Suzanne Sauvage is the President and CEO of the McCord Stewart Museum and has always had a passion for arts and culture. An entrepreneur at heart, she has an in-depth experience in communications and is a source of inspiration for many. As the former president of Groupe Cossette Canada, Ms. Sauvage now brings her management expertise to the McCord Stewart Museum. It is said that under her leadership, the McCord Stewart Museum has become one of the most lively and prominent museums in Montreal. For instance, she oversaw the merger with the Stewart Museum, combining two collections and creating one of the largest historical collections in the country and one that includes many exceptional First Nations pieces.

Since taking over the reins at the Museum, attendance has tripled. And thanks to her initiative of offering free admission once a week and organizing activities aimed at people aged between 20 to 35, the museum is now attracting a younger clientele. The Museum has also hosted several international exhibitions with tens of thousands of visitors, including “Grace Kelly – Horst: Photographer of Style” and “Italian Fashion From 1945 to Today” as well as exhibitions of its own collection such as “Notman, A Visionary Photographer” which has gone on to tour in several museums in the country.

For the Museum, education remains a priority. In fact, educational programs now welcome more children than ever from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds in order to help them to get to know their city and its history and to help them become engaged citizens who are open to the world. Dedicated to fostering social inclusion, especially in a city such as Montreal, Ms. Sauvage has implemented programs that help new arrivals discover their host city and provide them with the opportunity to share their own culture and stories.

Furthermore, Ms. Sauvage endeavored to involve the McCord Stewart Museum in the reconciliation process with First Nations communities, as recommend by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The Museum now possesses a large collection on First Nations and has welcomed various exhibitions on the topic, including one on boarding schools. The Museum has also welcomed contemporary First Nations artists to work on its collections as part of the “Artist-in-Residence” program.

Inspired by the idea of getting the Museum out into the streets, she helped transform Victoria Street into a pedestrian zone during the summer. The Urban Forest project created a fun space where passersby can enjoy performances, meet with artists, take yoga classes, and purchase street food every day at lunchtime. More than 200,000 visitors take part every summer. Ms. Sauvage has also been involved with many boards of directors throughout her career including Montreal Women’s Y Foundation, Fondation du Grand Montréal, Concordia University, Orchestre métropolitain, Compagnie de danse Marie Chouinard, and Festival Montréal en lumière. As a cultural ambassador, Ms. Sauvage represents the perfect combination of audacity and creativity required to turn aspirations of democratizing art into a reality.

Jérémie Beaulieu

Fonds du Canada pour les périodiques | Canada Periodical Fund
Ministère du Patrimoine canadien | Departement of Canadian Heritage

Gouvernement du Canada / Government of Canada