"Ravenscrag"

Left:"Ravenscrag", Hugh Montagu Allan's residence, Montreal, QC. 1901

Right:Allan Memorial Institute, Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-4867). Taken February 20th, 2000 at 11:07 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: February 20, 2000, 11:07 a.m.

This Notman photograph interested me visually from the first, but I also wanted to rephotograph it because this building is now a hospital. It staggers me that this was a private residence in Notman's time, when so many people in Montreal were living in dire poverty. In my photograph the fence and the building match up in every detail, which is quite remarkable - only the gate has been widened. Even the snow is collecting in the same way and in the same spots. As usual, the shadows told me precisely when to take my photograph.
Date/Time: February 20, 2000, 11:07 a.m.

This Notman photograph interested me visually from the first, but I also wanted to rephotograph it because this building is now a hospital. It staggers me that this was a private residence in Notman's time, when so many people in Montreal were living in dire poverty. In my photograph the fence and the building match up in every detail, which is quite remarkable - only the gate has been widened. Even the snow is collecting in the same way and in the same spots. As usual, the shadows told me precisely when to take my photograph.

© 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.


Built on the side of the mountain in 1861, the sumptuous mansion of shipping magnate, Hugh Allan, still dominated the city in 1901. During this period, it belonged to Allan's eldest son, Hugh Montagu Allan. For most people, "Ravenscrag" represented an unattainable dream. Even among the British visitors who had the means to visit Montreal around 1900, only a small minority could hope to be entertained there. One of the fortunate few was Prince Arthur, Allan's guest in 1906. The city nevertheless had many less expensive, even quite modest, houses, where the dream of a home of one's own could become a reality.
Built on the side of the mountain in 1861, the sumptuous mansion of shipping magnate, Hugh Allan, still dominated the city in 1901. During this period, it belonged to Allan's eldest son, Hugh Montagu Allan. For most people, "Ravenscrag" represented an unattainable dream. Even among the British visitors who had the means to visit Montreal around 1900, only a small minority could hope to be entertained there. One of the fortunate few was Prince Arthur, Allan's guest in 1906. The city nevertheless had many less expensive, even quite modest, houses, where the dream of a home of one's own could become a reality.
Printed Documents
  • Benoît, Michèle, and Roger Gratton. 1991. Pignon sur rue :Les quartiers de Montréal. Montreal : Guérin.
  • Hanna, David, and Sherry Olson. 1993. « L'évolution sociale de Montréal, 1842-1901 ». In Atlas historique du Canada. II : La transformation du territoire, 1800-1891. Montreal : Presses de l'Université de Montréal. Plate 49.
  • Rémillard, François, and Brian Merrett. 1986. Demeures bourgeoises de Montréal: le mille carré doré, 1850-1930. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien.
  • Ville de Montréal. 1995. Les rues de Montréal: Répertoire historique. Montreal : Éditions du Méridien

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

Prince Arthur

Prince Arthur, third son of Queen Victoria of England, first came to Montreal in 1869, at the age of 19. Here he is again in the spring of 1906, now 56 years old, at the home of Hugh Montagu Allan. Since the prince's mother had died, his brother, Edward, was the new king of England and Canada

Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
c. 1906
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
VIEW-8768
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Rich and famous.
“Ravenscrag.” This luxurious residence is the home of the heirs of Canada's wealthiest man, Sir Hugh Allan. The owner of a major shipping line, as well as a railway promoter and astute businessman, Allan is also one of the first to invest in the telephone industry. Mirroring his fame and fortune, his home is the largest private residence in Montreal. An extremely elegant tea set, and a shawl in fine fabric worn by one of the female members of the family, give us some idea of the kind of opulence that attend daily life in Ravenscrag.
Rich and famous.
“Ravenscrag.” This luxurious residence is the home of the heirs of Canada's wealthiest man, Sir Hugh Allan. The owner of a major shipping line, as well as a railway promoter and astute businessman, Allan is also one of the first to invest in the telephone industry. Mirroring his fame and fortune, his home is the largest private residence in Montreal. An extremely elegant tea set, and a shawl in fine fabric worn by one of the female members of the family, give us some idea of the kind of opulence that attend daily life in Ravenscrag.

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

Tea set

Tea from India and China was not imported regularly into Canada until after the conquest of New France by the British.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Allan H. Montagu
c. 1873-1874
M19781.1-7
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


The upper classes were very fond of their tea, often attributing curative powers to it. They purchased quality tea and drank it from fine china cups with matching silver flatware.

Towards the end of the 19th century, tea became a social activity among wealthy Montrealers. The day began with tea served in bed. In the afternoon, ladies met at four o’clock for a cup of tea. In the evening, they sometimes attended a tea dance, at which between 20 and 40 people in evening dress would dance and drink tea and eat dessert in the dining room.

This tea service was made in London between 1872 and 1875 by the Goldsmiths’ Alliance Ltd., a firm that did business in all the British colonies. It was presented to Sir Hugh Allan in 1880 on the occasion of the launching of his ship, the S.S. Parisian, in Glasgow. When the ship landed at Montreal, on May 10, 1881, a banquet was held in Sir Hugh’s honour at the Windsor Hotel.
The upper classes were very fond of their tea, often attributing curative powers to it. They purchased quality tea and drank it from fine china cups with matching silver flatware.

Towards the end of the 19th century, tea became a social activity among wealthy Montrealers. The day began with tea served in bed. In the afternoon, ladies met at four o’clock for a cup of tea. In the evening, they sometimes attended a tea dance, at which between 20 and 40 people in evening dress would dance and drink tea and eat dessert in the dining room.

This tea service was made in London between 1872 and 1875 by the Goldsmiths’ Alliance Ltd., a firm that did business in all the British colonies. It was presented to Sir Hugh Allan in 1880 on the occasion of the launching of his ship, the S.S. Parisian, in Glasgow. When the ship landed at Montreal, on May 10, 1881, a banquet was held in Sir Hugh’s honour at the Windsor Hotel.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Sir Hugh Allan

In the 1860s and 1870s, Sir Hugh Allan's fortune amounted to between $6 million and $10 million, making him the richest man in Canada.

Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History
c. 1871
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
25 x 20 cm
I-63540
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Sir Hugh Allan, a rich Montreal ship owner and financier, asked the celebrated photographer William Notman to take his photograph.

Born in Scotland in 1810, Sir Hugh landed in Montreal in 1826 and built his immense fortune in shipping. His fleet of steamers carried immigrants, manufactured goods and natural resources to and from the United Kingdom and the ports of Montreal, Quebec City and the Maritimes. He was also interested in other means of communication, including railways, the telegraph and the telephone. An astute investor, he put money into Montreal's booming industrial economy.

Photographer William Notman was renowned for his portraits. Most of Canada's well-known personalities, both English and French, made use of his services.
Sir Hugh Allan, a rich Montreal ship owner and financier, asked the celebrated photographer William Notman to take his photograph.

Born in Scotland in 1810, Sir Hugh landed in Montreal in 1826 and built his immense fortune in shipping. His fleet of steamers carried immigrants, manufactured goods and natural resources to and from the United Kingdom and the ports of Montreal, Quebec City and the Maritimes. He was also interested in other means of communication, including railways, the telegraph and the telephone. An astute investor, he put money into Montreal's booming industrial economy.

Photographer William Notman was renowned for his portraits. Most of Canada's well-known personalities, both English and French, made use of his services.

© 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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