I-14013.1 | A. McGibbon's grocery, St. James Street, Montreal, QC, 1864

A. McGibbon's grocery, St. James Street, Montreal, QC, 1864
William Notman (1826-1891)
1864, 19th century
Silver salts on paper - Albumen process
8 x 5 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Cityscape (3948) , commercial (1771) , Figure (1339) , Figure (1339) , Photograph (77678) , Sleigh (315)
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Keys to History

Rapid industrialization and the prosperity it created changed the lives of the middle-classes, who had only recently moved up the social ladder. Wealth encouraged the separation of the public and private spheres. Successful businessmen, who spent their days in the public world of commerce and industry, expected to return to the peaceful sanctuary of domestic life in the evening. The family home was now separated physically and emotionally from the work place.
Alexander McGibbon's home was several blocks away from his business. The photograph shows that the McGibbon grocery catered to the carriage trade. In an engraving used for advertising, fashionable men and women are seen window-shopping.

  • What

    McGibbon's gourmet grocery offered wealthy customers a variety of rare and imported products, including wines and liquors, coffee and tea, meats and smoked fish.

  • Where

    This Montreal grocery was first located on Notre Dame Street. It moved to St. James Street in 1864 and remained there until the 1880s.

  • When

    An excellent visual archive of the family achievements exists, since Alexander McGibbon used the Notman Photographic Studio.

  • Who

    McGibbon was an astute retailer who used new forms of marketing to draw customers. His grocery was the first store in Montreal to install plate-glass windows to encourage window shopping.