Tours and programs
The grande maison
Your first stop upon arriving at the Forges is the Grande Maison (the "ironmaster's house"). Our personnel will be on hand to welcome you and give you updates on the activities and services offered.
The Grande Maison, which once was a private residence, an administrative centre, a store and a warehouse, today houses a series of exhibits which recount the exceptional history of the Forges du Saint-Maurice, the first industrial community in Canada.
On the ground floor, you will meet the three most important figures in the history of the Forges. Following this, you will go down into the original cellars of this impressive building.
The cellars feature exhibits of the products which made the Forges famous for more than 150 years. The outfit was initially founded in order to fulfill the needs of the king of France (the Forges and the war). During a second phase, the company contributed significantly to the development of the country (the Forges and the colony). Finally, the Forges played a role in efforts at modernizing iron and steel production in Canada (the Forges and industry).
The multimedia show
Once you have finished exploring the cellars, you will attend, at the upper floor, a fascinating multimedia show of about 20 minutes. This show, of the most innovative, combines visual projection on big screen to special effects on the benches and on the model of the Forges site, representing the Forges village in 1845.
At that time, the company, which produced cast iron and bar iron in the workshops lining St. Maurice Creek, was at the zenith of its output and fame. The settlement numbered more than a hundred buildings, and was the home or workplace of more than 400 people.
This show uses high technologies so that visitors can discover the history of the Forges and how took place the everyday life in the first industrial community of the country.
The blast furnace
The archaeological vestiges of the blast furnace have been displayed in a way that may be initially surprising. The framework of metal tubing was designed to provide a gauge of the exterior volumes of the various buildings which at one time surrounded the blast furnace, forming an intricate complex with the latter.
The blast furnace was the very heart of the Forges. For more than 150 years, thousands of tons of pig iron were produced on this site, in what amounted to an important first step toward producing castings and wrought iron objects.
Come on in! The inside is as surprising as the outside.
What raw materials went into the production of cast iron? How and where was iron ore to be found? Why were limestone and charcoal used?
The lower forge
By taking the trail along the St. Maurice Creek, you will pass in front of the vestiges of the upper forge and of the flour and wood mill.
You will soon seen a very tall stone chimney, an amazing vestige rising almost 15 m above the ground. It is in fact the chimney of the lower forge, which was built a few dozen metres from the St. Maurice River.