I-17501.1 | St. John Street, Quebec City, QC, 1865
St. John Street, Quebec City, QC, 1865
William Notman (1826-1891)
1865, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
10 x 8 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
Keys to History
As a result of its isolation from railways to Atlantic ports and American industrial centres, cities like Quebec City languished. The lack of horse-drawn trams, the dusty streets and the dilapidated buildings along a main commercial street bear witness to the fact that Quebec's most important politicians were from Montreal, where they concentrated commercial and industrial power.
Source : Confederation: The Creation of Canada [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)
Quebec City did not have a rich agricultural hinterland or direct rail access to the rest of the continent. This doomed it to regional status until the growth of the provincial government a century later, as part of the development of the modern Quebec state.
This street was one of the main entrances to the city by the Saint John Gate. Quebec City had two major commercial districts, a lower-town commercial area near the docks, and John Street near the citadel, seminary, law courts and administrative offices.
In the 1860s, when this photograph was taken, Quebec City still had hopes of becoming a major service and industrial centre. The shift of Canada's centre westward, and the isolation from railways, obliged Quebec City to remain a provincial capital in the post-Confederation period.
City and business leaders had plans to open access streets, such as the one pictured here, into avenues like those laid out by Baron Haussmann in Paris.