VIEW-2938 | Montreal from Street Railway Power House chimney, QC, 1896
Montreal from Street Railway Power House chimney, QC, 1896
Wm. Notman & Son
1896, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , Train (185) , view (1387)
Keys to History
Ever since the days of New France cities have had to depend on the countryside for their food supply. Although some city dwellers might once have had a vegetable garden or raised animals, most went to their local market. There, farmers sold fruit, vegetables, eggs, butter, maple sugar and a vast range of other foodstuffs. In the 19th century, most towns had large public markets. Montreal was growing so fast that the markets in Old Montreal could not keep up with demand. Beginning in the 1860s, the City had huge buildings put up in all the new working-class neighbourhoods. Housewives could visit the stalls of butchers and fishmongers there and buy farm produce, as well.
In the centre of the photograph, north of the railway tracks and freight sheds at Bonaventure Station in Montreal, there is a long rectangular building. It is the St. Antoine market.
To get this panoramic shot, an employee of the Wm. Notman & Son studio had to climb to the top of the smokestack of the power house belonging to the Montreal Street Railway Company.
The St. Antoine market was erected in 1861. Local residents shopped there until 1933, when it was replaced by the new Atwater market.
This neighbourhood so fascinated Montreal social reformer and philanthropist Herbert Brown Ames that he devoted a detailed sociological study to the area. Published in 1897, The City Below the Hill is now considered to be a classic.