VIEW-1013.1 | Beaver Hall Hill in winter, Montreal, QC, about 1875

Beaver Hall Hill in winter, Montreal, QC, about 1875
William Notman (1826-1891)
about 1875, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
10 x 8 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

The Origins of Bell Canada and the Development of Canadian Cities

In the late 19th century, cities were experiencing major economic and demographic upheaval. The appearance of the first skyscrapers, the advent of department stores, the development of new residential neighbourhoods on the outskirts and the building of huge industrial complexes along transportation routes totally changed the cityscape. How could both the concentration and decentralization of activities be encouraged without an efficient means of communicating over a distance? The telephone, by connecting several speakers at once and communicating over a distance - the principle of the network - was a technology that was well suited to changes in both work and daily living.

Telephone companies had to be established to disseminate the new technology. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, incorporated on April 29, 1880, played a fundamental role in the history of telecommunications in this country. Between 1880 and 1930, it expanded its operations in the main cities of central Canada, especially Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec.

  • What

    Beaver Hall Hill (now Côte-du-Beaver-Hall) in Montreal was nicknamed Pill's Row and Church Corner in the late 19th century because of the many doctor's offices and churches located there.

  • Where

    Beaver Hall Hill was named in December 1884 after fur dealer Joseph Frobisher's home, Beaver Hall.

  • When

    By the end of 1880, Montreal was the most wired city in Canada, with 546 telephones.

  • Who

    The company opened its head office on Beaver Hall Hill in 1929.