As part of the celebrations surrounding our 350th anniversary, the city of Varennes wants to offer a space of discovery entirely dedicated to the history and heritage of Varennes. While trying to recreate a period atmosphere, thanks to the many elements that allow us to discover past history, the site offers an enjoyable and educational discovery experience.
The Parc du Souvenir has become a place where it is possible to encounter the cultural and traditional elements of daily life in Varennes through the ages. Our 350 years of history exhibits allow an overview of the beautiful years of our development and introduce us to the 25 founding families as well as the various elements present on site that founded Varennes.
Not far from Route 132, in front of a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River, Parc du Souvenir has become, thanks to these new facilities, a new pleasant place to share.
Always, Varennes, cyclists, visitors, descendants of pioneer families and other visitors can walk there to enjoy the park and discover the history of Varennes. New facilities and exhibits accessible at all times, throughout the summer!
Work on the draft horse and his cart
The horses in “Les accomplices des bâtisseurs” by sculptor Michel Giroux are made of cedar and hemlock, wood species that are very durable over time. Each cedar slat, which makes up the horse’s coat, is cut into three corners, one slat at a time. The artist uses clear cedar cuts from the Laurentian region, where he practices his art. Thus, this cedar used for the body is blonde in color while for the mane and tail, the artist uses western cedar which is more reddish in color, which gives it a unique color. In season, the work will present a unique cachet, even under the snow which, according to the artist, will give it a whole new dimension!
This woodwork installation offers citizens and visitors an authentic experience of the early 19th century. In harmony with the elements present on the site and reminiscent of the rural character of the period, these draft horses used for various agricultural tasks evoke the peasant life of the period.
Varenne’s 350th exhibition in a container of rivers and exploits
It traces the 350-year history of Varennes using anecdotes, mapped plans, drawings, archive photos and objects. Discover the main stages of our development, from aboriginal presence, through the development of the five seigneuries, the British conquest, then industrialization to the Varennes of today. In an easily accessible route at all times, the exhibition provides an overview of our past history and a look at the Varens of tomorrow!
A bread oven
A fantastic bread oven, built by craftsman Jean Laberge, fire master and maker of traditional bread ovens for over twenty years. A characteristic element of rural heritage, this small building can be found in different regions of Quebec and even around the world. Built in an innovative way with the modest means available to the inhabitants, the bread oven therefore became an essential tool for feeding one’s family. A variety of amenities have been added to the site, this fantastic construction made of hemlock wood and clay will allow interested citizens to come and bake their bread or pizza on a Sunday in August!
The exhibition “Family and Descent” focuses on the 25 founding families of Varennes and is divided into 4 panels according to themes specific to the development of Varennes. The exhibition thus presents a brief portrait of the descendants of this family who left a significant mark in Varennes or elsewhere in the country. As the exhibition is not linear, visitors have the choice to wander through the exhibition at their leisure without a set itinerary.
The “Earth and Food” exhibit, which describes the traditions of the past, focuses on elements placed in the park, such as a bread oven, a well, an ancestral garden and millstones. The content of the panel, located near these elements, is therefore directly linked to the benefits of space. Although this second exhibit uses the same exhibit structure as the stem family, this exhibit is quite distinct thanks to a different graphic design and a different color scheme!
At the site, it is also possible to find the millstones of Brodeur Mill, which were recovered by the Warrens Historical Society in 2018 and preserved for enhancement. Now on display in the Parc du Souvenir, they were once part of the molding stones of the mill located in Côte-Bisonnet and were preserved and reused by the Prime Brodeur family, especially as soil widening. The latter rescued them between 1920 and 1936 when the windmill was demolished.
New France Garden (previous year’s vegetable garden)
Many of these materials made available to citizens to discover our collective history can be visited at any time. Thus, on the large site, citizens are invited to discover Varenne’s history through some facilities, including, a kitchen garden of the past that presents various plants, vegetables and fine herbs from ancestral seeds. This garden in New France, cleverly laid out and maintained by the Filles du Roy de Varennes, presents a vegetable garden like the one the first settlers to New France created 350 years ago from stumps of freshly cleared land.
Vegetable gardens have been central to the daily diet for centuries. Every summer, our ancestors were busy growing a lot of fruits and vegetables to meet their needs throughout the year. The one created by Fils du Roy highlights a vegetable garden without tomatoes, potatoes and peppers because they were absent from our diet 350 years ago! Filles du Roy’s harvest will be donated to local organizations.