MP-1978.207.1 | St. James Street, Montreal, QC, about 1910
St. James Street, Montreal, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Gelatin silver process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Mr. John N. Mappin
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
Keys to History
From the late 19th century until the depression of the 1930s, St. James Street was the location and symbol of Canadian financial power. This was mostly due to the concentration there of the banking institutions that determined the economic fate of the country.
The Bank of Montreal was erected in 1818. It was followed by at least 15 other banks, including Molson's Bank (1864-66), Savings Bank (c. 1871) and the Royal Bank (1907-08).
The building of head offices on St. James Street introduced to Montreal the concept of specialized centralization. This meant that the management and administration of companies were carried out in one part of the city - downtown - away from the production activities and warehouses in the city outskirts.
Grouped on St. James Street were the head offices of the companies and banks that constituted the city's business elite.
St. James Street was also the location of up-scale hotels, insurance offices, the Post Office and the offices of some of the major Montreal daily newspapers (The Montreal Star, La Presse, La Patrie).
Since banks competed for clients, they understood the importance of attracting customers through image. These prestigious buildings assumed the forms of classical architectural, to symbolize stability and prosperity.
The financiers and entrepreneurs who worked on St. James were proud of the outstanding architecture surrounding them.