Montreal Stock Exchange - Centaur Theatre

Left: Interior, Montreal Stock Exchange, Montreal, QC. 1903

Right: Interior, Centuar Theatre, Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-1904) Taken November 16th 1999 at 5:00 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: November 16, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

A tiny detail in Notman's photograph - the blurred long hand on the clock - reveals that he must have used a long exposure time. This building, formerly the Montreal Stock Exchange, has since been converted into the Centaur Theatre, and at first no one there recognized the room. One day while I was being shown around we realized that the doors we had just come through were the same as those that appeared in the balcony in Notman's picture. The room had been completely transformed and only the two doors remained. The extra challenge in finding it made taking this picture especially rewarding.
Date/Time: November 16, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

A tiny detail in Notman's photograph - the blurred long hand on the clock - reveals that he must have used a long exposure time. This building, formerly the Montreal Stock Exchange, has since been converted into the Centaur Theatre, and at first no one there recognized the room. One day while I was being shown around we realized that the doors we had just come through were the same as those that appeared in the balcony in Notman's picture. The room had been completely transformed and only the two doors remained. The extra challenge in finding it made taking this picture especially rewarding.

© 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 Montreal Stock Exchange building opened its doors in 1903 on St. François Xavier Street, the "Wall Street" of Montreal. Designed by the same architect who did the New York Stock Exchange, this prestigious building was impressive because of the elegance and sobriety of its style, which was a break with the dominant architecture at the end of the century.

The Montreal Stock Exchange became a key financial institution at the beginning of the 20th century. Founded twenty-five years earlier, for a long time it had a limited number of brokers and a low volume of transactions, particularly in the banking sector. However, after 1900, its growth was spectacular. This was a period of substantial concentration of capital and business. These new companies financed their activities by issuing stocks and bonds that were bought and sold more and more on the Montreal Stock Exchange. The Montreal Stock Exchange would thus become a powerful symbol of Montreal economic power and control that businessmen exercised over the waterways, the natural resources, mines and factories of the entire country.
The Montreal Stock Exchange building opened its doors in 1903 on St. François Xavier Street, the "Wall Street" of Montreal. Designed by the same architect who did the New York Stock Exchange, this prestigious building was impressive because of the elegance and sobriety of its style, which was a break with the dominant architecture at the end of the century.

The Montreal Stock Exchange became a key financial institution at the beginning of the 20th century. Founded twenty-five years earlier, for a long time it had a limited number of brokers and a low volume of transactions, particularly in the banking sector. However, after 1900, its growth was spectacular. This was a period of substantial concentration of capital and business. These new companies financed their activities by issuing stocks and bonds that were bought and sold more and more on the Montreal Stock Exchange. The Montreal Stock Exchange would thus become a powerful symbol of Montreal economic power and control that businessmen exercised over the waterways, the natural resources, mines and factories of the entire country.
Printed Documents
  • Armstrong, Robert. 1979. « L'industrie de l'amiante au Québec, 1878-1929 ». Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française, vol. 33, no 2 (September), p. 187-195.
  • Armstrong, Christopher, and H. V. Nelles. 1986. Monopoly's Moment. The Organization and Regulation of Canadian Utilities, 1830-1930. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Bellavance, Claude. 1994. Shawinigan Water and Power, 1898-1963: Formation et declin d'un groupe industriel au Québec. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal.
  • Bliss, Michael. 1987. Northern Enterprise. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.
  • Frank, David. 1988. « The Cape Breton Coal Industry and the Rise and Fall of the British Empire Steel Corporation ». In The Acadiensis Reade, sous la dir. de P. A. Buckner et David Frank, vol. 2. Fredericton (N. B.): Acadiensis Press.
  • Gournay, Isabelle, and France van Laethem (ed.). 1998. Montréal Métropole : 1880-1930. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal; Centre canadien d'architecture.
  • Hamelin, Jean, and Yves Roby. 1971. Histoire économique du Québec, 1851-1896. Montreal : Fides

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

Top hats and big business.

Entering the Stock Exchange, located smack in the centre of the city's business district, proud-looking men remove their top hats while casting a glance at their fob watches. Here securities pertaining to the different sectors of the economy, such as the wheat market, find their proper value. The telegraph becomes indispensible for quickly and effectively communicating the progress of trading. By a curious coincidence, telegraph offices are never very far from the Stock Exchange building.
Top hats and big business.

Entering the Stock Exchange, located smack in the centre of the city's business district, proud-looking men remove their top hats while casting a glance at their fob watches. Here securities pertaining to the different sectors of the economy, such as the wheat market, find their proper value. The telegraph becomes indispensible for quickly and effectively communicating the progress of trading. By a curious coincidence, telegraph offices are never very far from the Stock Exchange building.

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

Capital Stock

This capital stock, signed in Montreal, certifies that an Emily H. Robson is the owner of 20 shares, each valued at $5, of the British-Canadian Wheat Raising Company Limited.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Seymour Schulich
c. 1903
Paper
22 x 28 cm
P095-A02_01-003
© McCord Museum


Stocks similar to this one were bought and sold in Montreal as early as 1830. The transactions took place in the Exchange Coffee House on St. Paul Street and, after its founding in 1874, in the Montreal Stock Exchange. Stocks represent shares of ownership, and so are often referred to as "shares." They are sold by companies to raise money for development, growth and expansion. Once issued, stocks are bought and sold among investors.

Montreal's location on the St. Lawrence River and the extensive transportation network centred there made it an important grain-export port. Mid-19th century entrepreneurs in the East were successful in exporting Western wheat abroad, and they developed an industrial and urban society based largely on the prosperity of the wheat economy. Western farmers depended, in turn, on large Eastern industrial centres like Montreal for manufactured goods and other services.
Stocks similar to this one were bought and sold in Montreal as early as 1830. The transactions took place in the Exchange Coffee House on St. Paul Street and, after its founding in 1874, in the Montreal Stock Exchange. Stocks represent shares of ownership, and so are often referred to as "shares." They are sold by companies to raise money for development, growth and expansion. Once issued, stocks are bought and sold among investors.

Montreal's location on the St. Lawrence River and the extensive transportation network centred there made it an important grain-export port. Mid-19th century entrepreneurs in the East were successful in exporting Western wheat abroad, and they developed an industrial and urban society based largely on the prosperity of the wheat economy. Western farmers depended, in turn, on large Eastern industrial centres like Montreal for manufactured goods and other services.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Telegraph Office

By 1924, 8,909 people were working in Canada's 4,825 telegraph offices, one of which is pictured here.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Dr. John Crawford
c. 1920
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process
16 x 21 cm
MP-1983.52.1
© McCord Museum


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.
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.

© 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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