VIEW-2973 | Old street railway horse car, Montreal, QC, about 1890

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Old street railway horse car, Montreal, QC, about 1890
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1890, 19th century
Silver salts, frosting on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  horse drawn (374) , Photograph (77678) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

In 1891, the Montreal Street Railway Co. was operating an urban network of horse-drawn streetcars, or trams, like this one. It had 1,000 horses, 150 streetcars, 104 sledges for winter use and 49 omnibuses (a stagecoach-like vehicle drawn by horses). But electric streetcars were meeting with great success in Ottawa, and the MSR Co. envisaged change. In 1892, it introduced Montreal's first electric streetcar.

The first decade of electric streetcar use in Canada was marked by a terrible accident in Victoria, British Columbia. On May 26, 1896, an overloaded vehicle carrying more than 140 people drove onto the Point Ellice Bridge. Without warning, the bridge cracked and collapsed, precipitating the car into the water and causing 55 deaths. It was the worst streetcar disaster ever in North America.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Horse-drawn streetcars were driven by a coachman assisted by conductor, who collected the passenger fares.

  • Where

    Montreal's first horse-drawn streetcar line, inaugurated on November 27, 1861, ran along Notre Dame Street, between Havre and McGill streets.

  • When

    Electric streetcars were introduced in Windsor in 1886, in Vancouver and Victoria in 1890, in Winnipeg and Ottawa in 1891 and in Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto in 1892.

  • Who

    In 1861, Alexander Easton of Philadelphia patented a horse-drawn streetcar system, which the cities of Montreal and Toronto were the first to introduce in Canada.