II-102021 | Tramway crossing under construction, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence St., Montreal, QC, 1893

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Tramway crossing under construction, Ste. Catherine and St. Lawrence St., Montreal, QC, 1893
Wm. Notman & Son
1893, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Photograph (77678) , rail (370) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

In 1893, an extensive network of rails and a switching system were installed at the corner of St. Catherine and St. Lawrence streets in downtown Montreal. In the 1880s and 1890s, the streetcar, or tramway, systems being developed in many Canadian cities were a major factor in urban planning. Among other things, streets were widened and electric poles were installed. These systems also favoured the development of suburbs, offering efficient transportation at reasonable prices. The history of streetcars is not without disasters, like the Point Ellice Bridge tragedy in Victoria, in 1896. But for many decades, this means of public transportation made life easier for countless city dwellers and suburbanites and, in some regions, even grew to provide intercity connections.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Switching systems enabled rail vehicles to move from one track to another. Installing a network of streetcars required an appropriate infrastructure, including complex switchers at certain major intersections.

  • Where

    During the second year of operation of electric streetcars in Montreal, a large switching system was installed on St. Lawrence Boulevard, the city's east-west dividing line.

  • When

    On September 21, 1892, Montreal's first electric streetcar, dubbed the "Rocket," made its maiden run on the city's tracks.

  • Who

    Honoré Guay, a Montreal Street Railway employee, was the city's first electric streetcar driver, or motorman.