Holidays at the McCord Stewart Museum - McCord Stewart Museum


November 1, 2023

Holidays at the McCord Stewart Museum

Press Release

Tradition, creativity and learning for the whole family

Montreal, November 1, 2023. – The McCord Stewart Museum, with the support of iÖGO nanö, will present holiday programming for all ages from Saturday, November 25, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. Ogilvy’s iconic Christmas window displays, which have delighted Montrealers for over 70 years, will be back in the Museum’s theatre and outside on Sherbrooke Street. The sumptuous dolls’ castle from the collection of Liliane Stewart (1928-2014) is also returning this year and is sure to add a twinkle in the eyes of children big and small. A ton of fun, creative activities related to the four current exhibitions will make the Museum a big hit with families this holiday season. The public is also invited to take part in the Welcome! Want to play? toy drive by bringing a used toy in good condition to the Museum. Home cooks who are nostalgic for recipes from yesteryear can explore the webpage What’s Cooking in Our Archives, a selection of 18th to 21st century recipes to test over the holidays. On Saturday, November 25, a special day of free activities will follow the traditional Santa Claus Parade, to celebrate the opening of Ogilvy’s Christmas window displays and the launch of the Holidays at the Museum programming.

Ogilvy’s mechanical Christmas windows at the Museum

From Saturday, November 25, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024

Free access to The Mill in the Forest outdoors. Access to The Enchanted Village in the Museum’s theatre included with admission or through a voluntary contribution.

  • © Roger Aziz – Musée McCord Stewart Museum, 2022
  • © Roger Aziz – Musée McCord Stewart Museum, 2022
  • © Roger Aziz – Musée McCord Stewart Museum, 2022
  • © Roger Aziz – Musée McCord Stewart Museum, 2022

Ogilvy’s mechanical Christmas windows

Montrealers have been spellbound by the mechanical displays in Ogilvy’s department store window for over 70 years – a Holiday tradition that began in 1947. The Bavarian scenes, custom made by the German toy manufacturer Steiff, feature dozens of handcrafted animals working and playing.

In 1911, the firm began producing mechanical windows featuring moving animals, which stores could rent or purchase – an effective way of entertaining children while promoting their merchandise. James Aird Nesbitt, who owned Ogilvy’s department store from 1927 to 1985, bought two – The Enchanted Village and The Mill in the Forest.

Similar to those of department stores in other parts of the world, such as Macy’s in New York or Galeries Lafayette in Paris, these window displays are among the last of their kind in North America. They were donated to the McCord Stewart Museum in March 2018 by Holt Renfrew with the goal of preserving and ensuring the continuation of the iconic Montreal displays.

Children can explore the displays through a captivating game of Seek and Find (available for free at the Museum entrance).

Through a partnership with İÖGO nanö, the Museum is proudly maintaining this holiday tradition that has amazed Montrealers of all ages for 75 years!

“The holiday season in Montreal wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Ogilvy holiday windows at the McCord Museum. Lactalis Canada’s iÖGO nanö is excited to once again partner with the Museum and continue this enchanting tradition that ignites the imagination of children and adults year after year,” said Marjorie Houle, Marketing Director.

The Castle Ball

From Saturday, November 25, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024

A sumptuous castle of dolls that come alive to the sound of music is being added to the indoor window display for even more magic this holiday season! From the private collection of Liliane Stewart (1928-2014), Montreal philanthropist and wife of the Stewart Museum’s founder, David. M Stewart (1920-1984), this enchanting castle presents an 18th century ball where guests dance in their finest attire.

Welcome! Want to Play? toy drive

Sharing together

December 16 to 31, 2023

For the holidays at the Museum, the public is invited to take part in our toy and memory drive, Welcome! Want to Play? We encourage anyone wishing to donate a toy that is in good condition, functional and safe to accompany their gift with a welcome message and a memory about the toy. In collaboration with the Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI), the Museum will present the toys to families that have recently arrived in Montreal to make them feel welcome.

For full details of the toy drive, visit the Museum website.

Fun and creative activities for the whole family

The holiday programming is included with admission to the exhibitions.

Admission to the Museum is free for ages 17 and under.*

Le premier arbre de Noël book launch

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – At the Museum

Éditions de La Pastèque and the Museum invite families to the launch of Le premier arbre de Noël (The First Christmas Tree), in the company of its author, Innu storyteller Ovila Fontaine, and illustrator Charlotte Parent. A reading of the tale, a discussion and workshops will introduce the public to the flora and fauna of Nitassinan (the Innu territory) and to the artists.

The author will also organize a tasting of traditional dishes. A special opportunity to immerse all one’s senses in Innu culture!

Activity in French. Space limited, no reservation. On-site registration on the day of the activity.

Holidays at the Museum launch day

Saturday, November 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Free – At the Museum

The Museum is throwing open its doors for the launch of its holiday programming, celebrating the traditions that Montrealers hold dear at this time of year meant for sharing and coming together. Free activities for the whole family will be available all day: storytelling, guided tours, and workshop to create snowy landscapes are on the program for this festive day, with wonderful surprises in store for the whole family.

Café Notman is also joining in the festivities, with free hot chocolate for everyone at the Museum that day. The Museum Boutique is offering a 25% discount on children’s books on this special day.

Family tours of the exhibition Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan

Available every Saturday and Sunday from December 2, 2023, and every day from December 23, 2023, to January 7, 2024:

– Tours in French: 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
– Tours in English: 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m.

Immerse yourself in the past with a family-friendly guided tour of the exhibition Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan. Let us take you on a journey through the lives of Montrealers of the time, dotted with objects you can handle. You’ll learn how winter was experienced in Montreal over 150 years ago, and the origins of some well-known sports.

Collaborative holiday window display – Create a snowy landscape

Available every Saturday and Sunday from November 25, 2023, and every day from December 23, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

Inspired by the tradition of Ogilvy’s mechanical Christmas window displays, this year the Museum is introducing a brand–new collaborative display that will delight families on their next holiday visit. After visiting the exhibitions, a creative workshop will invite artists for a day to create a work inspired by Duncan’s winter landscapes and the mechanical displays. Their creation will be added to the Museum’s collaborative holiday window.

Workshop around the book Le premier arbre de Noël

Saturday, December 23, 2023, and Sunday, January 7, 2024, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. – At the Museum

Drawing on the imagery of Le premier arbre de Noël, published by Éditions de La Pastèque, illustrator Charlotte Parent will lead a greeting card workshop where families can (re)discover the wonderful flora and fauna of Nitassinan, which means “our land” in the Innu-aimun language. This traditional territory of the Innu stretches from Lake Mistassini in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and from the St. Lawrence River in the south to the edge of the Boreal forest in the north.

A reading of the book Le premier arbre de Noël (The First Christmas Tree) will precede the workshop exploring the artist’s techniques for creating animated beings from her observational drawings of nature.

The book Le premier arbre de Noël is available at the Museum Boutique.

Activity in French. Space limited, no reservation. On-site registration on the day of the activity.

Wampum: Honouring Your Word with PAAL

Saturday, December 30, 2023, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Free – At the Museum

The Museum and PAAL Partageons le monde invite families to take part in a wampum-making workshop presented alongside the exhibition Wampum: Beads of Diplomacy. The public is invited to discover this important aspect of Indigenous cultures in a workshop for the whole family (ages 8 and up).

Activity in French and English. Space limited, no reservation. Registration on the day of the event at the Museum Admissions Desk. Recommended for children ages 8 and up. Parent participation is required. (The activity is also presented on Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.).

Activity presented by Rio Tinto.

Natu-natshishkueu: The Adventure of Connection


This participatory activity, presented by Hydro-Québec, invites families to team up and discover the new permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience. Through observation, imagination and discussion, children and adults encounter Indigenous nations by exploring the Museum’s Indigenous Cultures collection and the many stories it holds. Each child will receive an exploration booklet to set off on their adventure.

Free activity, in French and English. Recommended for children aged 6 to 11.

A Hydro-Québec presentation.

Exhibitions to explore

  • Photo : Laura Dumitriu © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Photo : Laura Dumitriu © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum – Roger Aziz
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum – Roger Aziz
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum – Laura Dumitriu
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum – Laura Dumitriu
  • © Musée McCord Museum
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • © Musée McCord Stewart Museum

Becoming Montreal: The 1800s Painted by Duncan

Until April 21, 2024

Step back in time with the delicate watercolours of James Duncan.. A true chronicler of his time, the artist documented the evolution of Montreal during the five decades he was active there, from 1830 to 1880. Gathered together for the first time, a hundred of his works offer a unique insight into the 19th-century city. As an epilogue, a digital work by digital art studio Iregular offers a rereading of Duncan’s paintings in the form of AI-generated images, presenting a recomposed universe and dreamed landscapes of a Montreal that no longer exists.

The exhibition is presented by La Presse.

The McCord Stewart Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in the production of the digital artwork presented in this exhibition.

Wampum: Beads of Diplomacy

Until March 10, 2024

Children’s tour of the exhibition (ages 9 to 12)

Wampum are remarkable objects made from shell beads that were exchanged for over two centuries—from the early 17th to the early 19th century—during diplomatic meetings between nations in northeastern America, including European nations. For the first time, this unprecedented exhibition brings together over 40 wampum belts from public and private collections in Quebec, Canada and Europe. Some forty cultural objects from the period also help to contextualize and explain their fundamental role.

The participation of contemporary Indigenous voices in the exhibition highlights the continuing importance of wampum in Indigenous cultures today. Discover the work of artists Hannah Claus, Nadia Myre, Teharihulen Michel Savard and Skawennati, inspired by wampum, and hear stories from members of several nations through a series of videos.

*Important: The wampum from the Vatican will be presented in the exhibition until December 3, and those from the Trésor de la cathédrale de Chartes until January 14.

Exhibition developed and co-produced with the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris..

Presented exclusively in Canada at the McCord Stewart Museum by Rio Tinto.

MOMENTA Biennale de l’image – Mother Memory Cellophane – Séamus Gallagher

Until February 4, 2024

Imagined as a phantasmic theatre that includes a video projection and a series of five lenticular photographs, Mother Memory Cellophane was inspired by an event that took place at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, titled “World of Tomorrow.” To mark the occasion, the DuPont company presented Miss Chemistry, a female model personifying Chemistry and a living advertisement for the worldwide launch of nylon stockings. Personifying this allegory, which symbolizes both the feminine stereotype and the synthetic material culture of the time, Séamus Gallagher invites us to reflect on this plastic embodiment of the woman of the future and the omnipresence of synthetic materials in our contemporary lives.

This artwork is co-produced by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image..

Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience

Permanent exhibition

The exhibition bears witness to the still unrecognized knowledge of Indigenous peoples in Quebec and Canada as well as the deep wounds they carry and their incredible resilience. Visitors will discover about one hundred carefully selected objects combined with many powerful inspiring stories, allowing them to learn more about the knowledge, traditions and lived reality of the members of the 11 Indigenous nations of Quebec.

Fall 2023 will see the second rotation of objects in the exhibition. No fewer than 30 objects (a third of those currently presented in the exhibition) will return to the Museum’s vaults to be replaced by a new selection of breathtaking objects.

This exhibition, presented by ICI Radio-Canada in collaboration with TD Bank Group, has been produced through a financial contribution from the program Aide aux projets pour le soutien des expositions permanentes of the Québec Cultural Heritage Fund of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.

What’s Cooking in Our Archives!

Recipes for your holiday menu

Ongoing – Online

With almost 1,000 recipe books and pamphlets dating from the 18th to the 21st centuries in its Recipes and Food collection, the Museum invites visitors to try out dishes from bygone eras, in an astonishing variety of arrangements. Vegetable aspic, trees decorated with gummies, or rolled jelly sandwiches are just a few examples of this special selection for Christmas. The recipes are available on our website.

McCord Stewart Museum Boutique

What better way to treat yourself or your loved ones than with high-quality products created by local artisans? For the holiday season, the Boutique offers jewelry, decorative objects, home accessories, Indigenous creations, a vast selection of books and other gift ideas showcasing local talent, with something for every generation.

Download documents

Press Release (WORD)

Images de presse

Ogilvy’s mechanical Christmas windows

Museum Opening Hours and Admission Fees

Opening Hours

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday hours:
Christmas – Monday, December 25: Closed
Boxing Day – Tuesday, December 26: Noon to 6 p.m.
New Year’s Day – Monday, January 1: Closed
Day after New Year’s – Tuesday, January 2: Noon to 6 p.m.

Admission fees:

Adults: $20 | Seniors: $19 | Students (13 to 30): $15 | Indigenous persons: free | 12 and under: free

Wednesday evening: free (3rd floor exhibition and permanent exhibition) or $10 (2nd floor exhibition).

$2 discount on online ticket purchases.

First Sunday of the month: free for Quebec residents.

The McCord Stewart Museum would like to thank BMO Financial Group for the free Wednesday evenings, and the Fondation J.A. DeSève for the free admission for children 12 and under, and the Rossy Foundation for free admission for teens ages 13 to 17.

*Free for teens 17 and under with I.D. Valid until June 14, 2024 for general public visits only. Group rates apply for organized groups and groups of more than 15 people.

*Free for children 12 and under for a maximum of 3 children per adult. Valid for general public visits only. Group rates apply for organized groups.

The McCord Stewart Museum

À propos

A landmark in the heart of Montreal for over 100 years, the McCord Stewart Museum bears witness to the history, vitality, creativity and diversity of the communities that make up the city and sheds lights on their influence, both past and present, to Quebec, Canada, and the world. In keeping with its commitment to decolonization and sustainable development, it creates exhibitions and educational, cultural and community-engagement activities that look at social history and contemporary issues through a critical and inclusive lens. The Museum’s Archives, Documentary Art, Dress, Fashion and Textiles, Indigenous Cultures, Material Culture and Photography collections, containing 2.5 million images, objects, documents and works of art, position it as the custodian of a remarkable historical heritage and one of North America’s leading museums.

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