MP-1975.19 | Ice palace, Winter Carnival, Montreal, QC, 1884

Ice palace, Winter Carnival, Montreal, QC, 1884
Alexander Henderson
1884, 19th century
Silver salts on paper - Halftone
20 x 25 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , building (531) , Cityscape (3948) , Figure (1339) , Figure (1339) , Print (10661) , Sleigh (315)
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Keys to History

The ice palace, built in Dominion Square for the winter carnival, attracted many Montrealers and tourists, especially on the last night of the festivities.

That evening, at about eight o'clock, hundreds of snowshoers surrounded the palace. Inside, a troop prepared to defend it. On a signal, the snowshoers, armed with fireworks, advanced on the ice palace. For an hour, the spectacle of the simulated attack continued under a hail of fireworks, much to the delight of the onlookers. Once the snowshoers finally entered the palace, they regrouped and began a torch-lit march to the summit of Mount Royal.

The winter carnival was an occasion for many of the city's sports clubs to engage in a variety of competitions: toboggan races, snowshoe obstacle courses, lacrosse on skates, and other games were featured during several days of fun.

  • What

    To make the ice palace even more spectacular, it was wired with electric lights and fireworks were set off.

  • Where

    Many of the tourists at the carnival were from the United States; more than 50,000 American visitors came to take part in the festivities each year.

  • When

    The Montreal winter carnival was held every year from 1883 to 1889.

  • Who

    The winter carnival was the idea of the Montreal Snowshoe Club, a group of people who enjoyed outings and competitions.