VIEW-2944 | 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:  Architecture (8646) , architecture (335) , Cityscape (3948) , cityscape (422) , industrial (22) , Industry (942) , Lachine Canal (2) , Montreal (409) , Photograph (77678) , Point St. Charles (2) , view (1387) , view (243)
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Keys to History

Manufacturing activity in the city gave birth to what is called an industrial landscape. Companies tended to set up their factories close to the port or to railway tracks. Working-class housing would be built close to the factories. No area better illustrates this phenomenon than the one near the Lachine Canal, the birthplace of Montreal industry. The Grand Trunk Railway workshops, factories producing machinery and other iron and steel products, spinning mills and the Redpath sugar refinery were all located here; their employees lived nearby.

  • What

    Partial view of the industrial area along the Lachine Canal and around the adjoining basins, at the end of the 19th century. The biggest factories are located along the canal; the working-class homes of factory employees can be seen on the right in the photograph.

  • Where

    The picture shows the western part of the canal, near the St. Gabriel locks. The largest factory, on the far left, is the Redpath sugar refinery, the smokestacks of which dominate the landscape.

  • When

    The sugar refinery opened in 1855. It expanded its facilities significantly, in stages, over the following decades.

  • Who

    John Redpath (1796-1869) was born in Scotland and arrived in Canada at the age of 20. He made a fortune in construction and then invested in other areas. In 1854 he began building Canada's first sugar refinery. This major investment turned out to be a huge success.