I-17501.1 | St. John Street, Quebec City, QC, 1865

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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)
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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)

  • What

    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.

  • Where

    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.

  • When

    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.

  • Who

    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.