Notre-Dame Church

Left:Notre-Dame Church, Montreal, QC. About 1890

Right: Interior of Notre-Dame Church, Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-1190) Taken on October 28, 1999 at 1:40 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 28, 1999, 1:40 p.m.

Very little has changed over the last 110 years in this straightforward, classic interior. The details are so similar that sometimes I confuse Notman's photograph with my own. Still, Notman took his photograph on a bright day, with sunshine spilling into the room, while today electric lighting gives it a very different mood. He probably used a long exposure time to capture as much detail as possible in the natural light. I did the same in order to make the people moving through the shot disappear. Only those who were patiently sitting in their places are visible.
Date/Time: October 28, 1999, 1:40 p.m.

Very little has changed over the last 110 years in this straightforward, classic interior. The details are so similar that sometimes I confuse Notman's photograph with my own. Still, Notman took his photograph on a bright day, with sunshine spilling into the room, while today electric lighting gives it a very different mood. He probably used a long exposure time to capture as much detail as possible in the natural light. I did the same in order to make the people moving through the shot disappear. Only those who were patiently sitting in their places are visible.

© 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.


The interior of Notre Dame Church in 1890. Built in 1829 and refurbished in the 1880s, the interior of this church was inspired by the flamboyant Gothic style of the 1200s in France. This masterpiece, which was perfectly in keeping with the Victorian spirit, was admired by all foreign visitors of the era, including Protestants.

Notre Dame Church may be unique, but is only one of the many great Montreal churches of the period. Since the archdiocese had obtained permission from Rome to break up the old mother parish of Notre-Dame, the number of Catholic churches had increased dramatically, serving both the French and Irish faithful. Protestant communities were very present in the city, but their most opulent churches were located in the wealthy Square Mile (today's downtown). In total, Montreal had more Protestant than Catholic churches in 1890. There were also three synagogues for Montreal's Jews. At the end of the 19th century, as it went through the dramatic changes of industrialization, Montreal society was turning enthusiastically to God and the Bible.
The interior of Notre Dame Church in 1890. Built in 1829 and refurbished in the 1880s, the interior of this church was inspired by the flamboyant Gothic style of the 1200s in France. This masterpiece, which was perfectly in keeping with the Victorian spirit, was admired by all foreign visitors of the era, including Protestants.

Notre Dame Church may be unique, but is only one of the many great Montreal churches of the period. Since the archdiocese had obtained permission from Rome to break up the old mother parish of Notre-Dame, the number of Catholic churches had increased dramatically, serving both the French and Irish faithful. Protestant communities were very present in the city, but their most opulent churches were located in the wealthy Square Mile (today's downtown). In total, Montreal had more Protestant than Catholic churches in 1890. There were also three synagogues for Montreal's Jews. At the end of the 19th century, as it went through the dramatic changes of industrialization, Montreal society was turning enthusiastically to God and the Bible.
Printed Documents
  • Montreal Urban Community. 1981. Les églises. Vol. 1 of Répertoire d'architecture traditionnelle sur le territoire de la communauté urbaine de Montréal : Architecture religieuse. Montreal : CUM, Service de planification du territoire.
  • Dauth, chanoine Gaspard, and abbé Perron. 1900. Le Diocèse de Montréal à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle : avec portraits du clergé, hélio-gravures et notices historiques de toutes les églises et presbytères, institutions d'éducation et de charité, sociétés de bienfaisance, oeuvres de fabrique et commissions scolaires. Pref. by Raphaël Bellemare. Montreal : Eusèbe Sénécal.
  • Maureault, Olivier. 1957. La paroisse : Histoire de l'église Notre-Dame de Montréal, 2nd ed. Montreal : Thérien Frères.
  • Toker, Franklin. 1981. L'église Notre-Dame de Montréal : Son architecture, son passé. Montreal : Hurtubise HMH.
  • Trudel, Jean. 1995. Basilique Notre-Dame / Notre-Dame Basilica. Montreal : [Notre-Dame Basilica].
  • Windsor Hotel Guide to the City of Montreal and for the Dominion of Canada. 1890. Montreal: Lovell.
On-Line Document
  • Fondation du patrimoine religieux du Québec Website. [On Line]. http://www.patrimoine-religieux.qc.ca (Pages accessed in January 2002)

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

St. James Cathedral

Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur Cathedral, now called Marie-Reine-du-Monde, about 1910. Built in successive stages starting in 1870, the new Catholic cathedral of the archdiocese symbolized eloquently the powerful "ultramontane" ties with the Vatican. The cathedral is, in fact, a reduced scale replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Photo: Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
c. 1910
Ink on paper mounted on card - Halftone
20 x 15 cm
MP-0000.871.13
© McCord Museum


Getting into Heaven.

Good Catholics have to attend church If they want to “get into Heaven.” Throughout their lives the faithful go to church dressed in the appropriate clothes and accessories for their baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage and funeral rites. Over the course of the year, ceremonies marked on the liturgical calendar (such as Easter, Christmas, Corpus Christi and the feasts of the saints) also take place in church, punctuating the believer's daily rounds.
Getting into Heaven.

Good Catholics have to attend church If they want to “get into Heaven.” Throughout their lives the faithful go to church dressed in the appropriate clothes and accessories for their baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage and funeral rites. Over the course of the year, ceremonies marked on the liturgical calendar (such as Easter, Christmas, Corpus Christi and the feasts of the saints) also take place in church, punctuating the believer's daily rounds.

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

Funeral of Sir Geo. E. Cartier

Notre-Dame Basilica could seat 10,000 people in its nave and galleries. On the occasion of Cartier's funeral, every available seat was filled, judging from this souvenir print. This print depicting the event was published in the magazine "L'Opinion publique" in June 1873.

Unknown
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Charles deVolpi
c. 1873
Ink on paper - Photolithography
40 x 55.5 cm
M979.87.188
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


On May 20, 1873, a transatlantic telegraph arrived in Montreal from London, England, announcing that Sir George-Etienne Cartier had died that morning. News of the death of Cartier, a former prime minister of the Province of Canada, was very sadly received, especially among French Canadians.

Preparations began at once for Cartier’s funeral, to be held in the national monument of French Canada, Notre-Dame Basilica. The basilica had hosted many important ceremonies since its construction in 1829, but the funeral of Sir George-Etienne Cartier was perhaps the most splendid. For it, the church was draped in black and 500 tapers burned atop an immense catafalque.
On May 20, 1873, a transatlantic telegraph arrived in Montreal from London, England, announcing that Sir George-Etienne Cartier had died that morning. News of the death of Cartier, a former prime minister of the Province of Canada, was very sadly received, especially among French Canadians.

Preparations began at once for Cartier’s funeral, to be held in the national monument of French Canada, Notre-Dame Basilica. The basilica had hosted many important ceremonies since its construction in 1829, but the funeral of Sir George-Etienne Cartier was perhaps the most splendid. For it, the church was draped in black and 500 tapers burned atop an immense catafalque.

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

Wedding dress

This fashionable wedding dress of the late 19th century is made of plum-coloured taffeta, trimmed with matching silk velvet. The bride chose a fashionable colour for this dress, probably planning to wear it for social events afterward the wedding. This would not have been possible with a white dress.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Miss A. Grant
c. 1878
Fibre: silk (taffeta, velvet, chenille, fringe), cotton; Sewn
M966.35
© McCord Museum


During the 1870s and 1880s wedding dresses were not always white ; the rich plum colour of this wedding dress was one of the fashionable colours of 1878.

In 1856, a chance discovery by the English chemist William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) produced the first synthetic dye, a shade of purple that became known as "mauvine" or "Perkin's mauve." This discovery led to the development of a wide range of rich and brilliant colours, of which this dress is an example.

The dress reveals the use of another 19th century invention: the sewing machine. Reliable domestic sewing machines became available in the late 1850s, and soon dressmakers were using them to stitch the long, straight seams of garments. Hand-sewing was used only for the finishing details. Styles became increasingly elaborate, as this very fashionable dress of 1878 shows.
During the 1870s and 1880s wedding dresses were not always white ; the rich plum colour of this wedding dress was one of the fashionable colours of 1878.

In 1856, a chance discovery by the English chemist William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) produced the first synthetic dye, a shade of purple that became known as "mauvine" or "Perkin's mauve." This discovery led to the development of a wide range of rich and brilliant colours, of which this dress is an example.

The dress reveals the use of another 19th century invention: the sewing machine. Reliable domestic sewing machines became available in the late 1850s, and soon dressmakers were using them to stitch the long, straight seams of garments. Hand-sewing was used only for the finishing details. Styles became increasingly elaborate, as this very fashionable dress of 1878 shows.

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

Censer

This sterling silver censer is stamped underneath "MONTREAL P.H." This was the mark of the silversmith Pierre Huguet, known as Latour Jr. (1771-1828). The thurible seen here is significant because of its unusual ornamentation. Long elegant gadroons, engraved into the surface and rising from the foot across the urn-shaped bowl, lend the piece a remarkable sobriety and sophistication.

Pierre Huguet dit Latour
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Mr. H. Baron
c. 1807
Metal: silver, brass, copper, nonferrous metal; Shaped, assembled
94.5 x 10.8 cm
M10981
© McCord Museum


A thurible, or censer, is a metal vessel for the ceremonial burning of incense. Usually the thurible is hung on chains so that it can be swung during incensation in a religious service.

Incense burnt on live coals in a censer was employed during religious ceremonies by the ancient Greeks, Jews and Romans. Its use was forbidden by the Catholic Church for three centuries, and when it was introduced into the liturgy it was subject to extremely rigorous rules. Despite this, incense has been used in numerous Roman Catholic rites from the 19th century.
A thurible, or censer, is a metal vessel for the ceremonial burning of incense. Usually the thurible is hung on chains so that it can be swung during incensation in a religious service.

Incense burnt on live coals in a censer was employed during religious ceremonies by the ancient Greeks, Jews and Romans. Its use was forbidden by the Catholic Church for three centuries, and when it was introduced into the liturgy it was subject to extremely rigorous rules. Despite this, incense has been used in numerous Roman Catholic rites from the 19th century.

© 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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