VIEW-1337 | Carnival, Montreal, QC, composite, 1884
Carnival, Montreal, QC, composite, 1884
Wm. Notman & Son
1884, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process, composite photograph
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Art (2774) , composite (312) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
Time-off for the Holidays
The new conception of time gave rise to a desire among the elite for vacations - time off for relaxation and self-renewal. Although vacations were initially associated mostly with the summer season, there was growing interest in the idea of winter breaks. It was in this context that some Montrealers organized a winter festival inspired by traditional carnival celebrations. The project, spearheaded by businessmen seeking a way to stimulate economic activity during the slow winter months, called for a week of sports events and other activities designed to attract rich American tourists. Thus, between 1883 and 1889, Montreal hosted a celebrated carnival that represented, for both tourists and the local elite, a time of great permissiveness and escape in an era when social conventions were both numerous and strictly enforced.
The simulated attack on the monumental ice palace at the centre of this composite photograph was the high point at Montreal's winter carnival.
Carnival events were held at different locations in Montreal: the public squares, on the ice of the St. Lawrence River, the grounds of McGill University and at various sports clubs.
Montreal's carnival was held for only a few years: in 1883, 1884, 1885, 1887 and 1889.
The carnival was organized and attended largely by the elite of Montreal society, that is, mostly by Anglophones, but also by some Francophones.