family and the family estate are so deeply rooted in the site that they are a testament to Louis-Joseph Papineau, the family man, and the importance he attached to those dear to him;
  • because the public is by and large unfamiliar with the talents of Louis-Joseph Papineau as designer of an exceptional manor and as landscape architect;

of Louis-Joseph Papineau...

  • because it is the man and his work – Louis-Joseph Papineau, designer and master planner of the “Monte-Bello” estate – that is the raison d'être of the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada.

All the resources of the seigneurial estate will be presented as being part of a meaningful and coherent whole; they will be presented as part of a heritage experience that culminates with a tour of the manor house. Adapted to the interests and needs of a diverse clientele (school groups, families, summer tourists and holiday resort residents...), the experience offered to visitors will be designed to enhance their understanding of the commemorative theme and their appreciation of the heritage resources present on the site. We will also ensure that the messages developed to convey the commemorative intent facilitate the visitors' understanding of resources found on the site.

Parks Canada will adopt an approach aimed at increasing visitors' awareness of the many facets of Louis-Joseph Papineau's personality (seigneur, master planner and designer of the estate, man of culture, family man, etc.) in order to present the site in all its commemorative integrity.

Portrait of Louis-Joseph Papineau
Portrait of Louis-Joseph Papineau
Painted in 1858 by Napoléon Bourassa, Papineau's son-in-law, this painting hung on one of the walls of the drawing room (“ yellow room”) of the manor house.

© Parks Canada / Photograph: Musée du Québec
Patrick Altman, n° accession 52.58

Furthermore, we will ensure that there is historical continuity in the spatial organization of the site and in the designation of new uses for old landscaping elements, installations and buildings on the estate. With this in mind, Parks Canada will strive to reach an agreement with Anglican Church authorities so that the family museum can be included in the heritage discovery tour of the site.

In conveying heritage messages to visitors, methods will be used that respect the integrity and authenticity of the period landscaping features, installations and buildings on the site.

In more concrete terms, the main ways of presenting the historical context of the site will be the following:

  • By developing an outdoor interpretive circuit of the site, with its primary emphasis on the significance of built heritage situated between the reception centre and the manor, the pièce de résistance; this circuit will provide a certain degree of structure to the visitors' tour of the site and encourage them to go one step further in their discovery of the site by entering the buildings that are open to the public. Subject to an upcoming agreement with Fairmont - Le Château Montebello (see Site Access and Visitor Reception below), the outdoor interpretive tour could be planned around the restoration of the traditional entrance to the estate: visitors could obtain a more complete view of the spatial organization of the estate as it was designed by Papineau by going through the entrance gate on Notre-Dame Street and down Manor House Road, and then along the road that encircles the manor. Restoration of the flower gardens and vegetable garden and the addition of replicas of period outdoor furnishings and accessories would contribute to evoking a sense of Papineau's master plan for the estate.
  • By installing period furnishings in the seigneurial manor; initially, work will be concentrated on the rooms on the main floor, the reading room (upper floor) and the first floor of the library tower; then, as funding becomes available, we will refurnish the entire upper floor of the manor house and eventually the basement, based on the conclusions of the feasibility study mentioned earlier. As they walk around the manor house and become acquainted with its former occupants, visitors will be accompanied by an interpretive guide who will provide valuable information that will add to their understanding of the site.
  • By presenting a thematic exhibition in the granary that focuses on the La Petite-Nation seigneury.
  • By presenting a summary exhibition inside the old family museum24. This exhibition will bring out the different facets of the personality of Louis-Joseph Papineau – architect, designer of the ideal estate, family man and seigneur; it will also develop contextual aspects of messages relating to Papineau's seigneurial ideology and the main trends in architecture and landscaping during his time.
  • By working with the Société historique Louis-Joseph-Papineau in enhancing the presentation content inside the funeral chapel.
  • By developing a strategy and external communications program to convey commemorative intent-related messages to the non-visiting public.


Parks Canada and Fairmont - Le Château Montebello are continuing their discussions aimed at reaching a long term agreement that would give the national historic site more visibility. Their talks have centred on the transfer of a parcel of land located between the train station and Manor House Road that would make it possible to build a parking area for site visitors. The Municipality of Montebello, owner of the neighbouring train station, is also part of the discussions because of plans to use the station as the site's visitor reception area. Parks Canada hopes to be in a position to conclude a formal agreement with all the parties involved in the near future.

Subject to an agreement, part of the Montebello station would be re-developed as a visitor reception area that would include new public washrooms. Signage and access to the trail leading to Manor House Road will also be improved.

In Parks Canada's view, the conclusion of an agreement with its partners does not eliminate the more long term plan of making the entrance gate and gardener's cottage part of the national historic site. At the appropriate time, Parks Canada will study the feasibility of such a project with Fairmont – Le Château Montebello.


Parks Canada will strive to do everything possible to promote the functional and harmonious integration of the site into the La Petite-Nation region by establishing a close and constructive relationship with the main parties involved in the regional community, especially cultural and tourist groups, and by encouraging the participation of community groups in the conservation and presentation of the site.

Parks Canada readily acknowledges that the presentation of the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada is perceived in the community as a major asset for stimulating regional tourism. With that in mind and within its capabilities, Parks Canada would like:

  • to participate in ongoing discussions of the development of regional tourism and to join forces with local and regional groups in their efforts to develop and promote tourism in the La Petite-Nation region;
  • to contribute to the development of heritage tourism in the La Petite-Nation region;
  • to obtain the close cooperation of Château Montebello in offering a top-quality nature/culture tourist product.

Furthermore, Parks Canada will work towards developing collaboration between groups in the region that could, in the medium term, be responsible for certain aspects of operating the site based on principles of shared management25. Shared management consists of the continuous active involvement of two or more partners in operating an historic site with a view to ensuring its commemorative integrity. This approach goes hand in hand with one of Parks Canada's main strategic objectives – to have Canadians participate more actively in decision-making and the implementation of programs in heritage places.

Collaborative agreements reached between Parks Canada and its partners will be in accordance with the “Framework for the Implementation of Shared Management of National Historic Sites” (November 1995) and its subsequent modifications.


Various factors will likely have an impact on future visitation of the site.

The fact that the site is not visible from the main road has had an impact on the number of tourists coming to the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada. The visibility problem has reduced the chances of reaching a portion of potential visitors in addition to creating some confusion as to the exact location of the historic site, thus discouraging the “less motivated” visitors. Should an agreement be reached between Parks Canada, the Municipality of Montebello and Fairmont – Le Château Montebello, it would considerably improve upon present accessibility to the site.

An increase in tourist traffic will partly depend on subsequent interventions that would improve the current service offer. Increasing and diversifying the present service offer would require additional exhibition space and complementary attractions outside the manor house. Presentation of the old Papineau family museum (Anglican chapel) and laying out gardens with interpretive signage would be key components in the diversification of the visitor experience proposed, and would have the added benefit of easing congestion in the manor house.

Visitors pay an admission fee to tour the manor house in accordance with the National Pricing Strategy developed by Parks Canada. This revenue partially covers the cost of operating the site. However, the nature, extent and quality of the presentation of the Papineau estate, and the strategic location of the site in the La Petite-Nation tourist region leads us to believe that the admission fee could be increased, justified by an increase in activities and services. To prevent a hike in the fees from resulting in a drop in the number of visitors, the length and quality of the visitor experience will have to be brought into line with the fee charged.

Furthermore, should the old gardens be restored and interpretive signage added, and should they become an integral part of the service offer, this component would clearly be subject to a fee.


Because the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada:

  • is located at the gateway to an important tourist region located just between Montréal and Gatineau/Ottawa;
  • is therefore within reach of the largest population pool in Québec;
  • is located in a tourist corridor that is already widely used by visitors in transit;
  • benefits from the reputation and attraction potential of the Château Montebello;
  • represents, together with the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau and the Mackenzie-King Estate, one of the major heritage resources of the Outaouais region;
  • offers a meaningful experience for visitors, through its interpretation activities and the discovery of its resources;

and, furthermore, considering that promotion of the site is presently limited, Parks Canada will develop and implement, jointly with local and regional tourist groups, a marketing strategy and plan of action aimed at increasing the annual number of visitors to the site to 50,000. With this in view, Parks Canada would like to express its intention, contingent on the availability of funding, to open the site to the public year-round and set up a schedule that would ensure its profitability.

The rest of this page contains a more concrete explanation of Parks Canada's long term vision regarding the conservation, presentation and management of the site.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: The Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada

Hidden from sight under the shade of grand old trees, its memories kept safely in its buildings, this place has many stories to tell. It commemorates Louis-Joseph Papineau – leading figure in Canadian history, builder, seigneur, patriarch of an illustrious family and man of great culture. To let the site speak for itself, to reveal the memories of its buildings, gardens and woodlands, to have the public become better acquainted with the famous seigneurial manor and its illustrious residents – that is why Parks Canada has chosen to present this site.

Upon arriving, visitors immediately get the feeling that this family home is like no other. A gate controls access to the property, with a pretty little cottage standing guard near the entrance. The main residence, an authentic MANOR HOUSE, is tucked away at the end of the road, hidden from view. To reach the residence, visitors have to walk down the long Manor House Road, discovering along the way other tangible signs of the uniqueness of this place. But why not let visitors stroll around and enjoy the wealth of resources that the site has to offer!

A stone gate eloquently marks the beginning of the private part of the estate that the seigneur reserved for his family. Like the censitaires or guests in the old days, today’s visitors will arrive by the gardener’s cottage, the same dwelling where the keeper of the estate once lived. This red-brick cottage immediately announces the exceptional status of the estate, and the quality of its architecture is indicative of what is yet to come.

Walking down Manor House Road, visitors enter another world and realize that this site represents another way of thinking, another way of doing things. Clues along the way as the road climbs up to the manor do not go unnoticed as visitors discover the cultural landscape as it was designed and organized by the master of the estate. Who built this eclectic residence and why this long winding road? What exactly is an “inhabited estate”? The forest we are going through, is it “natural”? Why all these trails leading into the woodland... and this stream running under the bridge, where it is going? Along the road are rustic benches inviting visitors to pause and admire the light and shadows created by the branches of tall trees.

The funeral chapel is the next important stop on a tour around this heritage site. Here, the atmosphere is hushed and filled with emotion. In the crypt lie the remains of Louis-Joseph Papineau, some of his immediate family and descendants: this chapel is very telling of the importance of family in Papineau’s life. The fact that he created a family mausoleum reflects his social ambitions and his vision of a seigneurial dynasty deeply rooted in its estate. A representative of the Société historique Louis- Joseph Papineau, one of Parks Canada’s partners, is on hand, inviting visitors to think back on the finest hours of the illustrious Papineau family.

At the bend in the road, visitors walk past the remains of the old icehouse and then, up a slightly steeper incline, to the summit of Cape Bonsecours and the magnificent manor house built by Papineau overlooking the Ottawa River. The manor, restored to its appearance of former years, is the pièce de résistance of the visitors’ experience. It was here that a family once lived – a family with its own hopes, dreams and sorrows – and its day-to-day life. The manor’s architecture reflects the social aspirations and notoriety of its owner. A coat of arms in the vestibule, a monogram on the balcony, initials inscribed on the roof – all tangible signs of the determination of its designer to mark his position in society for all to see. A grand tour around the manor house with an interpretive guide enables visitors to experience the hushed ambiance, admire the decorative touches and the furnishings that have been handed down through the generations, get an appreciation of the layout of the rooms, and understand the rationale of its designer. Towers and turrets are just two of the architectural features of this manor. The square tower, housing the seigneurial office and library, was where two sides of Papineau – the man of culture and the seigneur – came together. It is in this office on the main floor that Papineau would meet with his censitaires. The fortified tower, built to withstand any eventuality, was also where Papineau safeguarded his impressive collection of books, one of the most distinguished private libraries in Canada at the time.

On leaving the seigneurial office, visitors are invited to make their way to the old family museum, a building designed and built by Louis-Joseph’s eldest son and heir, Louis-Joseph Amédée. Intended for the enjoyment of guests and visitors passing through, today the museum contains a summary exhibition illustrating the ideological foundations that guided the development of the manor house, estate and seigneury. The family memories exhibited in the museum have become a living testament to the rich heritage of this national historic site.

Visitors are then invited to follow in the steps of Louis-Joseph Papineau, this time lover of nature and amateur gardener. Landscaping elements inspired by the writings of Andrew Jackson Downing are an invitation to stop and rest a minute. At the tea pavilion, you can relax, have “a cuppa” and take the time to enjoy the magnificent view over the Ottawa River. Visitors are then invited to take a stroll around the flower beds and vegetable gardens and catch a glimpse of several exotic species that have been planted here and that are looked after by amateur horticulturists in the community.

The last stop is the granary, situated at the far west end of the estate. Here, visitors can learn a little more about the La Petite-Nation seigneury. The granary was, in fact, originally a warehouse for storing grain that censitaires would bring in payment for their seigneurial dues. Today the granary is home to several exhibits on the development of the seigneury.

On the walk back, visitors are able to get an overall picture of the cultural landscape designed by Louis- Joseph Papineau and his son Amédée. The road and the trails crisscrossing the grounds, the woodland park, the lawns, the gardens and the meadows are all parts of the great “puzzle” of the ideal estate envisioned by Louis-Joseph Papineau.

When we embark on the discovery of a natural setting of such grandeur and a figure of multiple facets, it appeals to our deepest values. It is an experience that makes us reflect upon our present-day society where family, culture and democracy are still values that we cling to dearly in our day-to-day life. When visitors encounter the wealth of resources offered at the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada it gives them pause to ponder on the collective work still to be accomplished.

  1. As mentioned earlier, the upper floor of the manor house was considerably modified by the Seigniory Club. Its restoration “to the Papineau family era” would result in the elimination of architectural elements subsequently added that are recognized as level 2 cultural resources. At the appropriate time and in accordance with Cultural Resource Management Policy (art. Parks Canada will therefore have to carefully assess the effect that the restoration project would have on the historic character of these cultural resources and will have to consider principles relating to value, public interest, understanding, respect and integrity.
  2. The roofing of the main part of the house, currently asbestos cement shingles, will eventually have to be replaced with a slate roof.
  3. Parks Canada officials had to resign themselves to removing these decorative elements that dated back to the period that the Seigniory Club occupied the manor house; stylistically, they were incompatible with the décor of the time of the Papineau family that they were striving to recreate.
  4. See note 20.
  5. These are areas covered by the long-term lease signed in 1993, but also new parcels of land that could be transferred to Parks Canada in the future.
  6. Architects St-Louis, Amyot, Côté, Leahy, Groupe-conseil Genivar Inc., Chantal Prud'homme, landscape architect, Manoir-Papineau — Rapport d'études conceptuelles [Manoir-Papineau – conceptual design report], document presented to Public Works and Government Services Canada, May 1997, 36 pages + technical appendices.
  7. A more long term goal, this intervention will be carried out only after reaching an agreement with the Anglican community who will be affected by the discontinuation of worship services in the building.
  8. A study conducted in 1994 of current clientele and potential partners (URBANEX, Études sur la clientèle actuelle et d'éventuels partenaires – 1. Recherche de partenaires,) concluded that “...at the present time, no local or regional groups have the organizational and financial structures required to independently take over the management of the Manoir-Papineau site in accordance with Parks Canada's objectives. Consequently, to achieve community involvement in management of the site, two avenues are possible: encourage an existing organization to modify its structures and adopt the same objectives as Parks Canada; or encourage the local groups involved to create a new and separate entity. In both scenarios, the approach required to get the local groups involved to participate in the management of the site will require that Parks Canada deploy considerable efforts towards fostering awareness and cooperation and this will necessarily be taken into consideration in planning the management model”.

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