Hunting for Beavers in La Maison du Castor (Château Ramezay)

Montreal’s Château Ramezay has a fuzzy past.

The grand house was originally built for Claude de Ramezay, the governor of Montreal from 1703 to 1724. But Ramezay went a little overboard, spending way too much of his own money on the building project. After his widow’s death in 1745, the heirs sold the property to the West Indies Company, which had a monopoly on the export of beaver pelts. The house became the Company’s North American headquarters and was appropriately known as La Maison du Castor (Beaver House).

This legacy is still visible in the museum that now occupies the Château. I first encountered it in the second gallery, when I found myself face to face with a taxidermied beaver. He stood on his webbed hind legs, teeth bared, leaning towards a beaver-sized canoe. 

Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal

With this image seared into my mind, I couldn't help but notice when I came across other beavers in the galleries. And they were plentiful, from old medals to engravings to drinking glasses.

I made it my personal mission to track down all the beavers on display.

Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal
Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal
Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal
Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal
Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal
Beaver, Castor, Chateau Ramezay, Montreal

Château Ramezay: Historic Site and Museum of Montreal

Address: 280 Notre-Dame Street East, Old Montréal ∣ MétroStation Champ-de-Mars (Orange Line) ∣ Opening hoursVaries depending on the season


This is an installment of this month's creativity theme of PLAY. If you missed it, check out a description of the project here