Villa Maria (school)

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For other uses, see Villa Maria.
'Monklands', the central building of Villa Maria, built in 1804 for Sir James Monk
Villa Maria

Villa Maria is a private Catholic co-educational high school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was founded in 1854 and offers both a francophone and an anglophone stream. Beginning August 2016, the school is open to boys in the seventh grade. Over the next four years, the integration of boys will be gradual, with current girls-only classes staying girls-only.[1]

The central part of the Villa Maria school is known as the Monklands Mansion, and it was the home of the Governor General of Canada from 1844 to 1849. It is a National Historic Site of Canada.[2][3]


In 1795, James Monk, Chief Justice of Lower Canada, purchased an estate in Montreal that had previously belonged to the Décarie family. The first Monk residence, built in 1803, was the central section of the present-day Villa Maria.

Sir James Monk willed the property known as ‘Monklands’ to his niece, Elizabeth Ann Monk. In 1844, the family leased Monklands to the Crown as a residence for the Governor General of Canada. Modifications were made to create a more imposing residence.

Three Governors General—Sir Charles Metcalfe, Lord Cathcart, and Lord Elgin—resided at Monklands. When Elign occupied the house, British extremists threatened to burn the structure down after Elgin signed a bill that helped those of the French who's homes had been burnt down during British raids by granting them money to reestablish themselves. However, because Lady Elgin was pregnant at the time, the rebels decided to burn down the parliament building in Montreal, instead. Shortly after, Lady Elgin gave birth to a son, Victor Bruce, the future Viceroy of India, in a second floor room. When the capital of the Province of Canada moved from Montreal, Monklands was turned into a country hotel that operated for five years.

Monklands is one of the oldest remaining Palladian-style villas in Canada. Because of its excellent state of conservation and the historic importance of its various occupants, it was declared a National Historic Site in 1951.


The third phase of the building’s history began in 1854 when the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal purchased the estate to open a boarding school. They called it Villa Maria. Although some people believe the name is Latin for Ville Marie, which was Montreal's original name when first settled, it actually translates to "House of Mary". The school stopped boarding students in 1966 and now services young women of Montreal, and surrounding areas from the ages 12–17 (or grades 7-11 according to Quebec Education levels).

Villa-Maria metro station is named for the school.


  1. ^ "Villa Maria girls' school to open to boys in 2016". Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  2. ^ "Monklands / Villa Maria Convent". Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada. Parks Canada. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Monklands / Villa Maria Convent. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved August 7, 2011.

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Coordinates: 45°28′50″N 73°37′12″W / 45.48056°N 73.62000°W / 45.48056; -73.62000