Héritage Saint-Bernard

Between earth, sky and water

Our mission

Héritage Saint-Bernard is an environmental non-profit organization whose purpose is to protect and enhance natural territories as well as offering touristic and educational activities.

Become a member Annual general meeting

Our values

Since its foundation, Héritage Saint-Bernard grew up since, working, among others, to enhance collective assets it owns and still holding to the social values it was built on. In addition to the natural ressources, human ressources are part of the richness of the organization. Although it is managed like a business with products and services, Héritage Saint-Bernard pursue its mission with collective wealth and social profitability in mind. It is the very essence of a social economy enterprise.

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YOUNG PEOPLE SENSITIZED
VISITORS TO THIS DAY
BIRDS SPECIES COUNTER
PROTECTED HECTARES

A rich historical past

To trace Île Saint-Bernard’s rich history, it is necessary to go back 4,000 years in time, when Aboriginal communities occupied the land. Several archeological digs over the years have confirmed that a stopover on the island was highly appreciated by these occupants.

Several centuries later, in 1673, Île Saint-Bernard welcomed its first seigneur, Sieur Charles Lemoyne de Longueuil. He was responsible for the construction of the first manor house, a wooden fortification with a chapel, and a windmill. As the years came and went, so did a succession of seigneurs.

In 1765, Marguerite d’Youville, the founder of the Sisters of Charity of Montréal, better known as the Grey Nuns, acquired the seigneury of Châteauguay and became its last “seigneuresse.” For over 200 years, the Grey Nuns lived on the island and protected the land. They planted an orchard, set up a small dairy farm and grew wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat and vegetables. Since the Grey Nuns believed in “protecting all life,” it was possible to preserve an exceptional natural area, the Refuge faunique Marguerite-D’Youville (wildlife sanctuary). It is protected in perpetuity.

A collective heritage

In 2011, the city of Châteauguay purchased the Grey Nuns’ tertre (knoll), including about a dozen buildings, including the Manoir D’Youville, a 115-room hotel, an imposing stone manor house, a barn, an old mill and even a cemetery. Héritage Saint-Bernard, already manager of over 90% of Île Saint-Bernard for conservation purposes, was mandated to oversee the management of the new assets acquired by Châteauguay.

Official documents

In 2003, Sister Suzanne Olivier, from the Congrégation des Soeurs Grises de Montréal, wrote a fascinating document about the île Saint-Bernard's rich past.
To consult the document, click here(french only).
(Archives des Sœurs Grises de Montréal, Olivier, Sœur Suzanne. Historique de Châteauguay, mai 2003, 138 pages.)

The Soeurs Grises de Montréal were kind enough to share another very interesting document: the story of Soeur McMullen's trip to Châteauguay, wrote in 1838 throughout the rebellion!
To consult the document, click here(french only).

Have a pleasant reading!