VIEW-1577.A | Clearing snow, Notre Dame Street, Montreal, QC, about 1887

 
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Photograph
Clearing snow, Notre Dame Street, Montreal, QC, about 1887
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1887, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
VIEW-1577.A
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , cityscape (422) , crowd (32) , figure (1849) , group (644) , Montreal (409) , Notre Dame Street (11) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , snow clearing (2) , streetscape (1737) , streetscape (187) , winter scene (26) , work (389) , work (126)
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Description

In the past, photographers took few pictures of everyday life on commercial streets - even the most important ones, such as Notre Dame Street - especially in the winter, probably preferring scenes that were more likely to attract the attention of tourists and Montrealers. However, the accumulations of snow and the snow clearing operations carried out by day labourers and carters hired by the city provided an impressive spectacle.

This picture is of interest because of the presence of workers in the foreground. Snow removal must have been a significant winter activity for the carters who transported the snow, and snowstorms must have delighted the thousands of day labourers and tradesmen who were otherwise unemployed in the winter. This backbreaking, low-paid work was very useful since the economy slowed down in the winter, while workers had to pay for increased heating costs and other expenses related to the cold weather, without any public assistance.

Source: Urban Life through Two Lenses (Consult the See Also box on this page)