Champlain dreamed of establishing a trading post in Montréal but, in 1642, a mission colony was established on the site instead: hence the name Ville-Marie, used interchangeably with Montréal. Things were hard at first for the fledgling colony, but these early settlers, called Montréalistes, prevailed, and the colony gradually took hold.
An apostolic project
Around 1630, the Catholic elite in France was influenced by a religious revival and discovered the Canadian missions through the Jesuit chronicles, Les relations. The founders of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal pour la conversion des sauvages de la Nouvelle-France evolved within this social context. Totally uninterested in the fur trade, they intended to establish a mission colony composed of Amerindian converts and French settlers.
After acquiring the seigneury of the Island of Montréal, they entrusted its settlement to Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and joined forces with Jeanne Mance, who planned to build a hospital with the support of a wealthy benefactress. They then proceeded to hire settlers, mostly craftsmen. As the appointed governor, Maisonneuve would hold military and civil powers, particularly in legal matters. Jeanne Mance would be the new colony’s treasurer.
Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve
Jérôme LeRoyer de la Dauversière
Father Le Jeune