Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Left: Bonsecours Church, St. Paul Street, Montreal, QC. about 1884

Right: Bonsecours Church and St. Paul Street, Looking West. Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-1317) Taken July 12th 2000 at 2:40 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: July 12, 2000, 2:40 p.m.

The timing of this busy shot was dictated by a very distinct shadow on the street, which limited my window of opportunity to a few minutes. I revisited the spot many times, only to be stymied by cloud-cover or cars parked in front of my camera. The camera position was also complicated by the close proximity of the building on the left. In the end I was very pleased. Some details are exactly the same, such as the shadow of the building on the right, but the construction truck and the tourists entering the Church signify the passage of time.
Date/Time: July 12, 2000, 2:40 p.m.

The timing of this busy shot was dictated by a very distinct shadow on the street, which limited my window of opportunity to a few minutes. I revisited the spot many times, only to be stymied by cloud-cover or cars parked in front of my camera. The camera position was also complicated by the close proximity of the building on the left. In the end I was very pleased. Some details are exactly the same, such as the shadow of the building on the right, but the construction truck and the tourists entering the Church signify the passage of time.

© 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.


In 1884, like today, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel drew tourists because of its picturesque site and the elegance of the nearby Bonsecours Market. The chapel, which was rebuilt in 1773 after a fire, still had the look of a little church in New France when this photograph was taken in 1884.

A place of pilgrimage since the 17th century, it later became a place of worship for Irish Catholics and, in 1848, was given official status as a pilgrimage chapel. From 1886 to 1894, radical changes were made to the church: new frescoes inside, substantial additions and monumental sculptures on the outside. This work was a reflection of the wave of religious zeal that swept the country at the end of the century. This spiritual fervour perhaps helped the Protestant and Catholic communities to deal with the upheaval in human values caused by industrialization, but it is also true that the Catholic religion lends itself particularly well to expressions of collective devotion, such as pilgrimages.
In 1884, like today, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel drew tourists because of its picturesque site and the elegance of the nearby Bonsecours Market. The chapel, which was rebuilt in 1773 after a fire, still had the look of a little church in New France when this photograph was taken in 1884.

A place of pilgrimage since the 17th century, it later became a place of worship for Irish Catholics and, in 1848, was given official status as a pilgrimage chapel. From 1886 to 1894, radical changes were made to the church: new frescoes inside, substantial additions and monumental sculptures on the outside. This work was a reflection of the wave of religious zeal that swept the country at the end of the century. This spiritual fervour perhaps helped the Protestant and Catholic communities to deal with the upheaval in human values caused by industrialization, but it is also true that the Catholic religion lends itself particularly well to expressions of collective devotion, such as pilgrimages.
Printed Documents
  • Lebel, Jean-Marie, and Brigitte Ostiguy. 1999. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré : un rayonnement. Quebec : Éditions du Chien Rouge.
  • Leblanc, Gilles. 1999. Guide des pèlerinages et lieux de prière au Québec. Montreal : Hurtubise HMH.
  • Petit manuel des pèlerins au Calvaire du Lac des Deux-Montagnes. 1887. Montreal : Eusèbe Sénécal.
  • Porter, John, and Jean Trudel. 1974. Le Calvaire d'Oka. Ottawa : National Gallery of Canada.
  • Simard, Jean. 1989. Les arts sacrés au Québec. Boucherville (Que.) : Éditions de Mortagne.
  • Simpson, Patricia, and Louise Pothier. 2001. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours : Une chapelle et son quartier. Montreal : Fides ; Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours/ Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum. [also published in English]

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

Fort Senneville

Victorian tastes were perfectly adapted to the romanticism of ancient ruins, perhaps in reaction to, once again, the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. Montrealers had no ruins dating back to Antiquity or the Middle Ages, but used those of New France, in their rustic settings, for their musings. In 1865, J. C. Abbott, an influential lawyer and politician, bought land and woods in Senneville and landscaped an area where there were ruins of two mills and an old fort.

Dr. G. P. Girdwood
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mrs. Jacqueline Hackney
c. 1866
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process ?
20 x 25 cm
MP-1995.28.3
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


The city of a hundred spires and a thousand and one faithful.
When the church bells ring out, punctuating the hours and announcing specific celebrations, the Church makes people mindful of its existence. For some, the spires define the landscape of the city. Fervent believers flock into the parish churches and other places of worship that, like the Bonsecours Chapel, are associated with specific times or events. All of these people come together on their knees, calling upon the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary and all the saints of Heaven.
The city of a hundred spires and a thousand and one faithful.
When the church bells ring out, punctuating the hours and announcing specific celebrations, the Church makes people mindful of its existence. For some, the spires define the landscape of the city. Fervent believers flock into the parish churches and other places of worship that, like the Bonsecours Chapel, are associated with specific times or events. All of these people come together on their knees, calling upon the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary and all the saints of Heaven.

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

La grande fête nationale des 24-25 juin 1874

The parade, organized annually by the St-Jean-Baptiste Society, was a popular demonstration of the group's support for nationalist, linguistic and constitutional matters in Quebec.

Henry Sandham
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Charles deVolpi
c. 1874
Ink on paper - Photolithography
40 x 27.7 cm
M979.87.15A
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


The illustration depicts the annual parade along St. James Street in Montreal in honour of the patron saint St. John the Baptist, whose nativity is remembered on June 24 in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. The parade was organized by the St-Jean-Baptiste Society, a French Canadian patriotic association founded in 1843 by the newspaper editor Ludger Duvernay.

In the 19th century, the Catholic Church was involved in most of the rituals surrounding the celebration of St-Jean-Baptiste Day. In the morning, church bells rang out inviting the faithful to the special mass in honour of the saint. During the parade, religious symbols and groups had a place of prominence. And in the evening, as the parishoners sat down to holiday dinners and the lighting of the bonfires, the priests were there to bless the activities, and to watch over the members of their flock.
The illustration depicts the annual parade along St. James Street in Montreal in honour of the patron saint St. John the Baptist, whose nativity is remembered on June 24 in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. The parade was organized by the St-Jean-Baptiste Society, a French Canadian patriotic association founded in 1843 by the newspaper editor Ludger Duvernay.

In the 19th century, the Catholic Church was involved in most of the rituals surrounding the celebration of St-Jean-Baptiste Day. In the morning, church bells rang out inviting the faithful to the special mass in honour of the saint. During the parade, religious symbols and groups had a place of prominence. And in the evening, as the parishoners sat down to holiday dinners and the lighting of the bonfires, the priests were there to bless the activities, and to watch over the members of their flock.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Bell

The bell comes from the church of the Sisters of the Congregation, which was demolished in 1905. The church was at the corner of Ste. Cecile and St. James Streets.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Herman R. Ressler
c. 1905
Metal
28 x 22 x 24.5 cm
M14479.1-2
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


The earliest know report of a bell ringing from the top of a Christian church dates from the 5th century. An Italian bishop hung a convex metal mould from the roof of his church and sounded it like a bell.

The use of bells in Christain churches became so widespread that in the 19th century almost every church in Montreal had one or more bells. The bells were the pride of the parish or congregation. So important were they that special fundraisers would be held in order to purchase new and better equipment. Sometimes the bells would be ordered from prestigious foundaries in Europe. With the bells safely installed in the belltower, the parishoners would celebrate, sounding their joy far and wide.

Bells played a particularly important role in the lives of Montrealers of the Catholic faith. In addition to announcing the angelus three times a day and for services of Holy Communion, the bells were rung at important religious services such as the funerals of public figures.
The earliest know report of a bell ringing from the top of a Christian church dates from the 5th century. An Italian bishop hung a convex metal mould from the roof of his church and sounded it like a bell.

The use of bells in Christain churches became so widespread that in the 19th century almost every church in Montreal had one or more bells. The bells were the pride of the parish or congregation. So important were they that special fundraisers would be held in order to purchase new and better equipment. Sometimes the bells would be ordered from prestigious foundaries in Europe. With the bells safely installed in the belltower, the parishoners would celebrate, sounding their joy far and wide.

Bells played a particularly important role in the lives of Montrealers of the Catholic faith. In addition to announcing the angelus three times a day and for services of Holy Communion, the bells were rung at important religious services such as the funerals of public figures.

© 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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