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The Old Courthouse – L’Assomption, Québec
On one of the very few nice days we’ve had recently, we took a drive a little further northeast of Montréal in the Lanaudiere region, to investigate some old historic buildings in the town of L’Assomption, which is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.
If the town name sounds familiar to some of my long-time readers it’s because I have done a few previous posts from this area including skating on the L’Assomption River and a doors post of the Maison Beaudry.
Though the 2-story field-stone structure is referred to as the Vieux Palais de Justice (the Old Courthouse) it served quite a number of other vocations in its 200+ year history.
It was built in three sections (hence the three doors) with the east portion, on the left in the photo above, being built in 1811-12.
The western portion went up in 1821-22.
And the center section of the building that joined the other two, was done between 1822 and 1832.
During those first years the various parts of the building served at times as family residences, the local county registrars office, a trading counter for the original Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, and a general store.
Major interior renovations were completed in 1860 allowing it to house and properly accommodate the newly formed provincial circuit court for the region as well as the town’s city hall (until 1929) and the local community center until to 1979.
Despite being declared a Provincial Heritage Status building in 1973, the place lay empty and abandoned from 1979 until private investors formed a corporation in 1987 to oversee restoration work that saved the building.
Today the Old L’Assomption Courthouse is a popular location in the region for wedding receptions and other catered events, and is often used in period-piece shoots by movie and TV film crews.
The owners have also turned the courthouse portion of the building’s history into a local event/attraction, offering “Trial Suppers” (similar to interactive style dinner theater) for groups, using the old restored courtroom – complete with judge, jury, and prosecution. Sounds like a fun way to get together to roast a friend or family member celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary.
In my research I found several mentions that somehow in the 1990’s the Old Courthouse acquired a resident ghost. There are fairly frequent reports by employees and patrons noticing odd events such as the music volume changing with no one near the sound system, doors opening or closing with no one nearby, and objects disappearing only to be found in different, totally unrelated parts of the building.
A resident ghost remains to be proven I guess, but for its historical merit and beauty the Old Courthouse has enough charm just as it is.
As always, thanks so such for visiting 🙂
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