Neighbourhood - Buildings

Formerly Musée Historique Canadien


During a visit to Canada, French sculptor Albert Chartier observed the religious and patriotic fervour of French Canadians. He partnered with French artist Robert Tancrède to open the Musée Historique Canadien - a wax museum devoted entirely to Catholic historical figures. Opened in 1935 after extensive negotiations with the religious authorities, the museum was forbidden to parish priests: it was feared, in particular, that people would start visiting the museum instead of the nearby St. Joseph's Oratory. The wax museum featured both historic and modern-day scenes related to Catholicism. These included scenes from the early days of the Christian church, Mary and Joseph's flight into Egypt, and the arrival in Canada of Jacques Cartier and his encounter with the Amerindians. Most of the wax figures were created by Albert Chartier.

The first museum of its kind in North America and the third in the world after Madame Tussauds in London and the Musée Grévin in Paris, the wax museum attracted more than ten million visitors before it closed in 1989. The collection of about two hundred figures and props now belongs to the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City. The building now houses a pharmacy.

Image : HM_ARC_001965

Historical Museum of Montreal

13.8 cm x 8.8 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_002446

Musée historique canadien (Wax Museum)

© Ville de Montréal, Gestion de documents et archives (Microfiche UD-103-108), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_001968

Wax scene showing the Saint Joseph's workshop

13.7 cm x 8.8 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_001969

Wax scene showing Jacques Cartier at Gaspé

13.6 cm x 8.9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005260

Wax scene showing a warden at rest

8.9 cm x 13.9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005264

Wax scene showing the Adoration of the Magi

13.6 cm x 8.9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal