MP-1978.207.1.6 | S. E. corner, Vitre & St. Urbain Streets, Montreal, QC, about 1915

S. E. corner, Vitre & St. Urbain Streets, Montreal, QC, about 1915
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1915, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Mr. John N. Mappin
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

The Italians, while fewer in numbers than the Jews, also constituted one of Montreal's larger ethnic groups. Many of them worked in construction. By 1910 they were beginning to form a distinctive neighbourhood in the north end of the city and were already served by two parishes.

A few thousand other Europeans had settled in Montreal, along with a few hundred Chinese, who had begun to establish their own neighbourhood on De La Gauchetière Street. Montreal was beginning to look like an ethnic mosaic, even though people of French and British ancestry still formed the two largest groups.

  • What

    The area around the intersection of Vitré and St. Urbain streets was part of Montreal's Chinatown, which began to develop in the late 1800s.

  • Where

    De La Gauchetière Street constituted the backbone of Chinatown; that was where the largest number of Chinese businesses and homes were located. But they also extended into the cross streets, especially Clark and St. Urbain.

  • When

    Chinese immigrants began arriving in Montreal in the 1880s, but their numbers increased sharply around the turn of the century.

  • Who

    The Chinese in Montreal were Cantonese. Their numbers rose from 888 in 1901 to 1,335 ten years later. In the early years, they worked chiefly in the laundry business, but they gradually became increasingly involved in the grocery trade, importing and the restaurant business.