The Chapeau Gallerie Regionale
The Chapeau Gallerie Regionale in Chapeau, Quebec is creating safety for community by taking others into safety, surrounded by the warmth of community and a love infused with genealogical expertise and local history. The sprawling brick heritage home that houses the Gallerie also includes a Tea House that serves hot meals and generous sides of local vegetables, salads, and soups. The cook is Peggy Shannon, a painter who has curated the bulk of the gallery’s painted walls and repurposing efforts.
Chapeau Gallerie Regionale provides space for local artisans to sell goods, host workshops, and even help loved items to find a new life, rather than a place at the dump. One end of the massive estate houses an on-going rummage sale.
Peggy is a long-time resident and dedicated volunteer who has managed to infuse the Gallerie with delicious smells of hot scones and homemade soups. Identifying as an Algonquin Christian, Peggy lives across the street and has lovingly dedicated hours to painting and refreshing the fading heritage home. Helene Davis, the in-house genealogist and collaborator with Peggy, has created an historical archive of the region’s families that include Indian Residential School records for First Nations children who were taken from the area.
The proceeds from the Tea Room and on-going fundraisers help offset the expenses incurred in salvaging the once rundown home. Issues with the roof and structural integrity of the building had to be considered in transforming the gallery space and both Helene and Peggy admit it has been a long journey. “It was going to cost $40,000 to tear the house down,” said Peggy, who thought that would be a shame. “It’s a beautiful building and I just knew that we could do something good with it.” When Helene agreed, the two sprang into action.
A special place to discuss history and reconciliation, this community space is a unique treasure in an underserved area and has helped outfit newly settled residents with household goods and donated clothing if they have need. These two women have dedicated countless volunteer hours to establishing the Chapeau Gallerie Regionale and as a result, have created a space for community to gather.
Miigwetch Peggy and Helen, for all that you do!