Jacques Cartier Square

Left: Market day, Jacques Cartier Square, Montreal, QC. about 1890

Right: Jacques Cartier Square, Montreal, QC. After Notman (VIEW-2421) Taken January 22 2000 at 11:22 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 22, 2001, 11:22 a.m.

The building from which Notman took his photograph is no longer there. Fortunately a new one was built in the intervening years, with a balcony in almost the same place, although I wished it were a foot or two lower. I first rephotographed this scene in 1999, but at that time the monument was gone for restoration, so I came back two years later to try again. When I compare the shape of the shadows on City Hall in both photographs I find it remarkable that they are so perfectly the same. The clock in the tower shows the same time as well.
Date/Time: January 22, 2001, 11:22 a.m.

The building from which Notman took his photograph is no longer there. Fortunately a new one was built in the intervening years, with a balcony in almost the same place, although I wished it were a foot or two lower. I first rephotographed this scene in 1999, but at that time the monument was gone for restoration, so I came back two years later to try again. When I compare the shape of the shadows on City Hall in both photographs I find it remarkable that they are so perfectly the same. The clock in the tower shows the same time as well.

© 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 tourist guides of the 1890s extolled the picturesqueness of Bonsecours Market and Jacques Cartier Square on market days, when you could rub shoulders with the "Canadian habitant." However, there were fewer tourists in the winter. To take a closer look at the different individuals in the photo, use the "Explore" function at the beginning of the text and click on the square. You will see mostly men - vendors as well as some grocers - buying stock directly from the agricultural producers to resell it elsewhere. Montreal merchants also went to the many wholesalers and importers who had warehouses near this central market.
The tourist guides of the 1890s extolled the picturesqueness of Bonsecours Market and Jacques Cartier Square on market days, when you could rub shoulders with the "Canadian habitant." However, there were fewer tourists in the winter. To take a closer look at the different individuals in the photo, use the "Explore" function at the beginning of the text and click on the square. You will see mostly men - vendors as well as some grocers - buying stock directly from the agricultural producers to resell it elsewhere. Montreal merchants also went to the many wholesalers and importers who had warehouses near this central market.
Printed Documents
  • Benoît, Michèle, and Roger Gratton. 1991. Pignon sur rue : Les quartiers de Montréal. Montreal : Guérin.
  • Choko, Marc H. 1987. Les grandes places publiques de Montréal. Montreal : Méridien.
  • Linteau, Paul-André. 1981. Maisonneuve : Comment des promoteurs fabriquent une ville. Montreal : Boréal Express.
  • Linteau, Paul-André. 2000. Histoire de Montréal depuis la Confédération. Montreal : Éditions du Boréal.
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.

Bonsecours Market

Bonsecours Market - seen here in 1904, on the port side - was a place where not only merchants came to make purchases, but also ordinary citizens who bought smaller quantities. The Central Market in the north end of Montreal still has this double function.

Wm. Notman & Son
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
c. 1904
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
VIEW-3729-D1
© McCord Museum of Canadian History.


Shopping.

Loaded down with baskets and pails piled high with wares and produce, farmers, craftspeople and all sorts of traders are getting ready to display their goods in the New Market on Place Jacques-Cartier and at the Bonsecours Market. These squares, which are very busy year round, draw a colourful crowd that comes to shop and trade gossip. In the middle of the crush are numerous women who, in addition to being entrusted with the tasks of preparing meals and keeping house, very often hold the purse strings and, with them, the responsibility for making purchases.
Shopping.

Loaded down with baskets and pails piled high with wares and produce, farmers, craftspeople and all sorts of traders are getting ready to display their goods in the New Market on Place Jacques-Cartier and at the Bonsecours Market. These squares, which are very busy year round, draw a colourful crowd that comes to shop and trade gossip. In the middle of the crush are numerous women who, in addition to being entrusted with the tasks of preparing meals and keeping house, very often hold the purse strings and, with them, the responsibility for making purchases.

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

Purse

Leather purses, which were more durable than those made of delicate materials, were used very often for outdoor activities.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mrs. Raymond Caron
c. 1880-1900
15.2 x 15.5 cm
M973.1.57
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


This leather purse, which was worn attached to the belt, was extremely popular beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century. More durable than a cloth purse, it was used especially for outdoor activities, for shopping and travelling. It was also during this period that this accessory starting being used to carry money.

In the 19th century, the purse was above all a fashion accessory. Often made of a soft fabric, embroidered or beaded, which matched the dress, the "reticule" also had its practical aspect. It permitted ladies wearing dresses without pockets to hold onto their personal effects - for example, their handkerchief, their case of smelling salts and their visiting cards.
This leather purse, which was worn attached to the belt, was extremely popular beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century. More durable than a cloth purse, it was used especially for outdoor activities, for shopping and travelling. It was also during this period that this accessory starting being used to carry money.

In the 19th century, the purse was above all a fashion accessory. Often made of a soft fabric, embroidered or beaded, which matched the dress, the "reticule" also had its practical aspect. It permitted ladies wearing dresses without pockets to hold onto their personal effects - for example, their handkerchief, their case of smelling salts and their visiting cards.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Le Marché Bonsecours la veille de Noël

This illustration on the Christmas theme appeared on two full pages in the weekly "L'Opinion publique". Collectors used these illustrations as decorations.

McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Charles deVolpi
c. 1870
Ink on paper
40.1 x 55.5 cm
M983.52.76
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


While the frenzy of consumption before Christmas is nothing new, this phenomenon was particularly palpable in the public markets of Montreal at the end of the 19th century.

In the towns and cities, preparations for the holidays began around mid-December. People had to buy all the food products necessary to prepare all the different dishes that would be served at meals characterized by abundance and variety. During this time of celebration, every family, rich or poor, strived, according to their own means, to fill their tables with the most appetizing dishes.

Merchants took advantage of the holiday season to offer for sale during the weeks before Christmas a wide variety of imported products and fresh fruits.
While the frenzy of consumption before Christmas is nothing new, this phenomenon was particularly palpable in the public markets of Montreal at the end of the 19th century.

In the towns and cities, preparations for the holidays began around mid-December. People had to buy all the food products necessary to prepare all the different dishes that would be served at meals characterized by abundance and variety. During this time of celebration, every family, rich or poor, strived, according to their own means, to fill their tables with the most appetizing dishes.

Merchants took advantage of the holiday season to offer for sale during the weeks before Christmas a wide variety of imported products and fresh fruits.

© McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Bonsecours Market Scene in Winter

A keen observer of urban life, Duncan sketched from life many sporting events, parades, fires, street vendors and winter scenes.

James Duncan (1806-1881)
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
c. 1850-1860
Oil on wood
20.2 x 25.3 cm
M316
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


In the 19th century, the activities of Montreal's public market extended far beyond the confines of the Bonsecours Market and occupied the whole area of what is now called "Old Montreal."

Opened in January 1847, the Bonsecours Market was a multipurpose building that housed market stalls, an icehouse, the offices of city hall, a police station and a concert hall.

This market was very important to the everyday lives of Montrealers. It drew crowds, not only because citizens had to eat, but also because food preservation techniques were not yet very developed. As shown by this painting by James Duncan, the Bonsecours Market was not simply a place to purchase foodstuffs; it was also an important gathering place where people from of all walks of life socialized.
In the 19th century, the activities of Montreal's public market extended far beyond the confines of the Bonsecours Market and occupied the whole area of what is now called "Old Montreal."

Opened in January 1847, the Bonsecours Market was a multipurpose building that housed market stalls, an icehouse, the offices of city hall, a police station and a concert hall.

This market was very important to the everyday lives of Montrealers. It drew crowds, not only because citizens had to eat, but also because food preservation techniques were not yet very developed. As shown by this painting by James Duncan, the Bonsecours Market was not simply a place to purchase foodstuffs; it was also an important gathering place where people from of all walks of life socialized.

© 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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