MP-1977.182.1 | Vendors at the Montcalm Market, Quebec City, QC, about 1890

Vendors at the Montcalm Market, Quebec City, QC, about 1890
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1890, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
12.7 x 10.2 cm
Purchase from Mr. Leon Jacobson
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Figure (1339) , Figure (1339) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History


For working-class families, consumption was mainly about essentials. Shelter and heating easily accounted for 20-30% of the irregular, insufficient pay of a day labourer or factory worker. Food, however, was undoubtedly the biggest expense. A family with two or three children spent over half its income on bread, meat, cheese, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and other provisions. When new public markets went up in working-class districts, women there could shop daily"a necessity for those without refrigeration.

  • What

    This photo shows a scene from the everyday life of housewives in the 19th century: the daily trip to the market to buy fresh produce sold by local farmers and market gardeners.

  • Where

    The Montcalm Market was located in the shadow of the city's fortifications, close to the St. John's (St. Jean) and Kent gates. It served the people of the St. John's district.

  • When

    In the second half of the 19th century, cities built new public squares and markets in working-class neighbourhoods. In Quebec City, the Montcalm Market was inaugurated in 1875.

  • Who

    To women, the market was a prime place to meet and socialize. Most of the vendors and their customers were women.