The report of the archaeological excavations carried out in 2018 on the grounds of Fort-Lorette, adjacent to the Church of the Visitation, concludes that research must continue. The site has not yet revealed all its secrets. To find the best ways to enhance it, the City is continuing its consultations.
The firm Arkéos submitted its conclusions after carrying out an excavation campaign during the previous summer, a second in two years on behalf of the City.
Metro has a copy of the very detailed document, which has not yet been released. It lists more than 2,400 artefacts found at the Fort-Lorette site, including 1,500 pieces of bone from animal remains and a single human bone.
Excavations have brought to light the remains of terracotta containers as well as glass objects such as shards of bottles, or others which bear witness to various periods of life in the fort. For the most part, they “correspond to small objects typical of native mission contexts and observed in other similar sites”, underlines Arkéos.
Certain elements stand out, in particular a fork, a pair of scissors, metal buttons, remains of belt buckles, cut flint or even a medal. These pieces constitute the beginning of a museum collection for Fort-Lorette.
Archaeologists must determine the exact location of the old fort. They are also looking for traces of the native village. The work must continue.
“Archaeological interventions carried out in 2017-2018 are, obviously, far from elucidating all the questions regarding the occupation and organization of the mission of Fort Lorette. As is generally the case in archeology, it even gives rise to new questions which, for the moment, remain unanswered, ”the researchers write.
Built in 1691, Fort-Lorette had replaced the Mission de la Montagne in Montreal, intended for the evangelization of the natives, which was closed in 1696.
At the same time, the City of Montreal wants to enhance the site and make it more pleasant to visitors. Three options are on the table for the layout. They are the result of a long process of discussion that brought together several partners, including the Société d’histoire d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville (SHAC).
“We think that it is perhaps a bit early to think about enhancing the site because we do not know its potential and a large part of what we have under our feet”, underlines the co-president of the SHAC, Yvon Gagnon.
He agrees with the project, but with certain caveats. “You cannot invest a considerable amount in development and then do excavation. We will then have to undo everything ”, assures this defender of heritage.
The Sault-au-Récollet district councilor, Jérôme Norman, who participates in this development of an overall vision, ensures that the necessary time must be taken before starting work.
“As the place is sensitive and calls on several stakeholders, namely Kanesatake, Hydro-Quebec and the Church of La Visitation Factory, it would be difficult to imagine that the work would begin before 2023”, he notes. .
The City also wishes to propose future scenarios to the general public, who will be able to express their views through a survey this fall. However, no details have leaked out.
Yvon Gagnon nonetheless emphasizes that the three options are aimed at integrating the Sisters of Mercy laundry room, a large building adjacent to the project land. It could serve as a museum space or as an interpretation or documentation center.