N-0000.193.60.2 | "Priests Farm", Montreal College, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, QC, about 1859

"Priests Farm", Montreal College, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, QC, about 1859
William Notman (1826-1891)
about 1859, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
7.3 x 7 cm
Gift of Mr. James Geoffrey Notman
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , educational (709) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Probably the most important religious order in Lower Canada, the Sulpicians had their headquarters at the Seminary of Montreal. Supportive of established authorities like the British Crown, they drew their importance, particularly in Montreal, from their parish, seigniorial and educational power. This image shows their estate on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal and the construction of their schools, which would become the Collège de Montréal and the Grand Séminaire, where generations of priests were trained.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    First a native mission-its defensive towers are still visible from Sherbrooke Street-the estate of the Seminary served as a country home and farm for priests before the construction of schools on the site in the 1850s.

  • Where

    Located on the slopes of Mount Royal, the estate enjoyed one of the most prestigious sites in Montreal. Orchards and fields surrounded the site, and students and priests had ample space for sports and leisure.

  • When

    The Seminary had always been centred in what is now Old Montreal with its schools, church and offices nearby. As the Old City became crowded and unsanitary, the air, pure water and open fields of Sherbrooke Street became an attractive site for the construction (1854-1865) of a school for boys and a seminary to train priests.

  • Who

    Priests trained in this seminary travelled across North America, serving parishes from coast to coast. The photographer William Notman may have hoped to sell pictures of the school to priests living far from the city.