Dominion Square

Left:Dominion Square, about 1898

Right:Dominion Square from C.P.R Building Montreal, QC, after Notman. Taken July 22nd 1999, 1:10 p.m.

Photographers: Left: William Notman, Right: Andrzej Maciejewski
McCord Museum of Canadian History

© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Date/Time: July 22, 1999, 1:10 p.m.

Notman took this photograph from the tower of Windsor Station on a summer afternoon. Finding the vantage point was simple, as it was the only elevated spot around. To line up my camera I counted stones on a church wall. To discern the time of day I watched the shadows on the church's tower. This was the first time I had the experience of watching shadows fall perfectly into their expected place, like pieces in a big puzzle. It was, and still is, an incredible feeling of having proved the obvious - that the sun travels the same route and casts light at the same angles with daily regularity.
Date/Time: July 22, 1999, 1:10 p.m.

Notman took this photograph from the tower of Windsor Station on a summer afternoon. Finding the vantage point was simple, as it was the only elevated spot around. To line up my camera I counted stones on a church wall. To discern the time of day I watched the shadows on the church's tower. This was the first time I had the experience of watching shadows fall perfectly into their expected place, like pieces in a big puzzle. It was, and still is, an incredible feeling of having proved the obvious - that the sun travels the same route and casts light at the same angles with daily regularity.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Map

This Map of Montreal depicts the location where the photographs by Notman and Maciejewski were taken.

McCord Museum of Canadian History

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Created during the Victorian Era, public squares were shaded places to relax. Unlike parks, they permitted citizens to admire the surrounding cityscapes. Created in 1870 in the city's poshest neighbourhood, Dominion Square was a must visit for distinguished visitors. In 1895, it was even becoming the heart of the new downtown, adding to the sector that we now call Old Montreal. All the new city neighbourhoods, even the poorer ones such as St. Henri, had their squares, around which institutions and the homes of the local elite were located. As the photo illustrates, these squares were usually served by the new electric tramways, as well as by horse-drawned cabs (see detail using "Explore").
Created during the Victorian Era, public squares were shaded places to relax. Unlike parks, they permitted citizens to admire the surrounding cityscapes. Created in 1870 in the city's poshest neighbourhood, Dominion Square was a must visit for distinguished visitors. In 1895, it was even becoming the heart of the new downtown, adding to the sector that we now call Old Montreal. All the new city neighbourhoods, even the poorer ones such as St. Henri, had their squares, around which institutions and the homes of the local elite were located. As the photo illustrates, these squares were usually served by the new electric tramways, as well as by horse-drawned cabs (see detail using "Explore").
Printed Documents

  • Choko, Marc H. 1987. Les grandes places publiques de Montréal. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.
  • Laplante, Jean de. 1990. Les parcs de Montréal : Des origines à nos jours. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.
  • Marsan, Jean-Claude. 1994. Montréal en évolution : Historique du développement de l'architecture et de l'environnement urbain montréalais. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Outremont Park

The town of Outremont, on the slopes of Mount Royal, is now in the heart of greater Montreal, but was considered to be a suburb in 1910. The middle classes, especially, preferred the suburbs. With a streetcar system, outlying areas could attract people looking for peace and quiet, away from the hubbub of the city.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs

Coloured ink on paper mounted on card - Photolithography
8 x 13 cm
MP-0000.888.11
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Dominion Square!

The tramway car moves along the rails next to the Square. Some passengers get off here, while others clamber aboard. In bygone days, trams were pulled by horses. Once electric cars were introduced, tramways became a much more regular feature of city life: the cars could hold a growing number of passengers, and more lines were laid down. With time, ticket prices became more affordable and workers, who were now capable of paying for them, no longer had to live near their workplaces.
Dominion Square!

The tramway car moves along the rails next to the Square. Some passengers get off here, while others clamber aboard. In bygone days, trams were pulled by horses. Once electric cars were introduced, tramways became a much more regular feature of city life: the cars could hold a growing number of passengers, and more lines were laid down. With time, ticket prices became more affordable and workers, who were now capable of paying for them, no longer had to live near their workplaces.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Streetcar

The rounded roof of this vehicle, called a Montreal roof, was characteristic of streetcars manufactured in Montreal from 1896 to 1913.

Unknown
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of the Estate of M. Omer Lavallée
c. 1900-1920
Wood
29 x 115 cm
M992.110.10
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


It is not known what this scale model of a type of streetcar used in Montreal at the beginning of the 20th century was used for. It could either be a demonstration model, a child's toy or a collector's item.

The electrification of the tramway, which began in 1892, had unprecedented effects on the Montreal public transportation network. Electricity was more reliable than animal traction, and made it possible to equip vehicles with more powerful motors. This advance doubled, then quadrupled, the speed of the streetcars while increasing the passenger capacity. The long rod on the roof of the streetcar is a trolley pole, a device that rolls or slides along the overhead wires and supplies the vehicle with electricity.

The influence of the new technology went far beyond the public transportation services since it required the installation of a network of electrical wires, which could also be used to light the streets of the city.
It is not known what this scale model of a type of streetcar used in Montreal at the beginning of the 20th century was used for. It could either be a demonstration model, a child's toy or a collector's item.

The electrification of the tramway, which began in 1892, had unprecedented effects on the Montreal public transportation network. Electricity was more reliable than animal traction, and made it possible to equip vehicles with more powerful motors. This advance doubled, then quadrupled, the speed of the streetcars while increasing the passenger capacity. The long rod on the roof of the streetcar is a trolley pole, a device that rolls or slides along the overhead wires and supplies the vehicle with electricity.

The influence of the new technology went far beyond the public transportation services since it required the installation of a network of electrical wires, which could also be used to light the streets of the city.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Tram No. 529

This photograph shows a streetcar travelling along Notre Dame Street with a few passengers on board.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Edgar Tissot
c. 1906
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
MP-1986.53.6
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


In 1892, only 11% of workers took the tramway every day. By 1901, this percentage had climbed to 41%. Several factors explain this sudden popularity. First, fares did not increase until 1910, which was not the case with the workers' wages, and second, the electrification of the network, completed in 1894, increased the speed and power of the vehicles. These improvements made the tramway more attractive to workers who wanted to live a distance form their place of work.

In fact, the electrification of the tramway contributed to the increasing spread of the urban population and contributed to the concentration of economic activities.
In 1892, only 11% of workers took the tramway every day. By 1901, this percentage had climbed to 41%. Several factors explain this sudden popularity. First, fares did not increase until 1910, which was not the case with the workers' wages, and second, the electrification of the network, completed in 1894, increased the speed and power of the vehicles. These improvements made the tramway more attractive to workers who wanted to live a distance form their place of work.

In fact, the electrification of the tramway contributed to the increasing spread of the urban population and contributed to the concentration of economic activities.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify the changes that were operated within Canadian society over two decades (territory, population, economy, etc.);
  • Describe in details changes that he/she is able to observe;
  • Explain and speculate about the reasons that could justify these changes;
  • Make connections between the differences and similarities of the two eras.

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