The introduction of the telegraph into Canada in 1846 brought together the worlds of communications and finance. One early application of telegraphy was the tickertape machine.

Since business profits depended on reliable, updated information, the telegraph system expanded very rapidly. Early models of the tickertape machine received messages that were coded and had to be deciphered and written out by an operator. In 1869 Thomas Edison (1847-1931) finalized improvements to existing machines that eliminated this translation step. This meant, for example, that stock and commodity prices could be transmitted directly to the offices of merchants, bankers and brokers.

Montreal's telegraph system was installed in 1847. It expanded in step with business, in particular, the railways, which used the telegraph to communicate trouble along the track. One of the most important telegraph companies in Montreal belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR telegraphy company was conveniently located at 204 rue de l'Hôpital, across from the old Stock Exchange.
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