As part of our continuing Canadian History studies we spent yesterday at Papineau Manoir. We have been learning about the Upper and Lower Canada rebellions so a visit to the country home of Louis-Joseph Papineau was well timed. Louis-Joseph Papineau was a rebel leader of the Parti Patriot in the 1830’s. We were treated to a private tour which lasted twice as long as the grand tour usually lasts. Our guide was excellent; she shared a wealth of historical information with us, entertained us with Papineau family anecdotes and showed us every bit of the manor she could.
The restoration of the manor has been going on for some years now and will continue for a long time to come. Currently the major project is the gardens, which were once quite beautiful, but have declined over the last century. Papineau was very particular about his views of the Ottawa RIver from all the formal rooms. Photographs show views across the gardens to the water. Looking out the windows now the river can only be glimpsed through trees and overgrowth.
We were intrigued to hear stories about Papineau and his family. It is one thing to learn the facts of a rebellion, but to see the rebel leader’s house brings history alive. We heard how his wife rarely came to the manor as she believed all mosquitoes were born there, his son hoarded so many artifacts from Europe that he had to build a museum and Papineau himself built a medieval style tower to house his vast library. We peaked through the tunnel connecting his office to the tower where his books once filled the shelves. We loved the furnishings and stories that went with them, many pieces are originals which have been returned to the manor over the years, more are away being restored so they can once more be displayed.