Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Ontario, Canada
Tourism, Travel Guide
2009 Hours of Operation:
April 27 to May 15 and October 12 to October 30 (Monday to Friday)
May 16 to October 11 (7 days per week)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last admission 4:45 p.m.)
Before you come, you should try to get coupons for a discount on the entrance fee.
Ask when you visit a local tourist office or even in your hotel.
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You will get a map as shown on below when you enter the museum. All information on that will be in English and not in German!
Don't miss to see the interesting film which is shown. There is no extra charge for it and a little surprise is waiting for you at the end.
Many thanks to Anne MacDougall and Calligraph Design Advertising
The area around Midland is rich on natural beauty. It also offers a great variety of attractions. Most of them you can enjoy even on a rainy day. We had rain when we came to this rebuilt 17 th century French Jesuit mission.
Originally the Wendat nation lived here. They called their land Wendake.
Samuel de Champlain, the founder of New France as Canada was called at that time, considered Christianization as essential for a colonization.
Only few Europeans had settled at this time in what we call today Canada and I learned that this was the first settlement in today's Ontario.
For that reason he supported the French Jesuits when they started to built a mission station in 1639 on the banks of the Wye River. It was called "Sainte-Marie among the Hurons". Hurons was the name which the French used for the Wendat nation.
Surprisingly the Jesuits were very successful in converting Hurons to Christianity.
Through hard work and using the waterways to Quebec the mission became self sufficient.
About 60 French people lived her.
Unfortunately, the Iroquois did not like the activities of the Jesuits and the Wendat, which were offspring's of the Iroquois. They started with attacks.
After approximately 10 years the remaining Jesuits and their followers fled after burning down the mission headquarter.
After over 300 years the reconstruction of this historical place began.
When we went on our little trip to the Georgian Bay area it was very hot and almost everybody was waiting for rain.
The rain arrived at the same time as we did at "Sainte-Marie among the Hurons". The only problem was to keep the lens of my camera dry. I failed a few times as you may see.
Unfortunately, we could not join a guided group tour when we visited this historical place. Normally, we do that.
However, costumed staff could be found who answered all of our questions. Also traditional craftsmanship was demonstrated.
Strolling around we discovered always something new. A blacksmith's shop, a house in which the food for all the inhabitants was prepared, a room used for drying herbs, a room for studies, two long houses to accommodate visiting Hurons. One was for the already Christianized ones, the others for the none-believers.
We found a small herb garden. Some of the herbs were used for the care and healing of sick people for which a small hospital had been built.
For those who passed away a small cemetery had been provided.
All houses were solidly built. The floors were pure soil.
Please use the link below for our slideshow about this visit.
Even the church was kept simple. Nothing of the pomp which you could see in Europe at this time. This demonstrated that the mission work was performed under privations and risks.
We were pleased that the task of the reconstruction of this historical place was not only to attract tourists, but also to provide many information about how Canada became what it is today.
Check which actual programs are offered for further education.
The church was kept very simple
The palisades provided certainly some protection against wind, blowing snow, wild animals and attackers. I was not able to find out whether the priests helped to defend the mission against them. Normally, there were always a few soldiers her, especially during winter.
Unfortunately, the Iroquois which were the enemies of the Jesuits and the Hurons were stronger. The surviving occupants set the settlement on fire and fled.
In remembrance on the Jesuits and their helpers which were often tortured before they died the famous church "Martyr"s Shrine" was erected close by. This landmark had even been visited by a pope.
Pleas check the Internet for more and better information. I only wrote down what we learned during our visit a few years ago.
A good protection against wild animals and blowing snow - but good against attackers?
We always used the plan because we did not want to miss anything. The area of the mission station is pretty large.
The kids obviously loved it to run around and to see all the strange things.
Surprisingly, they were not screaming and yelling. So there is no reason not to visit the place with your kids and think they may get bored.
I was surprised about the size of the mission station
It was obviously very important to have always a reliable supply of water for all the inhabitants in case of a siege.
I was really impressed what the Jesuits achieved in a relatively short time - far away from any civilization.
Please plan sufficient time for a visit. Do not arrive too late! We only showed you a little bit, but you know now what to expect.
Naturally, there is also a gift store which carries a selection of Native crafts and other interesting things. A good place to get some extraordinary souvenirs or present for friends.
There is even a restaurant, but I missed that. Elizabeth, my wife is never hungry!
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