Chez Doris secures former Fulford Residence, continuing legacy of supporting women in need

Chez Doris acquires former Fulford Residence, preserving building's vocation of helping women

“Montreal’s Historic Fulford Residence Finds New Purpose and Hope”

Amidst the recent blows to Montreal’s old buildings, there is finally a ray of hope shining through. The former Fulford Residence, also known as the James-Edward-Major Mansion, on Guy Street downtown has been purchased by Chez Doris, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women experiencing homelessness. This acquisition marks a significant triumph for heritage advocates in the city, providing a glimmer of positivity in the midst of numerous challenges faced by historic buildings.

A Journey Through Time

Built in 1854 by Irish immigrant James Edward Major, the mansion was originally named “Erin Cottage” and served as the Major family’s country residence. Located in the quaint neighbourhood of Shaughnessy Village, the home bore witness to the transformation of Montreal from farmland to a bustling cityscape over the decades. Recognizing its historical significance, Phyllis Lambert, the founder of Heritage Montreal, championed for the mansion to receive heritage status from the Quebec government in 2022, safeguarding it from demolition and ensuring the preservation of its unique character.

A Legacy of Care and Compassion

Following the Major family’s residency, the home became the Fulford Residence, where it housed elderly women in need of care and support. Over the years, the residence faced challenges in meeting the needs of its aging clientele and struggled financially, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. After much deliberation, the decision was made to sell the home, leading to a bidding war with developers eyeing the valuable real estate.

A New Chapter of Hope

Chez Doris emerged as the winning bidder, recognizing the potential of the Fulford Residence to serve as a place of refuge and support for vulnerable women. With plans to create 20 transitional rooms and expand its services, Chez Doris aims to restore the mansion to its former glory by 2027. The organization’s commitment to preserving the home’s original features and providing essential amenities reflects a deep sense of responsibility and dedication to their cause.

Looking Towards the Future

As the Fulford Residence embarks on a new chapter under the stewardship of Chez Doris, it represents a blend of history and hope for the future. The restoration of the mansion not only honors its past but also ensures that its legacy of compassion and care continues to thrive. This transformation symbolizes the resilience of heritage buildings in adapting to modern needs while maintaining their historical essence.

In the words of Taïka Baillargeon of Heritage Montreal, the Fulford Residence’s preservation and revitalization signify a harmonious balance between past and future. As this iconic landmark finds new purpose in serving the community, it exemplifies the enduring power of heritage in shaping a better tomorrow. The Fulford Residence stands not only as a testament to Montreal’s rich history but also as a beacon of hope for all those in need of assistance and support.



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