Manoir-Papineau in Montebello, Quebec is one of Canada’s treasured National Historic Sites and from the moment you step onto the grounds, there is no questioning why.
Even the kids, who sometimes need convincing to do something a bit historic while on vacation, were excited for their guided tour of a real-life 19th century seigneurial manor built by one of Canada’s historic political figures, Louis-Joseph Papineau.
Kid-Friendly Canadian History to Help Your Kids Rock It In History Class
At the start of our tour, the kids were handed a Parks Canada “Xplorers” package including a Manoir-Papineau activity book full of interactive activities like completing a family tree, treasure hunting for images and statues of animals throughout the house and a tic-tac-toe “xplorer” challenge. Instantly the kids knew this was not going to be your average historic site tour.
In Ontario, starting in grade three and into grade seven, the concept of “Seigneuries” is introduced in social studies. Teachers use lots of different ways to teach kids how farmland was distributed, governed and paid for in Lower Canada – usually with some kind of model building. The manor house of Louis-Joseph Papineau, the seigneur of La Petite Nation, brings this history lesson alive for kids in a way that only experiential learning can do.
With the help of the work book, the tour guide, the actors dressed in costumes of the century and interacting with the kids as members of the Papineau family or staff, kids easily consume historical facts and figures that will have them shooting their hands up as soon as their teachers ask a question about how people lived during the seigneurial times.
I Get To What???
“Sit on the furniture”, “set the table with real silver”, “peak into the bedroom of Monsieur Papineau’s daughter”, “set fresh cut flowers from the garden on the dresser”, “join in a game of croquet” and “have tea with Mme. Papineau”.
These were the welcoming words my kids heard while walking through the restored manor house which is a stark contrast to many museum visits filled with don’t touch, whispers only and roped off areas.
While pictures are forbidden inside the manor, experiencing, seeing and even touching was definitely encouraged by both the Parks Canada tour guide and the actors playing members of the Papineau family and staff.
Not to be missed stops along the tour include the seigneur’s office and library tower, the 300 year-old red oak tree as well as the many outbuildings including the granary, the family museum and the stone funeral chapel.
Before your visit, be sure to check out the many activities held at Manoir-Papineau – whether it’s a garden party, high tea or one of the other many family friendly events.
Steps Away from the Fairmont Chateau Montebello
We spent two nights at the Fairmont Chateau Montebello (which was not long enough!) and our visit to Manoir-Papineau was only one of the many activities we walked to from the resort.
The rustic luxury of Chateau Montebello is reason enough to visit Montebello, Quebec but combined with the beautiful walk along the water, past the horse stables and through the forest, from the grounds of the Chateau to the grounds of Manoir Papineau makes the manor experience that much more memorable.
Want to learn more about what to do in Montebello, Quebec with the kids? Check out my post on Choose Your Own Adventure in Montebello, Quebec.
A big huge MERCI to Tourisme Outaouais for giving our family the opportunity to experience Manoir-Papineau.
Image Credit: As photos inside the manor are forbidden, the photo above of the very ornate room inside was provided by Tourisme Outaouais. All other photos included in this post are my own.