Sherbrooke Street

Left: Sherbrooke Street, Looking east from Mountain Street, Montréal, QC. about 1915

Right: Sherbrooke Street, Looking east from rue de Montagne, Montréal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-5532) Taken November 17th 1999, at 2:15 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 17, 1999, 2:15 p.m.

The scene is overcast in Notman's view, but there is direct sunshine on some buildings. I decided to take many exposures on a partly cloudy day, and luckily I was able to work under the same weather conditions. To line up my shot I used the line of Sherbrooke Street as well as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which at first glance seems the same but has actually been extended. The feeling today is much more alive and commercialized, compared to 1915. Both Notman and I captured men of a similar age walking past the same spot at the same moment.
Date/Time: November 17, 1999, 2:15 p.m.

The scene is overcast in Notman's view, but there is direct sunshine on some buildings. I decided to take many exposures on a partly cloudy day, and luckily I was able to work under the same weather conditions. To line up my shot I used the line of Sherbrooke Street as well as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which at first glance seems the same but has actually been extended. The feeling today is much more alive and commercialized, compared to 1915. Both Notman and I captured men of a similar age walking past the same spot at the same moment.

© 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.


Sherbrooke Street, shortly after the opening of the elegant Ritz Hotel in 1912. Built twenty-five years earlier not far from there, the Windsor was then on the edge of the area of urban development. The Ritz, on the other hand, was built in the heart of the poshest neighbourhood in the city: A new downtown was grafting itself right onto the existing urban structure, which had taken on a new dimension. The Ritz was 40 metres or 130 feet high - the maximum permitted by the city until the 1920s.

During the years leading up to the First World War, the scale of Montreal was changing. The city was taking in tens of thousands of people from the country and immigrants; the new factories, sometimes located right in the middle of working-class neighbourhoods, reached gigantic proportions, and the port and rail facilities became huge. This new reality gave rise to a new phenomenon: a concentration, just as great, of money in the hands of a few people.
Sherbrooke Street, shortly after the opening of the elegant Ritz Hotel in 1912. Built twenty-five years earlier not far from there, the Windsor was then on the edge of the area of urban development. The Ritz, on the other hand, was built in the heart of the poshest neighbourhood in the city: A new downtown was grafting itself right onto the existing urban structure, which had taken on a new dimension. The Ritz was 40 metres or 130 feet high - the maximum permitted by the city until the 1920s.

During the years leading up to the First World War, the scale of Montreal was changing. The city was taking in tens of thousands of people from the country and immigrants; the new factories, sometimes located right in the middle of working-class neighbourhoods, reached gigantic proportions, and the port and rail facilities became huge. This new reality gave rise to a new phenomenon: a concentration, just as great, of money in the hands of a few people.
Printed Documents
  • Bliss, Michael. 1987. Northern Enterprise. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.
  • Gournay, Isabelle, and France van Laethem (edd.). 1998. Montréal Métropole : 1880-1930. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal; Canadian Centre for Architecture.
  • Kilbourn, William. [1960]. The Elements Combined : A History of the Steel Company of Canada. Toronto: Clarke Irwin.
  • Linteau, Paul-André. 2000. Histoire de Montréal depuis la Confédération. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal.
  • Marsan, Jean-Claude. 1994. Montréal en évolution : Historique du développement de l'architecture et de l'environnement urbain montréalais. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.
  • Robert, Jean-Claude. 1992. Atlas historique de Montréal. Montreal : Art global/Libre Expression.
On-Line Document
  • Old Montreal Website. [On Line]. http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca (Pages accessed in January 2002)

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

Duluth Building

In 1912, businessman Joseph-Ovide Gravel had this structure built on Place d'Armes. This office building, with its typical steel structure and regulation 130 feet (or 40 metres) - usually ten stories-, along with the Royal Trust Building, built at the same time facing it, were part of a new wave of Montreal skyscrapers. About forty of these tall buildings were built in the city up until the 1920s, about half of them in Old Montreal.

C.H. Bowker
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Deakin
c. 1912
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process
25 x 20 cm
MP-1977.155.15
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Change!

What do an electrical insulator, a griffon, a photograph of labourers, a “Rolls Royce” guarantee and a tool set have in common? While changes large and small take place on different scales, they share certain similarities in development. Observation speaks volumes: technological innovations gradually modify the urban landscape, while architectural elements attest to domestic splendours demolished to make way for new commercial edifices. A “guarantee” of a “new” form of mobility is eloquent testimony to the financial success of its owner, and the apprentice architect conceives of a new world in which future generations will pursue the reassuring cycle of evolution.

Change!

What do an electrical insulator, a griffon, a photograph of labourers, a “Rolls Royce” guarantee and a tool set have in common? While changes large and small take place on different scales, they share certain similarities in development. Observation speaks volumes: technological innovations gradually modify the urban landscape, while architectural elements attest to domestic splendours demolished to make way for new commercial edifices. A “guarantee” of a “new” form of mobility is eloquent testimony to the financial success of its owner, and the apprentice architect conceives of a new world in which future generations will pursue the reassuring cycle of evolution.

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

Group of Workmen

This photograph shows a group of workmen demolishing buildings on University Street to make way for a high-rise. Montreal expanded rapidly in the pre-First World War period. Downtown, office buildings went up at a great rate, and in suburbs such as Mile End, on the city's northeast edge, housing construction boomed.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
c. 1910
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Gelatin silver process
10.2 x 12.6 cm
MP-0000.1297.1
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


In 1871, there were 14 construction workshops in the St. Jacques area of Montreal, each employing between 3 and 22 workers. The workers built office buildings and houses as well as specialized parts - doors and door frames - and also did building repairs. The area of Ste. Anne had three carpentry shops manufacturing doors and doorframes; they employed between 30 and 80 workers.

Carpenters who worked in construction around the city had to provide and maintain their own tools. They also had to contend with the fact that workshops sometimes disappeared after a job was done, leaving the employees unemployed and unpaid. Other employers often delayed paying their workers. In general, however, workers who had jobs in shops were better off than those who worked on building sites. Work stopped completely on exterior jobs during the winter months, and many families suffered great hardship.

In the 1880s, construction workers employed by workshops in Montreal often had to spend from $100 to $125 to buy their own tools and $10 to $15 each year to maintain the equipment. Such expenses were onerous to men earning from $1.50 to $2 a day.
In 1871, there were 14 construction workshops in the St. Jacques area of Montreal, each employing between 3 and 22 workers. The workers built office buildings and houses as well as specialized parts - doors and door frames - and also did building repairs. The area of Ste. Anne had three carpentry shops manufacturing doors and doorframes; they employed between 30 and 80 workers.

Carpenters who worked in construction around the city had to provide and maintain their own tools. They also had to contend with the fact that workshops sometimes disappeared after a job was done, leaving the employees unemployed and unpaid. Other employers often delayed paying their workers. In general, however, workers who had jobs in shops were better off than those who worked on building sites. Work stopped completely on exterior jobs during the winter months, and many families suffered great hardship.

In the 1880s, construction workers employed by workshops in Montreal often had to spend from $100 to $125 to buy their own tools and $10 to $15 each year to maintain the equipment. Such expenses were onerous to men earning from $1.50 to $2 a day.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Insulator

These insulators were made by the Diamond Glass Company of Montreal. After 1945, colour insulators were replaced by clear-glass insulators. The coloured glass was attractive not only to people but also to insects, it seems, and insects tended to set up home in the coloured insulators.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Newlands Coburn
c. 1903-1911
Glass
9 x 6 cm
M992.6.28
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Insulators are one of the three main components, along with the conductors and supporting structure, of overhead electrical lines. The conductors (lines) are suspended from the supporting structure (poll or tower) by the insulators, which hold the electrical lines away from the other parts.

At the beginning of the 20th century, glass insulators - hung either in strings or single units - were used on telegraph and electric poles. Strings of insulators, each consisting of several disks held together by mechanical fittings, are used with high-voltage conductors. For lower voltages, a single insulator of glass or porcelain, called a pin-type insulator, is used. The insulators have to be strong enough to support the weight of the conductors and resist forces caused by wind and ice, especially the latter.
Insulators are one of the three main components, along with the conductors and supporting structure, of overhead electrical lines. The conductors (lines) are suspended from the supporting structure (poll or tower) by the insulators, which hold the electrical lines away from the other parts.

At the beginning of the 20th century, glass insulators - hung either in strings or single units - were used on telegraph and electric poles. Strings of insulators, each consisting of several disks held together by mechanical fittings, are used with high-voltage conductors. For lower voltages, a single insulator of glass or porcelain, called a pin-type insulator, is used. The insulators have to be strong enough to support the weight of the conductors and resist forces caused by wind and ice, especially the latter.

© 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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