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Monklands was the residence of the Governors General of Canada from 1844 to1849. Photo published in “Le monde illustré”, June 1893
In 1795, James Monk, Chief Justice of Lower Canada, purchased an estate in Montreal that had previously belonged to the Des Carryes (Décarie) family. The first Monk residence, built in 1804, was the central section of the present-day Villa Maria.
Sir James Monk willed the property known as ‘Monklands’ to his niece, Elizabeth Ann Monk. In 1844, the family leased Monklands to the Crown as a residence for the Governors General of Canada. Modifications were made to create a more imposing residence.
Three Governors General - Sir Charles Metcalfe, Lord Cathcart and Lord Elgin - resided at Monklands. In 1849, Lady Elgin gave birth to a son, the future Viceroy of India, in a second floor room overlooking the driveway. Monklands was later turned into a country hotel for five years.
The third phase of the building’s history began in 1854 when the Congrégation de Notre-Dame purchased the estate to open a boarding school for girls. They called it Villa Maria.
Monklands is one of the oldest remaining Palladian-style villas in Canada. Because of its excellent state of conservation and the historic importance of its various occupants, it was declared an historic monument in 1951 by the Canadian government.
To learn more about Marguerite Bourgeoys and the work of the CND, go to www.archivesvirtuelles-cnd.org/en