MP-1980.47.42 | Skating rink, Montreal harbour, QC, 1876

Skating rink, Montreal harbour, QC, 1876
Alexander Henderson
1876, 19th century
Silver salts on paper - Albumen process
16.5 x 21.6 cm
Gift of Mr. Omer Lavallée
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  architecture (335) , church (34) , Custom House (4) , figure (1849) , governmental (12) , group (644) , Montreal (409) , Notre Dame Church (7) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , Pointe à Callières (3) , religious (38) , skater (3) , skating (9) , sport (475) , sport (107) , winter (74)
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Keys to History

People's relationship with time, in particular, leisure time, varies greatly depending on their financial circumstances. In the 19th century, those of modest means had little leisure time, and what little they did have was in the evenings and perhaps Saturday afternoon, if they were lucky enough not to have to work then. Sundays were free, of course, and increasingly being devoted to relaxation. Thus, for the lower class, leisure activities tended to be spontaneous, taken up whenever and wherever possible. But cities were becoming crowded with buildings, and finding open spaces to play was getting harder. So, along with the demands for a shorter workday, the public began demanding free and accessible recreation facilities.

  • What

    This improvised skating rink, located in the Port of Montreal, shows that for much of the public leisure activities were organized spontaneously.

  • Where

    The Port of Montreal was modernized and completely transformed after the 1890s, bringing to an end its recreational use.

  • When

    Following the upturn in the Canadian economy after 1896, the Port of Montreal went through a major overhaul, making it the most important port in Canada.

  • Who

    Ice skating, which was easily accessible and required a minimum of equipment, could be enjoyed by people from all walks of life.