Main corridor, Windsor Hotel

Left: Main corridor, Windsor Hotel extension, Montreal, QC. 1916

Right: Peacock Hallway in Le Windsor, Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-15809) Taken January 21st 2000 at 8:20 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: January 21, 2001, 8:20 p.m.

Daylight poured in through huge skylights in the original photograph, which was shot by either Notman's son or one of his associates. Now the building houses offices, the skylights are blocked, and on an average day this interior looks cold and deserted. To remedy this I decided to get permission to shoot during a special event. A bit of coldness remains in the new photograph, but I like the effect - the long exposure time gives a ghostly effect to these wedding-goers movements.
Date/Time: January 21, 2001, 8:20 p.m.

Daylight poured in through huge skylights in the original photograph, which was shot by either Notman's son or one of his associates. Now the building houses offices, the skylights are blocked, and on an average day this interior looks cold and deserted. To remedy this I decided to get permission to shoot during a special event. A bit of coldness remains in the new photograph, but I like the effect - the long exposure time gives a ghostly effect to these wedding-goers movements.

© 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.


Even though the Ritz Carlton Hotel was a rival for the Windsor from 1912 on, the Windsor continued in 1916 to welcome many distinguished visitors and European, American, Canadian and Quebec tourists. Built in 1906, the extension of the hotel offered a more classical, more sober ambiance than the Victorian part, which was then almost thirty years old. Let us enjoy a few special forays into the hotel (follow the photographic icons), but first let us have a look at a lady who is waiting ("Explore").
Even though the Ritz Carlton Hotel was a rival for the Windsor from 1912 on, the Windsor continued in 1916 to welcome many distinguished visitors and European, American, Canadian and Quebec tourists. Built in 1906, the extension of the hotel offered a more classical, more sober ambiance than the Victorian part, which was then almost thirty years old. Let us enjoy a few special forays into the hotel (follow the photographic icons), but first let us have a look at a lady who is waiting ("Explore").
Printed Documents
  • Choko, Marc H. 1987. Les grandes places publiques de Montréal. Montreal : Méridien.
  • Gournay, Isabelle, and France van Laethem (edd.). 1998. Montréal Métropole : 1880-1930. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal; Canadian Centre for Architecture.
  • The Windsor Hotel Guide to the City of Montreal. [1898]. [no place]: International Railway Publishing.
  • The Windsor Montreal - W.S. Weldon, manager [1905]. [Montreal: no publisher]. [Consulted at the McGill University Library, Rare Books Department]

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

Windsor Hotel and Extension

This panoramic view of the extension of the Windsor lets us see it in its setting. On the right, the extension was designed in the style of the architecture school of the Beaux-Arts in Paris, a trend which, in 1906, was sweeping both New York and Montreal. This part was nevertheless in keeping with buildings of the 1870s, which itself followed the Parisian fashion of the time. All that remains intact today is the extension of 1906.

Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
c. 1906
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process ?
20 x 25 cm
VIEW-4890.2
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Kitchen and Staff

Let us leave to the kitchen staff and the waiters the heavy burden of representing the tens of thousands of people who, in 1916, earned their living in the hotels, the office buildings, the department stores and the factories of Montreal, but who appear only rarely in the collections of old photographs.

Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
c. 1916
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
VIEW-15810
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Night life.

In Montreal, the Windsor Hotel is the place to go. Over the years, the rich and famous climb its marble stairs. As the hotel blueprints show, the premises are arranged to provide visitors with the most sophisticated services and gathering areas. Lavish receptions await the smart set in its ballrooms. Freshly powdered and perfumed, women make their appearance carrying a dance card in one hand and a fan in the other. Evenings in the hotel are attended by numerous pleasures, and guests quench their thirst on fine apéritifs and wines.
Night life.

In Montreal, the Windsor Hotel is the place to go. Over the years, the rich and famous climb its marble stairs. As the hotel blueprints show, the premises are arranged to provide visitors with the most sophisticated services and gathering areas. Lavish receptions await the smart set in its ballrooms. Freshly powdered and perfumed, women make their appearance carrying a dance card in one hand and a fan in the other. Evenings in the hotel are attended by numerous pleasures, and guests quench their thirst on fine apéritifs and wines.

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

Floor Plan

The architecture of the Windsor Hotel was in the refined Second Empire style, one of the most common and best liked in Montreal in the latter half of the 19th century.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of The Imperial Windsor Group inc.
c. 1921
P092-D
© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


The Windsor Hotel had a reputation for providing comfort and convenience in a refined setting.

Visitors entering the hotel found themselves in a magnificent rotunda with a frescoed dome. From there it was only a few steps to the hotel office, the waiting room, the telegrapher’s office, the ticket office, the coat rooms and the news stand.

Close by were the billiard room, the bar, a barber’s shop, a haberdasher’s shop and a chemist’s shop.

A marble staircase rose to join a long hallway leading to a series of handsome drawing rooms. Two dining rooms welcomed guests at mealtimes. As an 1882 guidebook points out, the bedrooms were " all supplied with hot and cold water, and [were] roomy and well warmed and ventilated," which was very important.
The Windsor Hotel had a reputation for providing comfort and convenience in a refined setting.

Visitors entering the hotel found themselves in a magnificent rotunda with a frescoed dome. From there it was only a few steps to the hotel office, the waiting room, the telegrapher’s office, the ticket office, the coat rooms and the news stand.

Close by were the billiard room, the bar, a barber’s shop, a haberdasher’s shop and a chemist’s shop.

A marble staircase rose to join a long hallway leading to a series of handsome drawing rooms. Two dining rooms welcomed guests at mealtimes. As an 1882 guidebook points out, the bedrooms were " all supplied with hot and cold water, and [were] roomy and well warmed and ventilated," which was very important.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Dance Card

This dance card is from a ball given under the patronage of the Duke of Connaught, governor general at the time, and his wife, who were accompanied by well-known personalities of the day.

McCord Museum of Canadian History
c. 1911
Paper
12.5 x 7 cm
M2001X.6.58
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


This dance card lists the dances at a ball, with the signatures of gentlemen who have reserved them. The waltz and the two-step, which made its appearance in the late 19th century, predominate.

A very strict dancing étiquette applied to society balls. A young man could not ask the same young woman to dance more than twice in a row. A lady must not refuse to dance with one gentleman and then accept the invitation of another. The man had to salute, hold out his hand and then his right arm to his partner for the next dance, before walking about the ballroom while waiting for the music to begin.

All these rules of conduct shaped the behaviour of the upper classes between the middle of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th.
This dance card lists the dances at a ball, with the signatures of gentlemen who have reserved them. The waltz and the two-step, which made its appearance in the late 19th century, predominate.

A very strict dancing étiquette applied to society balls. A young man could not ask the same young woman to dance more than twice in a row. A lady must not refuse to dance with one gentleman and then accept the invitation of another. The man had to salute, hold out his hand and then his right arm to his partner for the next dance, before walking about the ballroom while waiting for the music to begin.

All these rules of conduct shaped the behaviour of the upper classes between the middle of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th.

© 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.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans