M930.50.7.523 | Engraving

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Creative Commons License
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1875-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
20.9 x 13.3 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Print (10661) , religious (1331)
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Keys to History

The horse-drawn streetcar - a vehicle on tracks pulled by horses - was one of the first forms of public transportation in Montreal. The first horse-drawn streetcar line went into operation on November 27, 1861.

However, this means of transportation was not ideal. The horses never went faster than 8 km/h and tired quickly, and the tracks were only usable in the summer since the roads were not paved. The streetcars were therefore replaced by sleighs in the winter, and in the spring and autumn, omnibuses - horse-drawn vehicles on wheels - took over.

In spite of this, the horse-drawn streetcar was a true symbol of the beginning of modernism for Montreal.

  • What

    The horse-drawn streetcar became more popular than the omnibus because travel on tracks was smoother than on a dirt road.

  • Where

    The first horse-drawn streetcar line was on Notre Dame Street, between Harbour (du Havre) and McGill Streets.

  • When

    In Montreal, the last trip by horse-drawn streetcar took place in October 1894.

  • Who

    The author of this engraving, John Henry Walker, was one of the most prolific illustrators of the late 19th century. He contributed to almost all Montreal periodicals.