VIEW-10760 | Chevra Kadisha Synagogue, corner St. Urbain and S. Catherine Streets, Montreal, QC, 1910-11

Chevra Kadisha Synagogue, corner St. Urbain and S. Catherine Streets, Montreal, QC, 1910-11
Wm. Notman & Son
1910-1911, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678) , religious (1331)
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Keys to History

A Changing Society

Population growth wrought major social changes. The ethnic diversity of the city's population increased significantly as more and more immigrants arrived. While the continuing exodus from rural Quebec allowed French Canadians to maintain their majority position at slightly over 60% of the city's population, Montrealers of British ancestry saw their relative proportion drop from a third to a quarter.

The big change was the increase in the other ethnic groups. In the 19th century, they had accounted for less than 2.5% of the Montreal population; by 1901 their proportion had reached 5% and by 1911 close to 11%.

Over half of them were of Jewish ancestry. Concentrated in the area on either side of St. Lawrence Boulevard, the Jewish population, with its Yiddish language and culture, consisted chiefly of workers employed in the clothing industry who resided in the vicinity of the workshops. The Jewish community was served by many synagogues and cultural and charitable organizations as well as a daily newspaper published in Yiddish.

  • What

    By 1914 the Montreal Jewish community already had several synagogues. The congregations of the various synagogues were often associated with their European country of origin.

  • Where

    This synagogue was on St. Urbain Street, between Dorchester (now René Lévesque) Boulevard and Ste. Catherine Street. It was right in the midst of the Jewish quarter, which lay on either side of St. Lawrence Boulevard.

  • When

    Mass immigration of east European Jews to Montreal began in the 1880s, but really took off in the early 1900s. The persecutions suffered by the Jews, especially in tsarist Russia, caused many of them to flee their country for Canada.

  • Who

    According to the 1901 census, 6,790 Montrealers were of Jewish origin, representing 2.5% of the city's population. Ten years later this number had reached 27,948 (5.9 %).