Montreal

Left:Montreal, North-west from Notre-Dame Church, Montreal, QC, 1872

Right:Montreal, QC. Looking North-west from Notre Dame Church. After Notman(I-77457). Taken on October 22nd, 1999 at 1:30 p.m.

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

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


Date/Time: October 22, 1999, 1:30 p.m.

This is a rather plain view of Montreal, but Notman's original photograph is extremely good quality. I can distinguish his own studio at 17 Bleury Street, with three large skylights and a cover for a daylight enlarger on the roof. Although I had only a few such reference points, it was easy to figure out that he took this photo from one of the Notre Dame Church towers. To reach it I climbed the same long flight of stairs Notman had to climb all those years ago. The view today is a bit disappointing, but certainly represents change.
Date/Time: October 22, 1999, 1:30 p.m.

This is a rather plain view of Montreal, but Notman's original photograph is extremely good quality. I can distinguish his own studio at 17 Bleury Street, with three large skylights and a cover for a daylight enlarger on the roof. Although I had only a few such reference points, it was easy to figure out that he took this photo from one of the Notre Dame Church towers. To reach it I climbed the same long flight of stairs Notman had to climb all those years ago. The view today is a bit disappointing, but certainly represents change.

© 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.


In 1872, the photographer William Notman again perched on the top of Notre Dame Church to take a series of panoramic shots of Montreal. The image reproduced here provides an unobstructed view of the neighbourhoods to the north, Saint-Laurent and Saint-Antoine, as well as Mount Royal. While the mountain, churches and private houses dominate the landscape, serendipity gives us a glimpse into industrial activity in Montreal. In fact, the recent demolition of a building on Place d’Armes, in front of Notre Dame, revealed the presence of modern factories near the business district.

In 1872, Montreal was the most important industrial centre in Canada. The city was at the leading edge of the industrial revolution in Canada. The Lachine Canal area, downtown and the surrounding suburbs were all affected by this industrial growth. However, harbour and commercial activities attracted more attention from tourists and photographers. While there are few photographs of the façades of factories, visual records of the insides of these buildings, and the men, women and children who worked there, are even rarer.
In 1872, the photographer William Notman again perched on the top of Notre Dame Church to take a series of panoramic shots of Montreal. The image reproduced here provides an unobstructed view of the neighbourhoods to the north, Saint-Laurent and Saint-Antoine, as well as Mount Royal. While the mountain, churches and private houses dominate the landscape, serendipity gives us a glimpse into industrial activity in Montreal. In fact, the recent demolition of a building on Place d’Armes, in front of Notre Dame, revealed the presence of modern factories near the business district.

In 1872, Montreal was the most important industrial centre in Canada. The city was at the leading edge of the industrial revolution in Canada. The Lachine Canal area, downtown and the surrounding suburbs were all affected by this industrial growth. However, harbour and commercial activities attracted more attention from tourists and photographers. While there are few photographs of the façades of factories, visual records of the insides of these buildings, and the men, women and children who worked there, are even rarer.
Printed Documents
  • Canadian Railway Advertising Company. 1854. Montreal Business Sketches with a Description of the City of Montreal. Montreal: [no publisher].
  • Courville, Serge, Jean-Claude Robert, and Normand Séguin. 1995. Atlas historique du Québec. Le pays laurentien au XIXe siècle : les morphologies de base. Sainte-Foy (Que.) : Presses de l'Université Laval.
  • Lewis, Robert. 2000. Manufacturing Montreal. The Making of an Industrial Landscape, 1850-1930. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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

Detail

In the 1860s and 1870s, Montreal industry was using steam more and more to power its machinery. Steel production was one sector where the presence of steam engines and big smokestacks began to transform the urban landscape and pollute the nearby residential neighbourhoods. Here we can clearly see the effects of the Montreal Type Foundry, which made type for printing.

Photographer: William Notman (1826-1891)
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
c. 1872
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
20 x 25 cm
I-77457-D2
© McCord Museum


Montreal as an industrial city.

Plumes of smoke from factory chimneys hung in the air in almost every corner of the city. Montreal was the Canadian leader in industrial production. In the manufacturing plants, hundreds of workers made shoes and clothing and processed foods, tobacco, wood, iron and steel. Montreal factories were very diversified, representing the majority of the industrial sectors. Men, women and children came to their doors seeking employment. The frantic pace left workers little time for leisure activities.
Montreal as an industrial city.

Plumes of smoke from factory chimneys hung in the air in almost every corner of the city. Montreal was the Canadian leader in industrial production. In the manufacturing plants, hundreds of workers made shoes and clothing and processed foods, tobacco, wood, iron and steel. Montreal factories were very diversified, representing the majority of the industrial sectors. Men, women and children came to their doors seeking employment. The frantic pace left workers little time for leisure activities.

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

Print

Published on May 4, 1872 in the weekly Canadian Illustrated News, this illustration was made following the expansion work undertaken by the foundry in 1871. This unsigned illustration could be by Eugène Haberer (1837-1921), a craftsman engraver who produced other images of this factory in the same paper.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Charles deVolpi
c. 1872
39 x 27 cm
M979.87.5024
© McCord Museum


The industrial revolution favoured the expansion of foundries. To meet needs and beat the competition, the foundries adopted new work methods, such as piecework and division of tasks.

The Clendinning foundry was in one of the first industrial and working-class neighbourhoods in Montreal, Griffintown. The population of this neighbourhood, not far from downtown, was mainly of Irish origin. Workers who could, lived close to their places of work.

After its enlargement, in 1872, this foundry became one of the biggest in Montreal with its 180 workers, of which 17% were less than 16 years old. In fact, the division of tasks permitted the company to hire unskilled workers to do simple tasks. Close to his workers, W. Clendinning was nevertheless demanding. In March 1872, he opposed a movement to reduce the workday from ten to nine hours.
The industrial revolution favoured the expansion of foundries. To meet needs and beat the competition, the foundries adopted new work methods, such as piecework and division of tasks.

The Clendinning foundry was in one of the first industrial and working-class neighbourhoods in Montreal, Griffintown. The population of this neighbourhood, not far from downtown, was mainly of Irish origin. Workers who could, lived close to their places of work.

After its enlargement, in 1872, this foundry became one of the biggest in Montreal with its 180 workers, of which 17% were less than 16 years old. In fact, the division of tasks permitted the company to hire unskilled workers to do simple tasks. Close to his workers, W. Clendinning was nevertheless demanding. In March 1872, he opposed a movement to reduce the workday from ten to nine hours.

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

Engraving

John Henry Walker, a craftsman engraver (1831-1899), worried at the end of his life about the possible disappearance of his trade because of advances in reproduction technology.

Artist: John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord

Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
10 x 6 cm
M930.50.5.1
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Making their appearance in the 1850s in the shoemaking sector, machine tools characterized the transition from craft production to industrial production. They contributed to increased productivity and transformed work habits.

The craftsman shoemaker studied every facet of his trade during a variable period of apprenticeship. However, the division of tasks and the use of machines made it possible to employ workers who now only make one part of the shoe - always the same one.

Wage labour was accompanied by set working hours and a transformation of the rhythm of daily life. An absence from work could lead to a fine, or even a jail sentence.
Making their appearance in the 1850s in the shoemaking sector, machine tools characterized the transition from craft production to industrial production. They contributed to increased productivity and transformed work habits.

The craftsman shoemaker studied every facet of his trade during a variable period of apprenticeship. However, the division of tasks and the use of machines made it possible to employ workers who now only make one part of the shoe - always the same one.

Wage labour was accompanied by set working hours and a transformation of the rhythm of daily life. An absence from work could lead to a fine, or even a jail sentence.

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

Boots

Enjoyed and worn by both women and men, buttoned boots were very much in style from the 1860s to the 1910s.

George G. Gales & Co.
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mrs. Raymond Caron
c. 1900
Skin: leather; glass
18 x 7.8 x 25.5 cm
M973.1.63.1-2
© 2009, RCIP-CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


The footwear industry, one of the oldest in Montreal, expanded rapidly from 1850 to 1871 thanks to the process of mechanization. The census of 1871 counted more than 21,000 persons employed in the factories. This industry, which then accounted for nearly 25% of the labour force, was the biggest sector in the city.

In Canada, Montreal maintained its domination over this business sector throughout the 19th century. More than 250 models were produced in 1882 and, in 1890, the production of shoes increased to more than 2.5 million pairs. Montreal then occupied 60% of the Canadian footwear market.

The Gales firm, where these boots were manufactured, was located at 323 St. Antoine Street, in Old Montreal. The neighbourhood was then the centre of shoemaking, even though the suburbs were attracting more and more shops and factories because of the lack of space.
The footwear industry, one of the oldest in Montreal, expanded rapidly from 1850 to 1871 thanks to the process of mechanization. The census of 1871 counted more than 21,000 persons employed in the factories. This industry, which then accounted for nearly 25% of the labour force, was the biggest sector in the city.

In Canada, Montreal maintained its domination over this business sector throughout the 19th century. More than 250 models were produced in 1882 and, in 1890, the production of shoes increased to more than 2.5 million pairs. Montreal then occupied 60% of the Canadian footwear market.

The Gales firm, where these boots were manufactured, was located at 323 St. Antoine Street, in Old Montreal. The neighbourhood was then the centre of shoemaking, even though the suburbs were attracting more and more shops and factories because of the lack of space.

© 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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