The archives, as well as the collections of movable heritage assets and old and rare books, are carefully preserved by the Priests of Saint Sulpice of Montréal within heritage buildings that are part of two historic sites recognized by the governments of Québec and Canada.

These are the Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice Heritage Site and the Domain of the Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice.

Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice
Heritage Site

Exterior view of the Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice. Photo: Fannie Dionne, historian (2022).

The Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice, commonly known as the Old Seminary of Montréal, is located at 116 Notre-Dame Street West, adjacent to the Notre-Dame Basilica and facing Place d’Armes, in the municipal borough of Ville-Marie in the city of Montréal. It is part of the Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice Heritage Site.

In addition to the main building of the Old Seminary, built in a U-shaped plan, the heritage site includes the front yard and the back garden. Once one of the most famous on the North American continent, this garden was used successively as a vegetable garden, a walking park, and a parking lot before its redevelopment. The oldest public clock in North America, which still strikes the hour, dominates the façade of the Old Seminary.

The Saint-Sulpice Seminary and its Garden was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980, due to the quality of the building’s architecture, the remarkable integrity of the conventual garden, and the seminary’s long association with the Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice. In 1985, the Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice and the Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice Heritage Site were also classified by the Government of Québec and are therefore listed in the Québec Cultural Heritage Register. The building is still the main residence of the Priests of Saint Sulpice of Montréal and is the place where the Sulpician archives are kept.

“The Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice Heritage Site is of interest for its historical value related to the role played by the Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice in the Montréal society. They arrived in Ville-Marie (Montréal) in 1657 and became missionaries and educators, providing spiritual services to the parish of Notre-Dame. In 1663, they acquired the seigneury of the Island of Montréal. In order to develop it and activate its settlement, they granted land, directed the development of the territory, supported the religious communities and created several parishes which they served. In 1840, the seigniorial regime is abolished on the island of Montréal, but the role of the Sulpicians does not diminish. They are entrusted by the bishop, Monsignor Bourget, to train the Catholic clergy of the entire diocese of Montréal, founded in 1836. The seminary of Saint-Sulpice thus served as a seigneurial manor, a presbytery, a seminary and a convent. For a long time, the Old Seminary was the symbol of the power of the Sulpicians in Montréal. Today, it is a reminder of the important role played by the Sulpicians in the history of Montréal and Québec.” Excerpt translated from the Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec (RPCQ)

of the Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice

Formerly known as the “Grand Séminaire de Montréal”, the domain of the Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice is located at 2065 Sherbrooke Street West, in the municipal borough of Ville-Marie in Montréal, more precisely on the southern slope of Mount Royal. This domain is no longer an educational center for future priests. In fact, since 2020, the Archdiocese of Montréal has taken over the seminary, now called the Grand Séminaire de l’Archidiocèse de Montréal, which is now located at 6895 Boyer Street.

The Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice estate has a rich history. A mission for the natives was established there in 1676. It was surrounded by a defensive complex, of which two towers dating from 1685 remain. After the mission moved to the Sault-au-Récollet in 1704, the site became an agricultural estate including a country house for the Sulpicians. This vocation changed in 1854, when the construction of the new building of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal began, and was subsequently enlarged several times. In 1871, the main body of the new Collège de Montréal (formerly in Old Montréal) was completed, a few years before the college chapel, which was completely transformed between 1904 and 1907.

For its historical, architectural, landscape and archaeological values, the Domain of the Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice was classified as a heritage site by the Québec government in 1982. Several elements of the estate are recognized by governments. For example, the archaeological site of Fort de la Montagne, listed in the Inventaire des sites archéologiques du Québec, is associated with the site. The towers of the Fort-des-Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice have been considered a National Historic Site of Canada since 1970 and a Québec heritage building since 1974. The Grand Seminary of Montréal Chapel is also a Québec heritage building, classified since 2016.

“The domain of the Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice is a vast institutional complex built up from 1675. It includes the towers of the Fort-des-Messieurs-de-Saint-Sulpice (1685), the Grand Seminary (1855-1857), the Collège de Montréal (1868-1871), the residence of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family (1909), the mother house of the congregation of the Little Daughters of St. Joseph (1910-1911), the Hermitage (1911-1913), as well as several secondary buildings and dependencies. The irregularly shaped grounds of nearly twelve hectares are bordered by a low stone wall along Sherbrooke Street. It is laid out in parterres in front of the main entrances to the Grand Séminaire and the Collège de Montréal. A long pond (1801) bordered by a path and framed by trees is located west of the Grand Séminaire. A small wooded area covers the northern part of this section of the estate.” Excerpt translated from the Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec (RPCQ)