I-11529.1 | Andrew Robertson, Montreal, QC, 1864

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Andrew Robertson, Montreal, QC, 1864
William Notman (1826-1891)
1864, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8 x 5 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

First president of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada

Andrew Robertson was the first president of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. A Scot who had immigrated to Canada in 1853, he was a well-known Montreal merchant. He became president on June 16, 1880, and stayed on until his death in 1890.

Like many of his contemporaries, Robertson held a number of positions in Montreal society. He was a governor of the Montreal General Hospital from 1872, later serving as its treasurer, vice-president and president. Between 1879 and 1890, he was chairman of the Montreal Harbour Commission. Under him, a plan to control the flooding of a number of Montreal neighbourhoods was developed.

It was also under Robertson's chairmanship that Montreal was selected as the site of Bell Canada's head office.

  • What

    Photographed here by William Notman in his Bleury Street studio in Montreal, Andrew Robertson was a well-regarded businessman known for being progressive and devoted to the public good.

  • Where

    In 1880 Bell Canada established its head office in Montreal, then the biggest city in Canada. The company provided telephone service in other Canadian cities, such as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Quebec.

  • When

    At the time the picture was taken, Andrew Robertson owned the Auburn Woollen Mill, which manufactured Canadian tweed, in Peterborough, Upper Canada.

  • Who

    Andrew Robertson was the first president of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. This businessman and public servant was born on June 18, 1827, in Paisley, Scotland, and died on March 29, 1890, in Montreal.