Daily Activities and Programs
Visitors to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons can marvel at a world that existed over 370 years ago. This impressive reconstruction takes you back in time to a story of cultural contact, determination, drama, and survival. A colourful audio-visual presentation sets the stage for your journey. As you explore the historic site you'll sense the challenges faced by those who founded and worked at this famous mission. Throughout the summer, active demonstrations by historically-costumed staff provide insight into 17th century European and Native culture, lifestyle, and technology.
Special Summer Activities
Throughout July and August, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is pleased to offer fun and informative demonstrations and “hands-on” activities that share aspects of life in the 17th century. These include 17th century fire-starting, historic clothing and medicine, native games, 17th century music, historic cooking, and more. Additional activities for children will feature quill pen writing.
Additional Program Features
Over 360 years ago, Sainte-Marie flourished as an active community in New France and a founding settlement in Ontario. Carpenters, a farmer, and a surgeon were among the volunteers (donnés) and paid workers who built this mission headquarters for the Jesuits. Today visitors may view some original structural remains which include bastion walls and three stone fireplaces. Specialists have painstakingly treated and conserved the fireplaces as they represent some of the most significant masonry remains in North America. The fireplaces can be viewed upon your arrival through the reconstruction's main entrance.
17th Century Technology
Exploring the European compound at Sainte-Marie puts you in touch with technology used four centuries ago. Some tools, such as block planes and braces and bits, have changed little over time. Making holes with the historic pump drill delights kids of all ages, and sharply contrasts to modern carpentry tools. The Blacksmith shop was originally staffed by a Jesuit lay brother. This "man of iron" fascinated the visiting natives as he executed his craft. Iron was scarce due to the difficulty in transporting it by canoe and so was used sparingly. Because coal was not available, Sainte-Marie's blacksmith would have often relied on wood embers for his forge making the heating of metal a challenging task. Items that were manufactured at Sainte-Marie included nails, hinges, spikes and small structural items.
After touring the historic site, the Sainte-Marie Museum provides a wonderful conclusion to the visitor experience. As you explore this interactive museum you'll discover superb exhibits, sound effects, and audio-visual presentations that position the Sainte-Marie story in a global context. Themes include Voyages of Discovery, 17th century France, New France and the Fur Trade, the role of the Canoe, Archaeology, Reconstruction, and fascinating original artifacts excavated from Sainte-Marie.