MP-1989.15.16 | Bell Telephone Building, Beaver Hall Hill, Montreal, QC, 1931(?)

 
Photograph
Bell Telephone Building, Beaver Hall Hill, Montreal, QC, 1931(?)
Walter Jackson
Probably 1931, 20th century
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process
24 x 20 cm
Gift of Mrs. Isherwood
MP-1989.15.16
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , commercial (1771) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Consolidation of Bell Canada's Business Until 1930

Founded in 1880, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada continued to expand phenomenally until 1930. The first general meeting of company shareholders was held in the Queen's Hotel in Toronto on June 1, 1880. Three people attended: Andrew Robertson, Charles Fleetford Sise and Hugh Cossart Baker. The company slowly bought out several competitors and took over the urban telephone market in Quebec and Ontario.

A few months before the start of the Depression in 1929, Bell opened its new head office in Montreal. At the time, it was the second tallest building in the city. Over 2,000 employees worked in this skyscraper.

  • What

    The new head office of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada was known as the Beaver Hall building. Twenty storeys high, it housed the company's administrative units. It also provided a number of services to employees, including lounges, a nursing station and preventive medicine.

  • Where

    In setting up its new head office on Beaver Hall Hill in Montreal, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada was continuing the shift of the business district from the Notre Dame Street area up towards Dorchester (now René-Lévesque) Boulevard. This trend was begun by the Sun Life insurance company, which in 1914 built its head office on Dominion Square (now Dorchester Square).

  • When

    Built between 1927 and 1929, the building was inaugurated a few months before the start of the Depression that lasted through the 1930s.

  • Who

    The building was designed by the Montreal architectural firm of Barrott and Blackader. Construction was overseen by Geo. A. Fuller of Canada.