Windsor Hotel and Dominion Square

Left: Windsor Hotel and Dominon Square from St. James Cathedral, Montréal, QC, 1897

Right:Le Windsor and Dominions Square. Looking from the Cathedral-Basilica of Mary Queen of the World and St. James the Greater, Montreal, QC. Taken on July 22nd, 1999 at 10:47 a.m.

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

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


Date/Time: July 22, 1999, 10:47 a.m.

This photograph was taken from the balcony of St. James Cathedral. I had to mount a dark and winding staircase - with heavy camera equipment this required a great deal of determination. As I climbed, I thought about Notman or his son making the same effort in 1897. In the end, the view from the balcony is worth it. The dome, the monument in the park and the Windsor Hotel were my reference points, and the shadows of the monument and the dome told me when to take the photograph. I managed to capture a person walking by the monument at almost the same place as in Notman's view.
Date/Time: July 22, 1999, 10:47 a.m.

This photograph was taken from the balcony of St. James Cathedral. I had to mount a dark and winding staircase - with heavy camera equipment this required a great deal of determination. As I climbed, I thought about Notman or his son making the same effort in 1897. In the end, the view from the balcony is worth it. The dome, the monument in the park and the Windsor Hotel were my reference points, and the shadows of the monument and the dome told me when to take the photograph. I managed to capture a person walking by the monument at almost the same place as in Notman's view.

© 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.


Opened in 1878 in the presence of guest of honour Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, the Windsor Hotel was built in a strategic location. It stood across from the new Dominion Square - which replaced the old Catholic cemetery - in the midst of an impressive number of new churches and on the western boundary of the affluent, and growing, upper town. Much appreciated from the outset, both by its well-to-do clientele and by distinguished visitors, the hotel became even more popular after Windsor Station was opened nearby.

In 1897, Montreal had all sorts of hotels, most of which were hardly known by the clients of the Windsor. These hotels, which met the varied needs of visitors belonging to all social classes, offered accommodation to both tourists, who visited the city in greater numbers because of the train, and travelling salesmen and merchants who came from all around to buy stock from Montreal wholesalers. Immigrants and country folk, some in transit and others looking for work, also found suitable lodging. Many of the latter, however, usually stayed with relatives in the city. The construction of the Viger hotel and station was to bring a new type o Read More
Opened in 1878 in the presence of guest of honour Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, the Windsor Hotel was built in a strategic location. It stood across from the new Dominion Square - which replaced the old Catholic cemetery - in the midst of an impressive number of new churches and on the western boundary of the affluent, and growing, upper town. Much appreciated from the outset, both by its well-to-do clientele and by distinguished visitors, the hotel became even more popular after Windsor Station was opened nearby.

In 1897, Montreal had all sorts of hotels, most of which were hardly known by the clients of the Windsor. These hotels, which met the varied needs of visitors belonging to all social classes, offered accommodation to both tourists, who visited the city in greater numbers because of the train, and travelling salesmen and merchants who came from all around to buy stock from Montreal wholesalers. Immigrants and country folk, some in transit and others looking for work, also found suitable lodging. Many of the latter, however, usually stayed with relatives in the city. The construction of the Viger hotel and station was to bring a new type of grand hotel to the east end of the city.
Printed Documents

  • Choko, Marc H. 1987. Les grandes places publiques de Montréal. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.
  • Montreal Urban Community. 1983. Les hôtels, les immeubles de bureaux. Vol. 1 de Répertoire d'architecture traditionnelle sur le territoire de la communauté urbaine de Montréal. Architecture commerciale. Montreal : CUM, Service de la planification du territoire.
  • Gournay, Isabelle, and France van Laethem (ed.). 1998. Montréal Métropole : 1880-1930. Montréal : Éditions du Boréal; Canadian Centre for Architecture.
  • The Windsor Hotel guide to the City of Montreal and for the Dominion of Canada. 1890. Montreal: Lovell.
  • The Windsor Hotel guide to the City of Montreal. [1898]. [no place]: International Railway Publishing.

On-Line Document

  • « Albums E.-Z. Massicotte ». Bibliothèque nationale du Québec Website. [On Line]. http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/massic/accueil.htm (Pages accessed in January 2002).

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

City lights.

Tourists visiting Montreal have absolutely no reason to be bored. A quick glance at a tourist brochure is enough for them to obtain an idea of the kind of things the city has to offer. The ice statues of the winter carnival are not to be missed, nor are the city's agricultural and industrial fairs and a ride down the Lachine rapids in a steam boat. Tourists delighted with their stay will undoubtedly want to keep a durable souvenir of Montreal, such as a decorative plate showing city buildings and monuments.
City lights.

Tourists visiting Montreal have absolutely no reason to be bored. A quick glance at a tourist brochure is enough for them to obtain an idea of the kind of things the city has to offer. The ice statues of the winter carnival are not to be missed, nor are the city's agricultural and industrial fairs and a ride down the Lachine rapids in a steam boat. Tourists delighted with their stay will undoubtedly want to keep a durable souvenir of Montreal, such as a decorative plate showing city buildings and monuments.

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

Book

This is a Guide to Montreal and Environs, illustrated with over 30 engravings. As this guide shows, Montreal was the hub of a vast communication network: trans-Atlantic ships, telegraph, railways and excursion steamboats.

Unknown
McCord Museum of Canadian History
c. 1897
Paper
16 x 11 cm
RB-1420
© 2009, RCIP-CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


In Montreal, the tourism industry really got off the ground in the 19th century. The rapid development of modes of transportation, such as steamboats and railways, led to the establishment of all sorts of hotels and restaurants catering to tourists.

Various means, including guidebooks, were used to publicize the city’s attractions. They described many activities for visitors to enjoy. Mount Royal and Notre Dame Church were among the points of interest listed.

Tourists also enjoyed excursions to outlying areas, like the one to the Indian village of Kahnawake -then known as Caughnawaga - presented in this guide. European visitors were fascinated by Native people and their traditions, but the reality they encountered did not always live up to their expectations.
In Montreal, the tourism industry really got off the ground in the 19th century. The rapid development of modes of transportation, such as steamboats and railways, led to the establishment of all sorts of hotels and restaurants catering to tourists.

Various means, including guidebooks, were used to publicize the city’s attractions. They described many activities for visitors to enjoy. Mount Royal and Notre Dame Church were among the points of interest listed.

Tourists also enjoyed excursions to outlying areas, like the one to the Indian village of Kahnawake -then known as Caughnawaga - presented in this guide. European visitors were fascinated by Native people and their traditions, but the reality they encountered did not always live up to their expectations.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Ice palace

To make the ice palace even more spectacular, it was wired with electric lights and fireworks were set off.

By Alexander Henderson
McCord Museum of Canadian History
c. 1884
Silver salts on paper
20 x 25 cm
MP-1975.19
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


The ice palace, built in Dominion Square for the winter carnival, attracted many Montrealers and tourists, especially on the last night of the festivities.

That evening, at about eight o'clock, hundreds of snowshoers surrounded the palace. Inside, a troop prepared to defend it. On a signal, the snowshoers, armed with fireworks, advanced on the ice palace. For an hour, the spectacle of the simulated attack continued under a hail of fireworks, much to the delight of the onlookers. Once the snowshoers finally entered the palace, they regrouped and began a torch-lit march to the summit of Mount Royal.

The winter carnival was an occasion for many of the city's sports clubs to engage in a variety of competitions: toboggan races, snowshoe obstacle courses, lacrosse on skates, and other games were featured during several days of fun.
The ice palace, built in Dominion Square for the winter carnival, attracted many Montrealers and tourists, especially on the last night of the festivities.

That evening, at about eight o'clock, hundreds of snowshoers surrounded the palace. Inside, a troop prepared to defend it. On a signal, the snowshoers, armed with fireworks, advanced on the ice palace. For an hour, the spectacle of the simulated attack continued under a hail of fireworks, much to the delight of the onlookers. Once the snowshoers finally entered the palace, they regrouped and began a torch-lit march to the summit of Mount Royal.

The winter carnival was an occasion for many of the city's sports clubs to engage in a variety of competitions: toboggan races, snowshoe obstacle courses, lacrosse on skates, and other games were featured during several days of fun.

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

Great Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition of Power

In Montreal, the great agricultural and industrial exhibitions ran for a week each September.

Anonymous
c. 1884
219 x 106 cm
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


A tradition of great agricultural and industrial exhibitions began in Quebec in 1851, inspired by the Great Exhibition held that year in London.

In Montreal, exhibitions were held several times in a huge building, the Crystal Palace. First located on Ste. Catherine Street, the palace was moved in 1879 to the block bounded by Bleury and St. Urbain streets, Mont Royal Avenue and what is now called St. Joseph Boulevard.

Visitors could see a large number of exhibitors in a wide range of fields, grouped by categories inside and outside the palace: horticulture, fine arts, livestock and farm implements, and more. Prizes, medals and honourable mentions were awarded to the most deserving exhibitors, as was done at the great European exhibitions.
A tradition of great agricultural and industrial exhibitions began in Quebec in 1851, inspired by the Great Exhibition held that year in London.

In Montreal, exhibitions were held several times in a huge building, the Crystal Palace. First located on Ste. Catherine Street, the palace was moved in 1879 to the block bounded by Bleury and St. Urbain streets, Mont Royal Avenue and what is now called St. Joseph Boulevard.

Visitors could see a large number of exhibitors in a wide range of fields, grouped by categories inside and outside the palace: horticulture, fine arts, livestock and farm implements, and more. Prizes, medals and honourable mentions were awarded to the most deserving exhibitors, as was done at the great European exhibitions.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

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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