MP-0000.840.14 | St. Denis Street showing Laval University, Montreal, QC, about 1910

St. Denis Street showing Laval University, Montreal, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Coloured ink on paper mounted on card - Photolithography
8 x 13 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , cityscape (422) , Laval University (2) , Montreal (409) , Print (10661) , St. Denis Street (3) , streetscape (1737) , streetscape (187)
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Keys to History

The bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget, had to fight long and hard for the establishment of a Catholic university in the city. Rome resisted, but finally decided to allow a campus of Université Laval to be opened in Montreal. Inaugurated on January 8, 1878, and housed in the Château Ramezay, the Montreal campus of Université Laval had very humble beginnings. Its English-speaking counterpart, McGill University, enjoyed far greater resources and operated on a much wider scale.

Montreal was therefore home to two distinct worlds, separated by language and religion: that of French-speaking Catholics and that of English-speaking Protestants. Each community had its own churches, its own school system right up to university level, its own hospitals, social services, social and cultural institutions, and newspapers. Each occupied separate areas of the city.

  • What

    The first building erected specifically to accommodate Université Laval in Montreal, it was home to the faculties of law and medicine, the only two that counted. The faculty of theology was in the west end of the city, at the Grand séminaire.

  • Where

    The Université Laval's building was on St. Denis Street, south of Ste. Catherine, on the site now occupied by the Hubert Aquin Building of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). This location was in the heart of the French upper-class neighbourhood between Viger Square and St. Louis Square.

  • When

    The 1893 architectural design competition was won by the firm Perrault, Mesnard & Venne. The Université Laval building was officially opened on October 8, 1895.

  • Who

    The student body at Université Laval at Montreal was exclusively male in the late 1800s. Most of the students were the sons of well-off French-Canadian families who were studying law or medicine. Their sometimes rowdy outings gave a festive atmosphere to the so-called Quartier Latin neighbourhood.