MP-0000.825.8 | St. Margaret Street, Montreal, QC, about 1910

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St. Margaret Street, Montreal, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Ink on paper mounted on card - Collotype
13 x 8 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , cityscape (422) , Montreal (409) , Print (10661) , St. Margaret Street (1) , streetscape (1737) , streetscape (187)
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Keys to History

The rich lived very well indeed during the boom years of the Belle Époque; for the poor, however, living conditions were often extremely difficult. Cities were growing so rapidly that municipal authorities had trouble providing adequate services. In some areas streets were still made of dirt; sidewalks, where they existed, were wooden; only certain areas had running water; garbage collection was in an embryonic state and sewage systems were rudimentary. Because of all the garbage and the horse manure lying around, the odour was often terrible, especially during the worst heat of the summer. Another annoyance were the dirt roads, sometimes muddy and sometimes dry and very dusty.

  • What

    View of a working-class neighbourhood, characterized by dirt roads, wooden sidewalks and small homes.

  • Where

    A veritable metropolis, Montreal was a city of contrasts, so much so that it was known as "the city of wealth and death."

  • When

    Until the early 20th century, many Montreal streets were still made of dirt, which was one reason why the city was generally unclean.

  • Who

    The reformer Herbert Brown Ames (1863-1954) wrote a startling report on the miserable conditions in which many Montrealers lived at that time. His work, titled The City Below the Hill (1897), is now famous.