- Auberge Saint-Gabriel is Montreal's oldest restaurant, and we're here to fill you in on its deeply rooted history.
- Read all about this iconic establishment below!
Auberge Saint-Gabriel has a certain je ne sais quoi about it that has existed for over 300 years. As the oldest standing restaurant in all of Montreal, this locale has a unique and fascinating history. You may have had a delicious meal within these walls and have most likely danced to some killer house music downstairs. But as a city, do we know the history behind this iconic Montreal establishment?
What many of you may not know is that the building you see before you today was actually built back in 1688 by a French soldier — way before Montreal was even "Montreal."
On March 4, 1754, it became the first auberge (hostel or inn in English) in all of North America to receive a liquor license. This may just be part of the explanation as to why our city loves to party so much.
During the 19th century, the building was turned into a townhouse. But by 1914, a man named Ludger Truteau returned it back to its original vocation. And we can thank Truteau until today for that one.
Many people also believe that this location is haunted. In the 19th century, a fire struck the building and a little girl lost her life in the tragic accident. Some believe that her spirit still lingers within the confines of the building.
And, although it's a little creepy, it does make sense to anyone who has spent time within the establishment, as you may or may not have sensed a spirit lingering around you.
As stated on the website, "if Auberge Saint-Gabriel's walls could talk, they would tell many tales of the events that have marked Quebec’s history."
The Bolay family then purchased Auberge in 1987 and has remained a major presence with the establishment ever since.
You may have danced the night away at Velvet nightclub, which is downstairs from Truteau Hall. I even took my wedding photos in the attic. But did you know a fur trading post once lived in the same space that you danced in?
Let that one sink in.
As you walk through Auberge Saint-Gabriel, you are truly getting a glimpse of Canada's, Quebec's, and Montreal's history.
Throughout the establishment, there are odes to our cities past and present, thanks to designer Bruno Braën.
Braën was "excited to incorporate icons that symbolize not only Quebec’s history but the history of an entire continent into the Auberge’s decor," according to the Auberge's website.
Auberge is now owned by three of Montreal's most renowned figures: Marc Boulay, Garou, and Guy Laliberté. The three masterminds have transformed this historical landmark into a fine dining establishment that is known to cook up some of the finest Quebec cuisines.
Not only will the eatery impress you, but this historic gem also happens to house one of the trendiest nightclubs in the city. There is also an elegant attic known to host up-scale events that will truly mesmerize any guest.
Auberge Saint-Gabriel has genuinely become the go-to spot for a variety of needs for us Montrealers and tourists alike.
This Old Port establishment has lived many lives since its inception. And it is one of those iconic establishments that give our city that extra charm (and pizzas) that other cities simply don't have.
From celebrations and tasty meals to fires and haunted rumours, there's nothing that can happen within these walls that would surprise us at this point.
I can bet that after learning all about its history, you most likely will never at this iconic 514 building with the same eyes — because now you'll be able to see the deep roots that it comes from.
You can find out even more about Auberge Saint-Gabriel's history on its website.