Saturday, July 31, 2010

Channel Your Inner Archaeologist

Lots of doings in August all around Quebec for Archaeology Month.

July 31, 2010
Archaeology Month brings themed family activities
Contributing Writer

MONTREAL — Shovel? Check. Pail? Check. Map? Check. Curiosity? Double check.

Archeo Quebec presents its annual summertime big dig called Quebec Archaeology Month. In all, some 83 archaeologically-themed family activities — walking and boat tours, historical site visits and actual digs — are held at 48 locations throughout the province. Here are a few ways to channel the inner archaeologist in you.


Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, hosts the self-guided "Fleur-de-lis Tour," which points out historical sites of interest in Old Montreal. The tour is held throughout the month, and info is available at the Pointe-a-Calliere ticket counter.

Pointe-a-Calliere then hosts three free activities the last weekend in August, including the annual Public Market and "The City under the City," a free tour of Montreal's first "downtown" — actually the Old Port streets that border the museum. Stops explore an 18th-century fortified town, a re-created New France marketplace, the local business district and the governor's residence. (Photo: permanent exhibit at Pointe-a-Calliere digging down into the city's foundations, and below, showing it's layers!)

Another activity is "Fledgling Archaeologists," with a simulated dig for children led by an archaeologist. These free events are held Aug. 28 and 29 throughout the day at 350 place Royale in Old Montreal. Regular museum admission costs $15 for adults. Call (514) 872-9150, or visit

"Bon-Secours: a 2,400-year-old Site" highlights the findings from the Notre-Dame de Bonsecours Chapel, which is part New France church and part actual working dig in Old Montreal. The artifacts are displayed at the adjoining Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum. It's held Aug. 1 through 15 at 400 St. Paul St. E. Admission costs $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Call (514) 282-8670, Ext. 242, or visit

Next, some archaeological sites are best explored by water. The Lachine Canal National Historic Site of Canada and the Lachine Museum offer "Lachine Archeo-Trek," a two-and-a-half hour bilingual expedition led by an archaeologist and historical guide aboard a rabaska canoe.

The trek begins at the museum and continues to the Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site. It's held today, Sunday and weekends throughout August. Morning and afternoon departures are at 9:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Admission is $3.90, and the activity fee costs $7.80. For departure-point information and reservations call (514) 637-7433, or visit


A number of activities are planned in the Monteregie region located between the U.S. border and the south shore of Montreal.

The Fort Lennox National Historic Site of Canada hosts "Small Objects, Big Stories," which explores the everyday life of the soldier and his family at an authentic British fort located on Ile aux Noix, an island in the middle of the Richelieu River just 8 miles north of the U.S./Canadian border. Topics include food, hygiene and shipbuilding. The event takes place afternoons this Sunday through Aug. 6.

A six-and-a-half-hour riverbed discovery tour navigates its way along the Richelieu River (in French only). Stops include Ile aux Noix and the shipwrecks of the Richelieu River. It's held Aug. 25 and 26. Book through Les Croisieres Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville at (450) 348-9744. The cruise costs $110.

Admission to Fort Lennox costs $7.80 for adults and $3.90 for children 6 to 16. At 1 61st Ave. in St. Paul de l'Ile aux Noix. Call (450) 291-5700, or visit

Droulers/Tsiionhiakwatha Archaeological Site offers an authentic reconstruction of a 15th-century Iroquoian settlement complete with re-created longhouses. The site offers public digs and tours Aug. 7, 14 and 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission costs $6. At 1800 Leahy Road in St. Anicet, Que. Call (450) 264-3030, or visit

Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada presents "Archaeological Day" Aug. 22. Visitors can follow a guided tour held on the site of the first canals dug along the St. Lawrence in the 18th and 19th centuries. At 308 Chemin du Fleuve, Coteau-du-Lac, Que. Cost is $3.90 for adults and $1.90 for children 6 to 16. Call (450) 763-5631, or visit

Finally, Pointe du Buisson Archaeological Park hosts "5,000 Years Brought to Life." A costumed guide leads a tour of an archaeological-rich authentic Amerindian dig site along the St. Lawrence River. The two-hour tours are held Aug. 7, 18 and 29. Cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 17.

A half-day activity is "Let's Dig," which lets visitors participate in an actual archaeological dig. Any finds get donated to the site's museum. While the activity is listed in French, most of the staff are bilingual. The three-hour digs are held Tuesday through Sunday throughout August. Admission costs $18 for adults, $10 for children 8 to 17 and $51 for a family of four. Reservations are required. At 333 Emond St. in Melocheville, Que. Call (450) 429-7857, or visit

For complete listings, visit

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